The Peloponnesian War Essay

2450 words - 10 pages

For over 30 years, two of the world's greatest military forces of their time battled over supremacy of Greece. The elite navy of Athens and the powerful armies of Sparta and her allies dueled in an epic battle to determine the direction in which Greece was heading. Through the stories of Thuycides, we have the world's first eye witness account of a war from a great historian who lived through it. From this account we can analyze the war which can be interpreted as the first battle against imperialism. Through my analysis of this war, I plan to determine how Greece benefited as a whole.

In the wake of the Persian attempt to conquer the Greek city-states and valuable coastline, Athens emerged as the powerhouse in defending Greece. Along with the help of her allies, Athens successfully stopped Persia from conquering Greece, but the Persian armies still lingered around the north. The Athenian forces took strides to rally all the city-states to completely rid Greece of Persian threat, but the cities were torn between continuing the fight and letting the problem lay to rest. In 477, Athens formed the Delian League whose goal was push Persia out for good. The second most powerful city-state, Sparta, did not see Persia as a threat and refused to join the League. The allies of Sparta followed their friend and the country became torn into two halves.

As time passed, Athens grew stronger and the League became a machine for expansion of Athenian imperialism. Athens demanded high taxes and tributaries from the other member of the League. They started to bully their allies into doing what was good for Athens and not for the League. In 470, after the League thought their job was done and Persia was out of Greece, the city-state Naxos demanded to be released from the League and not pay anymore tribute. Athens aggressively denied Naxos defection from the League. When Naxos again demanded to be freed, Athens invaded and tore down the walls surrounding the city. Feelings of unrest began to stir throughout Greece, but Sparta only sat and watched.

As time passed, Athens grew stronger and continued to demand tributary from the other members of the League. Pericles, the leader of Athens, fought to have the Delian League treasury moved to Athens claiming that was the safest place for it. The other members of the League denied Pericles his wish until in 449 when he signed a peace treaty with Persia. The treasury was then moved to the capital. Money from the treasury began being used to fix and beautify Athens only. Tensions throughout Greece began to escalate as feelings of fear spread throughout the Spartan allies. These tensions eventually evolved into small skirmishes between the two forces allies. In 445, The Thirty Year's Treaty was signed by both Athens and Sparta in hopes of preventing the outbreak of war. It was too little too late as a great war was inevitable at this point.

As Athens continued to grow in power they...

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