They demanded action. Fifty years . A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, https://dailyhistory.org/index.php?title=What_were_the_causes_of_the_Peloponnesian_War%3F&oldid=21677. Athens used these communal funds to build up its navy and, with it, its importance and power. One of the most important wars in the Ancient World was the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). Each stood at the head of alliances that, between them, included nearly every Greek city-state. Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 2.69–71. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. In contrast, Athens encouraged democracy and believed that it was the best form of government. The war ended the Golden Age of Athenian Culture and arguably weakened the Greek world forever. When Megara turned to Sparta for help in its boundary dispute with Corinth, Sparta, which was allied with both city-states, declined to come to their aid. They unilaterally banned the ships of that Megara from its port and its allies. Historians are not clear on the embargo's effects, some saying that Megara was merely made uncomfortable, while others claim that it set the polis on the brink of starvation. Athens built long walls all the way from the city to its seaport Piraeus. Favorite Answer. This was a long drawn out war between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies. Peloponnesian War: Battle of Pylos. Thucydides’ balanced and richly detailed account has not convinced everyone, however. What caused the Peloponnesian War (431BC-404BC)? People’s first loyalty was often to their Polis or local city. Thrace and Athens had a dispute and the Thracians, a Spartan ally, asked the Spartans for assistance. Despite this, Sparta grew increasingly fearful of Athens, and its main ally Corinth was actively encouraging it to attack Athens.. According to Thucydides, the cause of the war was the "fear of the growth of the power of Athens" throughout the middle of the 5th century BC. The helots toiled the lands of Lacodemia for their Spartan masters. Some leading Spartans became concerned that their inaction would push the other major Greek powers to side with Athens. Causes of the War There were three main reasons war broke out. Athens needed a friendly Megara on its border since it provided gulf access, so it agreed in 459 BCE. The war is named for the Peloponnesus, the peninsula on which Sparta is located. The Greeks had combined under Sparta and Athens' leadership to defeat the Persians, then the most powerful empire in Asia. Answer Save. He would never again lead Athenians in battle. Earlier, Sparta had been the military leader of the Greek world. The History explains that the primary cause of the Peloponnesian War was the "growth in power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Sparta" (1.23.6). Nothing was the same after the war, and Athens was never to be as powerful. The Peloponnesian War was fought between 431 and 404 bc . The causes of the war are that the Athenian Empire upset the Greek world's balance of power. First, some city-states feared Athens because of its grab for power and prestige. Sparta soon became very suspicious of Athens's growing power. Potidaea was part of the Athenian empire, but also a daughter city of Corinth. The Spartans came to believe that they had no choice but to go to war. The Corcyra never joined the Athenian League or the Spartans, … The Athenian empire started with the Delian League, which had been formed to allow Athens to take the lead in the war against Persia, and wound up providing Athens with access to what was supposed to be a communal treasury. It had transformed itself during and after the Persian Wars and became a major trading and maritime power. This enabled them to stay inside the city and still have access to trade and supplies from their ships. Corinth and other members of the Peloponnesian League were unhappy about Sparta’s lack of leadership. Sparta was concerned that if it displayed any weakness that this could lead to its losing its pre-eminent position in the Peloponnese League. Athens was forced to dismantle its empire. Sparta favored the many oligarchies and distrusted the role of the common people in government. The underlying cause of the war was the rapid rise of the Athenians. Fighting ensued and Corcyra, with Athens' aid, won the Battle of Sybota against Corinth in 433.  This notion of Greekness was not enough to overcome deep divisions within the Greek world. The origins of such a conflict are complex. In 446 and 445 BCE, Athens, a sea power, and Sparta, a land power, signed a peace treaty. The defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War caused the downfall of Greece, and the end of the Classical Age. Athens used its superior navy to intimidate its allies, and they eventually became mere tributaries of the Athenians. N.S.  The kings shared power with a council of elders (Gerousia). The significance of the conflict is that the divided Greeks could not prevent the They argued that the Spartans had to attack Athens before it became too powerful. For many decades Sparta had been the greatest military power in Greece. This League was an alliance of city-states and islands that vowed to continue the war against the Persians until they no longer represented a threat to their alliance. Athens now knew that direct battle with Corinth was inevitable. Many excellent historians have discussed the causes of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BCE), and many more will do so in the future. During the Peloponnesian War, they turned on each other. The Peloponnesian War was a conflict in ancient Greece that redefined the structure of power in the Greek-speaking world. Athens's growing ambitions led to tensions with its neighbors and eventually led to war. Sparta became the leading power of Greece. Alcibiades was not re-elected general by the Athenians and he exiled himself from the city. 2 decades ago. Increasingly, the Spartans became very nervous about the growing naval and commercial power of Athens. One of the most important wars in the Ancient World was the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). The underlying cause of the war was the rapid rise of the Athenians. Before the Peloponnesian War, the city-states of Greece had worked together to fight off the Persians. Sparta's concerns were not entirely unfounded. 123 quotes from History of the Peloponnesian War: ‘Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.’ Athens, the strongest city-state in Greece before the war started, was reduced to a state of near-complete subjection. 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