Peloponnesian Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Supremacy of the eastern Mediterranean. Result: Spartan victory; end of Athenian political hegemony.
By the fifth century b.c.e., Athens and Sparta were the two leading city-states of Greece. The two powers generally cooperated when they shared the common goal of stopping a Persian invasion (499-448 b.c.e.). During these years, Sparta was the dominant power because of its leadership of the Peloponnesian League, which included most Greek city-states on the Peloponnesian peninsula and central Greece. A 481 b.c.e. agreement providing that Sparta would direct the land war and Athens the naval war produced the decisive Greek victory at Plataea (479 b.c.e.).
In 478 b.c.e., the Athenians organized the Delian League, which was really an Athenian empire containing most of the islands and coastal regions around the northern and eastern Aegean Sea. Although the ostensible purpose of the league was to fight the Persians, Sparta resented and distrusted the rival empire from its inception. The Spartans had mixed feelings as they observed the Delian League liberating Greek-speaking communities from Persian control on the coast of Anatolia (later Turkey). Spartan resentment grew when Athens suppressed anti-Athenian movements on the islands of Naxos (470 b.c.e.) and Thasos (463 b.c.e.).
Competition for trade and imperial influence was the main source of conflict between the...
(The entire section is 1108 words.)
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