The Peloponnesian War was in its twentieth year when Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata. Athens and Sparta had been long-standing enemies, but they had finally negotiated an uneasy peace in 445 B.C. When Athens wanted to extend its empire, the uneasy peace was broken, and war erupted. When the war began in 431 B.C., Greece was not a country as we know it today. Instead it was a collection of small, rival city-states, located both on the mainland and on the surrounding islands. The war began after Sparta demanded certain concessions of Athens, and the Athenian leader Pericles convinced...
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