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”).
The assembly of Athens further escalated the situation by placing an economic embargo on the city of Megara, which was a former ally of Athens that turned to Sparta. Sparta held an assembly with both Athens and Megara in order to determine what to do about the situation. The citizens of Sparta wanted war with Athens, but the King Archidamos did not want to recklessly jump into a war with another empire. However, war was the vote according to the Spartan assembly. Sparta then took the issue up with the Pel... ... middle of paper ... ... up a new chapter for the Greek people.
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”.
One of the decrees that Pericles declared against Megara was that all merchants from Megara were banned from ports belonging to the Athenian empire. This was yet another way the Athenians aggravated and caused difficulties for the Peloponnesian league without technically infringing any terms of the Thirty Years’ Peace. This inability to access Athenian ports greatly devastated Megara’s economy, causing Sparta to become involved and assist.
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.
(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.
Historical Overview Of The Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 BC) Introduction The Peloponnesian War is widely known as the second war between the Athenian and Spartan coalitions. In Thucydides'narratives on the war, he described that the war took place during a period when the Greek world was divided into two great alignments each led by either Athens or Sparta, with both sides at the height of their powers. Two Diametric Powerful Greek City-States At the start of the war, Athens wielded great political and economic power in the Greek world. Athens was perceived to be the "unifying force" in the Greek territories against the Persian invasions. After the Greco-Persian wars ended, Athens led the Delian League (See Figure 2) and protected its members with its powerful naval fleet the largest fleet then.
There has been, and continues to be great debate amongst historians surrounding the precise causes of the Great Peloponnesian War. The classical source of Thucydides provides great first hand insight into the causes of the war, as well as both Kagan and St. Croix, modern historians. Various long term factors including the Growth of Athenian Power, the 30 Year Peace Treaty and the selfish attitudes of city states all gave weight to the eventuality of war. Other short term events took place such as the civil war at Epidamnus, The Battle of Sybota, the Potidaean Revolt and the Megarian Decree, causing triggers to ignite this great war. For many years in the Greek world, prior to the outbreak of war, the growth of Athenian power had been increasing.
After winning the Peloponnesian war, Sparta had become the most powerful polis in the Greek world. It will be shown that Sparta pursued its goal of dominance through the autonomy clause in the treaty of Antalcidas. Sparta abused the treaty and even broke it, creating the opposition that would eventually defeat them. Sparta, having won the Peloponnesian war (Xenophon, Hellenika 2.23), emerged as the pre-eminent Greek power at the beginning of the fourth century (Cargill 1981: 189). The member states of the Delian league were not freed as expected (Rhodes 2010: 160), but rather taken over and had oligarchic constitutions installed within them (Rhodes 2010: 238).
The leadership of city- states along with individual leadership that united the Greeks into one fighting force that was fighting for a common cause. One of the main leaders throughout the entire war was Themistocles, a politician from Athens who was a born leader and would lead the Greeks to victory. Before the Battle of Salamis took place, many of the Greek generals wanted to leave the area, thinking that the narrow pass into Salamis was not worth defending; however, Themistocles used his talent of public speaking to keep the Greeks at salamis, saying: “If these men sail away from Salamis, thou will have no fight at all for the one fatherland; for they will all scatter themselves to their own homes; and neither Eurybiades nor anyone else will be able to hinder them, nor to stop the breaking up of an armament.”(Herodotus 3). Using his talent as a public speaker, Themistocles was able to unite the Greek city-states, creating one fighting force that would stay at Salamis to fight the mighty Persian army. While having a valiant leader was an important part of Greek leadership, the Athenians provide leadership in the form of naval strength, providing the Greek navy with a vas... ... middle of paper ... .... New York: L. MacVeagh, 1928.