The Peloponnesian War
· Date- 431- April 25, 404 B.C.
· Location- Mainland Greece, Asia Minor, and Sicily
· Result- Spartan Victory
· Combatants- Delian League led by Athens and the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta
· The Delian League was an association of ancient greek city-states (about 150) whose purpose was to continue fighting Persia.
· The Peloponnesian League was an alliance of states in the Peloponnese in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C.
· Territory changes- the dissolution of the Delian League
· Commanders for Athens: Pericles, Cleon, Nicias, and Alcibiades
· Commanders for Sparta: Archidamus II, Brasidas, Lysander, and Alcibiades
The Peloponnesian War was a huge conflict that today is usually divided into 3 phases. During the first phase of the war, which is commonly called the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated attacks on Attica, taking advantage of there famous army. Athens took advantage of their superior naval fleet to raid the coast of the Peloponnese. At the same time they were trying to suppress signs of unrest in their empire. This phase concluded in 421BC when the combatants signed the Peace of Nicias.
The second phase started with the undermining of the treaty when Athens renewed the fighting with the Sicilian Expedition. This was when Athens launched a massive attack on Syracuse in Sicily. The attack failed disastrously however with the annihilation of their entire force in 413 BC. The failure brought in the final phase of the war.
The last phase of the war is generally called either the Decelean War or the Ionian War. In this phase of the war Sparta now received support from Persia. They began to support rebellions in Athens’ subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia. This undermined Athens’ empire and eventually deprived them of their naval supremacy. When Athens’ fleet was destroyed in the battle of Aegospotami it effectively ended the war. Athens’ surrendered the following year.
The Peloponnesian War reshaped the ancient Greek world. In the beginning of the war Athens was the strongest city-state in Greece and after the war Athens was reduced to almost nothing. However, Sparta was established as the leading power in Greece. Poverty became widespread in the Peloponnese after the war and Athens never regained their pre-war prosperity. Civil wars were also common in the Greek world.
Warfare in Greece was completely changed. Before the war warfare was a limited and formalized conflict, while after, it just became an all out struggle. Atrocities on large scales came with this new unorganized form of conflict. The Peloponnesian War marked the dramatic end of the fifth century golden age of Greece.