The Peloponnesian War was a war between the two great powers of Greece, Athens and Sparta. Fought in the 5th century BC, the war itself was, in fact, a compilation of several wars, fought over tens of years, and included cities of the Athenian empire battling the Peloponnesian Confederacy (which included, amongst other city-states, Thebes, Corinth, and Sparta). Its initial causes (including an infraction on trade) were not its root causes, as the war was an attempt by Sparta to curb the expansion of the budding Athenian empire. It pitted the world’s first democracy against a great aristocracy, a great naval power against a great army. The details of the war come down to us from one of the world’s first, and great, historians: Thucydides. The war reshaped Greece, humbling one empire while giving strength to another. Its ultimate victor, or rather the country that profited the most from the war, was an enemy to both of its combatants. It gave birth to the concept of total war, of large scale conflict, and brought with it the end of Greece’s Golden Age. In this book, James K. Wheaton looks into the causes and effect of the Peloponnesian War.
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