Athens vs. Sparta: Was War Between the Two Inevitable?

2610 Words11 Pages
In 480 and the years prior the Athenians and Spartans, banned together to defeat the Persian Army. The Spartans stand at Thermopylae, allowed the Athenians time to prepare, and ultimately allowed the victory. With both of these great city-states located so close together in Hellas, there differences would ultimately lead to dissension. Throughout the course of this paper, I hope to explain the reasoning behind the dissension between Sparta and Athens, made war between these former allies inevitable. Whenever there is an argument or war there is always differences between both parties involved. In order to understand the causes of the Peloponnesian War, we must look at their differences. One of the main differences that the Athenians and the Spartans had was their way of education. Athenian boys were tutored at home until the age of six or seven years old. After seven they were sent to neighborhood schools where they were taught primary education until around the age of fourteen. These neighborhood schools were usually private schools, but the amount of money for tuition was usually affordable enough for the poor to send their children for a few years. During primary school the boys were usually taught calisthenics and how to play certain games. Older boys were taught more militaristic activities such as boxing or wrestling. All ages of Athenian boys read heavily, as well as were taught to sing songs, play instruments, and do mathematics. Athenian boys who could not afford to go to school usually began apprenticeships. No matter what however, at the age of 18 all boys were required to go to military school for two years, after completion of that they were allowed to live however they wanted. Athenian girls were not officially schooled, they were usually taught in the own homes. The purpose of an Athenian education was to train people to be thinkers, people who are well-trained in the arts and sciences (Columbia). The education of the youth establishes a precedent for the differences between the way Spartans and Athenians lead their lives. At age seven, training for the military began for all Spartan boys, they’re forced to leave their homes and go to military schools, where they endure all types of harsh training and discipline. The main lesson was learning to take pride in enduring pain and hardships. During their teenage years they were taught wrestling, ... ... middle of paper ... ...-states that the Athenians were indeed as strong as all would believe, thus the smaller cit-states developed the thought that indeed Athenian attack was inevitable. When two great and powerful city-states ban together for a common cause the results will in turn will have great expectations. Those expectations were met when an undermanned Greek army defeated the large Persian Army throughout the course of the Persian War. The problem occurs when each of the city-states’ own ego gets in the way of the cause. They handily defeated the Persians, but the Athenians took the credit for it, and paid homage to themselves, through elaborate celebrations of victory. In their minds, they were at the head of Hellas. The Spartans took exception to this and rightfully so. The credit has to go to them as well, for the large part that they played in the victory over Persia. This dissension in the end had a lot to do with the Peloponnesian War. Never mind the military structures and governments that each set up, which made their differences clear cut. There was no way to avoid the war between these two great powers, it was inevitable, just as Thucydides had predicted.

More about Athens vs. Sparta: Was War Between the Two Inevitable?

Open Document