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Greek v.
Opa! Gyros For Everyone!
Christopher Mendez
Teaching Unit Project
SE 350 –Secondary School Experience
Dr. Glandon
Fall 2009
Greek v. Greek Introduction
This thematic unit focuses on the ancient Greek conflict that pitted Athens
versus Sparta known as the Peloponnesian War. The unit will explore the causes,
events, characters, and effects of this historic confrontation. This unit is roughly
intended for students in 9th grade. Since different states teach different aspects of
history at different stages of education, it is hard to pinpoint where this unit will fit.
However, the unit is to be used in a World History or a Western Civilization class.
The unit is organized into eight days of lesson, but I see this unit taking anywhere
from 8 to 12 days depending on how quickly the students are absorbing the
information. The unit was written for a higher level class, but could be easily
adapted for all level. I hope you enjoy it.
Greek v. Greek Unit Rationale
Hello Class,
We are about to embark on a journey to the past, almost two and a half
millennia ago, to explore one of the greatest conflicts of all time. This conflict
involves the two most powerful civilization of ancient Greece, pitting them against
one another in a battle for supremacy. I am of course referring to the
Peloponnesian War, which was a clash between Athens and Sparta from the years
431-404 BCE.
You may be asking yourself, “Self, why the heck are we learning about a war
that took place almost 2500 years ago?” There are many reasons to study this
topic, but the most obvious reason is that it is awesome! The Peloponnesian War
contains so many classic plot lines, that you may think we are discussing a
Hollywood movie. Athens was known for its thinkers, philosophies, poetry, and
intellectual value; Sparta was known for its art and valiant warriors. It’s the
classic nerds vs. jocks motif.
If you already know anything about ancient Greece you know that the
Athenian military hinged around its powerful navy; in contrast, Sparta had an
unmatched ground army. College football fans are surely familiar with the great
Army vs. Navy rivalry; the Peloponnesian war evokes a similar rivalry but instead of
lasting sixty minutes, the contest lasts for 27 years.
We will be learning about some epic characters. Pericles, the greatest
Athenian general, is revered like a super hero. We will meet a guy by the name of
Alcibiades. This character is so unbelievable that he couldn’t possibly be made up.
Alcibiades actually fought for both sides in the war, and ended up losing his life
As we work our way through this exciting unit, we may actually learn
something along the way. Put on your thinking cap and embrace yourself for the
voyage. Its go time!
Your Teacher,
Mr. Mendez
Greek v. Greek Unit Goals
1. To improve communication skills (written and oral)
2. To enhance collaboration skills
3. To learn about the people, places, and events of the Peloponnesian
4. To critically think about the causes and effects of historic events
5. To better understand ancient cultures
6. To make history fun and relevant
Lesson #1
Mystery Folder: Way Better Than Mystery Meat
Unit Pre-test and Introduction
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/10
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
1, 2, 3
Students will complete pre-test to determine what they
need to learn
Students will work with others to complete a task
Students will conduct research using books and internet
PA Standard
8.1.9 D
1.6.8 A
1.6.8 C
1.8.8 A
It’s All Greek to Me! pre-test handout
Mystery folders
Inserts for mystery folders
Computers with internet access
Paper for recording research
Unit rationale handout
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) This lesson will begin with no initial opening other than a normal greeting from
the teacher (this is because I do not want to prime the students ; I want them to
draw on their own knowledge for the pre-test).
2) Following the pre-test the teacher will put the students into pairs (one group of 3
if necessary). Each pair will be given a mystery folder. This mystery folder will
peak the students’ interests and make them eager to find out what is inside.
 Development of Lesson
1) A pre-test will be passed out to the students (this will reveal that our next topic is
the Peloponnesian War), and the teacher will read the directions with the class.
The students will then fill out the pre-test; this will take 5-7 minutes. The teacher
will collect the pre-test to read later. The teacher will then tell the students the
answers to the pre-test in an attempt to quell their endless thirst for knowledge.
Following the pre-test, arrangement into pairs, and distribution of mystery folders,
the students will be instructed to open their mystery folder to reveal what is
inside. Each folder will have a single sheet of paper. Each paper will contain an
image and a single name, phrase, or word that has significance to the unit’s
theme. (samples attached)
The teacher will describe what the purpose of these papers – a mini-project. The
papers will be a topic on which the pairs must work together to conduct research;
they will become minor experts on the subject. This research will be used to give
a short (2-3 minutes) presentation to the rest of the class. These presentations will
be at the beginning of the periods to which they pertain; they are used as a lead-in
to the day’s lesson. Students’ presentation dates will vary as we progress through
the unit. For example, the following day we will be discussing Thucydides, so the
pair that has Thucydides will present tomorrow. The presentations are very
informal and simply consist of the pair telling us what they have found out about
their topic; the teacher will clarify and supplement their information. This
presentation is not graded (however, participation or homework point will be lost
for not completing the assignment). There will be 10-15 topics depending on
class size. Teacher will select the most important topics in smaller classes.
After the teacher explains the mini-project (4-5 minutes), students will be given 2
minutes to trade topics with another group if they wish. This gives some sense of
choice and ownership to the topics.
Students will then get to work researching immediately. They will be able to use
their books and given access to computers for internet research. Teacher will
field questions and offer any needed assistance. Research will continue for the
rest of the period until about 3 minutes before the end.
 Closure/Outside Work
1) The lesson will wrap up with a reminder that the Thucydides group must present
tomorrow and that this will really kick off our Peloponnesian War unit.
2) The teacher will distribute the unit rationale letter and explain that the students
should read it so that they can understand why the following unit is going to be
3) Homework consists of reading the rationale letter and finishing any research for
the mini-projects.
Self Evaluation:
o How could I have better captured the interest of the students?
o Did I explain the mini-project well enough?
o Were the students doing research when they were supposed to be?
o Did the students work well as teams?
o Is it fair to make a group present the next day?
Lesson #2
Who Names Their Kid Thucydides?
Getting to Know Thucydides the Historian
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/11
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
1, 3, 5, 6
Students will read historic summaries and primary
Students will analyze historic perspectives
Students will communicate effectively with other
students and instructor
PA Standard
1.6.8 A-D
8.1.9 B-D
Thucydides the Historian handout
History of the Peloponnesian War excerpt handout
History of the Peloponnesian War book
Chalk/Dry erase marker
Note paper
Mystery Folder presenters (they bring the original handout)
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) Class will begin with the mystery folder presentation for the pair assigned
Thucydides (2-3 minutes) with input from teacher alluding to the upcoming
2) After the presentation the teacher will write the following quote on the board:
“We (Greeks) are lovers of the beautiful, yet simple in our tastes, and we cultivate
the mind without loss of manliness”
 Development of Lesson
1) After the presentation group has presented, the teacher will add any essential
2) The class will then look at the quote on the board. One student will be called
upon to read the quote aloud. As a class we will then discuss the quote including
what the quote is saying, what is tells us about Greek and Athenian society, and
any personal thought about the quote (5 minutes).
The teacher will then distribute the Thucydides the Historian handout (attached).
This handout is a basic overview of Thucydides and his writing about the
Peloponnesian War. We will read this document as a class with one student at a
time reading a paragraph aloud there will be four readers total. Students will be
allowed to keep the handout, but are encouraged to take any further notes from
the ensuing discussion.
We will then discuss the document and get any feedback from the class. The
important ideas of the document are to be emphasized including that Thucydides
was a historian, he was an Athenian, and he is the most widely used source for
information about the Peloponnesian war. Key points will be noted on the
Teacher will then show the students a copy of the book, History of the
Peloponnesian War, and distribute the excerpt handout. Class will look at the
document, including the Greek version on the back. This will give the students an
idea of what the original text would have looked like. Teacher will read part of
excerpt to the students (it is rather archaic and densely written) while the students
follow along with their own copies. The teacher will note that students are not
going to have to read text from the book and that they should be happy about that!
Class will discuss Thucydides, his work, and his legacy, mostly lead by the
teacher. Deeper questions will be addressed such as “What do you think were
Thucydides motive for writing are?” “How do you think the work was received at
the time it was written?” and “What sort of bias might his writing possess?” This
will take us to the end of the period.
 Closure/Outside Work
1) Students will be told to turn to a neighbor and tell that neighbor something that
was learned about Thucydides today. Then teacher will call on some students to
repeat to the class what they have learned.
2) Mystery folder groups with Athens, Sparta, Greek Democracy, and Oligarchy
topics will be reminded that will present the following day.
3) No homework except for any incomplete research for mystery folder
Self Evaluation:
o Did students respond adequately to questions?
o Was my description of the material too simple or too complex?
o Were the students actively involved in their own learning?
o Were students given too much information at once?
Lesson #3
You Got A Problem With Me?!
The Origins of the Athens/Sparta Feud
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/12
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
2, 3, 4, 6
Students will examine the causes of the Peloponnesian
Students demonstrate analysis of historic events by
actively participating in a class discussion
Students will list one cause of the war
PA Standard
8.1.9 A-D
1.6.8 A-E
Mystery folder presenters (they bring their handouts)
Large map of Mediterranean region/Greece
Notebook paper
Cartoon transparency
Overhead projector
War, What is it Good For? handout
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) Class will begin with the teacher displaying the dumb cartoon. This will
hopefully at least get a chuckle and break the ice a little.
2) There will be 4 mini-project presentation groups (Athens, Sparta, Greek
Democracy, and Oligarchy) so this will take at least 10 minutes, but is a very
good lead into the topic of the day.
 Development of Lesson
1) As the four groups present, the teacher will add any important information that
was missed from the students. The map will be used to illustrate locations
discussed in the presentations and ensuing discussion.
2) Following the presentations, class will basically consist of an informal
lecture/class discussion. The topic of this discussion is the causes of the
Peloponnesian War. Students are encouraged to take notes on the important
points. The mini-project presentations will give the class a good background on
the two city-states and their respective governments; this will aide greatly in the
discussion. As we discover the causes, the teacher will ask students to come to
the board and write a cause in their own word.
3) Among the major points should be the following: the expansion of Athens
following its success in the Greco-Persian Wars, the differences in ideology of the
two city-states, Athens desire to spread democracy, Sparta’s fear of Athenian
aggression, and economic/political alliances with other states.
 Closure/Outside Work
1) Students will be told to get out a piece of paper. The material written on the
board will be erased. Students are told to write down one cause of the war. This
is their ‘ticket’ to leave the room. They must present it to the teacher and he must
approve it before students are allowed to leave class.
2) Students who have the topics of Pericles and the plague are reminded that they
must present tomorrow.
3) As students exit, they will pick up the War, What is it Good For? handout.
Homework consists of simply reading this handout.
Self Evaluation:
1. Did I get student excited and involved in class discussion?
2. Did students listen and respond to others’ comments?
3. How effective is my closure strategy?
4. Is the mini-project a good lead-in tool?
Lesson #4
Fight, Fight, Fight!
Pop Quiz and Archidamian War
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/13
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
1, 2, 3, 5, 6
Students will demonstrate their understanding of the
homework reading by completing a pop quiz.
Students will demonstrate analysis of historic events by
actively participating in a class discussion
Students will name one advantage and one disadvantage
of each city state in the Archidamian War
PA Standard
8.1.9 A-D
1.6.8 A-E
Surprise! pop quiz
Mini-project presenters
Note paper
Map of Mediterranean/Greece
Chalk/ markers
Computer with internet access hooked up to projector
Truce…Psych! handout
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) Class opens with a review of yesterday’s material. Students are asked to name
one cause of the Peloponnesian War and write correct answers on the board. The
prize for answering is a piece of candy (or a ham sandwich; choices are
important) and a high five.
2) This is followed by a pop quiz and the mini-project presentations (Pericles, Cleon
and plague).
3) Class is divided in half by an imaginary line created by the teacher. One half is
told they are Sparta, the other is Athens. Students are told to just keep this in
mind, but not told for what this will be used.
 Development of Lesson
1) Following the candy for answers activity, the teacher will spring a pop quiz on the
students. This quiz will be worth only 2 bonus points on the test, with a
possibility of 3 points if the bonus question is correct. 1-3 questions correct is
worth 1 point, 4-6 questions is worth 2 points. This will reward students who did
the homework and encourage reading in the future. The quiz will take less than 5
2) The three groups who were assigned the topics of Pericles, Cleon, and the plague
will then present their research as a lead in to the lesson of the day.
3) As was stated above, the class is divided into Sparta and Athens, but not told
much more. Throughout the lesson, the teacher will remind the students that they
are in these groups. For example, when posing a question the teacher could say,
“Let me get someone from Sparta to answer this one.”
4) The bulk of the lesson will be a class discussion with a focus of expanding on the
material in the homework reading. Students are encouraged to take notes on
important facts, some of which will be written on the board as the lesson
progresses. The map and computer will be used to bring visuals into the lesson.
When discussing places, the map can be used to show location and spatial
relation. Images of people and events will be displayed over the projector to give
students a connection with the material. The discussion will continue until about
5 minutes before the end of class.
 Closure/Outside Work
1) Toward the end of the lesson, students will be told to get up to meet with their
fellow Athenians or Spartans. The students are told to work together as a group to
come up with one advantage and one disadvantage their city-state has had so far
in the war (up to the end of the Archidamian War).
2) One ‘orator’ is chosen from each group to present their answers. This will not
only review the material, but will also help to put them in the time period by
making students think like a Greek.
3) Before leaving students will receive the Truce…Psych! handout to read for
4) Mini-project groups who have Nicias and Alcibiades are reminded that they will
present tomorrow.
Self Evaluation:
1. Were the students able to work as a group to quickly come up with answers to
2. Did I create a relaxed atmosphere in which students are able to speak freely?
3. Is a pop quiz an effective motivational tool?
4. Other than candy, high fives, and bonus points, what will get students more likely to
Lesson #5
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Peace and Sicilian Campaign
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/14
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
3, 4, 5
Students will use a historic document to analyze a
historic culture
Students will demonstrate understanding of homework
reading by orally responding to questions
Students will name at least on aspect of the Peace of
PA Standard
8.1.9 A-D
Truce…Psych! handout
Mini-project presenters (they bring original handout for visual)
Peace of Nicias hand out
Note paper
CD player
CD of “Give Peace a Chance”
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) The song “Give Peace a Chance” by The Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon and
Yoko Ono’s band) will be playing as the students enter the room. The song
doesn’t have much relevance to the topic of the day, but we will be talking about
peace so it’s a good introduction
2) The groups with the topics of Nicias and Alcibiades will present their research.
 Development of Lesson
1) Following the mini-project presentations, students will be asked to get out their
Truce…Psych! handouts, which they were to have read for homework. We will
discuss the reading by first reviewing what he already know from yesterday.
Teacher will throw out some refresher questions to the class.
2) The first topic of the day is the Peace of Nicias, which the students should be
pretty familiar with because of the reading and the presentation. Teacher will
distribute the Peace of Nicias handout. This sheet is a list of the major points of
the peace treaty. As a class we will read through it and students will be cued in to
highlight certain information. Teacher will then ask some more analytical
questions such as “Why do you think passages like ‘inhabitants shall have the
right to go where they please taking their property with them’ are included?”
“What does this tell us about Greek society?” “How does this compare with our
rights today?” “Ultimately, was this an effective treaty?” and so on.
3) The topic will switch to the breaking of the peace and Athens reinitiating the war.
The main plot here is the actions of Alcibiades, which remind me of an action
movie. The story of Alcibiades is pretty interesting, and the teacher happens to be
a good story teller, so the teacher will narrate Alcibiades story while asking some
questions along the way to keep the students interested. This will take class close
to the end of the period.
 Closure/Outside Work
1) Students are told to turn to a neighbor and tell that neighbor one point included in
the Peace of Nicias.
2) Homework reading will be distributed before students leave.
Self Evaluation:
1. Were the students able to immediately remember an aspect of the Peace of Nicias?
2. How interested were the students in the narration of the Alcibiades story?
3. Were the questions asked to students within their ability level?
4. Did the opening grab their attention at all?
Lesson #6
The End is in Sight
Ionian War and the End
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/17
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
3, 4, 5
Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the
consequences of the Peloponnesian War in a class
Students will demonstrate understanding of historic
reading through participation in class discussion
PA Standard
8.1.9 A-D
All Good Things Come to an End handoutworksheet
Large map of the Mediterranean/Greece
Note paper
Computer with internet access hooked up to projector
Cued up video and pictures
Consequences of War handout
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) Class will begin with a short video clip from the internet. It can be found at
“”. The video is a stand up act about political campaign ads,
but includes a line about the Peloponnesian War. See this stuff does come up in
real life!
2) Mini-projects will follow the video clip with the topics of Lysander and Persia.
 Development of Lesson
1) Before beginning the lesson, we will review yesterday’s material. The teacher
will ask questions to the students and correct responses get a gold star.
2) Following the introduction, we will address the reading that was assigned for
homework. The discussion will expand upon the reading and delve deeper into
causes and effects of the events involved. Maps and visuals will be used to better
demonstrate events and personalities.
3) Teacher will then distribute the Consequences of War handout. Class discussion
will shift to this topic. We will go through each consequence systematically.
These of course are not the only consequence but they are what they should know.
This will take us to the end of the period.
 Closure/Outside Work
1) Teacher will stand at the door. Students will have to tell the teacher one effect of
the Peloponnesian War in order to get out the door.
2) Homework consists of beginning to study for the upcoming test.
Self Evaluation:
Was this lesson boring because I was trying to get too much done?
Were students able to understand the consequences of historic events actions?
Did the opening do any good to engage students?
Lesson #7
There’s No Time Like the Present to Get Learnin’
Review Game Stations
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/18
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the
Peloponnesian War by participating in review games
Students will work collaborate with one another to
complete activities
PA Standard
8.1.9 A-D
Figure It Out crossword puzzle & answer sheet
Timeline worksheet & answer sheet
Class notes
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) Being that this lesson primarily consists of review games, an opening hook is not
entirely necessary. A normal ‘how are you doing’ introduction will be used.
 Development of Lesson
1) This lesson consists of three review activities. These are set up in three different
stations. The class will be divided into three groups and the groups will rotate
roughly every 12 minutes to get to all the stations. The teacher will explain all
three activities before students begin. The teacher will also be walking around to
aide in any activities and field questions.
2) The first station consists of flashcards. These flashcards consist of various terms
and questions that may be on tomorrow’s quiz. Students will ask questions to one
another as a whole group or as pairs/threesomes. These flashcards are to be used
by giving the less descriptive term to the guesser and asking for a longer
description. For example, the clue given will be “Thucydides” and the answer is
“Greek historian responsible for first hand account of the Peloponnesian War,”
instead of vice versa.
3) The second station consists of a crossword. The group will work together to
complete the puzzle. Due to the nature of crosswords, this activity is more based
on identification of definitions with students providing terms. Students will be
allowed to see the answer sheet at the end of the activity to check their work.
4) The third station is a timeline activity. This consists of 16 events given to the
students is a term bank. Students will have to arrange these events in
chronological order. There are a few hints on the worksheet to make this activity
a little more clear. This activity will help the students organize the events of the
war. Students will be allowed to see the answer sheet at the end of the activity to
check their work.
5) Students will be allowed to use any class notes they wish during theses activities.
Obviously they will be more likely to ask each other question rather than look up
in their notes. This will encourage collaboration.
 Closure/Outside Work
1) Homework will be studying for tomorrow’s quiz
1. Were the students interested in these activities?
2. Were the directions clear and simple?
3. Did the activities help the students review for the quiz?
4. Did the students work well to help each other complete the activities?
Lesson #8
It’s Time to Show Your Stuff
Class/Subject: Western Civilization
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Date: 10/19
Period: 2
Time: 45 minutes
Behavioral Objective:
Unit Goals
1, 3, 4, 5
Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the
Peloponnesian War by completing a quiz on the subject.
Must achieve a 70% or they will have to retake it.
PA Standard
8.1.9 A-D
1.4.8 B
CD player
“Eye of the Tiger” recording
Peloponnesian War quiz
Class notes
Thinking caps
 Motivational Technique/Opening
1) Class will begin with the playing of the classic song “Eye of the Tiger” by
Survivor (the song from Rocky). This will get the student super pumped to do
their best on the quiz
 Development of Lesson
1) Following the playing of the song, the students will be instructed to put on their
thinking caps. Students will be given roughly 10 minutes to look over their
handouts, readings, and notes. Students are also free to ask questions to the
teacher, except for questions like “What’s the answer to number 12?”
2) Students will be instructed to put their notes away and clear their desks of
everything except a pen or pencil. Quizzes will be distributed. Students will be
given the remainder of the period to complete the quiz. When students are done,
they will bring the test to the front of the room and sittay quietly until everyone is
 Closure/Outside Work
1) If everyone finishes before the end of the period, students will have the rest of the
period to themselves.
2) Students will be told to have a good day.
3) No Homework
Self Evaluation:
1. Did the students get excited by the pre test procedure?
2. Did students use their study time efficiently?
3. Were the students given enough or too much time to complete the evaluation?
Name __________________________
Date _______
Period _____
Archidamian War Reading Pop Quiz
Answer the following questions with a single word or phrase. Read the questions carefully
before responding. When you are finished turn your paper over. Good luck.
1. Into how many eras is the Peloponnesian War usually divided?
2. What is the first of these eras called?
3. Who was the strong leader of Athens at the start of the war?
4. What killed the guy from question 3?
5. Which city state had a feared naval fleet?
6. Who won the final battle of the Archidamian War?
Bonus: Name one city, other than Athens or Sparta, mentioned in the reading.
(Spell to the best of your ability.)
Name _________________________________
Date ____________
Period ______
It’s All Greek to Me!
Peloponnesian War Pretest
The purpose of this pretest is to see what you, as a class, already know about the Peloponnesian
War. It is not graded, but try your best because this activity will be used to focus our unit on
things that are new to you.
Write you answers in the space provided below each question. Feel free to guess and be creative
with your answers if you have no clue (its more entertaining for me to read).
1. Who was the historian responsible for a detailed history of this war?
2. Peloponnese is a large peninsula in what modern day country?
3. What two city-states were involved in the Peloponnesian war?
4. Who was the ultimate victor of the war?
5. Did the Peloponnesian War take place from 431-404 B.C.E. or 404-431 A.D.?
6. In what language did Greek historians write?
7. The end of the war brought to an end what age of Greece: Bronze Age, Golden Age, Banana
Age, or Stone Age?
8. What non-Greek empire got involved in the war?
9. If a country is considered to have powerful maritime forces, which of the following would it
have: strong economy, strong army, strong navy, or Lance Armstrong?
10. How did Pericles die?
11. How excited are you to begin this unit: super excited, extremely excited, insanely excited, or
super extremely insanely excited?
Thucydides the Historian
Thucydides was one of those shining stars of ancient Athens. Among
his peers in that elevated group were: the philosophers Socrates, Plato,
and Aristotle; the playwrights Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Euripides; the
historians Herodotus and Xenophon; the sculptors Praxiteles and Phidias;
the leaders Pericles, Cleon, and Antiphon.
Imagine a scene where these illustrious men could meet one another
as they strolled down the stoned paved streets of Athens. They lived
during a time when Athens was at its height. It dominated its 'world'
commercially, politically, militarily, and culturally. At the heart of the century
was ' the Golden Age ' of Athens. The Golden Age lasted 28 years and is
defined by the period when Pericles was influential in the public affairs of
Athens (457 to 429 B.C.). Western civilization was born in 400's B.C.
His Work: History of the Peloponnesian War
His 'history' was a careful and precise chronology of the political and
military events of his day. He had access to both sides in the war and
gathered notes for years. The actions and consequences of the war were
not the work of gods or mythical creatures. Unlike much of earlier Greek
literature, this was a true story about real people making real choices. As
innovative as that was, it was much more than just that. It is an excellent
piece of literature. His writing style had strength and energy. He included
dramatic, memorable dialogue into the text like Pericles' Funeral Oration. It
was one of the first reads that captured the readers' imagination and kept
them turning the pages.
Thucydides didn't actually compose the story until after the war
ended. During most of the war, Thucydides lived outside of Athens and
the lands of the Delian League (Athens allied states). He returned to his
beloved Athens only after Athens lost the war in 404 B.C. He put most of
his work together in the 3 years preceding his death in 401 B.C.E. His
account of the war was incomplete. His tale stopped in 411. Other writers
picked up the story and continued the saga until the completion of the war
and beyond. His work is divided into eight books, though that format was
probably created by translators centuries later.
Peace of Nicias and Sicilian Expedition
Please read the following passage with a critical eye on the important
people and events. Pay more attention to the sequence of events rather than
actual dates.
In our last reading we looked at the first part of the Peloponnesian
War, known as the Archidamian War. This part of the war ended around
422 B.C.E. with a large battle at Amphipolis that claimed the lives of the
two top generals in the war: Cleon of Athens and Brasidas of Sparta.
Cleon’s successor is Nicias; this brings us to the next phase of the war.
The Peace of Nicias
When Nicias became the leader of Athens in 421 B.C.E., he
inherited a military that had achieved some great victories and suffered
some immense losses. Nicias was known as a great negotiator. The
treaty that Nicias drafted officially put an end to the Archidamian War.
However, it did not resolve conflict in the way a peace treaty is supposed
to; it was more of a temporary ceasefire. The treaty basically let both
sides keep their existing territory with the exception of Amphipolis, which
was returned to Athens. Beyond this, the peace treaty did nothing to
insure that the sources of the conflict would be resolved. Nicias treaty
was to take keep the peace for 50 years, but as we will see neither side
ever intended to honor that agreement.
The Sicilian Campaign
The major player in breaking the peace between Athens and Sparta
was an Athenian general by the name of Alcibiades. Nicias and
Alcibiades were political rivals, yet they lead Athenian military forces
together. While Nicias wanted to keep the peace, Alcibiades went to work
convincing other Athenian officials that they should invade the city of
Syracuse on the island of Sicily. Syracuse was a stronghold of the
Spartans and Alcibiades figured that if Athens could conquer it, the
Spartans would crumble.
Eventually, Alcibiades gained so much support that Nicias had no
other choice but to lead his forces to Syracuse. Alcibiades and Nicias
amass a huge force to travel to Sicily; they will have the element of
surprise and hope to quickly take the city. However, on the eve of their
departure several statues of Hermes (the Greek messenger god) were
mutilated and desecrated across Athens. This was seen as a bad omen
and Alcibiades was accused of being responsible – he was charged with
sacrilege and ordered to return to Athens at once for his punishment.
Instead of returning to Athens, Alcibiades flees and seeks refuge in
Sparta. At this point, the Athenian responsible for rustling up the attack
against the Spartans was now on the Spartans’ side. In exchange for
protection, Alcibiades warns the Sparta of the approaching attack.
Alcibiades and Gylippus, a Spartan military tactician, worked together to
fortify for the attack. It was now the Athenians who were taken by
surprise. The initial wave of Athenians is decimated, but they rebound
and send an additional 5,000 troops. Over the next two years, Sparta
defends Syracuse with the growing aide of its allies. By 413, the
Athenian forces at Syracuse are completely wiped out.
War, What is it Good For?
Apparently it settles beef!
Please read the following passage with a critical eye on the important people and
events. Don’t get bogged down with dates or weird Greek city names.
As we have recently discussed in class, the origins of the
Peloponnesian War go back many years to the Greco-Persian Wars (499450 B.C.E.) in which Athens and its allies (Delian League) successfully
defended their territories from the invading Persian Empire. Following
this victory, Athens became expansion minded; they wanted to spread
their ideologies and influence. This was concerning to the Spartans, who
were attempting to increase their own authority in the Peloponnese
region (southern peninsula of modern-day Greece).
Although they are not considered part of the Peloponnesian War,
there were two conflicts between Athens and Sparta before the outbreak
of full blown war. They actually took place between Athens and Corinth
(who was an ally of Sparta). The dispute was over two cities called
Corcyra and Potidaea. Both were former colonies of Corinth who had
been conquered by Athens in 433 B.C.E. The following year, both cities
revolted against Athens putting Corinth and Athens at odds. This was
spark, added to the preexisting tensions between Athens and Sparta set
flame to the Peloponnesian War.
The Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.E) is usually divided into three
distinct sections: The Archidamian War, the Peace of Nicias & Sicilian
Expedition, and the Ionian War.
The Archidamian War
The first Spartan attack of the war came at Attica, an Athenian
colony, in the year 431 B.C.E. Sparta was known for its superior ground
forces and had the advantage of surprise. Pericles, a high general, took
lead of the Athenian defenses. He rallied the rural population of Athens
and brought them within the highly fortified city walls of Athens. Unable
to penetrate these defenses, the Spartan forces ravaged and burned the
farmland and villages surrounding Athens. After only a few months, the
Spartans abandoned their efforts to attack Athens directly.
Athens was known for its superior naval fleet; it was the most
formidable of the ancient world at the beginning of the war. Over the
next two years, Pericles ordered naval raids of various Spartan cities and
colonies to maximize the Athenian advantage of the sea. These assaults
were usually very swift and effective; they resulted in many small
victories for Athens. Pericles, his generals, other nobles, and many
common people remained primarily within the city walls of Athens to
protect themselves from potential invaders. Unfortunately, the threat
came from within their protective barrier. A plague (perhaps typhus)
struck Athens and decimated its population – as many as a third of all
Athenians within the wall perished from the disease. Pericles fell ill and
died in 429 B.C.E. Athens lost its strongest leader and advantage in the
Pericles successor was named Cleon. Cleon was a competent
general, but a foolish one. Athens won a great battle at Sphacteria under
the guidance of Cleon. Sparta offered Cleon a peace treaty, which he
immediately rejected; he wanted to crush the Spartans. A Spartan
general by the name of Brasidas realized that his forces were
overmatched at sea, so he decided to lead his forces farther north to
Athenian cities of Olynthus and Amphipolis, which he conquered easily.
However Athens continued to fight for Amphipolis through 422 B.C.E.
The fight for this city eventually ended in a decisive victory for Sparta.
However, both Brasida and Cleon were killed during the bloody battle,
marking the end of the phase we call the Archidamian War.
The Peace of Nicias
Key Segments:
The treaty is to be in force between the Athenians, with their allies,
and the Spartans, with their allies, for fifty years without fraud or
damage by land or sea.
It shall not be lawful to take up arms with the intent to do injury
either for the Spartans and their allies against the Athenians and their
allies, or for the Athenians and their allies against the Spartans and
their allies, in any way or by any means whatever.
If any dispute should arise between them, they are to deal with it by
law and by oath, as may be agreed between them.
The Spartans and their allies are to give back Amphipolis to the
Athenians. In the case of all cities given back by the Spartans to the
Athenians, the inhabitants shall have the right to go where they please
taking their property with them.
The Mecyberneans, the Sanaeans, and Singaeans shall inhabit their
own cities, as shall the Olynthians and Acanthians.
The Spartans and their allies shall give back Panactum to the
The Athenians shall give back Sphacteria, Cythera, Methana, Ptelium,
and Atalanta to the Spartans; also all Spartans who are in prison in
Athens or in any other prison in the Athenian dominions.
The Athenians shall take an oath to the Spartans and their allies, city
by city. The oath shall be the most binding one that exists in each city,
and seventeen representatives on each side are to swear it. The words
of the oath shall be these: "I shall abide by the terms of the treaty
honestly and sincerely." In the same way, the Spartans and their allies
shall take an oath to the Athenians. This oath is to be renewed
annually by both sides.
If any point connected with any subject at all has been overlooked,
alterations may be made, without any breach of oath, by mutual
agreement and on due consideration by the two parties, the Athenians
and the Spartans.
Those who took the oath and poured the libations were as follows:
o For the Spartans: Pleistoanax, Agis, Pleistolas, Damagetus,
Chionis, Metagenes, Acanthus, Daithus, Ischagoras,
Philocharidas, Zeuxidas, Antiphus, Tellis, Alcindas, Empedias,
Menas, and Laphilus.
o For the Athenians: Lampon, Isthmonicus, Nicias, Laches,
Euthydemus, Procles, Pythodorus, Hagnon, Myrtilus,
Thrasycles, Theagenes, Aristocrates, Iolcius, Timocrates, Leon,
Lamachus, and Demosthenes.
All Good Things Come to an End
The Ionian War and the Defeat of Athens
Please read the following passage with a critical eye on the important
people and events. Pay more attention to the sequence of events rather than
actual dates.
Our last reading concluded with Athenian forces at Syracuse being
completely decimated by Sparta and her allies in the year 413 B.C.E.
The period from 413 B.C.E. to the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404
B.C.E. is referred to as the Ionian War or the Decelean War. We will use
the term Ionian War because it is more fun to say.
Ionian War
Following Athens defeat at Syracuse, many Spartans and their
allies wanted to pursue another conquest of Athenian cities. However,
the nobles did not want to overextend Spartan forces. It was again
Alcibiades who would make have moves to reignite the conflict. It is said
that Alcibiades was a major agitator in the Spartan decision to resume
war with Athens. In addition, Alcibiades had supported some politicians
in Persia. When Persian Empire recognized that the Spartans and
Athenians were again going to be at odd, they sided with the Spartans.
This was partially due to Alcibiades influence and partially due to
lingering bitterness from the Greco-Persian was in which Athens defeated
Ironically, Alcibiades returned to Athens. His previous charges
were dismissed mostly because he promised that he could secure an
alliance with Persian, which obviously was not to be. Now the Athenians
were at war with two world powers; it turned out to be too much. The
new admiral of the Spartan army was Lysander. Lysander led his forces
to Athens and had the Persians take care of the naval assault. In 405
B.C.E. the battle of Aegspotamos finally ended Athens’ naval supremacy;
their fleet was completely wiped out. With the Athenian navy out of the
picture, Lysander and his Persian allies laid siege to the city of Athens.
In 404 B.C.E. Athens surrendered and the Peloponnesian War came to
an end. Alcibiades was executed almost immediately.
Consequences of War
The Times are A’Changin
1) In Athens, the democratic system survived. Even without the income
generated by the empire, democracy proved to be a well-functioning
political system.
2) This can partly be explained from the fact that during the war, the economy
of Athens changed. Once, most Athenians had been peasants; after the
outbreak of the Ionian War, trade and commerce became increasingly
important. These activities were almost as profitable as the old empire.
3) Sparta, on the other hand, only temporarily benefited from its victory. Its
social structure was unsuited for a world larger than the Peloponnese. In the
fifth century, Greece had been a bipolar political system, but changed into a
multi-polar system.
4) The great victor was Persia. Not only did it regain the Greek towns in Asia,
but it greatly increased its diplomatic influence among the Greeks.
5) Many people had been exiled and had become mercenaries to make a living.
Others had become professional soldiers because they could no longer return
to their farms. Warfare became a specialized profession.
Peloponnesian War Timeline
Arrange the following event in chronological order:
- Peace of Nicias
- Alcibiades is executed.
- Sparta attacks Attica
- Alcibiades returns to Athens
- Pericles dies
- Persians become allies with Sparta
- Nicias attacks Syracuse
- Battle at Amphipolis – Cleon and Brasidas die
- Plague hits Athens
- Lysander lays siege to Athens
- Athens surrenders
- Greco-Persian War ends.
- Athenians get destroyed in Sicily
- Conflict at Corcyra and Potidaea
- Nicias comes to power
- Alcibiades flees to Sparta
Archidamian War
Peace & Sicilian Campaign 
9.___ Peace of Nicias ______________________________
Ionian/Decelean War
Peloponnesian War Timeline Answers
1) Greco-Persian War ends.
2) Conflict at Corcyra and Potidaea
3) Sparta attacks Attica
4) Plague hits Athens
5) Pericles dies
6) Battle at Amphipolis – Cleon and Brasidas die
7) Nicias comes to power
8) Peace of Nicias
9) Alcibiades flees to Sparta
10) Nicias attacks Syracuse
11) Athenians get destroyed in Sicily
12) Alcibiades returns to Athens
13) Persians become allies with Sparta
14) Lysander lays siege to Athens
15) Athens surrenders
16) Alcibiades is executed.
Name _____________________________
Date _________
Period _____
Peloponnesian War Quiz
(40 points)
Read the following directions and questions carefully. Relax, take your time, and good luck!
+1 point for putting your name on your test, don’t forget.
True/False (1 point each). Read the following question carefully and determine if each
statement is true or false. If the statement is true place a capital ‘A’ in the blank; if it is false
place a capital ‘B’ in the blank.
_____ 1. The Peloponnesian War was a conflict primarily between Athens and Sparta.
_____ 2. Nicias was a Spartan general.
_____ 3. This war took place over a span of 127 years.
_____ 4. Sparta won the Peloponnesian War.
_____ 5. There are no known ancient writings about the war.
Matching (1 point each). Match the correct description from the column on the right with the
term from the column on the right. Each letter will be used only once.
_____ 6. Pericles
_____ 7. Attica
A. Location of first theSpartan invasion of
the war.
B. Synonymous with Ionian
_____ 8. Lysander
C. Greek historian
_____ 9. Thucydides
D. Athenian General
_____ 10. Decelean
E. Spartan General
Fill in the Blank (1 point each). The following questions require one word or a short phrase.
Do our best with spelling; if I can tell what it says, it counts.
11. A government that rests its power in a small group of the wealthy elite is called a(n)
12. The first phase of the Peloponnesian War is called the ______________________.
13. The acronym B.C.E. stands for _______________________.
14. Historians believe that the disease responsible for the plague of Athens was actually
15. The city-state known for its superior ground forces is _____________________.
Multiple Choice (1 point each) For the following section questions, select the best response for
each question and place the appropriate letter in the blank.
_____ 16. The term for the large southern peninsula of Greece is:
a. Mycenae
b. Peloponnese
c. Lacedaemon
d. Byzantium
_____ 17. How did Pericles die?
a. a plague
b. assassination
c. killed in battle
d. old age
_____ 18. Which of these events came first?
a. Peace of Nicias
b. Greco-Persian War
c. Execution of Alcibiades
d. Battle of Amphipolis
_____ 19. Athens was known for what kind of government?
a. oligarchy
b. theocracy
c. monarchy
d. democracy
_____ 20. Who was the successor to Pericles?
a. Brasidas
b. Lysander
c. Cleon
d. Carlos
_____ 21. Who wrote The History of the Peloponnesian War?
a. Thucydides
b. Socrates
c. Alcibiades
d. Nicias
_____ 22. Which of the following is a consequence of the Peloponnesian War?
a. Sparta is destroyed
b. Persia incurs great economic loses
c. The rise of a mercenary class
d. Athens remains under an oligarchy for 30 years
_____ 23. What technique was used to get Athens to eventually surrender?
a. embargo
b. diplomacy
c. surprise attacks
d. siege
_____ 24. What crime did Athens accuse Alcibiades of?
a. treason
b. sacrilege
c. murder
d. adultery
_____ 25. What is the name given to the final phase of the Peloponnesian War?
a. Archidamian
b. Delian
c. Ionian
d. Persian
Short Answer (2 points each). These questions can be answered with a short description. One
or two complete sentences will suffice.
27. What effect did the alliance between Sparta and Persia have on the war?
28. Why did Nicias fail terribly in his expedition to Syracuse?
Essay (10 points). Choose one of the following essay topics. Answer the question in as much
detail as possible. Make sure to address all parts of the question. Write in complete sentences.
Use the back of the page if necessary.
Describe in detail two causes and two consequences of the Peloponnesian War. Be sure to
include exactly how your causes directly resulted in the war. For your consequences, make sure
you draw on the events of the war to conclude why these were the consequences. Do not limit
your response to the period of the war itself.
Relive the story of Alcibiades. Be sure to include his background, his exploits, his allegiances,
his motives, and his fate. To what extent did Alcibiades have an effect on the ultimate outcome
fate of the war?