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Peloponnesian War Final

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Harry Webb

on 2 March 2015

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Transcript of Peloponnesian War Final

Peloponnesian War
The Peace of Nicias
Sicilian Expedition

The Sicilian Expedition
Important Note
A Bad Situation
Archidamian War
The Archidamian

Athens had built a wall to defend themselves.
There was Peace
So after the mishap with the Argives the Athenians
are still looking to expand.
The Sicilians have asked the Athenians for help against
Syracuse. The Athenians accept for two reasons.
Didn't want to go. So he made a bluff.
2. 3 Generals ---> 3 Strategies
Decide to try and get more allies on the island.
Before We Start:
2 Things
1. Recap:
Pericles and Athens had somehow convinced Sparta to march home.
- This led to a treaty called the Thirty Years Peace
- The Treaty stated that they couldn't war with each other, or city-states allied with one another. (Ex. Athens couldn't attack anyone in the Peloponnesian League)
2. No World Map
Clearly a Tree
Moving on...
Thirty Years Treaty
Thou shalt not attack the allies of thine enemy
Well, both sides broke it.
Those at fault: Corinth and Athens
Corinth built a fleet
And attacked Corcyra
Alarmed by this, Corcyra sought out Athens to help defend them. Athens agreed to help.
To maintain the Thirty Years Peace Athens was not supposed to attack unless it was absolutely clear that Corinth was going to press on and invade Corcyra.
Athens ignored this and fought in the battle.
Don't attack unless
you have to.
Fine then
So Athens broke the peace
But so did Corinth
Athens began putting down a rebellion from one of their tributary city-states. Corinth helped the city-state defend itself.
The Peace was more or less over.
But First a Meeting
- Corinth urged Sparta to hold a meeting
- Invited were all those who in the Peloponnesian League who disliked Athens
- A delegation from Athens also attended
Thucydides tells us:
- Corinth condemned the inactivity of Sparta
- If you remain passive, you could soon find yourselves outflanked and without allies
- Sparta agreed that Athens had broken the peace, declaring war
The rest of the Peloponnesian war can be broke
into 3 sections.
1. The "Archidamian War"
2. The Peace of Nicias
3. The Sicilian Expedition
And then Aftermath
Access to Sea
The war was named after the Spartan king Archidamus II
His approach was to attack Athens head on.
He attacked Athens and the land surrounding it. Many of the Athenians (farmers, citizens, etc...) retreated behind the walls.
Because Athens still had access to the sea they didn't suffer the loss of the land surrounding them.
Type of Warfare
- Wanted to avoid open battle with the Spartans whenever possible.
- The Spartan army was larger and more well trained
- Instead, rely on the fleet.
- Used the fleet to win several battles on the sea
- Traditional 'hoplite warfare'.
- Would occupy Attica for a number of weeks for a time, burn crops, attack villages, and then would return to Sparta for:
- Harvest
- Keep helots under control
The war waged without anything decisive happening...
Until the Gods intervened.
- A plague struck Athens.
- It decimated their population and army (sailors and all)
- Athens was a densely packed city. Remember, they were all behind their walls at this point.
- Among the dead was
Pericles and his sons.
- Was this punishment
to the Athenians for their
Bad Situation
- What could Athens do now? They had lost between 1/3 to 2/3 of their population. This means tens of thousands of people, including a good chunk of their army and navy.
- Even though Athens was wealthy, they couldn't hire mercenaries. Nobody wanted to get near them.
Silver Lining
The Spartans were also scared of the plague, so they left Athens alone.
"Is it on me? I
feel like it's on
So what could Athens do?
They had just lost their leader (Pericles)
Been completely ravaged by the Plague, losing tens of thousands of citizens and soldiers
Couldn't hire mercenaries
If you said be more aggressive and bring the
fight to Sparta, you're right!!!
You're starting to think like a Greek!
Because no one expects crazy.
No one...
It Paid Off
- Athens continued to raid the Peloponnese via ships, but they did something else as well.
- They knew the Spartan system relied heavily on helots (Spartan slaves), the Athenians took advantage of this.
- Athens fortified posts in the Peloponnese
- One of these posts, near Pylos, attracted many helots. They weren't fans of the Spartans and were seeing it as an opportunity to join the Athenians and revolt
Sparta had to act, and attacked Pylos.
They were outmaneuvered and eventually Athens captured a few hundred Spartan hoplites.
This gave Athens a bargaining chip.
Short Lived Victory
- This was a very short lived victory
- While the Athenians knew the Spartans needed the helots, the Spartans knew the Athenians needed money to fund their army
- So they captured several of the Athenian silver mines.
They traded! Hostages for cities with the silver mines.
They then did what they always did, made a new peace treaty.
moving on.
They do so in a very strange place... Sicily.
Why is it a strange choice?
- Ideological: Syracusans are Dorian
Sicilians are Ionian
Like Sparta
Like Athens
More realistic reason:
- Sicily was an incredibly wealthy island
"Sicily is so immense that we're going to need a HUGE army if we're to be successful"
How many?
This was a chance for glory
1. They're still at war with Sparta, why are they sending their army so far away?
3. Nothing to fight cavalry (which the
Syracusans have a lot of)
First battle goes well. Athens wins.
Alcibiades has been called back to Athens to be put on trial.
Downward Spiral
1. Athens is putting it's leading general on trial...
2. Alcibiades decides to go to Sparta instead of Athens. He tells the Spartans that they should help Syracuse, as if the Athenians win they're going to attack Sparta next.
3. Spartans arrive, and the wall competition began.
- Athens built a wall surrounding Syracuse. The goal of this was to cut Syracuse off from the rest of the island.
- Syracuse and the Spartans built a counter wall that blocked the Athenian wall from accomplishing it's purpose.
Nicias Gives Athens Another Chance
- Convinced that Syracuse can't be taken, he writes a letter to Athens saying:

"We need to retreat, or we need a ton more men"
The Rest of the Battle
With the advice Alcibiades was giving, the Spartans/Syracusans were able to destroy the Athenian army.
Athens, so far from home had little way of reinforcing themselves quickly, or retreating effectively.
Thousands of Athenians were killed as they tried to flee.
This was the beginning of the end
for Athens
The Fate of Athens
- Delian League rebelled
- Sparta, now being funded and supported by the Persians attacked
- Athens held out until 404 BC, but eventually surrendered.
- Democracy was suspended, and Athens was ruled by the 'Thirty Tyrants'.
- Pro-Spartan oligarchy

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