However, once this common enemy was defeated, Sparta and Athens began to become great rivals vying for control of Greece. This resulted in the First and Second Peloponnesian Wars, which saw the rise and fall of the Athenian Empire. Sparta eventually rose to be the victor with the assistance of their former enemy Persia, but the era city-states would not live on for very much longer. The Peloponnesian Wars should be studied, because it details the rise and fall of one of the greatest city-states in Greek history.
When looking for a single cause of the peloponnesian war none can be found. Over time many events contributed to the eventual war between Sparta and Athens. I believe the peloponnesian war evolved because of Athenian support for Spartan enemies, Spartan alarm at a rise in Athenian power, and the drastic differences between the two cultures. In 435 B.C., Corcyra, a Corinthian colony declared itself independent of Corinth. Corinth responded by sending a fleet to reduce the rebelling island city.
When an opportunity comes for war against Athens, Sparta is not very reluctant and could even be considered eager to enter an altercation. Pericles leadership appeared sound but may have over reached the power of Athens. Pericles convinced the Athenians that allowing allied states to become free was a sign of weakness. In addition, he convinced them that Sparta was no match and could not win a long-term war against the great Athenian navy.
Through my analysis of this war, I plan to determine how Greece benefited as a whole. In the wake of the Persian attempt to conquer the Greek city-states and valuable coastline, Athens emerged as the powerhouse in defending Greece. Along with the help of her allies, Athens successfully stopped Persia from conquering Greece, but the Persian armies still lingered around the north. The Athenian forces took strides to rally all the city-states to completely rid Greece of Persian threat, but the cities were torn between continuing the fight and letting the problem lay to rest. In 477, Athens formed the Delian League whose goal was push Persia out for good.
The rebellions were supported by the Greek cities of Athens and Eretria, who were dissatisfied with the Persian tyrants. In 498 BS troops supported by the Greek city-states marched on Sardis and burnt it down. Unfortunately, this good start was the only offensive actions by the Ionians. On their return journey home from Sardis, they were attacked by the Persian troops and defeated at the Battle of Ephesus. During the Persians three pronged counter attack aimed at recapturing the areas around the center of the rebellion.
Themistocles' strengthening of the Athenian navy and unification of Greek states in the Panhellenic League along with his strategies in the battles of Thermopylae, Artemisium the pivotal Greek naval triumph at Salamis, all contributed to the ultimate defeat of the Persians in 480 - 479BC. During these battles, Themistocles lured the Persian force into narrow, close range battlegrounds suited to the Greek style of hand to hand, close range combat. Themistocles was born to an Athenian aristocrat father and a non-Greek mother in the Lycamidace family without any support from the ruling class. By 493 BC, age of 35, he had secured the supreme post of the nine archons as Archon Eponymous. According to Bradley, it was as an archon that Themistocles began the fortification and improvement of the new Piraeus whose three natural harbours would be more efficient than the open bay at Phalerum.
This was finished with help from Persia, a conventional foe of the Greek city-states. Sparta 's union with Persia, on the other hand, made the other city-states uneasy, and they got to be less enthusiastic to rebel against Athens. Athens was in a bad position politically by now. A theocracy toppled the vote based system in 411, and the oligarchs were soon supplanted by a more direct administration. Full vote based system was restored in the mid year of 410 after a major Athenian maritime triumph over the Spartans.
(http://www.warhorsesim.com/epw_hist.html). Pericles' death was significant. The Athenians had lost one of their greatest leaders. But even if the policies of Pericles had not been abandoned by the feeble Athenian democracy, the cost of the war would have proved too great and thus Athenian defeat was inevitable. It was a series of consequential events, spurred on by democratic failure, not one key turning point, that resulted in the decisive defeat of the Athenians by the Peloponnesians, with the aid of Persia.
This war would negatively affect Greece's world power, and it would pave the way for an invasion by Macedonia later in history. The Peloponnesian War would become a major part in the history of Classical Greece, and it would forever change the lives of the Greek people. The animosity between the great city-states of Athens and Sparta was not always present. In fact, the two powers were practically allies during the early 5th century B.C. During the Persian Wars, which started in 490 B.C., Athens and Sparta resisted invasion by Persia.
The Peloponnesian War marked the ending of the Golden Age for Greece. After years of prosperity in art and literature, it abruptly came to an end when Athens and Sparta decided to wage war on one another. At the time, Athens and Sparta were the two most powerful city-states in Greece and they both believed that they could not be stopped by anyone or anything-- except for one another. Sparta and Athens pitted the Peloponnesian League and the Delian League against one another, the two leagues representing the listed cities respectively. The Peloponnesian War itself was a series of conflicts between Athens and Sparta which used old strategies and led to the destruction of an empire.