Peloponnesian Wars

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Published on 8 Nov 2011
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CLA160- Lecture on October 14th, 2011
The Peloponnesian Wars
-Athens pretty much controlled the Aegean - brilliant at naval warfare
-Spent most money, in response to Persian wars, in building a fleet.
-Athenian Empire. in control of the aegean, many allies on land and on islands.
-Thetes were the “machines”
-Sparta is dominant of the Peloponnesus, southern area. also Macedonia.
-sparta dominated on land.
-had perfected hoplite warfare
- Trireme: Athenians. many oars, shaped to ram into other ships, etc.
-part of naval dominance
431-404 - Peloponnesian Wars (divided into 2 parts by peace, in 421)
-Athenians “win” the first half
-“long wall” policy
-key for the strategy of athens in the first half. relevant to their dominance.
-spartans march their troops to Attica (land around athens), and all the citizens
come into the city, behind the fortifications. spartans destroy land but cant get to
the people
-plague, death of Pericles
-plague due to having so many people in one area
-death made Sparta agree to peace treaty
-plague made people ignore social conventions in a way
-peace for 7 years in 421
-Sparta “wins” second half. (divided by the peace)
Athens protected their city and their harbour.
-need to receive food and goods
-therefore they had long walls running from their city to the harbour.
Athenians lose 2nd half:
-disastrous Sicilian expedition 415-413.
-athens helped sicily.. against Syracuse?
-athens wanted to gain good allies there
-disaster: terribly organized and implemented
-oligarchic take over 410 (group of 400): thetes in fleet resist
-Persian empire is still more powerful militarily/economically
-athens and sparta are interested in making deals with persia
-Oligarchs (group of 400) persuade the democratic assembly to change the
government system
-Put down in 409
-Thetes were prominent in the fleet: and were key in pushing back oligarchs
-404 Sparta imposes “30 tyrants”: democracy soon restored
-Another oligarchic push.
-Sparta wins war. could have done to Athens what Athens did to melos. (real
takeover) instead they impose new government system: they are anti
democratic. Athenians push for democracy.
-Within a year democracy is restored.
-sparta ensures that Athens wasn’t much of a threat (breaks down walls, etc)
-Sparta dominant for ca. 30 years (although Athens recovers pretty well, but is the end
of the Athenian empire)
Thucydides - mid 5th to 399.
-different goals and methods than Herodotus
-more informative than entertaining (read little part in textbook explaining this)
-Note funeral speech (tutorial reading) of Pericles as example of reported speech - don’t
know exactly what was said, is written down from memory of either him or someone
-cf. Mary Beard on the funeral speech
-Thucydides also gives analysis of Athenian plague
-Its symptoms and its ethical consequences
--- CF. Hippocratic corpus
--- CF. Jared Diamond, (guns germs and steel)
-The Melian Debate - written by thucydides.
-Ally of Sparta. sacked by athens in 416.
-melians: given choice of “war” or “slavery, they prefer neutrality.
-To Athenians: “we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as yours”
-“what we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Spartans”
-Concerned with portraying major issues involved than recording what might/might not
have been said.
-slave labour used to make it
-for athena
-went through many changes