Why Were the Athenians and Peloponnesians Engaged in Conflict 460-404?
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This paper discusses the causes of the Peloponnesian War, and the nature in which it took place. It discusses Thucydides' view that the underlying reason for the war was Spartan fear of Athens, as well as the more immediate factors. Finally, it examines how the structure of the Athenian and Spartan states gave the war its longevity, which only ended when an external power, Persia, became involved.
From the Paper:"By 460 Athens, primarily through her navy, had risen to the status of a great power. Her dominance of the Delian League had led to an empire; this generated enough wealth to rebuild her home city which had been destroyed by the Persians in 479. Sparta, by contrast, had been reduced in status; previously the major power in Greece, her lack of a navy had led to Athens' leadership of the Delian League, and now erupted a great rivalry between the two powers. However, there were many restrictions upon both sides on the terms at which they could go to war, and these restrictions, alongside many other factors, would influence the indecisive and prolonged nature of their conflicts over the next half a century. The main source for this period is Thucydides; his reliability, although questioned, is far superior to other contemporary sources, and the huge amount of critical analysis done on his history is a compliment rather than a criticism of his work, as by providing such a detailed and political account he is alone in allowing such debate. Thus, he shapes our analysis of the outbreak of war. For example, what he calls the Peloponnesian War is the period from 431-404, which excludes the previous thirty years of conflict, a period which he treats with lesser detail. As to the outbreak of war, he gives a long account of the events leading up to the war of 431, and to an extent he implies which ones were of greater consequence. However, he qualifies this: 'the real reason for the war is, in my opinion, most likely to be disguised by such an argument. What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta' ."
Cite this Research Paper:
Why Were the Athenians and Peloponnesians Engaged in Conflict 460-404? (2003, February 07) Retrieved September 18, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/research-paper/why-were-the-athenians-and-peloponnesians-engaged-in-conflict-460-404-6920/
"Why Were the Athenians and Peloponnesians Engaged in Conflict 460-404?" 07 February 2003. Web. 18 September. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/research-paper/why-were-the-athenians-and-peloponnesians-engaged-in-conflict-460-404-6920/>