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Consequences of the Peloponnesian War - Research Paper Example

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The course of history has been plagued with wars since the beginning of time, and history will most likely continue in this manner until the end of time. Wars have the ability to exterminate entire populations, erase cities from the map, and give rise to new empires that will eventually fall due to the onset of yet another war…
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Consequences of the Peloponnesian War
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Download file to see previous pages Although this observation by Thucydides lacked the advantage of hindsight, his statement now carries validity, as the Peloponnesian War had many immediate and lasting effects, which this paper will attempt to determine. In order to properly understand the consequences of the Peloponnesian War, the causes and course of the war must be known. In Donald Kagan’s On the Origins of War and Preservation of Peace, he argues that the causes of all war are sourced from “fear, honor, and interest” (On the Origins 6), and this holds true with the Peloponnesian War. Athens and Sparta were two of the most powerful Greek city-states in the 5th century B.C., and they were on opposite sides of the “power bloc” due to the formation of the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League. The Delian League eventually became the Athenian Empire, was originally made to combat the threat of the Persian Empire (The Outbreak 2); the Peloponnesian League was formed by Sparta to combat the rising threat of Athens (Thucydides, Hammond, Rhodes 476). Rather than combining their respective power and influence, the two city states became opposed factions within the Hellenic World. While there are many intricate and underlying causes to the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides and numerous modern historians agree, to the best of their knowledge, that the main cause of the war was “Spartan fear of Athenian power” (Thucydides, Hammond, Rhodes 477). Because of the threat of the growing Athenian Empire, in hindsight it became evident that the war was inevitable – the Athenian power became an object of fear that the Spartans could not ignore. The Peloponnesian War spanned across a period of twenty seven years, encompassing numerous theaters, battles and campaigns that cannot be explained entirely in this paper. This paper will outline a brief summary of the war that will be used to help determine the consequences of the conflict. Athens was aware of the fact that they could not outright defeat the Spartan army, thus, they built a walled corridor between their city and their port of Piraeus, which the Athenians resided within in an attempt to wait out the Spartan army and outlast them in a war of attrition (Daniel 74). Since the Spartans could not breach the walls of their enemy and the Athenians could not outlast the Spartans, the war resulted to a series of Athenian naval raids and Spartan attacks into Athenian land with the goal of destroying vital crops and resources (Daniel 74). After a plague within the Athenian walls that led to the death of the Athenian war leader Pericles, Alcibiades, a new Athenian leader, took the reins of the Athenian forces, and drastically altered the Athenian plan of action for the war. Alcibiades decided to change from a defensive strategy to an offensive one, and thus ordered an invasion of the city of Syracuse on the island of Sicily, which, due to bad leadership, organization, and excellent Spartan defense, turned out to be a failure (Daniel 75). The failed campaign resulted in the destruction of the Athenian fleet and army, and ultimately resulted in the Athenians losing the war that they had started (Gombrich 63). First, this paper will analyze the immediate effects of the war on both Athens and Sparta. As history has seen in numerous instances, being defeated in a war has seemingly endless and perpetual ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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