Who was more superior, Athens or Sparta?

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chadphares eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Athens and Sparta were two rival city states in ancient Greece who had the opportunity to settle the question of who was more superior when they faced off during the Peloponnesian War, which started in 431 BC and lasted 28 years.

While Sparta clearly was the superior army on land, Athens boasted a strong naval presence, which helped it continue to win victories during the course of the war. 

Both countries experienced glorious victories and significant defeats during the 28 years at war—which had frequent, albeit short-lived, periods of peace. For many years, neither army was able to obtain a significant advantage over the other. The war ultimately ended in 404 BC when Sparta was able to finally defeat Athens and subsequently overthrew the Athenian democratic government.


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