THE ARCHIDAMEAN WAR I
430 – plague hits Athens, 1/3 of the Athenian population is taken out; Athenians want to negotiate a
peace; Sparta hits ATTICA harder than they ever have before.
429 BCE – Archidamus (King of Sparta) did not want to invade ATTICA led his forces to BOEIA to capture
Platea. Capture at 429 but the fall is not until 427BCE. Athenians stuck to their defensive policy and did
not want to assist Plataea. Athens had a shit year, but their allies did well.
• Peloponnese led a joint naval and land operation to take back lan.
In 429 BCE – Pericles dies and this hurts Athens the most because it is what decides the course of war.
Without Pericles, the Athenians get bolder and arrogant, more disorganized and led to their demise
In 428 BCE- Archidamus invades ATTICA but does not stick around for very long, burns stuff and leave.
Athenians prepared to send a fleet around the Peloponnese but stopped this plan when the allied state
of Mytilene openly revolted against them. They tried to take complete control over the island of Lesbos.
All state on the island of Lesbos were contributing ships to the Mytilene revolt. Athenians begin
blockaded of Mytilene. Mytilene’s asked Sparta for help by asking them to send ships to assist and to
invade ATTTICA to distract the Athenians. Spartans did not invade and send few ships across agean but
this was not enough to bother Athens
In 427 BCE
o (1) Peloponnesian s invaded ATTICA on schedule, across the AGEAN & Platea falls. In
Leontini, the oligarchs decide to arm the citizens.
o (2)Back at Athens the Mytilene Debate took place at an assaemly and thy discussed
about the ally revolting. The presiding voice was Cleon.
Cleon 101 (Athenian) (429 BCE-422BCE ; politics) – left wing demagogue that success Pericles in 429. He
was well spoken and in an accomplished order and he spoke in a vulgar style. He had a lot of trump like
qualities. Vulgar style which resonated well with Athenians and it whipped up, he was animated and he
gestured a lot. He whipped up the masses through oration. Thucydides comments that he was violent in
• In the Mytilene debate he called for drastic punishment and the oracle called to execute all of
the adult men and to sell all women and children into slavery. Cleon was very effective and very
responsive in his rederick. They sent a trireme and said to kill everyone and send the women
and children into slavery.
Next day, many in the assembly doubted that they made the right call and so a second assembly was
called and continued the debate. The Assembly realized that they needed to change their course of
action, it was not because they were being harsh, they were worried that executing everyone would se
ta bad precedent. In the future if everyone revolts, they would be inclined to fight to the death if they
thoughts that they would be executed anyways. Even those who wanted no part in the revolt, in future
revolts would the people leading the rebellion would garder more support for those who didn’t want to
revolt.(1) Future revolts would be harder to put down because they knew they would die anyway (2)
peoplewho wanted no part would fight anyway and would die • Result of the Second Assem: Assembly reversed their decision and sent another trireme to arrive
faster than the one they send the day before. In the nick of time. Instead the 1000 citizens who
were responble for orchestrating the revolt were sent back to Athens and Cleon had them
o Fortifications of Mytilene demolish
o Athenians colonized Lesbosm shorty after the end
• Platea surrenders to Sparta & the captives were lined up and asked how the contributed to the
Spartan war effort. The Spartans destroyed the city of Platea.
In 427 BCE - In this year, we see the first deviation from Pericles defensive strategy when Athens
respond for a request for help from Leontini, Sicily and when it was being sieged by Syracuse. Periles did
not want to put the city in danger, squarder resources, not even after he dies Athens decides to help the
people of Leontini.
• Athens said they wanted to help their Leontini. Athens wanted to frustrate the Peloponnesians
supply of grain as well as determine the feasibility of the conquest at Sicily and add it to their
empire. Athenians send 20 ships to Sicily.
Archimedean War II
- Athenian post at Pylos on Sphacteria helped Athens by attacking Sparta.
- BATTLE OF PYLOS (425) – trapped a group of Spartan soldiers on Sphacteria; Demosthenes
could not finish the Spartans
- BATTLE OF SPHACTERIA- Cleon proved himself; captured 300-400 Spartan hoplites; gave
Athens a bargaining chip
In 426 BCE – Peloponnese prepare to invade ATTICA again but they stop at the Isthmus of Corinth.
There are a series of earthnuts and the Spartans thought that this was a bad omen so they stopped. The
Athenians send 2 naval expeditions around the Peloponnese. The Peloponnese’s did not cross through
the MEgarid and invade ATTICA and they went across the Corinthian gulf and they established a colony
at Heraclea so they would have more of a presence in central Greece. Why??? Their traditional
motherland of Doris because they were complaining that they were being attacked by other people. This
was significant because Spartans were not colonizers. But to have permanent presence, they establish a
colony of Heraclea.
• Thessalian Response: Athenians were worried and they found the colonization as a threat. They
would have to march in all of BOETIA but thankfully the Thessalian found this as a threat.
Thessaly ordered massively attack the settlers of Heraclea. Every time this happened Spartans
sent more Settlers. After a while, Thessaly affective greatly how the Spartans settle this area and
eventually and the numbers dwindle down to nothing.
In 426 BCE – Athenians make a clear break from Pericles Defensive policy by expanding the empire by
engaging in a land battle. The Athenians general Nicias (470 – 413)led a force of 60 ships and 2000
hiplight troops to the island of Melos. Melos was allied with neither Sparta or Athens and they pressed
the case for joining the empire. The Melians refused to joining Athens. And they were able to withhold a
siege very well and Nicias devasted & Nicias leaves Melos alone. Battle of Tanagra Nicias heads into Boeita and leads his forces to Tanagra, BOETIA . Nicias meets a
standing Athenian and they fight against the BOTIANS who were being lead by the Thebans.
In Winter 426 BCE - Athenians send 40 ships to Thessaly to help the troops and they start to split
themselves up and they take risk to expand the empire.
o engage in land battle all things that
o Splitting up forces
o Engage in land battle
o Expand empire
o Pericles advised them not to do.
o Sometimes it has its benefits. (the victory at Tanagra 426 & Pylos 425)
In 425 BCE Battle of Pylos Athenians manage a victory a Pylos. Thy set themselves up but they thorouly
demoralized the Peloponnesians.
Athen sends generals: The generals Sophocles and Demosthenes and Eurymedon (born 468) are sent to
Sicily. However, along the way to Pelonnese they hit a storm that forces them to beach at Pylos, the
storm doesn’t let up, while they are there out for boredom they begin to build fortifications. When the
storm lets up everyone goes except for Demosthenes, he stays at Pylos.
Advantages of Pylos:
▪ They now have a foothold in Pylos, MESSENIA.
▪ They have a buffer of Messian helots between them Pylos & Sparta.
Spartan Response: Sparta wants to deal with this. With this foothold, the Athenians could rally the
Messenians to their cause and they could start moving out. Spartans feel threatened & move against
Pylos, it does not go well anad they move to Sphakteria (an island);
In 425 BCE Battle of Sphacteria - when the Peloponnesians are unable to overwhelm, at pylos, the
Athens, they make a break at Sphacteria. So Athenians send out Cleon to siege the PElonneisa forces at
Sphakteria. They force the Peloponnese to surrender 292 are captured 120 are Spartiates. Contrary to
the Spartan motto, “never surrender “and they have taken 120 Spartiates; this is unprecedented and
- After Math at Pylos: not only were the Spartans unsuccessful at dislodging Athens at Pylos, they
are captured at Sphakteria. Athens dedicated the shield of the captured Spartans and
established a formal Garrison at the Pylos. They have their first base of operation in
- A victory like this allowed Athens to become bolder. Pylos actually paid off. BREAKING AWAY
FROMPERCILES IS GOOD The bolder they get, it does not work out too well for Athens
sometimes; this bolsters their confidence and the Spartans are demoralized. The Spartans are
threatened. They feared the loss of more Peloponnesian territory and they feared another Helot
revolt and they fear that their entire region can become dislodges.
In 424 BCE – problems in Sicily are ongoing, over the past year the Greek states of Sicily persisted in
their disagreement while Athens watched on. They were waiting for the right moment to intervene.
Their official position is that they have gone to help their allies but unofficially they were evaluating the probability of taking over silciy and adding it to the Empire. Athens right now is looking for the right
In 424 BCE –The Congress of Gela Sicilian Congress – Congress of Gela was held between the Greek
states. Hermocrates who was a general of Syracuse argued t