Map of the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BCE)

Map of the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BCE)

Map of the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BCE) - History

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The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the maiden goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Its construction began in 447 BCE when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power.

Greek democracy

Athens had by 500 BCE gone from a society dominated by an aristocratic political elite to a democratic system, with Solon and later Cleisthenes. The people of Athens had gained more and greater influence in politics.

During Solon rule, Athens’ population was divided according to four ‘fylen’ (classes) according to wealth. They were to choose nine archons for one year at a time. In addition, there was a popular assembly (ekklesia), which was sort of a people’s assembly, a general meeting where citizens had the right to vote. Then there was also the so-called people’s counsels (boules) with 500 members each. Each with a function as a preparatory body for the people’s assembly.

The Athenian democracy (dêmos/δῆμος – people and krátos/κράτος- “force” or “power”) was a direct democracy. A political system by which the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote directly themselves on an issue, legislation, in their own right.

The Golden Age

The latter period in Ancient Greece between 500 and 338 BCE came to be called the classical period. This period was the golden age of the ancient Greek civilization, with advancements in politics, philosophy, science, and artistry.

And during this period, the writing of history began. With Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle philosophizing about nature, the meaning of the universe, human nature and our place in the universe.

With pre-Socratic philosophers primarily concerned with cosmology, ontology, and mathematics. Socrates himself, born in Athens in the 5th century BCE, marks a watershed in ancient Greek philosophy. While philosophy was an established pursuit prior to Socrates, Cicero credits him as “the first who brought philosophy down from the heavens, placed it in cities, introduced it into families, and obliged it to examine into life and morals, and good and evil.” ).

Although Socrates himself wrote nothing, he is depicted in conversation in compositions by a small circle of his admirers—Plato and Xenophon first among them. Socrates can probably be credited as an important first step towards the scientific method, the Socratic method, (elenctic method, or Socratic debate) is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

The influence and heritage of Greek philosophy cannot be underestimated. Many philosophers today concede that Greek philosophy has influenced much of Western thought since its inception. Alfred North Whitehead noted: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

The Greek drama and tragedy were born, it is entertainment as it is very much an investigating of the world the ancient Greeks lived in, and what it meant to be human.

Greek architecture and art flourished. The architecture was distinguished by its highly formalized characteristics, both of structure and decoration. A style of architecture that were to influence the Romans later in history as well as it still is today, not least in the United States.

The Greco-Persian wars. Credit: Bibi Saint-Pol.

The Persian Wars

Classical Greece was also the scene of several devastating wars against Persia, and a long civil war within the Greek world itself. Xerxes I of Persia was the son and successor of Darius I. And he attempted to invade Greece just like his father before him. But despite Xerxes superiority in manpower, the Persian Empire suffered heavy casualties, and the famous rearguard action at Thermopylae and victories for the allied Greeks at the Battles of Salamis and Plataea – the Greeks would ultimately be victorious. The Greco-Persian Wars ended in 449 BCE when The Athenian-led alliance called The Delian League was successful in expelling Persian influence away from the Greek world.

The Peloponnesian War

Map of the Delian League (“Athenian Empire”) in 431 B.C.E. Prior to the Peloponnesian War.

After Persia was finally and ultimately defeated in a series of devastating battles on both land and water, the dominant position of the maritime Athenian ‘Empire’ threatened the other city-states of the Greek world. Athens had an ever more dominant role within the Delian League with its mighty navy. It was a dominant role that was much deprecated by the other parties in the alliance. Conflicts broke out which that led to civil war, the so-called Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE).

It was effectively a stalemate for much of the war, but Athens did suffer a series of setbacks. The Plague of Athens in 430 BCE was followed by a disastrous military campaign known as the Sicilian Expedition, these setbacks severely weakened Athens and ultimately led to its defeat. An estimated one-third of all Athenians died. An exhausted and ruined Greece was all that was left after the war.

Philosophy and Aftermath of Civil War

As Socrates apprentice, Plato (427-347 BCE) described the Civil War aftermath, “how and why had it gone so wrong?”. Plato saw a need for a new social model, a model as he explained, would give happiness to all its citizens.

Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand.

Plato presented his Utopian model of society, by which the top layer would consist of a political elite of well-trained philosophers that was to exert power over all the other people within society. This idea of this ideal state was presented in The Republic.

He modeled a society that should consist of three levels:

1. Productive, Workers — the laborer’s carpenters, plumbers, masons, merchants, farmers, ranchers, etc.

2. Protective, Warriors or Guardians — those who are adventurous, strong and brave in the armed forces.

3. Governing, Rulers or Philosopher Kings — those who are intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom, well suited to make decisions for the community.

Thoughts can possibly be seen from the perspective of a kind of political dismalness prevailing in Greece after the war.

Besides The Republic, Plato along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

After the civil war, Sparta was the dominant city-state, and just as Athens earlier in the Delian Alliance, so were Sparta to redo the same mistakes. It’s arrogance and imperialistic attitude made their allies turn against them. And an army of Thebes was to defeat Sparta in a battle 371 BCE.

Greece would remain divided until Philip II, the king of Macedonia. A kingdom just north of Ancient Greece, about where we today find Greece and its northern neighbor Macedonia. Philip saw his chance to conquer a broken Greece and he defeated a combined Theban and Athenian army in 338 BCE.

Greece was so largely defeated that Philip II was crowned as king of all of Greece and Macedonia. He was thus ruler over all of the Greek city-states, united under a single monarchical rule. Philip had seven children, one of which was named Alexander, commonly known as Alexander the Great.

The History Of The Peloponnesian Wars

The Peloponnesian Wars were a series of conflicts between Athens and Sparta. These wars also involved most of the Greek world, because both Athens and Sparta had leagues, or alliances, which brought their allies into the wars as well. The Athenian Thucydides is the primary source of the wars, as he fought on the side of Athens. Thucydides was ostracized after the Spartans decisive victory at the Battle of Amphipolis in 422 BC, where Thucydides was one of the Athenian commanders. Thucydides wrote a book called The History of the Peloponnesian War. From 431 to 404 BC the conflict escalated into what is known as the "Great War." To the Greeks, the "Great War" was a world war, not only involving much of the Greek world, but also the Macedonians, Persians, and Sicilians.

Before the Peloponnesian Wars, wars lasted only a few hours, and the losing side was treated with dignity. The losers were rarely, if ever, chased down and stabbed in the back. Prisoners were treated with respect and released. Thucydides warns us in his histories that the longer wars go, the more violent, and less civilized they become. During the Peloponnesian Wars, prisoners were hunted down, tortured, thrown into pits to die of thirst and starvation, and cast into the waters to drown at sea. Innocent school children were murdered, and whole cities were destroyed. These wars turned very personal, as both Athens and Sparta felt that their way of life was being threatened by the other.

Siege of Plataea, 429-427 BC

The siege of Plataea (429-427 BC) was a Theban victory that saw them capture Athen's only ally in Boiotia, although only after a two-year long siege.

The city of Plataea was located on the southern edge of Boiotia, the area to the north-east of the Gulf of Corinth. It was the only Boiotian city that was not a member of the Boiotian League (dominated by Thebes), and was instead an ally of Athens. This was not an entirely popular policy inside the city, and two years before the start of the siege these disputes inside the city led to the incident that triggered the Great Peloponnesian War.

In the spring of 431 BC, with the outbreak of war looming, the Thebans decided to try and take control of Plataea. They had the support of one of the political factions inside the city, led by Nauclides, and decided to try and take advantage of this to take the city without a struggle. Two forces were sent from Thebes towards Plataea. The first consisted of 300 men. They were to be let into the city at night and take immediate control. The second, much larger force, would follow some way behind in order to avoid detection, arrive later on the same name and secure Theban control of Plataea.

The first part of the plan worked perfectly. The advance party of 300 men were let into the city and took up a position in the market place. At first the Plataeans were so shocked by the sudden appearance of 300 armed men inside the city that they agreed to the Theban demands, but when it became clear how small the invading force actually was the people of Plataea, including women and slaves, turned against the invaders. In a vicious night fight 120 of the Thebans were killed or escaped from the city, while 180 were taken prisoner. The larger Theban force didn't arrive until the following morning. They then agreed to withdraw from the city in return for the safe return of the prisoners, but as soon as the Theban army was gone the Plataeans executed their prisoners.

This incident ended the last lingering hopes of peace between Athens and Sparta, and triggered the Great Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). In the first two years of the war the main Sparta effort were two invasions of Attica, but in the third year of the war Sparta and her allies decided to attack Plataea instead. The Plataeans were clearly expecting an attack, for by the time the Spartans arrived the women and children had left the city and had taken refuge at Athens. When the siege began the city was defended by 400 Plataeans and 80 Athenian volunteers, supported by 110 women who cooked for the garrison.

The Spartan army, under the command of King Archidamus, camped outside Plataea while negotiations went on. Both sides tried to use the memory of the Persian War, when Plataea had been the site of the decisive land battle, with the Plataeans calling on the Spartans to honour an earlier oath to guarantee Plataea's independence, while Archidamus called on the Plataeans to either join the Boiotian league or to remain neutral. The Plataeans replied that they would have to consult the Athenians, and that they were worried that the Thebans would use the proposed neutrality in a second attempt to seize the city. Archidamus then came up with a dramatic counter-offer, suggesting that the people of Plataea evacuate their city and let the Spartans occupy it for the duration of the war. They would then be allowed to return once the war was over. Rather surprisingly the Plataean assembly agreed to these terms, but only if Athens approved.

The Plataean envoys returned from Athens with a reassurance that Athens would never abandon them, and a promise that they would provide as much help as possible. This encouraged the Plataeans to turn down the Sparta terms, and the siege finally began.

Archidamus began by constructing a wooden palisade around the city. The Spartans then began to build a mound leading up to the walls, with the intention of mounting an assault. The defenders responded by increasing the height of their own walls opposite the mound. They also dug a tunnel from inside the city to a position under the mound and began to excavate material from inside it, both delaying the construction of the mound and providing themselves with material for their own fortifications. Finally they began work on an inner wall, curving around the area that the mound was heading for so that if the Spartans did manage to cross the outer walls they would be faced with a new line of fortifications.

The Spartans also used more conventional siege engines against the city, but these were ineffective. After this effort had been going on for some time the Spartans decided that they couldn't take the city using their siege engines. Their next step was to wait for a suitable wind and then drop burning bundles into the city from the end of their mound. A large part of the city was destroyed by fire, but the defences remained intact. After this failure the Spartans decided to simply blockade the city. A wall of circumvallation was built around Plataea, most of the besieging army was dismissed, and the blockage began. The Spartan walls were fairly elaborate. Two walls were built (one facing the besieged the city, the other facing outwards to guard against any relief effort), sixteen feet apart. The garrison lived in huts built between the walls. The walls were linked by regularly spaced towers (ten battlements apart according to Thucydides), with gates in the centre of each tower.

By the winter of 428-427 BC supplies were beginning to run out within the city. The defenders decided to try and break out. At first this was to be a mass breakout, but half of the garrison then decided that it was too risky, and only 220 men took part. They used ladders to climb over the inner wall of circumvallation, captured two of the towers, and managed to get across the outer wall before strong reinforcements could arrive. When a mobile force of 300 Peloponnesians did arrive it was too late. The Plataeans then moved up the road leading to Thebes, deceiving the besiegers, who attempted to find them on the road to Athens. Eventually 212 of the escapees managed to reach Athens.

Their efforts were in vain. The Athenians didn't send a relief force to Plataea, as this might have involved them in the formal battle that they were trying to avoid. By the summer of 427 the defenders were so weakened by starvation that they were unable to resist a Spartan attack. At this point the Spartan commander decided to try and negotiate the surrender of the city, on the grounds that conquered places would probably be returned in any peace treaty, while places that surrendered might not be. The Plataeans agreed to surrender and to face the judgement of Sparta, in a fair trial. Instead they were faced with a mock trial, before the Spartans, under pressure from their Theban allies, executed all 200 Plataean and 25 Athenians who had survived the siege. The women who had remained in the city to cook for the garrison were sold into slavery. Plataea itself was demolished, and the building materials used to build a large two-storey hotel and a temple to Hera. The land was then leased out to Thebans. Just as the Spartan commander had expected, Thebes was allowed to keep Plataea in the Peace of Nikias of 421 BC.

Tag Archives: thucydides

Discussion Question 1: What comes to mind when you think of the word “classical”?

Classical Periods:

Discussion Question 2: How do we study Classical Civilizations?

History: The Greeks were the first to attempt to record history.

Herodotus (484 – 425 BCE): “The Father of History” – attempted to record events and human actions for the sole purpose of preserving them for future generations.

  • Wrote Histories (450’s 420’s BCE) – 9 books about the events and causes of the Greco-Persian wars and other conflicts
  • Criticized for including myths, folk legends, and outrageous tales

Thucydides (460 – 395 BCE) Wrote a History of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE), the first attempt to present history in an “objective” way, and to make correlations between cause and effect and observations about human behaviour and its relation to events

  • Placed value on eyewitness testimony (he was a soldier in the Peloponnesian war and survived the Athenian plague), and did not write about divine intervention in human affairs

Discussion Question 3: Fox focuses on three main THEMES: Freedom, Justice, and Luxury. Why do you think Fox chooses these themes? (See Fox page 7-9)

The Homeric Epic (Fox p. 13-23)

-An epic is a long work of heroic poetry that succeeded in becoming traditional, helped to establish a sense of national identity, and reinforced accepted values. Recited orally, they would take 2-3 days to recite.

-Homer lived in 8th C. BCE but his major works (The Iliad, The Odyssey) are about the Bronze Age, “The Age of Heroes,” (c. 1100 BCE) and they are not factual histories.

Discussion Question 4: Why are the Homeric epics useful for learning about Greek Civilization even though we know they are not factual?

Values in the Homeric epics include:

  • Courage in battle and noble conduct
  • Physical strength and beauty
  • Loyalty
  • Hospitality between equals – Xenia
  • Rigid social order
  • Wit and cleverness in speech and actions
  • Religious devoutness and loyalty to the Gods
  • Luxury – ornate palaces, precious clothes and adornments
  • Love between men (Achilles and Patroclus) and heterosexual love (Penelope and Odysseus)
  • Freedom from enslavement to a foreign power
  • Justice – human and divine (theodicy)

Discussion Question 5: Think about the values evident in works written about our society. Do you think humanity is mostly the same, or have we changed significantly since ancient Greece?

Works Cited

Cahill, Thomas. Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter. New York: Anchor Books, 2004.

Cantor, Norman F. Antiquity: The Civilization of the Ancient World. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

Lane Fox, Robin. The Classical World: an Epic History of Greece and Rome. London: Penguin Books, 2005.


Origins Edit

The notion of kingship in Europe ultimately originates in systems of tribal kingship in prehistoric Europe. The Minoan (c. 3200 – c. 1400 BCE) and Mycenaean civilisation (c. 1600 – c. 1100 BCE) provide the earliest examples of monarchies in protohistoric Greece. Thanks to the decipherment of the Linear B script in 1952, much knowledge has been acquired about society in the Mycenaean realms, where the kings functioned as leaders of palace economies. [1] The role of kings changed in the following Greek Dark Ages (c. 1100 – c. 750 BCE) to big gentleman farmers with military power. [1]

Archaic and classical antiquity Edit

Since the beginning of antiquity, monarchy confronted several republican forms of government, wherein executive power was in the hands of a number of people that elected leaders in a certain way instead of appointing them by hereditary succession. During the archaic period (c. 750–500 BCE), kingship disappeared in almost all Greek poleis, [2] and also in Rome (then still a barely significant town). After the demise of kingship, the Greek city-states were initially most often led by nobility (aristocracy), after which their economic and military power base crumbled. Next, in almost all poleis tyrants usurped power for two generations (tyranny, 7th and especially 6th century BCE), after which gradually forms of governments led by the wealthy (oligarchy) or assemblies of free male citizens (democracy) emerged in Classical Greece (mainly after 500 BCE). [3] Athenian democracy (6th century–322 BCE) is the best-known example of the latter form classical Sparta (c. 550–371 BCE) was a militaristic polis with a remarkable mix between monarchy (dual kingship), aristocracy (Gerousia) and democracy (Apella) [4] the Roman Republic (c. 509–27 BCE) had a mixed constitution of oligarchy, democracy and especially aristocracy. [5] The city-states of the Etruscan civilization (which arose during the Villanovan period, c. 900–700 BCE) appear to have followed a similar pattern, with the original monarchies being overthrown and replaced by oligarchic republics in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. [6] ( 8:18 )

The dominant poleis of Athens and Sparta were weakened by warring each other, especially during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BCE) won by Sparta. They were defeated and ruled by Thebes for a time (371–360 BCE), after which Sparta's role was over. Eventually, all of Greece was subjugated by the Macedonian monarchy in 338 BCE, that put an end to the era of free autonomous city-states, and Athenian democracy as well in 322 BCE. [7] In the subsequent Hellenistic period (334–30 BCE) [8] numerous diadochs (successors of Alexander the Great) fought one another for the kingship of Macedon, definitively obtained by the Antigonids in 277 BCE. [9] Meanwhile, the Phoenician city-state of Carthage, located in present-day Tunisia, aside from settling large swaths of North Africa's coast, also set up several colonies on Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, the Baleares and in southern Iberia. [10] The Carthaginian empire, according to tradition founded in 814 BCE, started out as a monarchy, but in the 4th century transformed into a republic where suffets ("judges") ruled. Finally, Rome gradually conquered all of Italy (primarily after 350 BCE), and defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars (264–146 BCE). In 168, Macedon was subdued by the Romans, and partitioned into four client republics. These were annexed as Roman provinces in 148, as happened to Greece in 146, [9] making Rome's territory envelop all of literate Europe. The remainder of Iberia, the Illyrian coast and eventually Gaul by general Julius Caesar were added to the Roman Republic, which however was experiencing an institutional crisis. After defeating his rival Pompey, Caesar was appointed dictator to restore order. He almost managed to found a dynasty in the process, but was killed by a republican cabal led by Brutus in 44 BCE.

Roman Empire and legacy Edit

Caesar's adoptive son Octavian prevailed in the ensuing civil war, and converted the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire in 27 BCE. He took on the name Augustus, with the rather humble title of princeps ("first [citizen]"), as if he were merely primus inter pares ("first among equals"), when he had in fact founded a monarchy. This limited emperorship (Principate) was strengthened in 284 by Diocletian to absolute reign (Dominate). [11] The Empire recognised various client kingdoms under imperial suzerainty most of these were in Asia, but tribal client kings were also recognized by the Roman authorities in Britannia. Most of the barbarian kingdoms established in the 5th century (the kingdoms of the Suebi, Burgundi, Vandals, Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths) recognised the Roman Emperor at least nominally, and Germanic kingdoms would continue to mint coins depicting the Roman emperor well into the 6th century. [12] It was this derivation of the authority of kingship from the Christian Roman Empire that would be at the core of the medieval institution of kingship in Europe and its notion of the divine right of kings, as well as the position of the Pope in Latin Christendom, the restoration of the Roman Empire under Charlemagne and the derived concept of the Holy Roman Empire in Western and Central Europe.

Medieval Europe Edit

The monarchies of Europe in the Christian Middle Ages derived their claim from Christianisation and the divine right of kings, partly influenced by the notion of sacral kingship inherited from Germanic antiquity. The great powers of Europe in the Early Modern period were the result of a gradual process of centralization of power taking place over the course of the Middle Ages.

The Early Middle Ages begin with a fragmentation of the former Western Roman Empire into "barbarian kingdoms". In Western Europe, the kingdom of the Franks developed into the Carolingian Empire by the 8th century, and the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England were unified into the kingdom of England by the 10th century. With the breakup of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, the system of feudalism places kings at the head of a pyramid of relationships between liege lords and vassals, dependent on the regional rule of barons, and the intermediate positions of counts (or earls) and dukes. The core of European feudal manorialism in the High Middle Ages were the territories of the kingdom of France, the Holy Roman Empire (centered on the nominal kingdoms of Germany and Italy) and the kingdoms of England and Scotland.

Early Modern Europe Edit

With the rise of nation-states and the Protestant Reformation, the theory of divine right justified the king's absolute authority in both political and spiritual matters. The theory came to the fore in England under the reign of James I of England (1603–1625, also known as James VI of Scotland 1567–1625). Louis XIV of France (1643–1715) strongly promoted the theory as well. Early modern Europe was dominated by the Wars of Religion, notably the Thirty Years' War, during which the major European monarchies developed into centralised great powers sustained by their colonial empires. The main European powers in the early modern period were:

  • the Kingdom of France with its colonial empire
  • the Portuguese Empire of the Kingdom of Portugal (personal union with Spain 1580–1640)
  • the Spanish Empire of Habsburg Spain (after 1700 Bourbon Spain)
  • the British Empire of the English and Scottish Union of the Crowns (after 1707 the Kingdom of Great Britain)
  • the Holy Roman Empire was effectively dominated by the Habsburg Monarchy and an emerging by Prussia
  • the Tsardom of Russia
  • the kingdom of Poland as the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
  • the kingdom of Sweden rose to the status of great power as the comparatively short-lived Swedish Empire due to the Thirty Years' War
  • the kingdom of Denmark-Norway

The House of Habsburg became the most influential royal dynasty in continental Europe by the 17th century, divided into the Spanish and Austrian branches.

Modern Europe Edit

The modern resurgence of parliamentarism and anti-monarchism began with the temporary overthrow of the English monarchy by the Parliament of England in 1649, followed by the American Revolution (1775–83) and especially the French Revolution (1789–99). The absolutist Kingdom of France was first transformed to a constitutional monarchy (1791–92), before being fully abolished on 21 September 1792, and eventually the former king even executed, to the other European courts' great shock. During the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1799), the great European monarchies were unable to restore the monarchy instead, the French First Republic expanded and annexed neighbouring territories, or converted them into loyal sister republics. Meanwhile, the German Mediatization of 1803 thoroughly rearranged the political structure of the Holy Roman Empire, with many small principalities and all ecclesiastical lands being annexed by larger monarchies. After Napoleon seized power, however, he gradually constructed a new imperial order in French-controlled Europe, first by crowning himself Emperor of the French in 1804, and then converting the sister republics into monarchies ruled by his relatives. In July 1806 due to Napoleon's campaigns a larger number of states in the Western part of Germany seceded The Holy Roman Empire and this brought in August 1806 the emperor Francis II to decide dissolving the entire empire, bringing an end to 1833 years of history of Roman emperors in Europe.

Following Napoleon's defeat in 1814 and 1815, the reactionary Congress of Vienna determined that all of Europe should consist of strong monarchies (with the exception of Switzerland and a few insignificant republics). In France, the Bourbon dynasty was restored, replaced by the liberal July Monarchy in 1830, before the entire monarchy was again abolished during the Revolutions of 1848. The popular Napoleon III was able to proclaim himself Emperor in 1852, thus founding the Second French Empire. The kingdoms of Sicily and Naples ("Two Sicilies") were absorbed into the kingdom of Sardinia to form the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Austria and Prussia vied to unite all German states under their banner, with Prussia emerging victorious in 1866. It succeeded in provoking Napoleon III to declare war, leading to the defeat of France, and the absorption of the southern German states into the German Empire in the process (1870–71). From the ashes of the Second Empire rose the French Third Republic, the only great republican European power until World War I.

Much of 19th century politics was characterised by the division between anti-monarchist radicalism and monarchist conservatism. The Kingdom of Spain was briefly abolished in 1873, restored 1874–1931 and again in 1975 (or in 1947). The Kingdom of Portugal was abolished in 1910. The Russian Empire ended in 1917, the Kingdom of Prussia in 1918. The Kingdom of Hungary fell under Habsburg rule in 1867 and was dissolved in 1918 (restored 1920–1946). Likewise, the Kingdom of Bohemia under Habsburg rule was dissolved in 1918.

The Napoleonic Wars transformed the political landscape of Europe, and a number of modern kingdoms were formed in a resurgence of monarchism after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the defeat of the French Empire:

  • the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary (1804–1918)
  • the Kingdom of Württemberg (1805–1918)
  • the Kingdom of Bavaria (1805–1918)
  • the Kingdom of Saxony (1806–1918)
  • the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1808–1861)
  • the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1813/15 to present)
  • an independent constitution for the Kingdom of Norway (1814 to present)
  • the Kingdom of France ("Bourbon Restoration") (1814–1830) followed by the July Monarchy (Kingdom of France) (1830–1848)
  • the Kingdom of Hanover (1814–1866)
  • the Kingdom of Poland (1815–1874)
  • the Kingdom of Belgium (1830 to present)
  • the Kingdom of Greece (1832–1924 & 1935–1973)
  • the Second French Empire (1852–1870)
  • the Principality of Montenegro (1852–1910) continued as the Kingdom of Montenegro (1910–1918)
  • the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
  • the Principality of Romania (1862–1881) continued as the Kingdom of Romania (1882–1947)
  • the German Empire (1871–1918)
  • the Principality of Bulgaria (1878–1908) continued as the Kingdom of Bulgaria (1908–1946)
  • the Principality of Serbia (1815–1882) continued as the Kingdom of Serbia (1882–1918)
  • the Principality of Albania (1914–1925)

Many countries abolished the monarchy in the 20th century and became republics, especially in the wake of either World War I or World War II.

New monarchies Edit

A few new monarchies emerged for a brief period of time in the final years of World War I:

Monarchies established or re-established during the interbellum period were:

  • the Kingdom of Iceland (1918–1944)
  • the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1945)
  • the Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946)
  • the Irish Free State (1922–1937)
  • the Kingdom of Albania (1928–1944)
  • the Vatican City State governed by the Holy See (1929 to present)
  • the Kingdom of Greece (1935–1973)

Monarchies established or re-established from 1940 and onwards:

Territorial evolution Edit

Table of monarchies in Europe Edit

State Type Succession Dynasty Title Image Incumbent Born Age Reigns since First-in-line
Principality of Andorra Constitutional Ex officio: the Bishop of Urgell and the President of France Co-prince Joan Enric Vives Sicília 24 July 1949 71 12 May 2003 None appointed by the Pope
Emmanuel Macron [I] 21 December 1977 43 14 May 2017 None successor elected in the next French presidential election.
Kingdom of Belgium Constitutional Hereditary Saxe-Coburg and Gotha King Philippe 15 April 1960 61 21 July 2013 Heir apparent: Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant (eldest child)
Kingdom of Denmark Constitutional Hereditary Glücksburg Queen Margrethe II 16 April 1940 81 14 January 1972 Heir apparent: Crown Prince Frederik (eldest child)
Principality of Liechtenstein Constitutional Hereditary Liechtenstein Sovereign Prince Hans-Adam II 14 February 1945 76 13 November 1989 Heir apparent: Hereditary Prince Alois (eldest son)
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Constitutional Hereditary Nassau-Weilburg (Bourbon) Grand Duke Henri 16 April 1955 66 7 October 2000 Heir apparent: Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume (eldest child)
Principality of Monaco Constitutional Hereditary Grimaldi Sovereign Prince Albert II 14 March 1958 63 6 April 2005 Heir apparent: Hereditary Prince Jacques (only legitimate son)
Kingdom of the Netherlands Constitutional Hereditary Orange-Nassau (Amsberg) King Willem-Alexander 27 April 1967 54 30 April 2013 Heir apparent: Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange (eldest child)
Kingdom of Norway Constitutional Hereditary Glücksburg King Harald V 21 February 1937 84 17 January 1991 Heir apparent: Crown Prince Haakon (only son)
Kingdom of Spain Constitutional Hereditary Bourbon King Felipe VI 30 January 1968 53 19 June 2014 Heir presumptive: Leonor, Princess of Asturias (elder daughter) [II]
Kingdom of Sweden Constitutional Hereditary Bernadotte King Carl XVI Gustaf 30 April 1946 75 15 September 1973 Heir apparent: Crown Princess Victoria (eldest child)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Constitutional Hereditary Windsor Queen Elizabeth II [III] 21 April 1926 95 6 February 1952 Heir apparent: Charles, Prince of Wales (eldest child)
Vatican City State Absolute Elective Pope Francis 17 December 1936 84 13 March 2013 Elective
I ^ The co-prince of Andorra is also the president of France.

II ^ Leonor is, as the reigning king's older daughter, the current heiress presumptive. Felipe VI has no sons.

III ^ The monarch of the United Kingdom is also the sovereign of the fifteen other Commonwealth realms.

Descriptions Edit

Andorra Edit

Andorra has been a co-principality since the signing of a paréage in 1278, when the count of Foix and the bishop of La Seu d'Urgell agreed to share sovereignty over the landlocked country. The principality was briefly annexed in 1396 and again in 1512–1513 by the Crown of Aragon. The first female prince to rule Andorra was Isabella, Countess of Foix (1398–1413). After the title of the count of Foix had been passed to the kings of Navarre, and after Henry of Navarre had become Henry IV of France, an edict was issued in 1607 which established the French head of state as the legal successor to the count of Foix in regard to the paréage. Andorra was briefly annexed for a third time by the First French Empire together with Catalonia in 1812–1813. After the Empire's demise, Andorra became independent again. [13] The current joint monarchs are Bishop Joan Enric Vives Sicília and President Emmanuel Macron of France.

Belgium Edit

Belgium has been a kingdom since 21 July 1831 without interruption, after it became independent from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands with Léopold I as its first king. Belgium is the only remaining popular monarchy in the world: The monarch is formally known as the "King of the Belgians", not the "King of Belgium". [ citation needed ] While in a referendum held on 12 March 1950, 57.68 percent of the Belgians voted in favor of allowing Leopold III, whose conduct during World War II had been considered questionable and who had been accused of treason, to return to the throne due to civil unrest, he opted to abdicate in favor of his son Baudouin on 16 July 1951. [14] The current monarch is Philippe.

Denmark Edit

In Denmark, the monarchy goes back to the prehistoric times of the legendary kings, before the 10th century and the Danish monarchy is the oldest in Europe (with the first attested historical king being Ongendus around the year 710). Currently, about 80 percent support keeping the monarchy. [15] The current monarch is Margrethe II. The Danish monarchy also includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland which are parts of the Kingdom of Denmark with internal home rule. Due to this status, the monarch has no separate title for these regions. On her accession to the throne in 1972 Margrethe II, the present monarch, refrained from using the additional titles historical associated with the Danish monarchs for more than 750 years and simply styled herself Queen of Denmark.

Liechtenstein Edit

Liechtenstein formally came into existence on 23 January 1719, when Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor decreed the lordship of Schellenberg and the countship of Vaduz united and raised to the dignity of a principality. Liechtenstein was a part of the Holy Roman Empire until the Treaty of Pressburg was signed on 26 December 1805 this marked Liechtenstein's formal independence, though it was a member of the Confederation of the Rhine and the German Confederation afterwards. While Liechtenstein was still closely aligned with Austria-Hungary until World War I, it realigned its politics and its customs and monetary institutions with Switzerland instead. [16] Having been a constitutional monarchy since 1921, Hans-Adam II demanded more influence in Liechtenstein's politics in the early 21st century, which he was granted in a referendum held on 16 March 2003, effectively making Liechtenstein a semi-constitutional monarchy again. However, technically speaking, Liechtenstein's monarchy remains fully constitutional, and the transition was merely from a parliamentary system to a semi-presidential system, and the constitutional changes also provide for the possibility of a referendum to abolish the monarchy entirely. [17] The current monarch is Hans-Adam II, who turned over the day-to-day governing decisions to his son and heir Alois, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein on 15 August 2004.

Luxembourg Edit

Luxembourg has been an independent grand duchy since 9 June 1815. Originally, Luxembourg was in personal union with the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 16 March 1815 until 23 November 1890. While Wilhelmina succeeded Willem III in the Netherlands, this was not possible in Luxembourg due to the order of succession being based on Salic law at that time he was succeeded instead by Adolphe. In a referendum held on 28 September 1919, 80.34 per cent voted in favor of keeping the monarchy. [18] The current monarch is Henri.

Monaco Edit

Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297. From 1793 until 1814, Monaco was under French control the Congress of Vienna designated Monaco as being a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1815 until 1860, when the Treaty of Turin ceded the surrounding counties of Nice and Savoy to France. Menton and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, part of Monaco until the mid-19th century before seceding in hopes of being annexed by Sardinia, were ceded to France in exchange for 4,000,000 French francs with the Franco-Monegasque Treaty in 1861, which also formally guaranteed Monaco its independence. [19] Until 2002, Monaco would have become part of France had the house of Grimaldi ever died out in a treaty signed that year, the two nations agreed that Monaco would remain independent even in such a case. The current monarch is Albert II.

Netherlands Edit

Though while not using the title of king until 1815, the Dutch Royal House has been an intricate part of the politics of the Low Countries since medieval times. In 1566, the stadtholder William of Orange became the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau

His descendants became de facto heads of state of the Dutch Republic during the 16th to 18th centuries, which was an effectively hereditary role. For the last half century of its existence, it became an officially hereditary role and thus a monarchy (though maintaining republican pretense) under Prince William IV. His son, Prince William V, was the last stadtholder of the republic, whose own son, King William I, became the first king of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, which was established on 16 March 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. With the independence of Belgium on 21 July 1831, the Netherlands formally became the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The current monarch is Willem-Alexander.

Norway Edit

Norway was united and thus established for the first time in 872, as a kingdom. As a result of the unification of the Norwegian petty kingdoms, which traces the monarchs even further back in time, both legitimate and semi–legendary kings. It is thus one of the oldest monarchies in the world, along with the Swedish and Danish ones. Norway was part of the Kalmar Union from 1397 until 1524, then part of Denmark–Norway from 1536 until 1814, and finally an autonomous part of the Union between Sweden and Norway from 1814 until 1905. Norway became completely independent again on 7 June 1905. Support for establishing a republic lies around 20 per cent. [20] The current monarch is Harald V.

Spain Edit

Spain came into existence as a single, united kingdom under Charles I of Spain on 23 January 1516. The monarchy was briefly abolished by the First Spanish Republic from 11 February 1873 until 29 December 1874. The monarchy was abolished again on 14 April 1931, first by the Second Spanish Republic – which lasted until 1 April 1939 – and subsequently by the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who ruled until his death on 20 November 1975. Monarchy was restored on 22 November 1975 under Juan Carlos I, who was also the monarch until his abdication in 2014. His son Felipe VI is the current monarch. The 1978 constitution confirms the title of the monarch is the King of Spain, but that he may also use other titles historically associated with the Crown, [21] including the kingdoms of Castile and León, Aragon, the Two Sicilies, Jerusalem, Navarre, Granada, Seville, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Sardinia, Córdoba, Corsica, etc.

Today, there is a large number of organisations campaigning in favor of establishing a Third Spanish Republic [22] Data from 2006 suggested that only 25 percent of Spaniards were in favor of establishing a republic [23] however, the numbers have increased since Juan Carlos I abdicated. [24] According to more recent surveys, support for the monarchy has dropped to a technical tie between its supporters and supporters of a republic, making Spain the European country with the highest percentage of detractors of the current monarchical state model. [25] [26] [27]

Sweden Edit

Sweden’s monarchy goes back almost as far as the Danish one, to the semilegendary kings before the 10th century, since then it has not been interrupted. However, the unification of the rivalling kingdoms Svealand and Götaland (consolidation of Sweden) did not occur until some time later, possibly in the early 11th century. The current royal family, the House of Bernadotte, has reigned since 1818. The current monarch is Carl XVI Gustaf.

United Kingdom Edit

The monarchy of the United Kingdom can be defined to have started either with the Kingdoms of England (871) or Scotland (843), with the Union of the Crowns on 24 March 1603, or with the Acts of Union of 1 May 1707. It was briefly interrupted by the English Interregnum, with the Commonwealth of England existing in its stead from 30 January 1649 until 15 December 1653 and from 26 May 1659 until 25 May 1660 and the Protectorate taking its place from 16 December 1653 until 25 May 1659. The current monarch is Elizabeth II.

Support for establishing a republic instead of a monarchy was around 18 per cent in the United Kingdom in 2006, while a majority thinks that there will still be a monarchy in the United Kingdom in ten years' time, public opinion is rather uncertain about a monarchy still existing in fifty years and a clear majority believes that the monarchy will no longer exist a century after the poll. [28] Public opinion is, however, certain that the monarchy will still exist in thirty years. About 30 per cent are in favour of discontinuing the monarchy after Elizabeth's death.

The monarch of the United Kingdom is also the monarch of the fifteen other Commonwealth realms, none of which are in Europe. Some of these realms have significant levels of support for republicanism. [29]

Vatican City Edit

Differently from the Holy See, in existence for almost two thousand years, the Vatican City was not a sovereign state until the 20th century. In the 19th century the annexation of the Papal States by the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the subsequent establishment of the Kingdom of Italy, was not recognized by the Vatican. However, by the Lateran treaty of 1929, the Kingdom of Italy recognized Vatican City as an independent state, and vice versa. [30] Since then, the elected monarch of the Vatican City state has been the current pope. The pope still officially carries the title "King of the Ecclesiastical State" (in Latin: Rex Status Ecclesiæ).

Succession laws Edit

The succession order is determined by primogeniture in most European monarchies. Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom [31] now adhere to absolute primogeniture, whereby the eldest child inherits the throne, regardless of gender Monaco and Spain have the older system of male-preference primogeniture, while Liechtenstein uses agnatic primogeniture. In 1990, Norway granted absolute primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. This was not, however, done retroactively (as, for example, Sweden had done in 1980), meaning that Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway continues to take precedence over his older sister.

There are plans to change to absolute primogeniture in Spain [32] through a rather complicated process, as the change entails a constitutional amendment. Two successive parliaments will have to pass the law by a two-thirds majority and then put it to a referendum. As parliament has to be dissolved and new elections have to be called after the constitutional amendment is passed for the first time, then Prime Minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero indicated he would wait until the end of his first term in 2008 before passing the law, [33] although this deadline passed without the referendum being called. The amendment enjoys strong public support. [34]

To change the order of succession in the United Kingdom, as the Queen of the United Kingdom is also the queen of the fifteen other Commonwealth realms, a change had to be agreed and made by all of the Commonwealth realms together. In the United Kingdom, the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 was enacted, and after completion of the legislative alterations required in some other realms, the changes came into effect across the Commonwealth realms on 26 March 2015.

Liechtenstein uses agnatic primogeniture (aka Salic law), which completely excludes women from the order of succession unless there are no male heirs of any kind present, and was criticised for this by a United Nations committee for this perceived gender equality issue in November 2007. [35]

Luxembourg also used agnatic primogeniture until 20 June 2011, when absolute primogeniture was introduced. [36]

The co-princes of Andorra are the president of the French Republic, who is elected by the French people, and the Bishop of La Seu d'Urgell, who is appointed by the Pope.

The absolute monarch of Vatican City, the Pope, is elected by the College of Cardinals. The current ruler is Pope Francis.

Costs Edit

One issue that occasionally rises is whether the monarchies are too expensive when compared to republics, or whether particular monarchies are more expensive than others, to maintain. This comparison may be hard to draw, since financial administration may differ radically from country to country, and not all profits and costs are publicly known, and because of different arrangements regarding the private property of the monarch. In the UK, the Crown Estate has a special legal status making it neither government property nor the private property of the monarch. Revenues from these hereditary possessions have been placed at the disposition of the British government (thus proceeding directly to the Treasury) by every monarch since the accession of George III in 1760 the revenues of GBP 304.1 million (fiscal year of 2015/16) far exceed the expenses of the British royal family in this sense resulting in a "negative cost" of the British monarchy.

In 2016, Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published an overview of the annual expenditure (excluding security expenses) of all European royal houses (not counting Luxembourg and the four monarchical European microstates).

Country Annual costs royal house Annual salary monarch Does monarch pay taxes? Annual costs royal house per taxpayer
Belgium €36 million €11.5 million Yes €3.15
Denmark €13 million €10 million Only inheritance tax €2.30
Netherlands €41 million €0.9 million No €2.40
Norway €51 million €1.2 million No €9.70
Spain €8 million €0.2 million Yes €0.16
Sweden €13 million €6.7 million Yes €1.30
United Kingdom €45 million €15.6 million Yes €0.70
Source: de Volkskrant (2016), based on the royal houses' websites of the seven monarchies, professor Herman Matthijs' 2013 study, [37] the Dutch National Budget 2017, and ABCTOPConsult. [38]

In 2013, professor Herman Matthijs from Ghent University calculated the costs of the seven EU monarchies plus Norway, and compared them to the EU's two most populous republics, France and Germany. His four main conclusions were:

  • The personal salaries of presidents are lower than those of monarchs [37]
  • The transparency differs between republics and monarchies, and is formally regulated in republics
  • In republics, pension costs of former heads of state are higher, although the figures don't say so
  • The existence of subsidies to family members of the heads of state in some monarchies increases their expenses.

He stressed that the financial administration's transparency differs enormously between countries especially the non-transparent monarchies may be much more expensive than is publicly known. This means comparing them to republics, especially the very transparent administration of France where citizens can know exactly what they pay for, may be unfair. In a 2015 interview with NRC Handelsblad, Matthijs commented that the then-known €7.7 million allotted to the royal house in Spain's national budget was 'unbelievable': "I can't find out more, but I understand from the media that the total expenses of the Spanish house may be as much as 80 million." [39]

Country Form of government Official annual costs Transparency
Belgium Monarchy €13.9 million Not transparent
Denmark Monarchy €13.2 million Not transparent
France Republic €106.2 million Very transparent
Germany Republic €25.6 million Relatively transparent
Luxembourg Monarchy €9.3 million Not transparent
Netherlands Monarchy €39.9 million Relatively transparent
Norway Monarchy €42.7 million Relatively transparent
Spain Monarchy €7.9 million Not transparent
Sweden Monarchy €15.1 million Not transparent
United Kingdom Monarchy €38.0 million Poorly transparent
Source: Herman Matthijs, "De kosten van een staatshoofd in West-Europa" (2013). [37]

Calls for abolition Edit

Calls for the abolition of Europe's monarchies were widespread since the development of republicanism in the 17th to 18th centuries during the Enlightenment. During the French Revolution, the Ancien Régime in France was abolished, and in all territories the French First Republic conquered during the following Coalition Wars, sister republics were proclaimed. However, after Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804, all of these (except Switzerland) were converted back to monarchies headed by his relatives. The post-Napoleonic European Restoration reaffirmed the monarchical balance of power on the continent.

In subsequent decades, republicanism would regain lost ground with the rise of liberalism, nationalism, and later socialism. The Revolutions of 1848 were largely inspired by republicanism. Most of Europe's monarchies were abolished either during or following World War I or World War II, and the remaining monarchies were transformed into constitutional monarchies.

Republican movements in Europe remain active up to present, though their political clout is limited in most European monarchies. The most prominent organisations campaigning to eliminate one or more of Europe's remaining monarchies and/or to liquidate assets reserved for reigning families are affiliated with the Alliance of European Republican Movements, but there are smaller independent initiatives as well, such as Hetis2013 in the Netherlands. [40] [41] Also, some political parties (e.g. Podemos in Spain) have stepped up and called for national referenda to abolish monarchies. [42] [43]

Calls for restoration Edit

The political influence of monarchism in former European monarchies is very limited.

There are several monarchist parties in France, most notably the Action Française (established 1899). Monarchist parties also exist in the Czech Republic (1991), in Greece (2010), in Italy (1972) and in Russia (2012).

Otto von Habsburg renounced all pretense to the Habsburg titles in 1958, and monarchism in Austria has next to no political influence a German monarchist organisation called Tradition und Leben has been in existence since 1959. Monarchism in Bavaria has had more significant support, including Franz Josef Strauss, minister-president of Bavaria from 1978–1988.

Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia is a proponent of re-creating a constitutional monarchy in Serbia and sees himself as the rightful king. He believes that monarchy could give Serbia "stability, continuity and unity". [44]

A number of political parties and organizations support a constitutional parliamentary monarchy in Serbia. The Serbian Orthodox Church has openly supported the restoration of the monarchy. [45] [46] The assassinated former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić was often seen in the company of the prince and his family, supporting their campaigns and projects, although his Democratic Party never publicly embraced monarchy.

In 2011 an online open access poll by Serbian middle-market tabloid newspaper Blic showed that 64% of Serbians support restoring the monarchy. [47] Another poll in May 2013 had 39% of Serbians supporting the monarchy, with 32% against it. [48] On 27 July 2015, newspaper Blic published a poll "Da li Srbija treba da bude monarhija?" ("Should Serbia be a monarchy?") 49.8% respondents expressed support in a reconstitution of monarchy, 44.6% were opposed and 5.5% were indifferent. [49]

In Romania, According to a 2007 opinion poll conducted at the request of the Romanian royal family, only 14% of Romanians were in favour of the restoration of the monarchy. [50] Another 2008 poll found that only 16% of Romanians are monarchists. [51] In December 2017, on the backdrop of the increased capital of trust in the Royal House of Romania, re-emerging with the death of King Michael, the executive chairman of the ruling Social Democratic Party Nicolae Bădălau said that one could organize a referendum on the transition to the monarchical ruling form, arguing that "it is not a bad thing, considering that the countries that have the monarchs are developed countries", being a project of the future. [52]

TT10 Mende (423 BC)

Historical Background
As the scope of the Peloponnesian War continue to widen during the second decade of the conflict, the Spartan general Brasidas led an expeditionary force to the “legs” of Chalcidice, three peninsulas that stick into the the northwestern Aegean Sea. As a part of a wider campaign to engage the support of northern Greeks to the Spartan cause, Brasidas sought also to remove city-states from the Athenian-dominated Delian League.
In 423 BCE, through intimidation and diplomacy, Brasidas was able to convince Mende and Scione to revolt against the Delian League. Although this gave Sparta important strongholds along the crucial Black Sea trade route, the actions caused Athens to immediately dispatch a superior force, under the joint command of the generals Nicias and Nicostratus, to retake the two objectives on the westernmost peninsula of Chalcidice.
Although the Athenians possessed the numerical advantage in both hoplites and light troops, the Spartan officer Polydamidas (Brasidas was now at Scione) responded to the unfavorable odds by posting his composite force of Spartan mercenaries and local troops not behind the city walls of Mende, but on a hill outside the city. The Athenians first attempted to force them back with archers attacking the flank, which was unsuccessful as the Athenian archers were driven off by inferior numbers of Spartan and local light troops, with Nicias himself wounded. Nicostratus then attempted to force the issue with his hoplite phalanx, only to meet stiff opposition in an uphill battle, which caused the Athenians to surrender the field and retire to their landing point nearby.
Despite the initial success of the Spartan leadership, Mende and neighboring Scione soon fell to the overwhelming numbers of the Athenian force, Scione to direct assault and Mende to a prolonged siege. As a portent of what would become commonplace to those who were caught in between the two warring powers, the Athenians executed the men and sold the families as slaves when the citadel of Mende finally fell in 421.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?

Ancient Greek Theatre

The Peloponnesian War was the war fought between Athens and its Empire [the Delian League - Attica and many islands in the Aegean Sea and the city-states along the Ionian Coast] and Sparta and its Allies [called by historians the Peloponnesian League - principally comprising Sparta and Corinth]. Sparta’s was a conservative alliance which supported oligarchies and was opposed to the democracy of Athens. Indeed the Peloponnesian War has been seen as a struggle between Oligarchy and Democracy. The Athenians thought of themselves as tribally different from Spartans, as Ionians as opposed to Dorians. Only if the two were allied in defence of Hellas [against the Persians] did they both think of themselves as Hellenes. The radical political thought and constitution of Athens, its democracy and the freedoms that were given to its citizens contrasted strongly with the regime the people of Sparta lived under, posing a major threat to the latter’s political structure and way of life. Sparta’s strength lay in its land based army and military force. Its hoplites were the best in all of Ancient Greece. Athens relied on its navy to defend itself, though Corinth had a navy too.

Athens had enough ready money for its navy the next step was to provide a sufficient supply of timber. This was always a difficulty with the Athenians, for Attica itself could supply little for building triremes, and in particular for making the oars which had to be extremely strong and, especially for the upper tiers of rowers, of very great length also. Almost all the timber they required they were obliged to import most of it came from Macedonia.

Sparta had a huge land based and trained army which it used to guard itself from revolts by its huge slave population, the Helots, the other peoples of the Peloponnesian peninsula whose land had been captured by Spartan military forces and their peoples enslaved and put to work by the Spartans to support their families.

Sparta and Athens had allied against the Persian invaders during the incursions made by Darius and Xerxes. This was the association formed of Greek city states to fight against the Persians during the Greco-Persian Wars of the 5th century BC. This alliance was called the Hellenic League.

After the Persian Wars, Sparta left the Hellenic League and Athens set up the Delian League in its place to defend itself against possible future Persian aggression The allied city-states of the Delian League were all meant to contribute funds for a navy in their defence. The Delian League was so-called because the treasury for this league was set up on the island of Delos. Athens, having the technical skills to build the ships and the trained oarsmen, became the principal boat builders and supplied the labour, materials, and the crews for the Delian League’s navy . They moved the treasury from Delos to the Acropolis and the Parthenon temple. The contributions made by the subordinate members of the League were made compulsory, in effect turning the patment into tribute which the Athenian forces enforced ruthlessly if any member of the alliance failed to deliver up its share of the monies. In essence the Delian League became Athens’ Empire and the client member city-states of the alliance Athenian colonies. Many found reason in this to revolt against the Athenian hegemony.

Between the end of the Persian Wars and the middle of the 5th Century BC several incidents and sometimes open hostilities took place between Athens and the member city-states of the Peloponnesian League.

The period of fifty years between the defeat of the Persians at Plataea in 479 BC and the start of the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC is known as the Pentecontaetia [πεντηκονταετία].

The First Peloponnesian War [460-445 BC]

The First Peloponnesian War was a series of conflicts and minor wars, such as the Second Sacred War . There were several causes for the war including Athens’ building of its long walls, Megara's defection to Sparta and the concern felt by Sparta at the growth of the Athenian Empire.

Between 462 BC and 458 BC, Athens began the construction of two sets of defensive long and high walls, one running from the city to the old port at Phalerum, the other to the new port at Piraeus. Which it hoped would prevent their construction of Athens’ defensive walls, but work on them continued and they were completed soon after the battle. These walls ensured that Athens would never again be cut off from essential supplies as long as she controlled the sea. These walls enclosed not only Athens city centre but a vast area which included the two main ports.

460 BC Battle of Oenoe, where a small Spartan force which had been sent to quell an uprising in Argos was defeated by the forces of the Athenian-Argive alliance. Athens builds long walls for the Megarans to their port at Nisaea, thereby making an enemy of Megara's old rival, Corinth.

457 BC when the Spartans and their allies defeat the Athenian army at Tanagra by which it hoped it would prevent further work on Athens’ defensive walls, but work on them continued and much of the works was completed soon after the battle. The Athenians counter-attacked and gained a crushing victory over the Boeotians at the Battle of Oenophyta. They followed this victory up with the conquest of all Boeotia except for Thebes. The victory at Oenophyta enabled Athens to defeat Aegina later that year, and to finish the construction of the Long Walls to the Athenian port of Piraeus.

The Second Sacred War that year was the conflict over the occupation of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi by the Phocians and the intervention of a Spartan force which returned control of it back to the Delphians. On the way back to the Peloponnese of the Spartan force, the Athenians attacked them but were repelled, and the Spartans continued on their way home.

Afterwards Sparta embarked on a campaign of truncating "Athens' imperialistic ambitions in Central Greece" The Athenians were defeated in 454 BC by the Persians in Egypt which caused them to have to enter into a Five Years Truce with Sparta.

451 BC Cimon [who has returned home to Athens from his ostracism] negotiates the Five Years' Truce with Sparta, in which Athens agrees to abandon its alliance with Argos, and Sparta promises to give up its alliance with Thebes. During that same year Argos signs the first Thirty-Years Peace with Sparta.

447 BC A revolt breaks out in Boeotia as the oligarchs of Thebes conspire against the democratic faction in the city. The Athenians, under their general Tolmides, with 1000 hoplites plus other troops from their allies, march into Boeotia to take back the rebelling cities. They capture Chaeronea, but are attacked and defeated by the Boeotians at the Battle of Coronea. As a result, the Athenians were forced to give up control of Boeotia as well as Phocis and Locris, all of which fall under the control of the hostile oligarchs who had quit the Delian League.

Pericles leads Athenian forces in the expulsion of the Thracian peoples from the Gallipoli peninsula, to establish a new type of colonies there [Cleruchies]. A Cleruchy was a form of colonisation where the poor and unemployed people of Athens, its citizens, were encouraged and assisted to emigrate to the newly established colonies, plantations as out-settlements of Athens. In this manner Athens diluted the power local populations of the occupied city-states which led them to lose their self-identity The system of cleruchies became a regular part of Athenian imperialism.

The central parts of the Long Walls from Athens to the port of Piraeus are completed.

446 BC Achaea gains independence from Athens. Euboea, critically important to Athens for control of the sea and its food supplies, revolts against Athens. Pericles crosses over to Euboea with troops. Megara also revolts against Athens and the Delian League. The Megarans invite the Spartan army in under King Pleistoanax to assist them in their defence against Athens. The direct and immediate threat which the presence of the Spartans posed being so close to Athens led Pericles to enter into negotiations. Athens is forced to give up control over its mainland and confine itself to being a largely maritime power..
445 BC The huge drain of monies and manpower from Athens after years of war force Pericles to seek peace. With the support of the Athenian Assembly, Callias diplomat,goes to Sparta to arrange a peace treaty with the Peloponnesian League. The 5 years truce of 451 BC is for another 30 years, the Thirty Years Treaty. Megara is returned to the Peloponnesian League, Troezen and Achaea become independent, Aegina becomes a tributary of Athens but is autonomous, and disputes between the Peloponnesian League and the Delian League are to be settled by arbitration. Each party agrees to respect the alliances of the other.

444 BC The conservative and democratic factions in Athens clash. The new leader of the conservatives, Thucydides [not the famous historian], accuses Pericles, leader of the democrats, of spending far too much money on ambitious building projects for the city. Thucydides initially wins the support of the ecclesia. Pericles, however, proposes to reimburse the city all the money that has been spent on them from out of his own private wealth, on the condition that he could dedicate the new buildings with inscriptions bearing his name. This proposal is supported by the ecclesia, and Thucydides' efforts to depose him are defeated.

442 BC As a result of his failure to have Pericles deposed and daring to challenge Athens’ hero, Thucydides, is ostracised by the Athens citizens for 10 years. Pericles is once again unchallenged in Athenian politics.

440 BC Samos, an island in the Aegean and an autonomous member of the Delian League, having also a substantial fleet of its own, quarrels with Miletus a city-state on the Ionian coast It appeals to Athens for assistance. Pericles however decides in favour of Miletus, so Samos revolts. Pericles then sets sail for Samos with a fleet to overthrow its Oligarchy and replace them with a democratic government. Sparta threatens to intervene. However, at a congress the Peloponnesian League votes not to intercede on Samos’ behalf against Athens.

438 BC The construction of the Parthenon on the top of the Acropolis is completed after 9 years of construction. It is dedicated during the Panathenaea, a festival held in honour of the goddess Athena every four years. The colossal statue of the Athena Parthenos is completed and installed in it It is made of gold and ivory, and stands some 12 metres high.

436 BC Following Pericles' visit to the Black Sea, a large Athenian cleruchy is founded at Amphipolis. This was close to a Corinthian colony, Potidaea in Halkidiki. Corinth feels it is being unduly pressured by Athens.

434 BC Pericles imposes a series of measures (the "Megarian decree") amounting to an effective economic embargo on Megara for having violated land sacred to Demeter. According to the provisions of the decree, Megarian merchants were to be excluded from the market of Athens and the ports in its empire. The ban strangled the Megarian economy and strained the fragile peace between Athens and Sparta, which was allied to Megara.

An ultimatum was sent by Sparta to Athens: Sparta told Athens it would attack it if it did not lift its sanctions on the Megarans. Megara had been an ally of Sparta for a long-time and this blockade was seen to be an attempt by Athens to make Megara completely dependent upon it. Megara had defected from the Spartan-dominated Peloponnesian League around 460 BC to the Delian League due to border disputes with its neighbour Corinth and this had been one of the primary causes of the First Peloponnesian War (460 – c. 445 BC). Under the terms of the Thirty Years' Peace of 446� BC Megara returned to the Peloponnesian League after successfully revolting from the Delian League. Pericles persuades the Athenians to ignore Sparta's ultimatum.

433 BC Pericles concludes a defensive pact with Corcyra [Corfu], a strong naval power in the Ionian Sea, and the bitter enemy of Corinth. Corinth sends a fleet to capture Corcyra. At the Battle of Sybota, a small contingent of Athenian ships prevent the Corinth fleet from doing this. Afterwards Athens besieges Potidaea, supposedly a tributary ally of Athens but more in reality a colony of Corinth. Corinth appeals to Sparta for help backed by Megara and Aegina, the latter which considers itself overtaxed by Pericles and denied self-rule by him.

432 BC Sparta summons members of the Peloponnesian League for a conference. Athenian representatives are also in attendance. Corinth leads a complaint against Athens. The majority of the members of the Peloponnesian League vote in favour of a declaration that states Athens has broken the peace.

The Athenian admiral, Phormio, continues laying siege to Potidaea, blocking the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth. In the meantime an Athenian fleet, led by Archestratus, set sails for Potidaea. Iinstead of attacking Potidaea, this latter fleet attacks the Macedonians, who have formed an alliance with the Potidaeans. The Athenians capture Therma [modern Thessalonica] and then go on to besiege Pydna. As they are besieging Pydna, they receive informations that Corinth has sent a force commanded by Aristeus in support of Potidaea. In response, Athens sends yet more troops and ships under the command of Hipponicus. The combined Athenian force sails to Potidaea and lands there. In the ensuing Battle of Potidaea, the Athenians defeat Corinth and its allies.

431 BC Athens enters into an alliance with King Sitalkes of Thrace, after Nymphodorus, an influential Athenian, marries Sitalkes' sister. Nymphodorus who then negotiates an agreement between Athens and Macedon, from which latter regains Therma. In its turn Athens withdraws its support for the Macedonian king’s brother. The Thracians promise to assist in his capture. In return, the King of Macedon marches on the Chalcidians, the people he originally persuaded to revolt.

The Thebans raid Plataea, the last pro-Athenian city in Boeotia. They fail in this raid. The Plataeans take 180 captives putting them to death. Athens supports Plataea while Sparta aligns itself with Thebes. Sparta enlists the help of the Greek cities in Magna Graecia and Sicily. Both Sparta and Athens appeal to Persia for assistance, but to no avail..

The Spartans invade Attica. This is considered to be the start of the Second Peloponnesian War. They lay waste to the countryside around Athens. Pericles, makes no real effort to oppose them, rather he orders the population in the countryside districts to seek refuge within Athens' city walls. He then pursues an active naval campaign against Sparta and its allies, preventing any revolt by Aegina by replacing its native population with Athenians.

430 BC The Spartans loot Attica for a second time. Pericles still refuses to engage them in open battle, Instead he leads a force of 100 ships to plunder the coasts of the Peloponnese. Potidaea finally falls to the Athenian forces

The Great Plague_of_Athens breaks out. The disease ravages the city densely packed with refugees. DNA analysis of the bodies found in the cemeteries seem to suggest the disease could have been typhus. The plague kills over 30,000 citizens, including sailors and soldiers. About a quarter of Athens’ population dies. The Spartans abandon their invasion of Attica from fear of catching the plague: their troops refusing to come into contact with the enemy. Pericles also falls ill but recovers. He is relieved from his duties as Athens’ general but is later reappointed.

429 BC Athens suffers a huge defeat in Thrace. 430 men and their generals are killed.

The Athenian admiral Phormio wins two major naval engagements against the Corinthians, the Battle of Naupactus and the Battle of Chalcis, at the mouth of the Corinthian Gulf.

Athens is betrayed by the king of Macedon who sides with the Spartans. In response the king of Thrace invades Macedon with a vast army. Support from Athens fails to materialise. The kings of Macedon. and Thrace settle their differences by diplomacy. Thracian forces leave Macedon.

The plague in Athens eventually claims Pericles Cleon, who has led the opposition to him, takes over control.

428 BC Mytilene Revolt: Mytilene, the principal city on Lesbos, revolts against Athenian rule. Sparta sends 40 Peloponnesian League’s ships to their aid. Athens sends forces to put down the rebellion. Mytilene is besieged.. The rebellion is crushed before the Spartan ships arrive. Athens votes not to slaughter the population of the rebellious city. See Mytilene Debate and Thucidydes: Mytilene Debate

The Ionian city-states are also encouraged to rebel. Alcidas, leader of the Spartan fleet which had been sent to the Aegean, declines open battle. His ships are sent instead to Cyllene where the Spartans resolve to strengthen their fleet . They are then sent onto Corcyra where another revolution has broken out. The Spartan admirals then defeat a fleet of Corcyra’s ships. However they retire when word reaches them that 60 Athenian ships are on their way to intercept them.

After Mytilene has surrendered to Athens, Cleon wins the vote for a decree in the ecclesia that the city should be destroyed. A fleet is dispatched to Mytilene to execute this. On the very next day the ecclesia votes to rescind this decree. The messengers carrying the new order only just get there in time to stop the slaughter. Mytilene is spared. Only the leaders of its revolt are executed.

The garrison of Plataea is starved into surrender to the Spartans and Thebans. Over 200 prisoners are put to death. Plataea is destroyed.

The civil war in Corcyra is won by the democrats who support alliance with Athens

The Sicilians are sending corn to Sparta. To block this trade Athens sends a force led by its general Laches to its ally, the city of Leontini, which is being threatened by Syracuse. Sparta’s ally Laches mission fails. After his return he is prosecuted by Cleon for ‘having failed to uphold ,Athens’ interests in Sicily.

426 BCAthens’ military and naval forces are rejuvenated by Cleon and Demosthenes despite opposition from Nicias and his supporters..

Demosthenes fails in a siege of Leukas, a colony of Corinth. Because of this he does not return to Athens for fear for his life. Later on that same year, Ambracia invades Acarnania. The Acarnanians seek help from Demosthenes, who is patrolling the Ionian Sea coast with twenty Athenian ships, he reaches Athens’ naval base at Naupactus just in time to defend it against a large Spartan army coming from Delphi led by Eurylochus who has come to the assistance of the Ambraciots. Demosthenes defeats the Spartan force and Eurylochus is killed during the Battle of Olpae. A peace treaty is signed between the Acarnanians and the Ambraciots.

An Athenian army led by Nicias, Hipponicus and Eurymedon defeats a Tanagran and Theban army at the Battle of Tanagra.

425 BC Demosthenes captures Pylos a port near to Sparta. The Spartan army,under Brasidas, lands on the island of Sphacteria, but he is repulsed by the Athenians. The Athenian navy traps the Spartan navy in Navarino Bay.

Cleon participates with Demosthenes in the invasion of Sphacteria. The Battle of Pylos results in an Athenian victory leading to the surrender of many of Sparta’s forces. Pylos remains in Athenian hands, and is used as a base for raids into Spartan territory and as a refuge for fleeing Spartan helots.

Peace negotiations between Athens and Sparta fail. There are still Spartans forces on Sphacteria. After the Battle of Pylos they are attacked by forces led by Cleon and Demosthenes. The Athenians defeat the Spartans at the Battle of Sphacteria. The Spartans sue for peace. Cleon, ever the war-monger. persuades the Athenians to refuse.

424 BC
At the Congress of Gela, Hermocrates convinces the Sicilians to make peace on their island urging them to exclude foreign powers. The three-year war between Syracuse and Sicily's pro-Athenian town ends. Athens is forced to withdraw its troops.

Demosthenes and Hippocrates fail in their attempt to capture Megara. They are defeated by the Spartan general Brasidas. Demosthenes then marches onto Naupactus to assist a democratic revolution happening there, and to recruit troops for an invasion of Boeotia. Demosthenes and Hippocrates fail to coordinate their operations. Hippocrates is defeated at the Battle of Delium by the Thebans Demosthenes attacks Sicyon and too is defeated.

Brasidas then marches through Boeotia and Thessaly onto Chalcidice with 700 helots and 1000 Peloponnesian mercenaries to join up with the Macedon king. Refusing to be made a tool for the furtherance of Perdiccas' ambitions, Brasidas captures Acanthus, Stagirus, Amphipolis, and Torone as well as several minor towns.His attack on Eion is foiled by Thucydides who has arrived leading an Athenian squadron.

Brasidas' capture of Amphipolis is a major reversal for Athens, Thucydides is held responsible and ostracised giving Thucydides the opportunity to prepare his History of the war and make contacts with the Peloponnesian side

Nicias captures the Peloponnesian island of Cythera, from which to harry the Spartans.

423 BC
The Athenian general, Laches,successfuly moves for an armistice with Sparta in the Athenian ecclesia. He hopes this might check the progress of Sparta's most effective general, Brasidas. However, the Truce of Laches was a failure. It had no effect of Brasidas’ action and collapses within a year.

Brasidas ignores the truce and proceeds to take Scione and Mende in the hope of reaching Athens and freeing the Spartan prisoners. Athens sends forces commanded by Nicias who retakes Mende.

422 BC
Cleon ends the truce between Athens and Sparta. He resolves to take back Amphipolis in the Macedon. The Spartans under Brasidas completely rout the Athenians at the Battle of Amphipolis. Both Brasidas and Cleon are killed during this battle.

Alcibiades takes over the leadership of the pro-war faction in Athens.

421 BCNicias, aristocrat and leader of the peace party in Athens and the, King of Sparta, negotiate the Peace of Nicias. This brings about a temporary end to the War. The parties agree to return to the situation that existed before the war: All gains are to be given up.. The representatives on each side swear on oath to uphold the treaty, which is meant to last for a generation (thirty years). Not all of Sparta's allies agree to sign the treaty [Boeotia, Corinth, Elis, and Megara].

Alcibiades engineers an anti-Spartan alliance between Athens and Argos, Mantinea and Elis.

420 BCThe popular Alcibiades is elected a Strategos at Athens. He begins to dominate its politics. Athens, Argos, Mantineia and Elis form an alliance organised by Alcibiades in opposition to Nicias. It confronts the Spartan-Boeotian alliance.

419 BCEven though the Peace of Nicias is still in effect, Sparta assembles a strong army at Philus which descends upon Argos from the north after a forced march at night. The Boeotian allied forces fail to show, Nevertheless Sparta is able to conclude a treaty with Argos.

418 BC
At Alcibiades’ insistence Argos breaks its treaty with Sparta.The largest land battle of the whole of the Peloponnesian War takes place, the Battle of Mantinea, with as many as 10,000 troops on each side. Sparta under King Agis II gains a major victory over Argos and its allies [Athens, Elis and Mantinea]. The commander of the Athenian forces, Laches, is killed during the battle.

The people of Argos give up democracy in favour of oligarchy and end their alliance with Athens setting up one with Sparta instead. Many of Argos' allies do the same. Athens becomes increasingly isolated.

Alcibiades urges Athens to conquer Syracuse, and put Sicily and Carthage under its control: the additional forces would enable Athens to defeat Sparta. The Athenians agree to his plan.

417 BCAfter losing the Battle of Mantinea, there is a huge political uproar in Athens. Alcibiades sides with Nicias against Hyperbolus, who is seen as the champion of the common people and successor to Cleon and who wants to bring about the ostracism of either Nicias or Alcibiades, The latter combine forces and persuade Athenian people to expel Hyperbolus instead.

416 BCEncouraged by Alcibiades, Athens captures the neutral island of Melos. Its people are treated with extreme brutality by the Athenians: all the men on the island capable of bearing arms are put to death, and the women and children enslaved.

The Ionians of the city of Segesta on Sicily beg Athens [Ionian] for help against the Dorians of Selinus who are supported by Syracuse [Dorians like the Spartans] . The Athenians feel ethnically obliged to assist their ally They prepare to send an armada to attack Sicily.

415 BC
Just before the expedition sets sail many of Athens’ Hermae [sacred busts of Hermes] were found vandalised. The Athenian political orator, Andocides is accused of the crime and imprisoned. This act of mutilation is seen as a bad omen and causes a general panic across the city. Andocides implicates others whom he calls the real perpetrators, which include Alcibiades. These others are condemned to death. Andocides, because he has revealed who the others were, is sent into exile instead.

The Athenian expedition to Sicily sets sail under Nicias, Lamachus and Alcibiades. After the armada has departed. Alcibiades having been accused of the above profanity is recalled to Athens to stand trial: hearing that he has been condemned to death in absentia, he defects to Sparta. Nicias takes charge of the expedition. The Athenian forces land at Dascon a harbour near Syracuse besieging the latter. Hermocrates leads the Syracusan defence. Syracue does not fall.

Alcibiades persuades the Spartans to send Gylippus to assist Syracuse and also to fortify Decelea in Attica to cut off the land route for Athens’ food supply. He also encourages the Ionians to revolt against Athens. A Spartan fleet not long after arrives in support of Syracuse. a stalemate ensues.

414 BCAthens sends 73 ships to Sicily under the command of Demosthenes to assist Nicias with his siege of Syracuse.

The Athenian army moves to capture Syracuse while the larger fleet of Athenian ships blockades the city from the sea. After some initial success, the Athenian troops become disorganised in the night operation and are thoroughly routed by Gylippus, the Spartan commander. The Athenian commander Lamachus is killed. Nicias, although ill, is now left in sole charge of the siege.

413 BCAfter suffering the defeat in which Lamachus was killed, Demosthenes suggests that they abandon the siege immediately and return to Athens, where they are needed to defend against a Spartan invasion of Attica but Nicias refuses The Syracusans and Spartans trap the Athenians in the harbour and the Athenians sustain heavy losses in the Battle of Syracuse. Demosthenes is ambushed and forced to surrender. Nicias is also captured. Both are executed. Most of the surviving Athenian captives are put to work in the Sicilian quarries.

The Persian satrap of Lydia and Caria, forms an alliance with Sparta. The Spartans, with strategic advice from Alcibiades and with some assistance from the Persians advance almost to the gates of Athens. Sparta occupies Decelea.

412 BC
Darius II seizes the opportunity to recover control of the Greek cities of Ionia which have been under Athenian control since 449 BC. He orders his satraps there to collect overdue tribute from them.

The Spartans sign the Treaty of Miletus, which one of mutual assistance in which the Persians are given complete freedom in western Asia Minor in exchange for agreeing to pay for seamen to man the Peloponnesian fleet.

Alcibiades helps stir up revolts amongst Athens' allies in Ionia However, Alcibiades antagonises the Spartans. As a result, he is forced to flee to the court of the Persian satrap Alcibiades advises him to withdraw his support from Sparta whilst conspiring with the oligarchic faction in Athens, as Sparta's allied cities break away in a series of revolts.

The Athenians vote to use the last of their reserves to build a new fleet.

Clazomenae revolts against Athens. After a brief resistance, however, it again acknowledges the Athenian supremacy.

June 9 there is a Coup in Athens. It has been initiated by Alcibiades, who was in exile at that time acting as an assistant to the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. Athens’ democracy is overthrown by an oligarchy led by Antiphon, Theramenes, Peisander and Phrynichus their leader . The oligarchs declared aim was to ensure better financial management of the war. They set up a Council of Four Hundred. Athens’ total defeat of its Expedition to Sicily and the subsequent revolts amongst many of its subject allies had drained Athens’ treasury of funds. But rule by the oligarchs was extremely antidemocratic and the Council only lasted four months. Mutiny broke out amongst the troops at Piraeus, The Council sent Theramenes to put it down. However he made himself the mutineers’ leader. Phrynichus, the leader of the oligarchs, is assassinated.

The naval Battle of Eretria, between Sparta and Athens, takes place in September that year off the coast of Euboea. The fleet of the oligarchs is defeated by the Peloponnesians. Most of Euboea revolts. Following the battle, almost all of Euboea switches sides.

The Athenian Ecclesia holds an assembly and votes to depose the Council of Four Hundred and restores the traditional constitution, but it restricts some of the privileges of citizenship to a body called the Five Thousand. The Ecclesia resumes its old form as a committee of all citizens.

The Athenian navy under Thrasybulus recalls Alcibiades from Sardis. Alcibiades' election is confirmed by the Athenians at the request of Theramenes. The Spartan fleet in the Hellespont is then defeated at the Battle of Cynossem by an Athenian fleet led by Thrasybulus and Alcibiades

Antiphon defends himself in a speech which Thucydides describes as the greatest ever made by a man on trial for his life. Nonetheless, Antiphon fails to persuade his accusers and he is executed for treason.

The Athenian generals Theramenes and Thrasybulus with 20 ships collaborate with Alcibiades. The Athenian fleet ínflicts a severe defeat on the Spartan navy led by Mindarus and also the supporting Persian land army near Cyzicus on the shores of the Propontis. As a result of this victory at the Battle of Cyzicus, Athens regains control over the grain route from the Black Sea.

Alcibiades installs a garrison at Chrysopolis under Theramenes to exact taxes from all shipping that comes from the Black Sea. This new source of money allows Athens to end the regime of the Five Thousand. It is able to restore its former democratic institutions in full . The demagogue Cleophon dismisses peace overtures which have been made by Sparta.

Darius II of Persia continues pursuing war against Athens. His queen, Parysatis, persuades him to appoint his younger son, Cyrus, as satrap of Lydia, Phrygia, and Cappadocia and commander in chief of the Persian forces in Asia Minor replacing Tissaphernes. Tissaphernes powers are confined to the satrapy of Caria. Darius II sets up funds to re-create the Spartan fleet and sends Cyrus to Sardis with orders to give increased support to Sparta.

Alcibiades returns to Athens in triumph after an absence of 7 years. He leads the procession from Athens to Eleusis, atoning him for his alleged impiety in 415 BC when he was held to been involved in profaning its Sacred Mysteries. Athens appoints him commander-in-chief assigning him autocratic powers. He leaves Athens for Samos to rejoin his fleet.

That Autumn the Spartan admiral Lysander arrives at Ephesus to build up a great fleet with help from the new ally the Persian satrap, Cyrus.

The Athenian general Thrasybulus recaptures Abdera and Thasos.

The Spartan admiral Lysander refuses to be lured out of Ephesus to do battle with Alcibiades. However, while Alcibiades is away seeking supplies, the Athenian squadron is put under the command of Antiochus, his helmsman. The Spartan fleet (with the help of the Persians) rout the Athenians at the Battle of Notium. The enemies of Alcibiades now want to strip him of his command. He never returns again to Athens. He sails north to Thrace. Except for an appearance at Aegospotami, Alcibiades' involvement in the Peloponnesian War is over.

Callicratidas is appointed admiral of the Spartan fleet, replacing Lysander.

Callicratidas assembles a fleet and sails to Methymna, on Lesbos, to which he lays siege. Athens’ grain supply is threatened

Alcibiades is replaced by a board of generals. Athens sends a member of the board, Admiral Conon, to lift the siege of Mytilene. To defend Lesbos, Conon is forced to move his smaller fleet from Samos to the Hekatonnesi islands near Methymna. When Callicratidas attacks him, Conon is forced back to Mytilene, where he is blockaded by Callicratidas' fleet.

Athens wins the Battle of Arginusae, near Lesbos, and the blockade of Conon is broken. To relieve Conon, the Athenians assemble a new fleet composed largely of newly constructed ships manned by inexperienced crews. This inexperienced fleet is inferior to the Spartans, but its commanders employ new and unorthodox tactics, which allow the Athenians to secure a dramatic and unexpected victory. The Spartan force is soundly defeated, and Callicratidas is killed.

Returning to Athens after the battle, Theramenes leads Athenian agitation against the eight generals who have commanded in the engagement the six who have returned to Athens are condemned for negligence in not having picked up survivors from the ships disabled in the battle. The Athenian generals (including Pericles' son) are put to death.

Sparta sues for peace. The Athenian leader Cleophon rejects this. Sparta yields to cyrus’ demands that Lysander commands the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont.

After their victory in the Battle of Arginusae over the Spartans, the Athenian fleet follows the reappointed Spartan admiral, Lysander, to the Hellespont. There the Athenian fleet is destroyed by Lysander’s at the Battle of Aegospotami in the Sea of Marmara. Conon flees to Cyprus.

The Spartan king Pausanias lays siege to Athens while Lysander's fleet blockades Piraeus. This action closes the grain route through the Hellespont, thereby starving Athens.

While the Peloponnesians besiege Athens, Theramenes tries to negotiate with Lysander. He is away for three months while Athens is being reduced to starvation. Then he heads the embassy that negotiates the terms of capitulation to the Spartans.

404 BC
Athens’ democratic leader Cleophon urges the Athenians to continue to resist the Spartans, but the situation is desperate. He is arrested, sentenced to death and executed.

On April 25 being full of refugees and weakened by plague and hunger,Athens surrenders. The Peloponnesian War is brought to an end.

Theramenes secures terms saving Athens from being sacked. The Spartans allow Athens to keep its independence. However, under the terms of surrender, they force Athens to give up all of its colonies and what remains of its fleet. It is also made to become an ally of Sparta. Its Long Walls are torn down. The Greek Ionian towns along the west coast of Asia Minor are forced into becoming subject territories of the Persian Empire once more. Lysander sets up a puppet oligarchic government in Athens known as the Thirty Tyrants led by Critias but which also includes Theramenes as a principal member. This new governing body executes a number of citizens and takes away citizens’ rights from all but a few.

Many of Athens' former allies are now subject to the rule of decarchies [boards of 10] . These decarchies are reinforced by garrisons lrd by a Spartan military commander [Harmost].

Thrasybulus is forced into exile by the Thirty. He retires to Thebes.

Theramenes and Critias fall out with one another. Critias has Theramenes executed for treason by the forced drinking of poison [like Socrates].

After losing the Battle of Aegospotami, Alcibiades, flees to Phrygia where he begs the Persian satrap, Pharnabazus, to come to the aid of Athens. The Spartans uncover his scheme and arrange for Pharnabazus to have him assassinated.

War Council

Acarnanian Army (use Greek blocks)
> Leader: unknown
> 5 Command Cards
> Move First

Spartan Army (use Spartan/Barbarian blocks)
> Leader: Cnemus
> *1 Command Cards (5)

Special Rules
1. Setup

> Spartan player begins with 1 command card, drawing two cards at the end of each turn, until reaching five. The Spartan player remains at five command cards for the rest of the game.

> Acarnanian player gets to review their command cards, then place their two leaders on the board before turn one.

2. Gameplay
> 1st turn "ambush rules": Spartan-allied highland barbarian units (green blocks) MUST accept all banners on turn 1. Normal rules apply each turn thereafter.

> Spartan player immediately receives a banner for each of the five hexes within Stratus they occupy. If regained by Arcananians, banners are lost individually.


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Arcadia, Modern Greek Arkadía, mountainous region of the central Peloponnese (Modern Greek: Pelopónnisos) of ancient Greece. The pastoral character of Arcadian life together with its isolation are reflected in the fact that it is represented as a paradise in Greek and Roman bucolic poetry and in the literature of the Renaissance. The region is not exactly coextensive with the present-day perifereiakí enótita (regional unit) of Arcadia (Modern Greek: Arkadía), which extends on the east to the Gulf of Argolís (Argolikós Kólpos).

The plateau of Arcadia, with basins at elevations of 1,650 to 3,300 feet (500 to 1,000 m), is bounded on the north by the Erímanthos and Killíni mountains and is itself divided by numerous subsidiary ranges. In eastern Arcadia the ranges enclose a series of plains drained only by underground channels. The western plateau is more open, with isolated mountains through which wind the Alpheus River and its tributaries. One of those, the Ládhon, provides hydroelectric power at a dam and reservoir. A region of erratic rainfall, Arcadia has a few vineyards but no olive trees. There are patches of oak forest, but the eastern reaches are drier and less verdant.

In ancient times Arcadia was bounded on the north by Achaea, on the south by Messenia (Messinía) and Laconia (Lakonía), on the east by Argolís, and on the west by Elis. It was thus cut off from the coast on all sides. Because it was isolated from the rest of mainland Greece, Arcadia was not occupied by the Dorians during their invasion of Greece (1100–1000 bce ), and it retained a dialect that still resembles that of the Greeks who settled in Cyprus (the Arcado-Cypriot dialects). By 550 bce Tegea, Mantinea, and the smaller Arcadian towns had all accepted forced alliances with Sparta, and discord between the towns subsequently prevented them from uniting against Spartan power. Most Arcadians remained faithful to Sparta during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 bce ), though in 370 bce the Arcadian League, with its capital at Megalopolis, united the Arcadians for a few decades before internal discord paralyzed their confederation. In Roman times Arcadia fell into decay. It was a scene of conflict during the War of Greek Independence (1821–29). Area 1,706 square miles (4,418 square km). Pop. (2001) regional unit, 91,326 (2011) regional unit, 86,685.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.

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