Peloponnesian War Facts

Peloponnesian War Facts
The Peloponnesian War was one of the most important wars in the ancient world and the defining war of ancient Hellenic Civilization. Fought from 431 to 404 BC, the war was a struggle for dominance over the Greek speaking world between Athens and its allies, known as the Delian League, and Sparta and its allies, the Peloponnesian League. In the decades after the Persian Wars (499-479 BC), Athens took the lead among the Greek city-states in its efforts to protect Greece from another Persian attack. It did this by forming the Delian League, which was named for the small state of Delos where the alliance kept its treasury. The other Greek states, most notably Corinth and Sparta, believed that Athens was attempting to build an empire, which was bolstered when the Delian League most its treasury to Athens. The Peloponnesian War lasted so long due to a number of factors: limited times of the year when military campaigns were conducted, Spartan dominance on land and Athenian dominance on the seas, and a two year peace treaty. The Spartans technically won the war, but it was a pyrrhic victory - they were too decimated to assert control over Greece. The Macedonians were the true winners because in just over fifty years after the war they were able to unify most of the Greek speaking world under one ruler.
Interesting Peloponnesian War Facts:
The Peloponnesian War is generally divided into two phases: phase one lasted until the Peace of Nikias in 421 BC and phase two took place from 413 until the end of the war.
The Athenian statesman and general, Pericles (ca. 495-429 BC), led Athens until he died from a plague.
Pericles use the Delian League treasury for public works projects, such as building the Temple of Athena on the Acropolis.
During the first phase of the war, the Spartans would annually invade the region of Attica, but were never able to breach Athens' walls.
After Pericles died, Cleon took over as leader of Athens, but proved to be much more brutal. For instance, as punishment for Mytilene rebelling against Athenian rule, he had all the adult males of the city executed and all the adult females and children sold into slavery.
Cleon was killed in 422 BC during a battle for the northern city of Amphipolis.
The Macedonians aligned with the Spartans during the war.
After the Spartans lost the Battle of Cyzicus in 410 BC, they attempted to sue for peace but the democratic government of Athens refused their terms.
The island of Sicily, which had several Greek towns, became a theater in the war in the later years.
Beginning in 415 BC, the Athenians sieged the Sicilian city of Syracuse, but were severely defeated when Spartan and Corinthian ships arrived in 413 BC to lift the siege.
Most of what is known about the Peloponnesian War comes from Thucydides (ca. 460-400 BC), an Athenian general and historian who wrote The Peloponnesian War and Xenophon, an Athenian turned Spartan historian and general (ca. 431-354 BC), who wrote Hellenica.


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