The Causes and Effects of the Peloponnesian War

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The Peloponnesian War was between the Greek cities of Athens and Sparta due to the growing tensions that continued to grow between the two cities that eventually came to a breaking point. The Peloponnesian War, which can be divided into three phases known as: The Archidamian War, The Sicilian Expedition and The Decelean War, is one of the greatest event in Greek history and an analysis of the causes and effects of this war will give us a better understanding for how the cities of Athens and Sparta came to war and the impact it left behind. When examining the causes for the Peloponnesian War, which was between 431-404 B.C., there are a number of causes that factored into the cause of this war. However, one of the most important causes to this war was largely due to the fact that the Spartans feared the growing power and success of Athens. The Spartans were “particularly alarmed at the growing power of Athens” (Cartwright, “Peloponnesian War”). During the Persian war in 479 BC, Athens grew fiercely strong with power with help of its many allies and continued with their no mercy attacks on Persian territories. When the Persians left Greece, Athens further enraged Sparta when they built large and tall walls around its empire in the event of an attack, which was mostly thought to be from Sparta if it happened. In the years following the Persian Wars in 479 B.C., Athens had come out on top being the most dominantly powerful of any Greek city with a navy that had superior strength that increased day by day. The Athenians “ruled with heavy-handed, even brutal force as well as with reason” (Kagan 2). This was due largely to the fact that Athens had a stable and effective government, which only increased their advantage in proving themselv... ... middle of paper ... ... 371 B.C. Sparta faced a critically wounding loss against Thebes. Eventually, all of Sparta’s empire would be destroyed when Philip II of Macedon conquered all of Greece, due to its instability, which “made them vulnerable to a takeover by Macedonia several decades later” (C.S “The Peloponnesian War”.) The causes of the Peloponnesian War proved to be too great between the tension-filled stubborn Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta. As Thucydides says in Karl Walling’s article, “Never had so many human beings been exiled, or so much human blood been shed” (4). The three phases of the war, which again, are the Archidamian war, the Sicilian Expedition and the Decelean war, show the events that followed the causes of the war, while also showing the forthcoming detrimental effects that eventually consumed both Athens and eventually Sparta effectively reshaping Greece.

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