The ancient Greek city-state of Athens fought the Peloponnesian war with Sparta.
The war took place 431-404 BC and it was split into two battles with Athens losing the war.
This meant what had been thought to be the golden age of ancient Greece come to an end.
Where did the War Get Its Name?
The Peloponnesian war was named after the Peloponnese headland to the south of Greece.
It was where city-states including Argos, Corinth, Messene, and Sparta were located.
What started the Peloponnesian War?
When the Persian war ended, Sparta and Athens agreed to be peaceful for 30 years.
This was to make sure that both sides recovered from the Persian war.
Athens became wealthy and even more powerful than before due to the tax they received from the Delian League.
Sparta was jealous of the wealth of Athens and in 431 BC they declared war.
This meant the Peloponnesian war began due to jealousy and greed.
The Spartans Were King of Land, Athens the King of the Sea
The first Peloponnesian war continued for 10 long years. The Spartans were the king of land while Athens ruled the sea.
Athens got men to put up walls from the city to the Piraeus seaport.
The Spartans were unable to break the walls down but Athens still lost many soldiers due to the plague.
General Pericles of Athens was among the people to die during the plague.
Peaceful Times Thanks to the “Peace of Nicias” Truce
The first half of the war ended after 10 years in 421 BC with both sides agreeing not to fight anymore.
The truce was known as the “Peace of Nicias”. Nicias was the general of the army of Athens. Peace went on for six years.
In 415 BC, Athens chose to go to the assistance of friends on the island of Sicily and this was a mistake which would see the end of the truce between Athens and Sparta.
A large band of soldiers from Athens attacked the city of Syracuse but lost the battle.
Sparta then chose to hit back at Athens and the second Peloponnesian war began.
Persia Supported Athens in the Second War
The Spartans got soldiers together and asked the Persians for money so they could build new ships to go into battle.
This wasn’t enough to beat the army of Athens and between 410 and 406 BC, Athens went on to win many battles.
The luck of Athens ran out in 405 BC when the fleet of Athens was destroyed in battle.
The people of Athens became poor and began to starve. Athens could not compete with Sparta on land and in 404 BC Sparta took over the city of Athens.
Athens gave in to Sparta and the Peloponnesian war ended.
Facts about Peloponnesian War
- The first half of the Peloponnesian war is also known as the Archidamian war, named after the Spartan king.
- The walls built between the land and seaport were around four and a half miles long each.
- The Peloponnesian war was not just fought between Sparta and Athens. Other Greek city-states also fought.
- At the time of the Peloponnesian war, around 150 Greek city-states were a part of the Athenian Empire.
- The Peloponnesian war took Athens from the wealthy city it was to a poor city left in ruins.
- The second half of the Peloponnesian war was also called the Declean or Ionian war.
- The final major battle in the Peloponnesian war was the Battle of Aegospotami in 405 BC.
- Persia was the biggest winner of the Peloponnesian war as they took back many places of Greece in Minor Asia.
Questions and Answers
Question 1 – What was the Peloponnesian war named after?
Answer – The Peloponnese headland to the south of Greece
Question 2 – What started the Peloponnesian war?
Answer – Jealousy and greed
Question 3 – How long was the first half of the Peloponnesian war?
Answer – 10 years
Question 4 – What was the truce period between the two halves of the war called?
Answer – The Peace of Nicias
Question 5 – Who did Sparta borrow money from so they could fight in the second half of the war?
Answer – The Persians