Causes of the Pelopenesian War

1315 WordsOct 8, 19996 Pages
The Causes of the Peloponessian War Ancient Greece during the 4th century B.C. was home to the city-states of Sparta and Athens. These two communities were the superpowers of the region during that time. The peloponnesian war between these two states evolved out of a string of events that would lead to years of conflict. When looking for a single cause of the peloponnesian war none can be found. Over time many events contributed to the eventual war between Sparta and Athens. I believe the peloponnesian war evolved because of Athenian support for Spartan enemies, Spartan alarm at a rise in Athenian power, and the drastic differences between the two cultures. In 435 B.C., Corcyra, a Corinthian colony declared itself…show more content…
Sparta's geography left it vulnerable in some ways. The city of Sparta itself was landlocked and did not have the harbor facilities that Athens possessed. Also, being located on a peninsula left Sparta vulnerable to naval attack, and vulnerable to losing sea-borne trade. As the Athenian empire expanded it placed pressure on relations between Sparta and Athens. "The Athenian custom of establishing in every city democracies dependent upon the Empire seemed to the landowning oligarchy of Sparta a threat to aristocratic government everywhere. For a time the Spartans contented themselves with supporting the upper classes in every city, and slowly forging a united front against Athens." This statement describes the Spartan reaction to the Athenian growth. Sparta clearly saw this new growing Athenian Empire as a threat despite some views that Sparta was overconfident of its skilled land forces and saw the expanding Athenian Empire as weak and thinly spread out. "They despised the Athenians, but they also feared them, for Athenian naval power was the greatest in the Mediterranean, and they had few ships" . Sparta could not have seen the Athenian Empire as too thinly spread out and vulnerable because the only viable means of transport was by sea and Athens' naval power assured it control over all sea lanes, making naval attack

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