What was the main cause of the Peloponnesian War?
The Peloponnesian War is the name given to the long series of conflicts between Athens and Sparta that lasted from 431 until 404 BC. However, the more immediate reason for the war was Athenian control of the Delian League, the vast naval alliance that allowed it to dominate the Mediterranean Sea.
In 431 BC these alliances went to war against each other in a conflict called the Peloponnesian War. The war, which went on for 27 years, is named for the Peloponnesus, the peninsula on which Sparta is located.
- Peloponnesian War: name of the conflict between Athens and Sparta that broke out in 431 and continued, with an interruption, until 404. Athens was forced to dismantle its empire. The significance of the conflict is that the divided Greeks could not prevent the Persian Empire from recovering their Asian possessions.
- Persian gold subsidized Sparta in the later portions of the Great Peloponnesian War and allowed Sparta to build the navy they needed to defeat the Athenian navy. Sparta cut off Athenian food supplies and trade. Because they learned from their enemies the Athenians and eventually build up a professional and strong navy.
- Athenian Rights and Responsibilities
- It was a right to hold Athenian citizenship.
- All Athenian citizens had the right to vote in the Assembly, debate, own land and own slaves.
- All Athenian citizens were expected to have military training, be educated, pay their taxes and serve Athens in times of war.
- The First Peloponnesian War ended in an arrangement between Sparta and Athens, which was ratified by the Thirty Years' Peace (winter of 446–445 BC). According to the provisions of this peace treaty, both sides maintained the main parts of their empires.
- Winning by Losing. The differences between Athens and Sparta eventually led to war between the two city-states. Known as the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.E.), both Sparta and Athens gathered allies and fought on and off for decades because no single city-state was strong enough to conquer the others.
- Sparta wins the battle of Tanagra during the 1st Peloponnesian War with Athens. The Athenians move the treasury of the Delian League from Delos to Athens. Sparta declares that Athens has broken the Thirty Year Peace and prepares for war.
Updated: 2nd October 2019