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The Decline Of Sparta Essay

838 words - 4 pages

After winning the Peloponnesian war, Sparta had become the most powerful polis in the Greek world. It will be shown that Sparta pursued its goal of dominance through the autonomy clause in the treaty of Antalcidas. Sparta abused the treaty and even broke it, creating the opposition that would eventually defeat them.
Sparta, having won the Peloponnesian war (Xenophon, Hellenika 2.23), emerged as the pre-eminent Greek power at the beginning of the fourth century (Cargill 1981: 189). The member states of the Delian league were not freed as expected (Rhodes 2010: 160), but rather taken over and had oligarchic constitutions installed within them (Rhodes 2010: 238). Sparta decided to ...view middle of the document...

110. 1-3). The Asiatic Greeks were returned to Persia (Plutarch, Agesilaus 23) and in return, Sparta was given Persian backed support to enforce the principle of autonomy (Forrest 1968: 126). The act of handing over the Asiatic Greeks was seen as a great betrayal to Greece and further added anger toward Sparta (Rhodes 2010: 229). The freeing of the Greeks had been such an important goal in the Peloponnesian war (Thuc 1.89) and now Sparta had freely handed the Ionian cities back to the barbarians (Isocrates, Panathenaicus 4.122).
Sparta had interpreted its appointed role as enforcer of the peace, as justification to breakup any of the confederacies that may threaten Spartan dominance (Cargill 1981: 189). The Greeks had no choice but to agree to the treaty as Sparta could summon Persian intervention (Xenophon, Hellenica 5.1.31) upon any group of Greeks that were reluctant to accept (Plutarch, Agesilaus 23). After gaining such a firm hold on Greece, Sparta started to abuse the Autonomy clause to enact revenge (Rhodes 2010: 247) by punishing all of the allies who during the war had been hostile to them (Xenophon, Hellenica 5.2.1). Sparta weakened its enemy Thebes, by dismantling the Boeotian federation (Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.1.30-2) and in 383 BCE, Sparta Flagrantly violated the treaty with the occupation of the Cadmeia (Plutarch, Agesilaus 23). The occupation was a decisive act of aggression which caused shock and anger throughout the Greek world (Cargill 1981: 189). It was from this point that...

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