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The Peloponnesian War Explained

By Amine OubihPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Photo by Jaime Spaniol on Unsplash

The Peloponnesian War, which played a great role in the ancient history as it is a big conflict between two city-states that were very powerful rich and interesting, Athens and Sparta. This protracted tussle, completed over more than twenty years of the 5th century BCE, has significantly set the direction of the ancient Greece history, and thus rearranged the political structure of ancient world leaving the unmistakable trace of the Western civilization.

The Peloponnesian War began with a small seed that were deeply buried far before the war actually began. After all the conflict was just a mere embodiment of the resentment between Athens and Sparta, two city-states who had ideologies and milling thoughts towards each other causing the discrepancies between these city-states.

Being the origin of democracy and enlightenment, Athens became the symbol of these achievements and innovations. Athens, the mother of democracy, the source of intellectual enlightenment, stood as a symbol of these achievements and innovations. The city of Greece was graced with an unrivaled navy and a flourishing collection of lands located in the Aegean Sea, which was primary called the Delian League. Under Athens’ influence, power was projected far past the city borders.

In complete opposite to Sparta, a landlocked, militaristic society which was the representation of martial discipline, austerity and skillfulness, was an example of the main values of civility, prosperity and elegance of Athens. Sparta known for its legendary warriors and formidable army is the most famous city of the Peloponnese, the majority of the other city-states in this region which are allied in the so-called "Peloponnesian League" are subordinate to Sparta's influence.

As the situation became competitive between Attica [Athens] and Sparta, when they started to be on the verge of a struggle over their territories and interests respectively, things were getting worse and worse. The ambitious Athenian expansionist policies and Sparta's fears of encirclement to their homeland grinded the conflict between the two supers against each other.

The war broke out in 431 B. C. was a long stride to a bloody war which would capture the whole Greek world for the next decade. The war was structured by the continuous series of land and naval battles, sieges and diplomatic moves with each side striving for supremacy while looking for chances to counter the enemy.

At the heart of the conflict lay a fundamental clash of civilizations: Athens, the defender of democracy and naval power against Sparta, the defence of the oligarchy and land hegemony. The war, as a result, gave birth to novel military strategies and tactics, and violence rose to the extreme on both sides.

It was the role played by the Athenian plague, a deadly disease which eliminated the population of Athens and its allies, undermined their troops, and also lowered their will to battle, that determined the generic nature of the Peloponnesian War. At the same time, Sparta's unstoppable campaigns on land and sea that exerted powerful pressure on Athenians' armies, who were stretched as thin as a thread.

The war was so long and both Athens and Sparta were gaining allies among some and resources among others to support their war efforts. This resulted in a complex network of partners and enemies who were contributing to the expansion of conflicts. The horizons were no limit to the Greek world, as the battlefield transversed from the seaport of Sicily to the hills of Boeotia, and ended with the destruction of every city (unless qualified otherwise).

Even broken up by some calm and peace-seeking moments, the Peloponnesian war stayed unbroken. It drained not only the wealth and finances of both the cities of Athens and Sparta but also greatly affected the whole of the Greek World. It finally became a conflict of fatigue: a struggle of wills and resilience, leaving no obvious winners when the smoke and fires dissipated.

However, the traumatic Peloponnesian War concluded in the year 404 BCE, that was yielded to the surrender of Athens with its navy being destroyed. Sparta obtained the superiority in the peninsula, however the price payed was enormous. As a result both Sparta and Athens became fragile on the area of ​​foreign threats.

The aftermath of the Peloponnesian War was a lasting echo that not only influenced the history of Greece but also shaped the rise and fall of major empires spread across antiquity for a very long time. It will forever be a phenomenon of the Greek tragedy of the terrible things that can happen if you are too proud, too selfish, and too warlike.

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Amine Oubih

🌟Amine Oubih🌟

📝 Writer | 🎨 Creative | 🌍 Explorer

Hello,I am a traveler and writer. Whether It's Real Or Fiction, I always find something interesting to write about, and I use this content to spark the desire to learn more in readers.

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    Amine OubihWritten by Amine Oubih

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