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July 20, 2006 at 8:19 am #212HobilarParticipant
? ? ? In 407 BC and again in 405 BC the Spartans in alliance with their old enemies the Persians destroyed two Athenian Fleets. ? ? ?Although Athens had suffered defeats before, notably in Sicily in 415 BC they had always managed to rally and beat back the Spartans. This time however, Athens could not make up the losses. The Spartan fleet soon took control of the mouth of the Dardanelles which stopped Athen's grain supply.? ? In February 404 BC the Spartan fleet blockaded the Athenian port of Piraeus. The city was subjected to three months of starvation until Athens surrendered in April.? ? ?The Spartans exacted harsh terms from the defeated Athenians. They demanded that the city walls be torn down, that the Athenian fleet be handed over, that exiles be allowed to return, and that Athens should forthwith become an Ally of Sparta.July 21, 2006 at 3:36 am #5621PhidippidesKeymaster
This is a battle that I would have thought Athens would win.October 14, 2009 at 10:07 am #5622
I wouldn't really say Sparta and Persia were allies. Persia forced Sparta into agreement because Sparta had no choice. None of the treaties between the two parties favored Sparta. They pretty much had to agree to submit to Persian authority. The “liberators of Greece” propaganda that Sparta was using was no longer valid and I would imagine this affected Spartan morale, legitimacy, and influence.Athens lost because of failed alliances. Argos would have been an important strategic ally to Athens, but after Kimon gained political influence, any chance of that alliance was lost and the Argives formed a (very) loose alliance with Sparta.October 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm #5623
Didn't Athens lose because their imperial pretensions and demands drove their allies out of the Delian League and into the arms of Sparta?October 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm #5624WallyParticipant
Seems like that was what I was taught.October 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm #5625
But how many left the Delian league at the onset of or even during the war? (which I started a discussion here about that) The Athenian empire was pretty stable (def. of stable in this case: being successful at forcing people to be dependant on them) until they interferred in Corinthian affairs. I think Athens had a few chances to make allies of the neutral parties on the Peloponnesus but they blew it.October 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm #5626
I was asking because that has always been my understanding of why the Athenians lost. The important point is not how many allies in total left, but that enough members of the Delian League abandoned athens because of the way Athens treated them that Sparta and its allies were able to defeat them. Remeber that Sparta began the war with almost no navy. They were almost exclusively a land power, but at the end of the war they could blockade Piraeus, that says something about both Sparta and Athens. Sparta did not so much win the war as Athenian arrogance lost it.October 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm #5627WallyParticipant
Agreed; this has been the conventional wisdom for as long as I can remember… have seen nothing solid to change this position.August 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm #5628
Didn't Athens lose because their imperial pretensions and demands drove their allies out of the Delian League and into the arms of Sparta?
I think no, because not many left of their own accord, Athens just lost them. The neutral ones, Argos, Corinth, Thebes, are the ones who IMO really threw a wrench into both Athenian and Spartan ambitions. Towards the end, Sparta was just as imperialistic as Athens was. Athens pretentions weren't what lost the war for them, it was their fatal mistakes at Syracuse that did. Athens original intent was not to invade Sicily but rather to protect their allies from the Syracusans. Their original plan did not involve enough troops or triremes to justify a full invasion. Nicias was against any incursion from the beginning, (which Athens should have relived him from duty, but they did not) He said the Syracusans were stronger than they thought, so the Athenians decided to send more ships and troops...which is not what Nicias wanted...he wanted them to NOT go to Sicily. His speech backfired on him, however, and Athens changed plans from a small defensive campaign to an all out invasion. Sparta and her allies viewed this as a violation of the Peace of Nicias, which it was.August 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm #5629
So you are saying either a strategic miscalculation or idiot leadership at home that failed to get Nicias' point? Actually, both amount to pretty much the same thing if you think about it.August 24, 2010 at 10:39 am #5630
It was a bunch of strategic miscalculations, combined with treachery and different opposing factions within Athens. Convicting the generals after the Battle of Arginusae was probably the stupidest thing Athens did. That left them with no experienced commanders. I'm only really arguing with you now because I just think that saying Athens lost because of imperial ambitions is oversimplifying it and perhaps not entirely accurate.August 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm #5631
You know me, I am always down for a good argument/debate. Sometimes oversimplification is the easiest way to see a trend. There is a tendency in some historical analysis to fail to see the forest for the trees; reasons for winning/losing wars is a common place this occurs.
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