Athens was the head of the Delian League because they started it and when Sparta saw that they were stealing money to glorify their city, the Spartans didn’t like it. Both city-states believed they would have the upper hand if they fought, so they both pushed for war. Eventually, Sparta declared war on Athens. Since Sparta had a strong army they wanted to fight a land war. However, Pericles, Athens’ leader, wanted to wait for the precise moment to attack by water.
Corinth, aiding the people of Potidaea faced an embargo by Athens. Enraged by this act Sparta appealed the Athenians to end the embargo, but was ignored. Sparta conviened the peloponnesian council and Greece moved one step closer to the peloponnesian war. It could be argued that Sparta and Athens were already preparing for war with each other and that the support of their allies’ wars against each other was not a direct cause of the war but si... ... middle of paper ... ...led to a natural distrust between the two cultures. Pericles, the Athenian ruler before and during the Peloponessian war once compared the “living force of Athenian freedom with the dead hand of Spartan tyranny”.
These self interested populist leaders with personal gain in mind established extensive internal political instability "...by quarrelling among themselves [and] began to bring confusion into the policy of the state." (Thucydides). Repeated opportunities to accept terms of peace after the battles of Pylos (425), Arginusae (406) and Aegospotami (405) were ignored by the inefficient Athenian demos eventually resulting in the devastation of the once dominant city-state. Internal political strife can also be attribu... ... middle of paper ... ...ericles had lived, he may have actually hindered Athenian attempts to find some way out of the stalemated war." (http://www.warhorsesim.com/epw_hist.html).
As a result from the Persian Wars, Greece felt the need to form an alliance to defend themselves against future attacks. In 478 BCE, the Greek city-states all united to form the Delian League and Athens became the leader of the league. Sparta, however, decided not to join, which led to extreme tension between Athens and Sparta. Due to Athens’ arrogance, such as collecting all the wealth and misusing funds on extravagant buildings, members of the league became unhappy which led to the collapse of the league and the start of the war. In the Melian Dialogue by Thucydides, one of our primary sources, it describes the scenario between the polis Melos and Athens when Melos wanted to withdraw from the league.
The relatively basic buildings of Athens must have crushed the pride of the people, however, due to the oath taken at Plataea not to rebuild any of the temples, the people remained humbled by their modest buildings in their cities. Some of the states in Greece joined together in a league to sustain a navy that could protect them from more attacks from the Persians. The money given by each of the states was kept at a treasury in Delos, the Greeks then referred to the band of states as the Delian League. Eventually, it became obvious that Athens would be the leaders of the league and so the money was transferred to Athens. After rebuilding and fortifying the city, the Athenians made peace with Persia in 449BC.
During the Greco-Persian Wars, the Spartans and Athens fought together against the powerful Persians. One of the reasons for the temporary alliance was the impressive navy of the Athens. Historian Thomas R. Martin asserted, “The peace struck in 446/445 formally ended the fighting, supposedly for thirty years. New disagreements that arose in the 430s over how each of the two states should treat the allies of the other led to the collapse of the peace, however.” This navy helped the Spartan Army and the Spartan Army helped the Athenian Army. However, after fighting together to defeat the Persians, the two rival city-states went back to their old ways of despising one another.
No state was particularly to blame for the strain on their peace treaty, nor for the war, it came as the two states developed. Eventually the two states had clashed enough and declared war. Although the Spartans gave the Athenians a chance to back down and temporarily stall war, the two states would never be equal, their allies resented one another far too much. The growing urge for power was bound to take over sooner or later. Finally, after 7 years of uneasy tension, Sparta could wait no longer and declared war against Athens (Fox, 167).
The Delian league, founded in 478 BC, was originally formed not only to defend against the Persians, but to strike back against them. With Sparta reluctant to spearhead this effort, it fell to Athens to take the position as leader of these united Greeks. The Delian league began as a peaceful and voluntary union, however it was not long before Athens began using the league resources for personal gain and started conquering regions, forcing them to join, and pay tribute. This marks the transition from a democracy to an empire, and ultimately the beginning of the end for Athens. The people of the Delian league were not happy with this and many rebelled.
The threat of the Persian Empire's expansion into Greece and the imminent possibility that they would lose their freedom and become subservient to the Persians, so horrified the Greeks that they united together and risked their lives in order to preserve the one thing they all shared in common, their "Greekness". The Persian War stemmed from the Ionian Revolt which began in 499 BC. The Ionians became a part of the Persian Empire in 546 BC, but after many years desired to break away from this forced bond. Therefore, the Ionians sought help from the mainland Greeks. The Athenians and Eretrians responded by sending ships, but eventually became more involved.
The Athenian assembly indicted Alcibiades for sacrilege after he sailed for Sicily and ordered him to return to face charges. On the return journey in a separate ship, Alcibiades escaped at Thurii and later went into exile in Sparta (218). The Athenians failed to anticipate Alcibiades' possible defection and take action to prevent it. A side consequence was that the assembly took the soul and tactical advantage out of the expedition by recalling Alcibiades. The expedition had a better chance of success if the command had gone to Alcib... ... middle of paper ... ...ed.