What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Athenian Democracy? A growing appetite for war amongst the male Greek youth that was the result of the legendary stories told about the Greco-Persian Wars. Strengths And Weaknesses Of Ancient Sparta And Athens 815 Words | 4 Pages. Cleon was killed during this campaign, which led to a dramatic change in the course of events in the Peloponnesian War. The name comes from the Spartan king at the time, Archidamus II. Athens was definitely the dominant naval power in Greece at the time, but the Athenians’ devaluing of land warfare led to a stalemate in the first phase of the Peloponnesian War before the Peace of Nicias in which Sparta ravaged Athens’ countryside and forced its citizens to be holed up in the city walls and to live in close quarters, making them susceptible to the plague. However, strategic alliances, as well as an important shift in Spartan policy that allowed them to run more frequent raids on Athenian soil, eventually allowed Sparta to gain an edge over its opponent. Athens then won a decisive victory and the captured Spartan soldiers were taken back to Athens as prisoners of war. A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great. Great for trade - bad for protection. After defeating Athens in the…, arguments that can be made is whether Athens or Sparta and her allies won the Peloponnesian Wars. The way they would vote was by shouting. The attempted invasion of Sicily was a complete disaster for Athens. Seeing this alliance as a threat to their sovereignty, the Spartans amassed a rather large force, around 9,000 hoplites according to Thucydides, and this allowed them to win a decisive battle that brought an end to the threat posed by Argos. The Peloponnesian war lasted 27 years, and it occurred for many different reasons. The pan-Greek alliance had morphed into another alliance the Delian League, named for the island of Delos where the League had its treasury. Pritchett, W. Kendrick. The Peloponnesian war had lasting, traumatic effects for Greek society, breaking any chance of a unified Greek state that could stand together against invaders, which ultimately left the door open for Macedonian control. Helots were essentially slaves who did most if not all of the manual labor in Sparta. Vol. [5]  These men could be hired for valuable flaking maneuvers all the way through the ranks from light infantry to generals. However, the Spartans, along with the rest of the Peloponnesian League, agreed the Athenians had already broken the peace and that war was once again necessary. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Instead, a sneak attack by the citizens of Plataea would set in motion arguably the greatest war of Greek history. Accepting these peace terms all but ended the aspiration some Athenian leaders had of making Athens the head of a unified Greece, and it also marked the peak of Athenian imperial power. ( Log Out /  The Athenians committed a small defense force, and it proved to be rather effective, as Spartan soldiers were not able to break through until 427 BCE. Nearly fifty years of Greek history before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War had been marked by the development of Athens as a major power in the Mediterranean world. This distracted Athens from the Spartan threat and Sparta tried to invade Attica during this time. They would use their naval supremacy to attack strategic ports along the Peloponnese while relying on the high city-walls of Athens to keep the Spartans out. Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. [4] D. Brendan Nagle, The Ancient World, a Social  and Cultural History eighth edition (Boston: Pearson, 2014), 102. Routledge, 2003. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. All of this jockeying led to a confrontation between Sparta and Argos at Mantineia, a city in Arcadia just to the north of Sparta. This worked in the sense that the Spartans burned considerable swaths of territory around Athens, but they never dealt a decisive blow because Spartan tradition required soldiers, mainly the helot soldiers, to return home for the harvest each year. Tensions within the Greek world remained and the Spartans were eventually removed as the Greek hegemon. However, rarely did the two sides fight each other alone. However, Athens was able to resist. Before this, though, Cleon wanted to remove the Spartan threat from other parts of Greece. In short, an envoy of 300 Thebans went to Plataea to help a group of elites overthrow the leadership in Plataea. The Athenian victory at Pylos gave them an important stronghold in the Peloponnese, and the Spartans knew they were in trouble. To cite this article in an academic-style article or paper, use: Matthew Jones, "Athens vs. Sparta: The History of the Peloponnesian War", History Cooperative, April 25, 2019, https://historycooperative.org/the-peloponnesian-war-athens-vs-sparta/. It’s true we can look at the Peloponnesian War today and ask “why?” But when we consider it in the context of the time, it’s clear how Sparta felt threatened by Athens and how Athens felt it necessary to expand. Lysander, however, established a pro-Spartan oligarchy that installed a reign of terror in Athens. The Greeks gave us democracy, the scientific method, geometry, and so many more building blocks of civilization that it’s hard to imagine where we would be without them. The Peloponnesian War was soon followed by the Corinthian War (394–386 BC), which, although it ended inconclusively, helped Athens regain some of its former greatness. The plague that struck the city at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, combined with the fact that a decisive victory appeared nowhere in sight, created an appetite for peace in Athens. Seeing this as a major threat, the Athenians had no choice but to pursue Lysander. View all posts by JMcFarland. The Peloponnesian War marked the dramatic end to the fifth century BC and the golden age of Greece. The Spartan’s had managed to destroy most of the land in Attica, forcing people to flee to Athens, and this meant Athens was entirely dependent on its maritime trade for food and other supplies. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0009%3Achapter%3D12.

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