The Peloponnesian War was between Athens and Sparta, theses were two leading-city states in ancient Greece. This was lasted from 431-404 bce. The war took over a good part of the Greek world and Thucydides was the one who judged it. This war was considered to be one of the worlds greatest works of history and one of the most significant up to that time. To learn more about the Peloponnesian War, a little bit of a background on these two leading city-states.
Sparta was leader of an alliance of independent states that included a lot of the major land powers of the Peloponnese and central Greece and also included the sea power Corinth. The Athenian alliance was an empire that included a good portion of the island and coastal states around the eastern and northern shores of the Aegean Sea (82,626 mi’2). The Athenians had the stronger navy and were better stable with money than their enemies and the Spartans had the stronger army. The Athens and Sparta had already fought each other before the Peloponnesian War, in what some may consider as the first Peloponnesian War, which as a result they agreed to call it even and had this thing called the Thirty Years Treaty in 445 which was kind of like a peacemaker. Later the Athenians took the measures into breaking the Thirty Years Treaty since now they got together with Corcyra, a colony of Corinth. From that Sparta and its allies accused Athens of aggression and threatened war.
Because of the Pericicles (the most influential leader) Athens refused to back away. A lot of efforts were made to resolve the arguments but it failed. Around Spring of 431 a Spartan Ally named Thebes attacked an Athenian ally named Plataea as a result the war began. Really the years of fighting between the Athens and Sparta can be divided into two periods separated by a truce of six years. The first period lasted around 10 years. This began with the Spartans which were under the rule of Archidamus II which was then leading an army into Attica which is the region around Athens. Here is where the Peticles declined to attract the superior allied forces but instead insisted the Athenians to keep to their city and harras the enemies coast and shipping. In just within a few months Pericles fell victim to a plague. Killing a large number of civilians and large parts of the army. Thucydides survive an attacked on the plague left an impressive amount of its impact on the Athenian confidence. While this was going on the Spartans attacked Athenian bases in western Greece but then were driven away.
The Spartans also suffered a fall back at sea. In Around 428 they tried to help the island state of Lesbos which Lesbos was a tributary of Athens that was planning on revolting. This revolt was then headed off by the Athenians who won the control of the chief city Mytilene. Insisted by the demagogue Cleon the Athenians had a vote to massacre the men of Mytilene and unfortunately enslave everyone else. But they changed their minds the next day and killed only the leaders of the revolt. Spartan originality during the plague years were all unsuccessful except for one the captured of the strategic Plataea in 427. Over the next years the Athenians got offended and started to attack the Sicilian city Syracuse and had a campaigned in western Greece and the Peloponnese itself. Around 425 the picture was blank for Sparta which began to sue for peace. This was led by Brasidas, he was a hero of the Battle of Delium, a Spartan force gained a huge successes in Chalcidice in 424 pushing and encouraging the Athenians subject states to revolt. In a battle at Amphipolis in 422 both Brasidas and Athenian leader Cleon were dead. This is where the stage was getting set for Cleons rival Nicials for it to persuade the Athenians to accept the Spartans offer of peace. In other words to end the war which is costing so much. The Peace of Nicias began in 421 and didn’t really last long, it only lasted 6 years. This was the period in which a diplomatic maneuvers gave the way to small-scale military operations as every city tried to win smaller states over to its side.
This peace was broken around 415 when the Athenians launched a massive assault/threat against Sicily. This is where the second period began of the Peloponnesian War. The next 11 years basically made up this war. This event was the disaster which was suffered by the Athenian act of war. After gaining reinforcements in 413, the Athenian army was defeated once again. Even afterwards the navy was also beaten and the Athenians were horribly destroyed and now they tried to retreat. By 411 Athens were in a huge decision crises. Democracy was overthrown by the government party (oligarchical) which was then replaced by the more moderate regime of the Five Thousand. Towards the end of 411 Athenians rebuilt their Navy which wa fresh from several victories and acted to restore democratic rule.
Unfortunately the democratic leaders refused Spartan peace offering and the war continued. The war was being continued at sea with the Sparta and Athenians fleets trading costly victories. Years passed and the end came in around 405 when the Athenian navy was destroyed at Aegospotami by the Spartan fleet under Lysander, who hadn’t really received much aid from the Persians. The following year (404) starved by the massive war the Athens surrendered. Athens defeat could be said to be the worst casualty in a war that crippled Greek military strength and the most culturally advanced Greek state brought into final of the war.
The Peloponnesian War lasted from 431 to 404 BC. This war was between Athens and Sparta that resulted in the transfer of domination in Greece from Athens to Sparta. This name was given because really it was a long series of conflicts between both Athens and Sparta that eventually ended with a surrender of the Athens in 404 BC.