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The Peloponnesian War 2012/13

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Roel Konijnendijk

on 7 February 2017

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Transcript of The Peloponnesian War 2012/13

The Peloponnesian War
431-404 BC
431-421: Archidamian/Ten Year War
420-417: War of Argive Hegemony
415-413: Sicilian Expedition
413-404 Decelean/Ionian War



(account of 431-411)
(account of 411-404 and beyond)
416: Conquest of Melos
433: Battle of Sybota.
Athens supports Corcyra
against Corinthian attack
432: Battle of Potidea.
Corinthians instigate and support
Potidean revolt against Athens;
Athenians lay siege to the city
Ancestral enemy of Athens and
rival at sea; Athenians conquer
and displace entire population
Athenians declare economic
embargo against Megara
throughout their empire
"Grievances and points of difference"

"Truest cause" (Thuc. 1.23.6, 1.88): Spartan fear of Athenian power?

Role of Pericles? (Aristophanes, "Peace" 609-610; Diod. 12.38.2-4, 12.39.3; Plut. Per. 29.5-31.1, 32.3)
Sparta declares Athens has broken the Treaty

Spartans reluctant to go to war? (Thuc. 1.79-85)

431: Theban attack on Plataea
"The Lakedaimonians and their Allies"
Hegemon of Greece

Army: c. 30-60,000 hoplites

Navy: allies only (mostly Corinth)
"The Athenians and their Allies"
Leader of Athenian Empire

Army: c. 13,000 (+ 16,000) hoplites

Navy: c. 300 triremes
The Long Walls
Fortification of Pylos by

Counterattack and siege

Fleet battle and isolation
of Sphacteria

Assault on the island
Pylos/Sphacteria, 425
Island Strategy?
Athenians willing to fight

Massive attacks on Megara

Raids on enemies of Argos
Plague in Athens: 430-429, 427-426
Battle of Delium, 424
Boeotians attack Athenians by surprise

First major battle and first major Athenian defeat of the war
Brasidas in Thrace, 424-422
challenges Sparta
Sicilian Expedition,
provokes Sparta
of Nicias (421)
Restoration of Spartan prisoners

Return of Amphipolis and other cities;
Thebans keep Plataea, Athenians keep

Boeotians and Corinthians reject treaty
Spartan campaign to support local revolts

Fall of Amphipolis, 424; threat of rebellion in Thrace (Thucydides exiled)

Battle of Amphipolis, 422/1
Alliances unite Argos, Mantinea, Elis and Athens against Sparta

First Battle of Mantinea, 418

Peace treaty signed; war resumed the year after
Participation at Mantinea

Conquest of Melos, 416

Athenians raid Peloponnese
Why go to Sicily?

Siege of Syracuse, final naval battle, retreat over land

'The greatest disaster in
Greek history'?
Athens vs Corinth: the Proxy War
Athenians use Naupactus as base for raids

Athenians support Acarnanians against local colonists and allies of Corinth

Phormio's victories at sea, 429/8

Demosthenes' victories on land, 426
Decelean War
Fortification of Decelea in Attica
Spartans secure Persian funding; fleet sent to Ionia
Panic in Athens; overthrow of democracy; rule of Four Hundred
Spartan fleet moves to Hellespont; Persian funding increased
War of the fleets: Cynossema, Cyzicus, Notium, Arginusae
Defeat at Aegospotamoi, 405; Siege of Athens
Surrender of Athens, 404
Athenian Empire dissolved

Long Walls and walls of Piraeus torn down

Spartan-backed oligarchs take power

Sparta again hegemon of Greece
Athenian power broken?

Greece in ruins?

Spartan power secured?
A Military Revolution?
Did protracted bitter conflict lead to the decline of the citizen hoplite and his way of war?
Use of cavalry

Use of light troops

Use of mercenaries

Deceit and surprise
"But the man who (...) makes his attack not openly and in regular formation, but by seizing the opportunity of the moment, is most likely to succeed;

and those stratagems which do the greatest service to one's friends and most completely deceive one's enemies, have won the highest praise in war."

Thuc. 5.9.4-5
Total War
Siege warfare, naval warfare

Destruction of whole communities

Athenian and Spartan strategies
A Military Revolution?
Limitations of sources pre-433 BC

Resentment against Persian influence

Idealisation of the past
'Hoplite Battle'?
Like this...
...or like this?
First Battle of Mantinea, 418
Battle of Solygea, 425
(Lives of Pericles, Alcibiades, Nicias, Lysander)
One war?
(note Diod. 12.74.6)
(Schubert/Laspe, in "Historia" 58.4 (2009), 373-394)
Full transcript