Peloponnesian War reshaped the ancient Greek world. It was fought in 5th century BC between the democratic Athensand the Peloponnesian League led by oligarchic Sparta. Lasting for more than a quarter of a century, it marked the end of the golden age of Greece. Here are 10 interesting facts about the causes, outcome, effects and history of this historic ancient Greek war.
1. Athenian Empire was at its height just before the Peloponnesian War
In 478 BC, Greek city-states numbering from 150 to 173 combined together under the leadership of Athens to fight the Persian Empire. It is called the Delian League because its official meeting place was the island of Delos. The Persian Invasion was defeated. However Athens started to dominate other city-states and started expanding the Athenian Empire. It conquered all of Greece apart from Sparta and its allies. After fifteen year war between Athens and the Peloponnesian states, the Thirty Years’ Peace treaty was signed in 445 BC.
2. Major cause of the Peloponnesian War was the Battle of Sybota
Spartan ally Corinth was defeated by its colony Corcyra, a neutral state which was a sea power. When Corinth started building an allied naval force against Corcyra, Athens entered into a defensive alliance with Corcyra at their request. Athenian warships then participated in the Battle of Sybota against the Corinthian fleet, thus disregarding the Thirty Years’ Peace treaty. Also Athens passed a decree which forbid Spartan ally Megara to trade with the prosperous Athenian empire.
3. It began with a vote against Athens at the Spartan assembly
In 432 BC members of the Peloponnesian League, especially those who were troubled by Athens, gathered together at the Spartan assembly. A delegation from Athens was also invited. There was heated debate between Corinthians and Athenians. Corinthians warned Sparta that if it continued to remain passive it will lose its allies and position; while Athenians reminded Sparta of its might. A majority of the Spartan assembly voted against Athens thus effectively declaring war.