Athens’ response to Sparta’s concern that the Athenians will ally with Persia, 480 BCE “There is the Greek nation – the community of blood and language, temples and ritual, and our common customs …” (Hdt. 8.144) – τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν ἐὸν ὅμαιμόν τε καὶ ὁμόγλωσσον καὶ θεῶν ἱδρύματά τε κοινὰ καὶ θυσίαι ἤθεά τε ὁμότροπα... – To Hellênikon eon homaimon te kai homoglôsson kai theôn hidrumata te koina kai thusiai êthea te homotropa …
Ostensible causes of the war, 432/1 BCE: Athenian meddling in Spartan/Corinthian affairs Potidaea (revolt, 432/1) Sparta demands Athens leave Corcyra: Corinth demands Athens desists Epidamnos Megarian decree: Corinth demands Athens yields Aegina: Sparta demands Athens yields
Thucydides 1.23.6 on the real cause of the Peloponnesian War τὴν μὲν γάρ ἀληθεστάτην πρόφασιν, ἀφανεστάτην δὲ λόγωι, τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἡγοῦμαι μεγάλους γιγνομένους καὶ φόβον παρέχοντας τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις ἀναγκάσαι ἐς τὸ πολεμεῖν. tên men gar alêthestatên prophasin, aphanestatên de logoi, tous Athênaious hêgoumai megalous gignomenous kai phobon parexontas tois Lakedaimoniois anagkasai es to polemein. The real cause I consider to be the one which was formally most kept out of sight. The growth of the power of Athens, and the fear which this inspired in Lacedaemon, made war inevitable.
The Peloponnesian War, 432/1-404/3 How do we reconcile the sentiment expressed by Herodotus regarding 480 BCE and the then-alliance between Athens and Sparta with the outbreak of war in 432/1? Is there something about Athenian democracy & Spartan oligarchy that made the conflict inevitable?
What is at stake … For Sparta? For Athens?For Perikles?
What are the main points in Perikles’ speech advocating war (Thuc. 1.140-145 = Tracy Pericles pp. 52-57)? “Τῆς μὲν γνώμης, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, αἰεῖ τῆς αὐτῆς ἔχομαι, μὴ εἴκειν Πελοποννησίοις.” “Tês men gnômês, ô Athênaioi, aiei tês autês echomai, mê eikein Peloponnêsiois.” “Athenians, the same view always I maintain, do not yield to the Peloponnesians.” −Thucydides 1.140
Main points … Do not yield … Sparta refused to negotiate or compromise on … – Potidaea, Aegina, Megara, and to “let the Hellenes be free” Sparta’s power resides in her outsized army, but not in a fleet, in cash resources, or in the ability to sustain war, & her allies are not unified Athens can sustain losing Attica, for it has the fleet (just as our ancestors did at Salamis, and we cannot let them down), it has the lands of its allies, and it can field a better army than Sparta can field a better navy Spartans are farmers, while Athenians have been plying the seas with its navy of citizens since the Persian Wars – and that is our strength (1.143 – the Periklean γνώμη or strategy – see 2.14 ) If we lose the war, we will lose our alliance as well Do not add to your empire and do not take risks I fear our own mistakes far more than our enemies (1.144) We won’t start the war, but we’ll defend ourselves if they do It is necessary to go to war, and the greatest glory comes from the greatest risks
Perikles’ strategy: Thuc. 2.14 = D&G 9.4 “The Athenians took Perikles’ advice and brought their children, women and other household possessions in from the country, even removing the woodwork from the very houses; they sent their sheep and cattle across to euboea and the neighbouring islands. But they found this removal hard, as the majority of them had always been used to living in the country ….”
459/8 (or as early as 461/0): Long Walls, Athens
What do you think of … Perikles’ main points? Perikles’ strategy and leadership? and Why does Thucydides invoke Themistokles (1.138.3, Tracy Pericles p. 59) and provide such a positive assessment of him?