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Peloponnesian War
Ian Broadwater
The primary author is the individual who drafted the first
version of this section; a section that could have been modified
since it was originally published.
Delian and Peloponnesian League
The Delian League was formed in 478 BCE It was an alliance o Aegean city states—mostly along the
coast—who had come together for mutual protection against Persia. The Delian League was an Athenian
based alliance. Although originally formed to face off against the Persians, this alliance stayed strong
throughout the Peloponnesian war.
Sparta, which is located in southeast Greece, formed the Peloponnesian League. The Peloponnesian
League consisted of Sparta, Corinth, and Elis. After defeating Persia, Athens gained more power and
continued to gain power. Militaristic Sparta did not like how much power Athens was getting and felt
threatened. Sparta thus gave Athens and the Delian League an ultimatum. Athens must free all cities
under its control or there will be war. Athens refused and the First Peloponnesian war began.
The Thirty Years' Peace was a treaty signed between Athens and Sparta in 446 BCE. The treaty brought
an end to the conflict known as the First Peloponnesian War, which had been going on since 460 BCE.
Sadly, this treaty only lasted 13 years. The treaty failed for multiple reasons; mainly Athens attacking
allies of Sparta. After the treaty became void, Sparta declared war on Athens and so begins The
Peloponnesian War.
Athens, the central naval force of the world at the time, fought with triremes. These wooden warships
were the power houses of the sea. They were 100-120 feet long.
Triremes were designed to ram into an enemy ship, destroy it, and keep moving forward. Surprisingly,
Athens was also effective in land combat. They would strategically set up in an area where they could
both flank the enemy and yet also defend. The strategy was very much like the one used in the Battle of
Reprinted from College History
Last updated on 19 October 2014
Photo Caption: Athenian Trireme
Sparta had always been a militaristic power. They were a land based fighting force that strategically set
themselves up for victory by primarily using a phalanx. This sets them apart from any other city states in
Greece at the time. Spartans were trained young to fight and to kill. If a youth was not strong from birth,
the Spartans would leave the child to die. This militaristic mind set is possibly why, when the
Peloponnesian war ended, Sparta came out on top.
Works Consulted
Bagnall, Nigel. The Peloponnesian War: Athens, Sparta and the Struggle for Greece. New York:
Thomas Dunne, 2006. Print.
An analysis of the twenty-seven-year-long war between Athens and Sparta examines the historical forces
that set it in motion.
Forrest, W. G. History of Sparta: 950-192 B.C. London: Hutchinson, 1971. Print.
Kagan, Donald. New History of the Peloponnesian War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2012. Print.
Kagan, Donald. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1969. Print.
Kagan, Donald. The Peloponnesian War. New York: Viking, 2003. Print.
This book outlines the, almost 3 decade war between the city states of Greece Pericles' economic presence
during the war, treaties that were formed but then disbanded.
Robinson, Eric. "Thucydides and Democratic Peace." Journal of Military Ethics. 5.4 (2006): 243-53.
The failure of democratic peace to develop may relate to the environment of the Greek city state, which
privileged local interests over broader constitutional ideals.
Souza, Philip De. The Peloponnesian War, 431-404 BC. Oxford: Osprey, 2002. Print.
Reprinted from College History
Last updated on 19 October 2014
Photo Caption: Athenian Trireme
Syse, Henrik. "Plato, Thucydides, and the Education of Alcibiades." Journal of Military Ethics. 5.4
(2006): 290-302. Web.
The problem of the relationship between warmaking and the health of the city constitutes an important
part of the Platonic corpus. In the Platonic dialogue Alcibiades I, considered in antiquity one of Plato's most
important works, Socrates leads Alcibiades to agree that there ought to be a close link between justice and
decisions about war.
Thucydides, Richard Crawley, and Thucydides. Complete Writings: The Peloponnesian War. New
York: Modern Library, 1951. Print.
The original writings of the Peloponnesian war from Thucydides. He talks about the military technology
advances such as the trireme. The Athenian empire and how building the walls around Athens hurt the
Athenians. Pericles' speech of war, and how the plague impacted the war.
Thucydides, Robert B. Strassler, and Richard Crawley. The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive
Guide to the Peloponnesian War. New York: Free, 1996. Print.
Tracy, Stephen V. Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader. Berkeley: U of California, 2009. Print.
Tritle, Lawrence A. The Peloponnesian War. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004. Print.
Reprinted from College History
Last updated on 19 October 2014
Photo Caption: Athenian Trireme