Peloponnesian War Essay

Peloponnesian War Essay Example:

Peloponnesian War is the war between two Greece centers with the largest political associations – Athens Empire and Peloponnesian League, under the head of Sparta. A rivalry between them increased day by day and, finally, in the second half of the V-th century it took the form of the internal war (431-404 BC).

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As it is written in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“Thucydides famously said that the Spartans went to war in
431 BC “because they were afraid of the further growth of
Athenian power, seeing, as they did, that the greater part
of Hellas was under the control of Athens”.

The cause of war was a number of reasons with economic and social character. In these terms a leading role in area of trade belonged to two competitive Greek states: Athens and Corinth. These city states entered the way of commodity production and sea-born trade development long ago, they both were identically interested in maximal expansion of their economic influence sphere.

It is cited in “Laconian Proffecionals”:
“In a war between the main military and main naval powers in Greece a decisive result was unlikely to occur quickly. Sparta relied on the traditional strategy of Greek warfare. She hoped that by invading Attica and destroying the crops she would force Athens either to sue for peace or come out to fight the standard set piece battle in which typical Greek wars were decided.”

So, the first period of war, so-called Archidamian war began with the attack of Sparta’s allies on Plataeae in 431 B.C. and intrusion of the Spartan tsar Archidamus II with a Peloponnesian army into Attica. The land-forces of Athenians were considerably weaker, but due to the fleet they had pre-eminence at the sea. In addition, Athenians were more prepared to war in a financial relation. Due to domination of Athens at the seaside it was not lack in food in the crowded town, but position was complicated with the epidemic of some dreadful disease.

Meantime Peloponnesian army continued intrusions into Attica. A turning point during military operations was reached in the year 425, when Athenians succeeded to seize Pylos and to take prisoner the representatives of the noblest families. But this success was weakened by the defeat of Athenians in a battle near the city Delil and the return actions of the Spartan war-lord when he succeeded to obtain falling off from Athens a row of their allies.

The lingering war exhausted the forces of both sides. So, as a result of negotiations Athens and Sparta concluded the so-called Nicias peace in 421 B.C. the basic condition of which was renewal of existing before war position. But a political situation in Athens stayed tense.

In connection with arrival to Athens of embassy from the Sicily with complaints about oppressions, which the habitants had to stand from other cities, adhering to the Peloponnesian orientation. Athenians equipped an enormous fleet. But all in all the Sicilian catastrophe was a critical moment during the whole war. Having lost fleet and most efficient part of soldiers in Sicily, Athenians lost their predominance above allies. The wrecking of the Athenian union began.

This catastrophe reflected substantially the political life of Athens. The position in the town, constantly being under threat of enemy, was heavy and tense. Hunger and illnesses began in town cut from the outer world. The siege of Athens proceeded a few months, but the Athenians suffering from hunger surrendered at discretion.

Spartans passed lordship over Athens to the oligarchic government of “thirty tyrants”. Thus, the democratic system in Athens was abolished again. The same happened in many other Greek cities. The government of «thirty tyrants» in Athens contained the extreme oligarchs, but soon they were forced to hurry to Eleusian. Their government fell soon. In 403-402 a former democratic system was renewed in Athens.

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