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Lecture 10

HIS2102 Lecture 10: Athens - march 14th 2016

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Rajiv Bhola

Athens, Persia and Sparta March 14 2016 **Assignment#2 Naxos was the first allied or delian league member to lose their independence. THE ARCHIDAMEAN WAR I (431-421)  Two things to acknowledge: although formal talks between Sparta and Athens ceased in 432. The Peloponnesian war didn’t start immediately. Even when they stopped sending embassy to each other, neither officially declared war to each other. Until fighting actually start, the 30 years of peace was still in place. Neither side didn’t want to be the one to break the peace. They were waiting for a pretext or a trigger in order to not be blamed.  Second thing is that the Peloponnesian war is separated in different wars and sometimes there’s a interim peace.  The Spartans knew that a war with Athens isn’t going to be easy, they were confident that they can force the Athenians into submission within a few years. At this point, Greek warfare was largely hoplite driven. Spartans stated goal headed into the war was to liberate the Greek world, this goal garnered considerable moral support for the Spartans heading to the war. The Spartan strategy consisted of a blunt force offensive. They were regularly going to invade Attica. The logic behind this, was that either the Athenians were going to defend Attica and engage the Spartans which would be to the Athenians disadvantage or the Athenians were going to hide behind their walls while the Spartans are going to destroy their crops and starve them. This was a traditional approach to warfare. But the soundness of this strategy even renounce those who were fond to go to war.  The Corinthians also proposed a strategy. They figured that Athens wouldn’t be able to hold the war for long if they didn’t have the fund to pay for troops and supplies, and these funds to pay for these troops and supplies were coming from the tributes of Athens. The Corinthians proposed that while also devastating Attica, the Peloponnesian league could enter the Aegean and encourage Athens allies to revolt in order to deprive them from their income. But this had complications, it would be a challenge for Sparta to recruit the sailors necessary to man a large fleet, and the Spartans didn’t like the idea to send troops far away but more to the point in order to construct a fleet powerful enough to contend enough vs the Athenian navy and to pay for their crews, Sparta would need considerable funding. The only people financially capable to fund Sparta for their navy were the Persians, so they start talking with the Persians. However the more they negotiate with the Persians the more they realized that the cost of this fleet would have cost partial Persian dominion in Greece. The Spartans let it go.  In terms of stategy, Sparta will find pros and cons with their traditional brute force land strategy and the more adventurous strategy of hitting the high seas, but they would employ a mixture of both.  The atheniens were not expecting a quick war. Perocles made it clear in his speeches to the atheniens in preparation for war, that it would be a long drawn out struggle, mainly because he had a different strategy in mind. It was designed to frustrate Sparta. Rather than going on the offensive and attempting to invade the pelopenese, Perocles divides a defensive strategy. Sparta goal was to demolish the athenien empire and Athens goal was to survive.  Thought the athenien strategy was primarily defensive, they did incorporate offensive strategies. They intended to make use of the navy to attack Peloponnesian
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