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Siege and battle of Corcyra, 373-2 BC

Siege and battle of Corcyra, 373-2 BC

Siege and battle of Corcyra, 373-2 BC

The siege and battle of Corcyra (373-2 BC) saw the defeat of a Spartan attempt to seize control of the Ionian Sea, and triggered a resumption of warfare in the Theban-Spartan or Boeotian War (379-381 BC).

The first phase of the war had seen a series of generally unsuccessful Spartan invasions of Boeotia. Between 379 and 376 the Spartans used the land route into Boeotia, but in 375 they attempted to cross the Corinthian Gulf instead. The Athenians responded by sending a fleet commanded by Timotheus, son of the Athenian naval hero Conon. Timotheus won a naval victory at Alyzeia (June or July 375 BC), but soon afterwards news arrived that peace had broken out. By 375 Athens, Sparta and Thebes were all ready for peace, and they agreed on a similar arrangement to the King's Peace that had ended the Corinthian War. Garrisons and governors were to be withdrawn from occupied communities, and the Greek cities were to be allowed their autonomy.

Almost inevitably the new peace didn't last for long. One of the flash points was the Ionian Sea, where the inevitable clash between oligarchs and democrats was taking place on several of the Ionian Islands, including Corcyra (modern Corfu) and Zacynthus. On his way home Timotheus restored a group of exiled democrats from Zacynthus. Their oligarchic enemies complained to Sparta, who in turn complained at Athens. The Athenians were unwilling to abandon their friends on Zacynthus, and so early in 374 the Spartans sent a fleet of 25 ships of their own to aid the oligarchs.

In the same year a group of exiled oligarchs from Corcyra came to Sparta, and offered to give control of the island to the Spartans if they would help them overcome their democratic rivals. The Spartans sent a fleet of 22 triremes under the command of Alcidas into the Ionian Sea, while claiming that the fleet was heading to Sicily. The oligarchs had overstated the level of support they enjoyed at home, and when Alcidas arrived the port was closed to him.

The Corcyraeans asked for help from Athens. Two forces were sent out. A general called Ctesicles was sent overland through Epirus with 600 peltasts, officially to help the democrats on Zacynthus, while funding was approved to give Timotheus sixty ships for 373. The Spartans responded by raising an equally large fleet of their own, and giving command to Mnasippus, the Spartan Navarch for 373. He was given 60-65 ships, provided by Sparta, Corinth, Leucas, Ambracia, Elis, Zacynthus (showing that the democrats on that island were out of power), Achaea, Epidaurus, Troezen, Hermione and Halieis, and 1,500 soldiers, including a number of mercenaries.

Mnasippus's campaign began well. His arrival at Corcyra caught the defenders by surprise, and he was able to capture four ships in the port. On land part of the Corcyraean army was caught outside the town and wiped out. He was unable to capture the city itself, which was on a peninsula, and had to settle down into a siege. Supplies soon began to run short, and a number of the citizens attempted to leave the city. Mnasippus eventually decided to refuse to let them into his camp, and forced them back towards the city. The defenders were unwilling to let them back in, and so many starved between the walls.

Mnasippus managed to make himself very unpopular within his army. He decided that the siege was almost over, and dismissed some of his mercenaries in order to save money. He also reduced the pay of the remaining troops, and they soon couldn't afford to buy food at the camp market. Instead they had to forage in the local area, weakening the blockade. The defenders were then encouraged by the arrival of Ctesicles and his peltasts. They had reached Epirus, where they had received help from King Alcetas I. He shipped them to Zacynthus, and then to Corcyra, where they were able to get into the besieged city (presumably by sea).

Soon after arriving in the city, Ctesicles led a sortie that killed 200 of the Spartans. This encouraged him to plan a larger scale attack, and picking a moment when the Spartan lines appeared to be especially poorly defended, he led his men and the garrison of the city out to attack the Spartans.

Mnasippus ordered his men to form a defensive line. His Spartans moved into place, but the mercenaries were more reluctant, and some of their officers warned Mnasippus that their men wouldn't fight without food. Eventually the Spartan commander was able to bully enough men into place to form a reasonable line.

The battle began on the Spartan right. Mnasippus's men were able to drive back the attackers, and forced them into a cemetery outside the town walls. The Corcyraeans then took advantage of the buildings within the cemetery, using the tombs as cover and stopping the Spartan advance with missile fire.

The decisive moment of the battle came on the Spartan left. The Corcyraean hoplites on their right attempted to outflank the eight deep Spartan line. Mnasippus attempted to reinforce this vulnerable flank, probably by moving some men from his more lightly engaged centre. The Corcyraeans spotted this movement, and launched a rapid assault on the Spartan lines. The existing Spartan left was hit in the flanks, and the reinforcements in the middle of their manoeuvre, and the Spartan left collapsed. On his flank Mnasippus was faced with an increasing number of attackers, and eventually the Spartan leader was killed. With their general dead, the surviving Spartans fled back towards their camp.

The Corcyraeans failed to take full advantage of their victory, stopping short of the Spartan camp either because they mistook the camp followers for reinforcements, or because they stopped to scoop up the Spartan's slaves and servants. The Spartan second in command, Hypermenes, managed to restore some order in the camp, and he held on until news arrived that the Athenian fleet was finally close by.

The fleet had been delayed by a lack of money. Timotheus had been forced to sail as far north as Thrace in an attempt to gain funds, but without much success. On his return to Athenian waters he was prosecuted by Iphicrates and the politician Callistratus, and put on trial for treason. Iphicrates managed to get Timotheus's old command, and finally took the fleet around the Peloponnese into western waters. Its arrival convinced Hypermenes that the expedition had failed, and he retreated with his fleet and loot. Timotheus was acquitted late in 372 BC, but chose to go into voluntary exile, and entered the employment of the Persian emperor.

The end of the expedition to Corcyra largely ended Spartan interest in the naval campaign. Their best commander, Pollis, was killed in an earthquake at Helice, and in 371 Sparta and Athens once again made peace.


Roman Offensive

The Roman consul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus sailed his 200 ships to Corcyra to raise the siege, despite having learned that the island had already surrendered. He was in secret negotiations with Demetrius, who had fallen out of favor with Teuta, so Corcyra welcomed the Romans and, with the aid of Demetrius, surrendered its garrison. The city became a 'friend of Rome' and would henceforward rely on Roman protection from the Illyrians. Demetrius now served as an adviser to the Roman commanders for the rest of the war. Meanwhile, the consul L. Postumius brought an army of 20,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry across from Brundisium to Apollonia, which now joined the Roman alliance. The fleet under Fulvius reached Apollonia and the two forces advanced toward Epidamnos, causing the Illyrians to abandon the siege and disperse. The city was received into Roman protection and the army now moved inland among the Illyrian peoples of the hinterland. Here, the Romans received delegations from many peoples, including the Atintani and Parthini, from whom a formal surrender was accepted. At sea, the blockade of Issa was raised and the city also received Roman protection. As the Romans approached the Illyrian heartlands, opposition stiffened. The fleet moved northwards and attacked coastal towns, at one of which the unidentified Noutria, Roman losses included a magistrate of the Republic and some military tribunes, although 20 ships laden with plunder were intercepted. The besiegers of Issa fled to Arbo and Teuta retreated to her capital, Rhizon in the Gulf of Kotor. The Romans decided enough had been achieved and hostilities ceased. The consuls handed over the kingdom to Demetrius and withdrew the fleet and army to Italy under Fulvius. Having assembled 40 ships and some troops from allies in the area, the other consul remained in Illyria to keep watch on the Ardiaei and the peoples under Roman protection.

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HISTORIC BATTLES

First Illyrian War (229-228 BC)

The Illyrian Wars were a set of wars fought in the period 229–168 BC between the Roman Republic and the Ardiaei kingdom. In the First Illyrian War, which lasted from 229 BC to 228 BC, Rome's concern was that the trade across the Adriatic Sea increased after the First Punic War at a time when Ardiaei power increased under queen Teuta. View Historic Battle »

Corcyra and Paxos (229 BC): The Illyrians were now on the point of controlling all of the coastline north of the Gulf of Corinth, including all of the sea routes to Sicily and Italy via Corcyra.

Roman offensive: The Roman consul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus sailed his 200 ships to Corcyra to raise the siege, despite having learned that the island had already surrendered.

Peace treaty (228 BC): According to its terms, the queen would abandon Illyria, except for a few places, and promise not to sail south of Lissus at the mouth of the Drin with more than two ships, even ten unarmed vessels.


First Illyrian War (229-228 BC)

The Illyrian Wars were a set of wars fought in the period 229–168 BC between the Roman Republic and the Ardiaei kingdom. In the First Illyrian War, which lasted from 229 BC to 228 BC, Rome's concern was that the trade across the Adriatic Sea increased after the First Punic War at a time when Ardiaei power increased under queen Teuta.


RESOURCES
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "First Illyrian War", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


Contents

Year Battle Winners Losers Notes
1275–1205 BC Battles of Alashiya Hittite navy Alashiya Off the coast of Cyprus over 3 engagements. [1]
c.1190 BC Battle of the Delta Ramesses III The "Sea Peoples" In the Nile delta
664 BC Corinth battles Corfu
540–535 BC Alalia Carthaginians and Etruscans Greeks Near Alalia (now Aléria), Corsica
497 BC Ionians Phoenicians Near Cyprus
494 BC Lade Persians Ionians
480 BC Artemisium Stalemate between Persians and Greeks
Salamis The allied Greek navy Persians
474 BC Cumae Syracuse and Cumae Etruscans
460s BC Eurymedon Delian League Persians
458 BC Aegina Athenians Aegina and the Peloponnesians
450s BC Salamis (in Cyprus) Delian League Phoenicians and Cilicians
433 BC Sybota Corcyra and Athens Corinthians
429 BC Battles of Naupactus Athenians Spartans and Corinthians
425 BC Pylos Athenians Spartans
413 BC Syracuse Syracusans Athenians
411 BC Cynossema Athenians Spartans
Eretria Spartans Athenians In September
410 BC Cyzicus Athenians Spartans and Peloponnesians
406 BC Arginusae Athenians Peloponnesians
405 BC Notium (Ephesus) Spartans under Lysander Athenians under Antiochus
405 BC Aegospotami Spartans Athens Athenian navy destroyed
394 BC Cnidus Persians Spartans
384–3 BC Pharos Syracusans Liburnians
376 BC Naxos Athenians Spartans
357 BC Chios Athenians During the Social War
306 BC Salamis (in Cyprus) Demetrius I Poliorcetes Menelaeus, brother of Ptolemy I of Egypt
276 BC Strait of Messina Carthaginians Pyrrhus of Epirus
261 BC Cos Antigonus II Gonatas Ptolemy II
260 BC Lipara Islands Carthaginians Romans
Battle of Mylae Romans under Duilius Carthaginians Near Sicily
258 BC Ephesus Rhodians under Agathostratus Ptolemaic fleet under Chremonides
Sulci Romans under Gaius Sulpicius Paterculus Carthaginians under Hannibal Gisco
257 BC Tyndaris Romans under Gaius Atilius Regulus Carthaginians under Hamilcar
256 BC Cape Ecnomus Romans Carthaginians
249 BC Drepana Carthaginians Romans
246-245 BC Andros Macedonians Egyptians At Andros
10 Mar 241 BC Aegates Islands Romans Carthaginians Ending the First Punic War
229 BC Paxos Illyrians Conquer island of Corcyra
218 BC Lilybaeum Romans under Amellius Carthaginians Near Lilybaeum, Sicily
217 BC Ebro River Romans under Cornelius Scipio Carthaginians Near the mouth of the Ebro River, Spain
206 BC Carteia Romans under Gaius Laelius Carthaginians under Adherbal
201 BC Chios Egyptians, Rhodians, and Pergamese Philip V of Macedon
2nd Battle of Lade Philip V of Macedon Rhodians under Cleonaeus
190 BC Eurymedon Roman forces under Lucius Aemilius Regillus Seleucid fleet commanded by Hannibal
Myonessus Romans under Regillus and Rhodians under Eudoras Seleucids under Polyxenidas
147 BC Port of Carthage Carthaginians under Hasdrubal Roman fleet of Lucius Hostilius Mancinus
74 BC Chalcedon Pontians under Mithridates VI Roman fleet of Marcus Aurelius Cotta
73 BC Tenedos Romans under Lucius Licinius Lucullus Pontian fleet
67 BC Korakesion Romans under Pompey Cilician pirates
56 BC Morbihan Romans under Decius Brutus Veneti Near Armorica
49 BC Île du Levant Romans under Decius Brutus ? At Île du Levant
Romans under Decius Brutus ? At Tauroentum
42 BC Republican fleet Reinforcements of the triumvirs
led by Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus
Intercepted and destroyed
3 Sept 36 BC Naulochus Agrippa Sextus Pompeius
2 Sept 31 BC Actium Octavian Antony and Cleopatra Decisive victory
AD 70 Rome vs Batavi in the Maas
AD 199 Shaxian Wu forces under Sun Ce Liu Biao and Huang Zu
AD 208 Red Cliffs Combined forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan Fleet under Cao Cao
AD 221 Yiling Sun Quan Fleet under Liu Bei And successfully defends Jingzhou
AD 222 Dongkou Eastern Wu general Lü Fan Cao Xiu
AD 272 Xiling Lu Kang Jin general Bu Chan And retakes Xiling

5th century Edit

  • 456 – Romans under Flavius Ricimer defeat Vandals near Corsica
  • 461 Cartagena – Vandals destroy a newly built West Roman fleet
  • 468 Cape Bon – Vandals defeat East and West Romans under Basiliscus

6th century Edit

7th century Edit

  • 655 Battle of the Masts – Arabs under Uthman defeat Byzantines under Constans II
  • 663 August Battle of Baekgang – Tang China and Silla defeat Yamato Japan and Baekje
  • 676 Battle of Gibeolpo – Silla defeat Tang China
  • 677 or 678 First Arab siege of Constantinople – Byzantines defeat Arabs (first use of "Greek fire")
  • 697? – Greeks under John defeat Arabs
  • 698 Carthage – Arabs defeat Greeks under John at Carthage
  • 698 – Imperial Constantinopolitan fleet defeats Cibyrrhaeot rebels

8th century Edit

  • 717, September 3 Second Arab siege of Constantinople – Byzantines under Leo III the Isaurian defeat Arabs
  • 718, Spring Second Arab siege of Constantinople – Byzantines under Leo III defeat Arabs
  • 719, Dalriadan civil war resulted in a conflict between two opposing groups of curraghs, mentioned in the Senchus Fer n-Alban
  • 727 – Byzantine central imperial fleet destroys provincial Helladic and Cyclades fleets under Agallianos Kontoskeles.
  • 746 Battle of Keramaia – The Cibyrrhaeots annihilate the Egypt-based fleet of the Umayyad Caliphate

9th century Edit

  • 806? – Moors defeat Franks under Hadumar near Corsica
  • 807 – Franks under Burchard (a lieutenant of Charlemagne) defeat Moors at Sardinia [citation needed]
  • 813 – Byzantines defeat Arabs
    • 813 – Franks under Irmingar defeat Moors near Majorca
      (also Punto Stilo or Milazzo) – Byzantines under Nasar destroy Aghlabid fleet
  • 10th century Edit

    • 906 – Byzantines under Himerios defeat Arabs on St. Thomas' Day
    • 912 – Battle of Chios (912) – Syrian-Cilician fleet defeats Byzantine squadron under Himerios
    • 932 – Battle of Lang-shan Jiang
    • 941 – Rus'-Byzantine War – Byzantine fleet under Theophanes destroys Kievan Rus' fleet under Igor near Bosporus Strait
    • 938 – First Battle of Bach Dang River – Vietnamese defeat Southern Han fleet
    • 956 – Tunisian fleet destroyed by Christians near Mazara
    • 958 – Tunis vs Christians in Messina Strait
    • 965 – Battle of the Straits – Fatimid fleet destroys Byzantine fleet under Niketas Abalantes at the Straits of Messina
    • 975 – Song forces defeat Tang forces
    • 981 Second Battle of Bach Dang – Vietnam defeats Chinese Song forces
    • 998 – Venetians under Orseolo defeat Narentan pirates

    11th century Edit

    • 1000 September 9 Swold – Swedes and Danes defeat Norwegians
    • 1004 – Venetians under Pietro Orseolo II defeat Arabs at Messina
    • 1005 – Pisans defeat Arabs at Messina
    • 1024 – Lemnos – Byzantines defeat Rus' fleet in the Lemnos Island
    • 1026 The Helgeå – Danes under Ulf Jarl defeat Swedes and Norwegians under Anund Jacob and Olaf II Haraldsson (Olaf the Stout) in southern Sweden
    • 1032 – A joint Byzantine-Ragusan squadron defeats a Muslim corsair fleet in the Adriatic
    • 1032 – According to one hypothesis, battle at Iron Gate mentioned in Russian chronicles was a naval battle, where Novgorod fleet tries to reach Tallinn Bay, but is defeated by Estonians. [2]
    • 1035–1036 – Last Arab corsair raids against the Aegean islands are repulsed by the Byzantines
    • 1043 Rus'-Byzantine War – Byzantines defeat Rus' squadron in the Bosporus
    • 1062 Niså – Norwegians under Harald Hardrada defeat Danes in Kattegat
    • 1081 Dyrrhachium – Venetian-Byzantine fleet defeats Normans near Durazzo, Albania
    • 1084 – Normans under Robert Guiscard (20 vessels?) defeat Venetians or Byzantines in a series of battles off Albania/Corfu

    12th century Edit

    • 1123 Ibelin – Venetian fleet disperses Fatimid Egyptian fleet near Jaffa
    • 1137 Bigano – Venetians defeat Normans/Roger II of Sicily at Trani, Italy
    • 1149 Cape Malea – Venetians and Byzantine Greeks defeat Normans
    • 1153 Siege of Ascalon – Venetians defeat Fatimid Arabs near Tel Aviv
    • 1156 January – Celtic ships defeat Viking squadron north of Scotland
    • 1161 Nov 16 Tangdao – Song forces defeat Jin forces during the Jin–Song wars
      • Nov 26-27 Caishi – Song forces defeat Jin forces
      • April 25 Dan-no-ura – Decisive victory for Minamoto clan off present-day Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi, Japan, ends Genpei War
      • November 7 – Byzantines under Alexios Branas defeat Normans at Demetrias (Volos), Greece

      13th century Edit

      • 1213 May 30 and 31 Damme – English under William Longsword sink most of fleet of France's King Philip II in the harbor of Damme
      • 1217 August 24 Dover (South Foreland) – The "Fight off Sandwich". Fleet of English Hubert and Burgh defeat French fleet of Eustace the Monk off Dover. There were actually 2 battles – this describes the 2nd
      • 1241 May 3 (First) Meloria – Pisans under Ansaldo de Mari defeat Genoese
      • 1258 June 25 – Battle of Acre – Venetian fleet defeats Genoese fleet off Acre
      • 1263 – Settepozzi – A Venetian fleet of 38 ships under Gilberto Dandolo defeats a joint Byzantine-Genoese fleet of 48 ships off the Peloponnese
      • 1264 – Saseno – Genoese defeat Venetians
      • 1266 Trapani – Venetians defeat Genoese
      • c. 1273/1275 – Demetrias – Byzantine fleet defeats coalition of Lombard and Venetian lords of Euboea and Crete
      • 1278 July 25 – Algeciras – Castilians vs Morocco and Granada
      • Before 1279 – Conrad Lancia defeats Muslim fleet near Tunisia
      • 1279 March 19 Yamen – Yuan Dynasty defeats Song Dynasty
      • 1282 October 11 – Peter de Queralt defeats Angevin fleet near Reggio di Calabria (details)
        • October 14 – Peter de Queralt defeats Angevin fleet near Nicotera (details)
        • August 6 (Second) Meloria – Genoese utterly destroy the Pisan fleet near Tuscany, Italy
        • September 4 (probably) Les Formigues (Las Hormigas) – Aragonese-Sicilians under Roger of Lauria defeat French under di Mari and de Orreo near Barcelona

        14th century Edit

        • 1304 August 18 (2 days) Zierikzee – French fleet under Genoese admiral Renier Grimaldi destroys Flemish fleet
        • 1319 July 23 Chios – Knights Hospitaller and Genoese of the Lordship of Chios score a crushing victory over an Aydinid fleet
        • 1338 September 23 Arnemuiden – Philip VI of France beats English fleet of Edward III of England off the coast of Zeeland. It was the first naval battle using artillery. [3]
        • 1340 June 24 Sluys – Edward III of England beats Franco-Genoese fleet of Philip VI of France off the coast of Flanders and gains control of the English Channel
        • 1342 Guernsey
        • 1350 August 29 (Old Style) L'Espagnols-sur-Mer – 50 English ships under Edward III and the Black Prince defeat 40 Castilian ships
        • 1352 Bosporus – Genoese under Paganino Doria vs Venetians, Byzantine Greeks and Aragonese in Bosporus Strait
        • 1353 August 29 La Loiera – Venetians and Aragonese defeat Genoese near Sardinia
        • 1354 Sapienza Genoese under Paganino Doria defeat Venetians under Niccolò Pisani in the southern Peloponnese
        • 1363 August 30-October 4 Lake Poyang – Mings under Zhu Yuanzhang defeat Hans under Chen Youliang
        • 1372 June 22 and 23 La Rochelle – Castilian fleet defeats English fleet near La Rochelle
        • 1378 – Venetians under Vettor Pisani defeat Genoese near Cape d'Anzio
        • 1379 May 7 Pola – Genoese under Luciano Doria defeat Venetians under Vittore Pisani near Pula
        • 1380 June Chioggia – Venetians under Andrea Contarini defeat Genoese
        • 1387 March 24 and 25 Margate – English fleet under Richard, Earl of Arundel defeat Franco-Castilian-Flemishwine fleet under Sir Jean de Bucq

        15th century Edit

        • 1403 October 7 Modon – Genoese fleet under the French Marshal Boucicaut is defeated by the Venetians under Carlo Zeno
        • 1416 May 29 Gallipoli – Venetians defeat Ottoman Turks
          • August 15 (OS?) Harfleur – English defeat French near Harfleur
          • April 20 – Fall of Constantinople – Turks fail to prevent Genoese supply ships reaching Constantinople
          • 1509 February 3 Diu – Portugal's Indian viceroy defeats a combined Egyptian-Gujarat Sultanate fleet off Gujarat, India, and controls spice trade
          • 1510 – Maltese under Prégent de Bidoux defeat Venetians
          • 1512? – Genoese under Andrea Doria defeat Moors at Algiers
          • 1512 August 10 St Mathieu – English defeat French off Brest Regent and Marie la Cordelière sunk
          • 1521 Battle of Tunmen – Ming Chinese defeat Portuguese
          • 1522 Battle of Xicaowan – Ming Chinese defeat Portuguese
          • 1526 – Swedes and Lübeckers defeat pirate fleet
          • 1529 – Ottoman Turks under Khair-ad-Din (Barbarossa) defeat Spanish
          • 1535 early June – 20 Swedes/Danes/Prussians defeat 9 Lübeck ships
          • 1535 June? – Swedes/Danes/Prussians defeat 10 Lübeck ships at Fyen
          • 1538 September 28 Preveza – Ottoman Turk fleet under Khair-ad-Din defeats Spanish-Venetian-Papal fleet
          • 1541 – Tsuruhime led an army into naval battle and drove the Ōuchi Yoshitaka into the open sea.
          • 1545 July 18 and 19 The Solent – French attack English off Portsmouth Mary Rose sinks
            • August 15 – English fight French off Portsmouth
            • July 13 – English under Count Egmont defeat French under Marshal de Thermes off Gravelines

            Northern Seven Years War (1563–70) Edit

            Year Battle Description
            1563 Action of 30 May Swedes capture three Danes before war is declared.
            Action of 11 September Inconclusive [skirmish?] between Danes/Lübeckers and Swedes.
            1564 Action of 30 May Swedes under Bagge [clash with?] Danes/Lübeckers under Trolle.
            Action of 12 July A Swedish captain blows up his ship after a Danish attack.
            Action of 12 August Swedes under Klas Horn defeat Danes under Herluf Trolle, southeast of Öland.
            1565 Action of 4 June An indecisive battle between Danes/Lübeckers and Swedes near Buchow.
            Action of 7 July Swedes defeat Danes/Lübeckers between Bornholm and Rügen.
            1566 Action of 26 July Swedes defeat Danes/Lübeckers between Öland and Gotland.
            1568 Swedish fleet captures several Polish corsairs and drives off remainder. [4]

            Later 16th century Edit

            • 1568 September 23 – Spanish under Martin Enriquez defeat English under Hawkins at San Juan de Ulúa, Mexico Offsite link
            • 1570 – English under Burrough and Hodsdon defeat Danes in the Baltic Sea
              • July 15 – Turkish galliots under Uluch Ali defeat Maltese galleys under Saint-Clement near Gozo
              • October 7 Lepanto – Christian coalition decisively defeats Ottoman Turks in a large galley fight off western Greece
              • September/October – Several skirmishes between Spanish/Venetians and Turks
              • April 22 Borsele – Sea Beggars beat back a Spanish fleet under d'Avila
              • May 26 Haarlemmermeer – Spanish under Bossu defeat Sea Beggars
              • October 11 Zuiderzee – Sea Beggars under Cornelis Dirkszoon defeat Spanish under Bossu
              • May 30 Battle of lillo – Sea Beggars under Boisot defeat a Spanish fleet
              • June – Swedes capture 3 Lubeckers plus 15 merchantmen
              • 1582 July 27 Battle of Vila Franca Alvaro de Bazán wins a second battle at the Azores in as many days.
                navy defeats Shirahama Kenki pirate fleet.
              • September – Spanish Armada in Ireland
                – Spanish repel English near the Azores
            • May 29 Sacheon – Korean Navy defeats Japanese with the Turtle Ship.
            • August 14 Hansan Island – Korean navy defeats Japanese fleet in the bay of Hansan island.
            • November 1 Busan – Korean Naval demonstration to Japanese navy at the Busan bay. However, they could not occupy Busan.
            • October 26 Myeongnyang – 13 Korean ships under Yi Sun-sin defeats 330 Japanese ships.
            • – Bizertans vs Genoese and Romans
            • – Spanish defeat the English Islands Voyage near the Azores.

            Early 17th century Edit

            • 1601 December 27 Bantam – Dutch defeat Portuguese in Bantam Bay
            • 1602 October 3 Sluis – Dutch under Jacob van Duivenvoorde defeat Spanish under Frederik Spinola
            • 1603 May 26 Sluis – Dutch under Joos de Moor beat back Spanish under Frederik Spinola
            • ?? 1603 October – Tuscan galleys defeat Tunisians
            • 1604 October – Tuscans defeat Tunisians (details)
            • 1605 – Dutch fleet under Willem Haultain attacks and partly destroys a Spanish fleet of transport ships near Dover
            • 1605 November Attack on Salinas de Araya – Spanish under Luis Fajardo defeat a fleet of Dutch smugglers and privateers
            • 1606 June or October Battle of Cape St. Vincent – Spanish under Luis Fajardo defeat Dutch under Willem Haultain
            • 1606 August 17 Cape Rachado – Indecisive action between a Dutch fleet under Cornelis Matelief de Jonge and a Portuguese fleet near Malacca
              • September 21 Second battle of Cape Rachado – Dutch under Cornelis Matelief de Jonge destroy Portuguese ships
              • October 20 – Tuscans under Beauregard defeat Turkish trade fleet (details)
              • June 29 – Spanish-French raid on La Goulette, Tunisia (details)
              • – Venetians defeat Turks near Paxos (details)
              • (late)? – Turks under Khalil defeat French under Fressinet near Cyprus (details)
              • (late)? – Turks vs French under Beaulieu
              • October 10 – Tuscans vs Turks (details)
              • November 29–30 Swally – British East India Company fleet defeats Portuguese fleet near Surat, India
              • July 17 and 18 – Spanish vs Dutch (same as next?)
              • – Dutch under Spilbergen defeat Spanish under de Pulgar near Valdivia, Peru (details)
              • about March? – Spanish under Ribera defeat Tunisians at La Goulette (details)
              • April 29 – Tuscans under Inghirami defeat Turks near Euboea (details)
              • July 14–16 – Spanish under Ribera defeat Turks in the first regular action between galleys and sailing ships in the Mediterranean (details)
              • July – Spanish versus Dutch (details)
              • about October (possible engagement) – Neapolitans/Sicilian galleys defeat larger Turkish galley fleet
              • June 12 – Minor skirmish between Neapolitans/Sicilians and Venetians – Dutch defeat Spanish
              • November 19 and 20 – Inconclusive battle between Sicilians and Venetians (details)
              • July 2 and 3 – Dutch under Moy Lambert and Spanish under Vidazabal defeat Algerines
              • December 23–28 – English vs Dutch near Jakarta (details)
              • March 1 – English vs Dutch near Jakarta (details)
              • May 31 – Dutch defeat French at the mouth of the Vilaine River
              • – English defeat Portuguese
              • June 26 – Tuscans defeat Bizertans (details)
              • December 28 – English (East India Company) defeat Portuguese at Cape Jask
              • October – French vs Rochellais (Huguenot) rebels near La Rochelle (details)
              • Dutch ships under Joachim Swartenhondt escorting a convoy repel a Spanish squadron near Gibraltar
              • February 1 and 3 – Portuguese defeat English and Dutch (details)
              • June 26 – Bizertans defeat Maltese near Syracuse, Sicily (details)
              • September 15 – French under Soubise defeat hired Dutch ships near Rochelle
              • June 21 – English defeat Venetians/French at Scanderoon (details)
              • September 9 Dutch squadron under Piet Hein attacks and captures Spanish treasure fleet
              • September 29 – French defeat English near La Rochelle
              • September 16 – Swedes defeat Holy Roman Empire near Wismar (details)
              • September 12–13 The Slaak – Dutch Zeeland fleet under Marinus Hollare defeats Spanish invasion fleet
              • July 19 – Maltese galleys under Valdina defeat Tripolitans
              • – Maltese under Villages defeat Turks
              • – Maltese privateers defeat Turkish galleys
              • August 25 – Dunkirk frigates under Jacob Collaart defeats Dutch escort capturing 24 fishing trawlers
              • about September 25 – Spanish defeat Dutch West India Company convoy
              • Spanish convoy commanded by Lope de Hoces captures 32 enemy ships in the English Channel on its return voyage to Spain.
              • June – Maltese galleys defeat Tripolitan sailing ships near Calabria
              • September- French defeat Spanish in galley fight near Genoa
              • August 7 – Venetians under Capello defeat Algerians at Corfu
              • August 22 – French under de Sourdis destroy Spanish galleons under Lope de Hoces at Guetaría (details)
              • September 17–19 Calais – Running fight between Dutch under Maarten Tromp and Spanish under Antonio de Oquendo who seeks shelter at The Downs
              • September 30 Mormugão – Dutch defeat Portuguese near Goa
              • October 31 Battle of the Downs – Dutch under Tromp defeat Spanish under Antonio de Oquendo in the English Channel
              • end December – Spanish under Miguel de Horna defeat stronger French force
              • June 15 – Dunkerquers defeat Dutch in the Shetland Isles (details)
              • July? – French under Maillé Brézé defeat Spanish under Don Gomez de Sandoval
              • – Several French vs Spanish
              • May 17 and 18 – Spanish defeat French near Pensacola
              • September 1 and 2 ? – Spanish under Pietersen defeat French and Portuguese
              • November 4 – Dutch under Gijssels defeated by Spanish at Cape St Vincent (details)
              • October – Portuguese defeat Spanish?

              Danish-Swedish War (1643–45) Edit

              • 1644 May 16 – Danes defeat Dutch ships which have been hired to support Sweden (details)
                • May 25 – Danes get slightly the better of 33 hired Dutch ships
                • July 1 Colberger Heide (Colberg Heath) – Danish and Swedish fleets fight an inconclusive battle off NE Germany
                • July 7 – Danes defeat Swedes in small battle (details)
                • August 10 – Dutch fleet under Thijsen brushes past Danish fleet under King Christian IV in Kjoge Bay, Denmark (details)
                • October 13 – Femern, Germany – Combined Swedish/Dutch fleet badly defeats Danish fleet

                Cretan War (1645–69) Edit

                • 1644 September 28 – Maltese galleys defeat Turkish sailing ships near Rhodes their subsequent stay in Venetian-held Crete provoked the outbreak of war (details)
                • 1645 September 28 or 29 – Combined Christian fleet tries and fails to retake Canea (Chania) in Crete, from the Ottomans
                  • October 1 – Christians vs Turks near Canea, Crete
                  • August 14 – Inconclusive fight between Christians and the Ottoman fleet anchored at Chania Bay, Crete
                  • August 25 – Inconclusive skirmish between Christians and Turks
                  • September 9 – Inconclusive skirmish between Christians and Turks
                  • May 12 Focchies – Venetians defeat large Turkish fleet near western Turkey
                  • July 15 – Venetians vs Turks near Candia, Crete (details)
                  • July 18 – Venetians defeat Turks near Candia (details)
                  • May 16 – Turks under Murad defeat Venetians under Giuseppe Delfino in Dardanelles (details)
                  • June 21 – Turks retreat after skirmish with Venetians west of Milos
                  • May 18 – Venetians under Lazaro Mocenigo defeat Turks and Algerines at Suazich (details)
                  • July 17–19 – Venetians, Maltese and Papal forces under Lazaro Mocenigo defeat Turks in Dardanelles (details)
                  • May 18 – Venetians defeat Turks in minor skirmish
                  • August 27 – Venetians and Maltese defeat Turks near Milos, Greece (details)
                  • August – French under the Duc de Beaufort defeat Algerines at Cherchell, Algeria
                  • November 27 – French under d'Escrainville defeat Turks
                  • May 2 – French defeat Turks (details)
                  • about September – Barbary "Turks" defeat Venetians south of Crete (details)

                  Anglo-Dutch Wars (1652–74) Edit

                  • 1652 May 29 Dover – Clash between English under Robert Blake and Dutch under Maarten Tromp's off Dover initiates the First Anglo-Dutch War
                    • August 26 Plymouth – Michiel de Ruyter's 36 men-of-war hold off Ayscue's 45 men-of-war, driving them away
                    • September 7 Elba (Monte Cristo) – Dutch under Jan van Galen beat back English under Richard Badiley
                    • October 8 Kentish Knock (Zeeland Approaches) – English under Blake beat back Dutch under de With
                    • December 10 Dungeness – Dutch under Tromp defeat English under Blake
                    • March 13 Leghorn – Dutch under Johan van Galen defeat English under Badiley and Appleton
                    • June 12–13 Gabbard (North Foreland) – English defeat Dutch
                    • August 8–10 Scheveningen (Ter Heide, Texel) – Dutch under Maarten Tromp repulse English blockading fleet under George Monck with both sides retreating. Tromp is killed
                    • August 2 Vågen – English squadron repelled attempting to capture richly laden Dutch merchant fleet in the bay of Bergen, Norway
                    • June 15 James River (Virginia)-Dutch under Abraham Crijnssen attacks Virginia tobacco fleet (Details)
                    • June 11–14 Four Days – Dutch under de Ruyter defeats English fleet commanded by Albermarle and Prince Rupert of the Rhine
                    • August 4–5 St James's Day (North Foreland/Orfordness) – English under Albemarle and Prince Rupert of the Rhine defeat a Dutch fleet under de Ruyter
                    • June 9–14 Raid on the Medway – Dutch raid Medway river near London. The English flagship, Royal Charles, is captured
                    • June 7 – Solebay (Southwold) Dutch fleet under de Ruyter vs combined English/French under York
                    • August 21 Texel (Kijkduin)

                    Later 17th century Edit

                    • 1645 September 9 Tamandare – Dutch squadron under Jan Lichthart destroys a Portuguese squadron under Jerônimo Serrão de Paiva at TamandaréBrazil
                    • 1645 – Algerian Barbary pirates attempted an attack on Edinburgh, Scotland
                    • 1646 La Naval de Manila – Two Spanish galleons with Spanish & Filipino crew repel a Dutch invasion fleet in 5 separate actions over several months around the Philippines
                    • 1646? – French under du Mé defeat Spanish
                    • 1646 14–16 June, Battle of Orbetello, Spanish defeat French invasion fleet commanded by Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé
                    • 1647 June 10 Puerto de Cavite – Spanish defeat Dutch attack near Manila
                      • 1647 Neapolitan Republic (1647)- Spanish defeat French at Ischia, Pozzuoli, and Salerno and force French out of southern Italy.
                      • October 20 – Parliamentarians capture French frigate
                      • May 2 – Dutch defeat Portuguese near Colombo (details)
                      • – French under Vendôme defeat Spanish near Barcelona
                      • September 12 and 13 – Danes and Swedes fight inconclusively near Moen, Denmark (details)
                      • April 30 – Small running battle between Dutch and Danes against Swedes (details)
                      • – Dutch/Danes under de Ruyter defeat Swedes and liberate Nyborg
                      • July (possible engagement) – English defeat Tripolitans
                      • January – English defeat Tripolitans
                      • April 22 Agosta (Etna) – French fleet under Duquesne and Dutch/Spanish fleet under de Ruyter fight to a draw. De Ruyter is mortally wounded
                      • June 2 Palermo – French under Comte de Vivonne defeat Dutch/Spanish under De la Cerda and Den Haen
                      • May 25 and 26/June 3 and 4 – Dutch/Danish fleet under Niels Iuel defeat Swedes under Baron Creutz between Bornholm and Rugen in the Baltic Sea
                      • June 1/11 Öland – Dutch/Danish fleet defeats Swedish fleet south of Öland in the Baltic Sea
                      • May 31 and June 1/11 – Danes defeat Swedes between Femern and Warnemunde, Baltic Sea (details)
                      • July 1/11 and 2 Køge Bay – Danes and Dutch defeat Swedish fleet
                      • December Tobago – French under Jean II d'Estrées defeat Dutch under Jacob Binckes
                      • June 26, June 28, July 2 and July 20 – Series of skirmishes culminating in a Danish victory over Sweden
                      • September 30 – Spanish defeat Brandenburgers near Cape St Vincent (details)
                      • October 4 – Venetians vs Turks near Mitylene, Greece
                      • French vs English near Casquets
                      • July 10 Beachy Head (Beveziers) – French defeat Anglo-Dutch fleet
                      • – French vs English and Dutch near Madras
                      • September 8 – Venetians fight the combined fleet of Turkey, Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis near Mitylene, Greece (details)
                      • – French defeat Spanish near Cape Finisterre
                      • – French defeat Tripolitans near Malta
                      • April 16 – French defeat English (details)
                      • September 15 and 18 – Venetians under Contarini vs Turks under Mezzo Morto
                      • June 17 Dogger Bank – French defeat Dutch
                      • – French and English fight in Newfoundland
                      • – Fight near San Domingo
                      • July 14 Bay of Fundy – French under Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville defeat English
                      • August 22 – Venetians under Contarini vs Turks and their allies under Mezzo Morto near Andros (details)

                      Early 18th century Edit

                      • 1701 August 17 – Maltese raid on La Goulette
                      • 1702 August 19–24 (OS) – English under Benbow – French under Ducasse draw (details)
                        • October 23 Vigo Bay – Anglo-Dutch fleet defeat French and Spanish and destroy Spanish treasure fleet
                        • June 25 – Maltese defeat Tripolitans near Cape Santa di Leuca
                        • – Portuguese defeat Indians near Cheul (details)
                        • July 19 Matapan – Venetians and their allies vs Turks in Gulf of Laconia, Greece
                        • July 20–22 – Venetians vs Turks (details)
                        • August 11 Cape Passaro – British under George Byng defeat Spanish near Sicily
                        • August 9 and 10 – Turks defeat Russians

                        Great Northern War (1700–21) Edit

                        • 1702 June 26 – Small-ship action between Sweden and Russia on Lake Ladoga
                          • September 7 – Small-ship action between Sweden and Russia on Lake Ladoga
                          • July 31 and August 17 – Danes under Sehested fight and then defeat Swedes under Henck near Rugen (details)
                          • August 4 – Very minor engagement between Russia and Sweden
                          • September 28 – Very minor engagement between Denmark and Sweden
                          • July 19 – Danish attack on Strömstad is defeated
                          • July 13 – Danes under Rosenpalm defeat Swedes at Strömstad

                          War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) Edit

                          • 1741 January 7 and 8 – British vs French in West Indies
                            • February 12 – Minor British vs French in Gibraltar Strait
                            • March–May Cartagena de Indias – Decisive Spanish victory against a large British fleet during the War of Jenkins' Ear
                            • August 10 Colachel – Raja of Travancore in India defeats Dutch naval force at Colachel
                            • October 25 2nd Cape Finisterre – British under Hawke defeat French under de l'Etenduère
                            • October 12 – British vs Spanish near Havana (details)

                            Seven Years War (1756–63) Edit

                            • 1755 June 8 Gulf of St. Lawrence – British under Boscawen defeat French under Hocquart
                            • 1756 May 20 Minorca – French under la Galissonnière defeat British under John Byng
                            • 1757 early – French under Kersaint de Coëtnempren vs British at San Domingo
                            • 1758 – Minor French under Duchaffault vs British under Boscawen near Ushant
                              • – Minor French under Durevest vs British under Saunders near Gibraltar Strait
                              • April 29 Cuddalore – British under Pocock defeat French under d'Ache
                              • August 3 Negapatam – British under Pocock defeat French under d'Ache
                              • September 10 – Light Swedish force defeats similar Prussian force near Szczecin
                              • September 10 Pondicherry – British fight French but are too damaged to pursue
                              • November 20 Quiberon Bay/Cardinaux – British defeat French near St Nazaire

                              Russo-Turkish War (1768–74) Edit

                              • 1770 May 27 and 28 – Russians vs Turks near southern Greece (details)
                                • June 4 – Minor Russians vs Turks south of Athens (details)
                                • July 5–7 Chesma – Russian fleet defeats and burns Turkish fleet off western Turkey
                                • September 3 – Russians under Kinsbergen vs Turks (details)
                                • September? – Russians vs Turks (details)

                                American War of Independence (1776–83) Edit

                                • 1776 October 11 Valcour Island – Benedict Arnold escapes the British fleet under Guy Carleton
                                • 1777 September 26 to November 16, 1777 Siege of Fort Mifflin on the Delaware River American fleets under John Hazelwood, defending Philadelphia from British navy.
                                • 1778 April 19 Frederica Naval Action
                                  • July 27 First Ushant – British under Keppel with 30 ships of the line fight inconclusive action against French under d'Orvilliers with 28 ships
                                  • end – French vs British under Hyde Parker near Fort Royal, Martinique
                                  • April 17 Martinique – British under Rodney fail to defeat French under de Guichen
                                  • August 9 Spanish-French fleet under Luis de Córdova y Córdova captures 55 ship British convoy off Cape Santa María
                                  • Spanish-French fleet under Luis de Córdova y Córdova captures 29 ship British convoy
                                  • April 19 Fort Royal
                                  • – Minor French under de Grasse vs British under Hood
                                  • – Minor French under Destouches vs British under Arbuthnot
                                  • July 21 Cape Breton Island – French attack British convoy
                                  • August 5 (15 NS?) Dogger Bank – Draw between Dutch and British squadrons
                                  • September 5 Chesapeake Bay – French under de Grasse drive off British under Graves
                                  • December 12 Second Ushant – British under Kempenfelt capture part of a French convoy from de Guichen
                                  • February 17 Sadras – First fierce but indecisive fight between French under Suffren and British under Hughes near south-east India
                                  • April 9 and 12 The Saintes – British under Rodney decisively defeat French under de Grasse in the West Indies
                                  • April 12 Providien – 2nd fight between Suffren and Hughes off India
                                  • April 21 – British defeat French
                                  • July 6 Negapatam – 3rd fight between Suffren and Hughes off India
                                  • September 3 Trincomalee – Hughes fleet damages Suffren's but withdraws
                                  • October 20 Cape Spartel – Franco-Spanish fleet under Luis de Córdova y Córdova fights British fleet under Richard Howe in indecisive battle. Howe resupplies Gibraltar

                                  Russo-Turkish War (1787–92) Edit

                                  • 1787 August 30 – Russians vs Turks
                                    • September 27, 28 and 30 – Russians vs Turks
                                    • October 15 – Russians defeat Turks
                                    • July 14/25 Ochakov – Russia defeats Turkey near Fidonisi
                                    • September 8 and 9 Tendra – Russians defeat Turks
                                    • October 31 – Russians defeat Turks at the Sulina mouth
                                    • November 17, 18 – Russians defeat Turks at Tultcha
                                    • November 29 – Russians defeat Turks at Ismail (details)
                                    • November 30, December 1, 2, 4–7 – Russians defeat Turks
                                    • August 11 Cape Kaliakra – Slight Russian victory over Turks in a largely inconclusive battle near Bulgaria

                                    Russo-Swedish War (1788–90) Edit

                                    The Russian calendar was eleven days behind the Swedish during the 18th century, so Russian dates are eleven days earlier.


                                    Polybius, Histories

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                                    Corcyra Submits To the Romans

                                    B. C. 229, The Roman Consuls, with fleet and army, start to punish the Illyrians.
                                    Demetrius of Pharos.
                                    Corcyra becomes a "friend of Rome ."
                                    Aulus Postumius.
                                    The Roman settlement of Illyricum .

                                    Of the Illyrian troops engaged in blockading Issa , those that belonged to Pharos were left unharmed, as a favour to Demetrius while all the rest scattered and fled to Arbo. Teuta herself, with a very few attendants, escaped to Rhizon, a small town very strongly fortified, and situated on the river of the same name. Having accomplished all this, and having placed the greater part of Illyria under Demetrius, and invested him with a wide dominion, the Consuls retired to Epidamnus with their fleet and army.

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                                    Origins of the Conflict

                                    Even before the war with Carthage (264-241 BC), the Romans had been aware of the danger to the Adriatic coast of Italy from seaborne attack. In 246 BC, a colony of Roman citizens was settled at Brundisium to keep a watch on the Ionian gulf. During their occupation of Phoenice, a number of Illyrian ships had engaged in privateering against Italian merchants. So many were robbed, murdered or captured that the Roman Senate, after ignoring earlier complaints, realized that something had to be done. Polybius (2.8) furnishes a suspiciously vivid account of a Roman embassy to Teuta, a version of events that was intended to justify the Roman invasion of Illyria. It was led by the brothers L. and Gn. Coruncanius. On arrival, they found Teuta celebrating the end of a rebellion in Illyria and engaged in laying siege to the Greek island of Issa, 'the last town which held out'. When the ambassadors complained of injuries to Romans, Teuta promised that no royal forces would harm them, but said that she was unable to put an end to the tradition of private enterprise. One of the ambassadors lost his temper in response, the queen arranged for the insolent envoy to be murdered on his homeward voyage. News of this caused the Romans to prepare for war: legions were enlisted and the fleet assembled, and there was general indignation at 'the queen's violation of the law of nations'.

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                                    HISTORIC BATTLES

                                    First Illyrian War (229-228 BC)

                                    The Illyrian Wars were a set of wars fought in the period 229–168 BC between the Roman Republic and the Ardiaei kingdom. In the First Illyrian War, which lasted from 229 BC to 228 BC, Rome's concern was that the trade across the Adriatic Sea increased after the First Punic War at a time when Ardiaei power increased under queen Teuta. View Historic Battle »

                                    Corcyra and Paxos (229 BC): The Illyrians were now on the point of controlling all of the coastline north of the Gulf of Corinth, including all of the sea routes to Sicily and Italy via Corcyra.

                                    Roman offensive: The Roman consul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus sailed his 200 ships to Corcyra to raise the siege, despite having learned that the island had already surrendered.

                                    Peace treaty (228 BC): According to its terms, the queen would abandon Illyria, except for a few places, and promise not to sail south of Lissus at the mouth of the Drin with more than two ships, even ten unarmed vessels.


                                    First Illyrian War (229-228 BC)

                                    The Illyrian Wars were a set of wars fought in the period 229–168 BC between the Roman Republic and the Ardiaei kingdom. In the First Illyrian War, which lasted from 229 BC to 228 BC, Rome's concern was that the trade across the Adriatic Sea increased after the First Punic War at a time when Ardiaei power increased under queen Teuta.


                                    RESOURCES
                                    This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "First Illyrian War", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


                                    Contents

                                    This century is essentially studied from the Athenian outlook because Athens has left us more narratives, plays, and other written works than any of the other ancient Greek states. From the perspective of Athenian culture in Classical Greece, the period generally referred to as the 5th century BC extends slightly into the 6th century BC. In this context, one might consider that the first significant event of this century occurs in 508 BC, with the fall of the last Athenian tyrant and Cleisthenes' reforms. However, a broader view of the whole Greek world might place its beginning at the Ionian Revolt of 500 BC, the event that provoked the Persian invasion of 492 BC. The Persians were defeated in 490 BC. A second Persian attempt, in 481–479 BC, failed as well, despite having overrun much of modern-day Greece (north of the Isthmus of Corinth) at a crucial point during the war following the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Artemisium. [2] [3] The Delian League then formed, under Athenian hegemony and as Athens' instrument. Athens' successes caused several revolts among the allied cities, all of which were put down by force, but Athenian dynamism finally awoke Sparta and brought about the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC. After both forces were spent, a brief peace came about then the war resumed to Sparta's advantage. Athens was definitively defeated in 404 BC, and internal Athenian agitations mark the end of the 5th century BC in Greece.

                                    Since its beginning, Sparta had been ruled by a diarchy. This meant that Sparta had two kings ruling concurrently throughout its entire history. The two kingships were both hereditary, vested in the Agiad dynasty and the Eurypontid dynasty. According to legend, the respective hereditary lines of these two dynasties sprang from Eurysthenes and Procles, twin descendants of Hercules. They were said to have conquered Sparta two generations after the Trojan War.

                                    In 510 BC, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow their king, the tyrant Hippias, son of Peisistratos. Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy headed by Isagoras. But his rival Cleisthenes, with the support of the middle class and aided by pro-democracy citizens, took over. Cleomenes intervened in 508 and 506 BC, but could not stop Cleisthenes, now supported by the Athenians. Through Cleisthenes' reforms, the people endowed their city with isonomic institutions—equal rights for all citizens (though only men were citizens)—and established ostracism.

                                    The isonomic and isegoric (equal freedom of speech) [4] democracy was first organized into about 130 demes, which became the basic civic element. The 10,000 citizens exercised their power as members of the assembly (ἐκκλησία, ekklesia), headed by a council of 500 citizens chosen at random.

                                    The city's administrative geography was reworked, in order to create mixed political groups: not federated by local interests linked to the sea, to the city, or to farming, whose decisions (e.g. a declaration of war) would depend on their geographical position. The territory of the city was also divided into thirty trittyes as follows:

                                    • ten trittyes in the coastal region (παρᾰλία, paralia)
                                    • ten trittyes in the ἄστυ (astu), the urban centre
                                    • ten trittyes in the rural interior, (μεσογεία, mesogia).

                                    A tribe consisted of three trittyes, selected at random, one from each of the three groups. Each tribe therefore always acted in the interest of all three sectors.

                                    It was this corpus of reforms that allowed the emergence of a wider democracy in the 460s and 450s BC.

                                    In Ionia (the modern Aegean coast of Turkey), the Greek cities, which included great centres such as Miletus and Halicarnassus, were unable to maintain their independence and came under the rule of the Persian Empire in the mid-6th century BC. In 499 BC that region's Greeks rose in the Ionian Revolt, and Athens and some other Greek cities sent aid, but were quickly forced to back down after defeat in 494 BC at the Battle of Lade. Asia Minor returned to Persian control.

                                    In 492 BC, the Persian general Mardonius led a campaign through Thrace and Macedonia. He was victorious and again subjugated the former and conquered the latter, [5] but he was wounded and forced to retreat back into Asia Minor. In addition, a fleet of around 1,200 ships that accompanied Mardonius on the expedition was wrecked by a storm off the coast of Mount Athos. Later, the generals Artaphernes and Datis led a successful naval expedition against the Aegean islands.

                                    In 490 BC, Darius the Great, having suppressed the Ionian cities, sent a Persian fleet to punish the Greeks. (Historians are uncertain about their number of men accounts vary from 18,000 to 100,000.) They landed in Attica intending to take Athens, but were defeated at the Battle of Marathon by a Greek army of 9,000 Athenian hoplites and 1,000 Plataeans led by the Athenian general Miltiades. The Persian fleet continued to Athens but, seeing it garrisoned, decided not to attempt an assault.

                                    In 480 BC, Darius' successor Xerxes I sent a much more powerful force of 300,000 by land, with 1,207 ships in support, across a double pontoon bridge over the Hellespont. This army took Thrace, before descending on Thessaly and Boeotia, whilst the Persian navy skirted the coast and resupplied the ground troops. The Greek fleet, meanwhile, dashed to block Cape Artemision. After being delayed by Leonidas I, the Spartan king of the Agiad Dynasty, at the Battle of Thermopylae (a battle made famous by the 300 Spartans who faced the entire Persian army), Xerxes advanced into Attica, and captured and burned Athens. The subsequent Battle of Artemisium resulted in the capture of Euboea, bringing most of mainland Greece north of the Isthmus of Corinth under Persian control. [2] [3] However, the Athenians had evacuated the city of Athens by sea before Thermopylae, and under the command of Themistocles, they defeated the Persian fleet at the Battle of Salamis.

                                    In 483 BC, during the period of peace between the two Persian invasions, a vein of silver ore had been discovered in the Laurion (a small mountain range near Athens), and the hundreds of talents mined there were used to build 200 warships to combat Aeginetan piracy. A year later, the Greeks, under the Spartan Pausanias, defeated the Persian army at Plataea. The Persians then began to withdraw from Greece, and never attempted an invasion again.

                                    The Athenian fleet then turned to chasing the Persians from the Aegean Sea, defeating their fleet decisively in the Battle of Mycale then in 478 BC the fleet captured Byzantium. At that time Athens enrolled all the island states and some mainland ones into an alliance called the Delian League, so named because its treasury was kept on the sacred island of Delos. The Spartans, although they had taken part in the war, withdrew into isolation afterwards, allowing Athens to establish unchallenged naval and commercial power.

                                    Origins of the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League Edit

                                    In 431 BC war broke out between Athens and Sparta. The war was a struggle not merely between two city-states but rather between two coalitions, or leagues of city-states: [6] the Delian League, led by Athens, and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta.

                                    Delian league Edit

                                    The Delian League grew out of the need to present a unified front of all Greek city-states against Persian aggression. In 481 BC, Greek city-states, including Sparta, met in the first of a series of "congresses" that strove to unify all the Greek city-states against the danger of another Persian invasion. [7] The coalition that emerged from the first congress was named the "Hellenic League" and included Sparta. Persia, under Xerxes, invaded Greece in September 481 BC, but the Athenian navy defeated the Persian navy. The Persian land forces were delayed in 480 BC by a much smaller force of 300 Spartans, 400 Thebans and 700 men from Boeotian Thespiae at the Battle of Thermopylae. [8] The Persians left Greece in 479 BC after their defeat at Plataea. [9]

                                    Plataea was the final battle of Xerxes' invasion of Greece. After this, the Persians never again tried to invade Greece. With the disappearance of this external threat, cracks appeared in the united front of the Hellenic League. [10] In 477, Athens became the recognised leader of a coalition of city-states that did not include Sparta. This coalition met and formalized their relationship at the holy city of Delos. [11] Thus, the League took the name "Delian League". Its formal purpose was to liberate Greek cities still under Persian control. [12] However, it became increasingly apparent that the Delian League was really a front for Athenian hegemony throughout the Aegean. [13]

                                    Peloponnesian (or Spartan) league Edit

                                    A competing coalition of Greek city-states centred around Sparta arose, and became more important as the external Persian threat subsided. This coalition is known as the Peloponnesian League. However, unlike the Hellenic League and the Delian League, this league was not a response to any external threat, Persian or otherwise: it was unabashedly an instrument of Spartan policy aimed at Sparta's security and Spartan dominance over the Peloponnese peninsula. [14] The term "Peloponnesian League" is a misnomer. It was not really a "league" at all. Nor was it really "Peloponnesian". [14] There was no equality at all between the members, as might be implied by the term "league". Furthermore, most of its members were located outside the Peloponnese Peninsula. [14] The terms "Spartan League" and "Peloponnesian League" are modern terms. Contemporaries instead referred to "Lacedaemonians and their Allies" to describe the "league". [14]

                                    The league had its origins in Sparta's conflict with Argos, another city on the Peloponnese Peninsula. In the 7th century BC, Argos dominated the peninsula. Even in the early 6th century, the Argives attempted to control the northeastern part of the peninsula. The rise of Sparta in the 6th century brought Sparta into conflict with Argos. However, with the conquest of the Peloponnesian city-state of Tegea in 550 BC and the defeat of the Argives in 546 BC, the Spartans' control began to reach well beyond the borders of Laconia.

                                    The thirty years peace Edit

                                    As the two coalitions grew, their separate interests kept coming into conflict. Under the influence of King Archidamus II (the Eurypontid king of Sparta from 476 BC through 427 BC), Sparta, in the late summer or early autumn of 446 BC, concluded the Thirty Years Peace with Athens. This treaty took effect the next winter in 445 BC [15] Under the terms of this treaty, Greece was formally divided into two large power zones. [16] Sparta and Athens agreed to stay within their own power zone and not to interfere in the other's. Despite the Thirty Years Peace, it was clear that war was inevitable. [17] As noted above, at all times during its history down to 221 BC, Sparta was a "diarchy" with two kings ruling the city-state concurrently. One line of hereditary kings was from the Eurypontid Dynasty while the other king was from the Agiad Dynasty. With the signing of the Thirty Years Peace treaty Archidamus II felt he had successfully prevented Sparta from entering into a war with its neighbours. [18] However, the strong war party in Sparta soon won out and in 431 BC Archidamus was forced to go to war with the Delian League. However, in 427 BC, Archidamus II died and his son, Agis II succeeded to the Eurypontid throne of Sparta. [19]

                                    Causes of the Peloponnesian war Edit

                                    The immediate causes of the Peloponnesian War vary from account to account. However three causes are fairly consistent among the ancient historians, namely Thucydides and Plutarch. Prior to the war, Corinth and one of its colonies, Corcyra (modern-day Corfu), went to war in 435 BC over the new Corcyran colony of Epidamnus. [20] Sparta refused to become involved in the conflict and urged an arbitrated settlement of the struggle. [21] In 433 BC, Corcyra sought Athenian assistance in the war. Corinth was known to be a traditional enemy of Athens. However, to further encourage Athens to enter the conflict, Corcyra pointed out how useful a friendly relationship with Corcyra would be, given the strategic locations of Corcyra itself and the colony of Epidamnus on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea. [22] Furthermore, Corcyra promised that Athens would have the use of Corcyra's navy, the third-largest in Greece. This was too good of an offer for Athens to refuse. Accordingly, Athens signed a defensive alliance with Corcyra.

                                    The next year, in 432 BC, Corinth and Athens argued over control of Potidaea (near modern-day Nea Potidaia), eventually leading to an Athenian siege of Potidaea. [23] In 434–433 BC Athens issued the "Megarian Decrees", a series of decrees that placed economic sanctions on the Megarian people. [24] The Peloponnesian League accused Athens of violating the Thirty Years Peace through all of the aforementioned actions, and, accordingly, Sparta formally declared war on Athens.

                                    Many historians consider these to be merely the immediate causes of the war. They would argue that the underlying cause was the growing resentment on the part of Sparta and its allies at the dominance of Athens over Greek affairs. The war lasted 27 years, partly because Athens (a naval power) and Sparta (a land-based military power) found it difficult to come to grips with each other.

                                    The Peloponnesian war: Opening stages (431–421 BC) Edit

                                    Sparta's initial strategy was to invade Attica, but the Athenians were able to retreat behind their walls. An outbreak of plague in the city during the siege caused many deaths, including that of Pericles. At the same time the Athenian fleet landed troops in the Peloponnesus, winning battles at Naupactus (429) and Pylos (425). However, these tactics could bring neither side a decisive victory. After several years of inconclusive campaigning, the moderate Athenian leader Nicias concluded the Peace of Nicias (421).

                                    The Peloponnesian war: Second phase (418–404 BC) Edit

                                    In 418 BC, however, conflict between Sparta and the Athenian ally Argos led to a resumption of hostilities. Alcibiades was one of the most influential voices in persuading the Athenians to ally with Argos against the Spartans. [25] At the Mantinea Sparta defeated the combined armies of Athens and her allies. Accordingly, Argos and the rest of the Peloponnesus was brought back under the control of Sparta. [25] The return of peace allowed Athens to be diverted from meddling in the affairs of the Peloponnesus and to concentrate on building up the empire and putting their finances in order. Soon trade recovered and tribute began, once again, rolling into Athens. [25] A strong "peace party" arose, which promoted avoidance of war and continued concentration on the economic growth of the Athenian Empire. Concentration on the Athenian Empire, however, brought Athens into conflict with another Greek state.

                                    The Melian expedition (416 BC) Edit

                                    Ever since the formation of the Delian League in 477 BC, the island of Melos had refused to join. By refusing to join the League, however, Melos reaped the benefits of the League without bearing any of the burdens. [26] In 425 BC, an Athenian army under Cleon attacked Melos to force the island to join the Delian League. However, Melos fought off the attack and was able to maintain its neutrality. [26] Further conflict was inevitable and in the spring of 416 BC the mood of the people in Athens was inclined toward military adventure. The island of Melos provided an outlet for this energy and frustration for the military party. Furthermore, there appeared to be no real opposition to this military expedition from the peace party. Enforcement of the economic obligations of the Delian League upon rebellious city-states and islands was a means by which continuing trade and prosperity of Athens could be assured. Melos alone among all the Cycladic Islands located in the south-west Aegean Sea had resisted joining the Delian League. [26] This continued rebellion provided a bad example to the rest of the members of the Delian League.

                                    The debate between Athens and Melos over the issue of joining the Delian League is presented by Thucydides in his Melian Dialogue. [27] The debate did not in the end resolve any of the differences between Melos and Athens and Melos was invaded in 416 BC, and soon occupied by Athens. This success on the part of Athens whetted the appetite of the people of Athens for further expansion of the Athenian Empire. [28] Accordingly, the people of Athens were ready for military action and tended to support the military party, led by Alcibiades.

                                    The Sicilian expedition (415–413 BC) Edit

                                    Thus, in 415 BC, Alcibiades found support within the Athenian Assembly for his position when he urged that Athens launch a major expedition against Syracuse, a Peloponnesian ally in Sicily. [29] Segesta, a town in Sicily, had requested Athenian assistance in their war with another Sicilian town—the town of Selinus. Although Nicias was a sceptic about the Sicilian Expedition, he was appointed along with Alcibiades to lead the expedition. [30]

                                    However, unlike the expedition against Melos, the citizens of Athens were deeply divided over Alcibiades' proposal for an expedition to far-off Sicily. In June 415 BC, on the very eve of the departure of the Athenian fleet for Sicily, a band of vandals in Athens defaced the many statues of the god Hermes that were scattered throughout the city of Athens. [31] This action was blamed on Alcibiades and was seen as a bad omen for the coming campaign. [32] In all likelihood, the coordinated action against the statues of Hermes was the action of the peace party. [33] Having lost the debate on the issue, the peace party was desperate to weaken Alcibiades' hold on the people of Athens. Successfully blaming Alcibiades for the action of the vandals would have weakened Alcibiades and the war party in Athens. Furthermore, it is unlikely that Alcibiades would have deliberately defaced the statues of Hermes on the very eve of his departure with the fleet. Such defacement could only have been interpreted as a bad omen for the expedition that he had long advocated.

                                    Even before the fleet reached Sicily, word arrived to the fleet that Alcibiades was to be arrested and charged with sacrilege of the statues of Hermes, prompting Alcibiades to flee to Sparta. [34] When the fleet later landed in Sicily and the battle was joined, the expedition was a complete disaster. The entire expeditionary force was lost and Nicias was captured and executed. This was one of the most crushing defeats in the history of Athens.

                                    Alcibiades in Sparta Edit

                                    Meanwhile, Alcibiades betrayed Athens and became a chief advisor to the Spartans and began to counsel them on the best way to defeat his native land. Alcibiades persuaded the Spartans to begin building a real navy for the first time—large enough to challenge the Athenian superiority at sea. Additionally, Alcibiades persuaded the Spartans to ally themselves with their traditional foes—the Persians. As noted below, Alcibiades soon found himself in controversy in Sparta when he was accused of having seduced Timaea, the wife of Agis II, the Eurypontid king of Sparta. [19] Accordingly, Alcibiades was required to flee from Sparta and seek the protection of the Persian Court.

                                    Persia intervenes Edit

                                    In the Persian court, Alcibiades now betrayed both [ clarification needed ] by helping Sparta build a navy commensurate with the Athenian navy. Alcibiades advised that a victory of Sparta over Athens was not in the best interest of the Persian Empire. Rather, long and continuous warfare between Sparta and Athens would weaken both city-states and allow the Persians to dominate the Greek peninsula.

                                    Among the war party in Athens, a belief arose that the catastrophic defeat of the military expedition to Sicily in 415–413 could have been avoided if Alcibiades had been allowed to lead the expedition. Thus, despite his treacherous flight to Sparta and his collaboration with Sparta and later with the Persian court, there arose a demand among the war party that Alcibiades be allowed to return to Athens without being arrested. Alcibiades negotiated with his supporters on the Athenian-controlled island of Samos. Alcibiades felt that "radical democracy" was his worst enemy. Accordingly, he asked his supporters to initiate a coup to establish an oligarchy in Athens. If the coup were successful Alcibiades promised to return to Athens. In 411, a successful oligarchic coup was mounted in Athens, by a group which became known as "the 400". However, a parallel attempt by the 400 to overthrow democracy in Samos failed. Alcibiades was immediately made an admiral (navarch) in the Athenian navy. Later, due to democratic pressures, the 400 were replaced by a broader oligarchy called "the 5000". Alcibiades did not immediately return to Athens. In early 410, Alcibiades led an Athenian fleet of 18 triremes against the Persian-financed Spartan fleet at Abydos near the Hellespont. The Battle of Abydos had actually begun before the arrival of Alcibiades, and had been inclining slightly toward the Athenians. However, with the arrival of Alcibiades, the Athenian victory over the Spartans became a rout. Only the approach of nightfall and the movement of Persian troops to the coast where the Spartans had beached their ships saved the Spartan navy from total destruction.

                                    Following Alcibiades' advice, the Persian Empire had been playing Sparta and Athens off against each other. However, as weak as the Spartan navy was after the Battle of Abydos, the Persian navy directly assisted the Spartans. Alcibiades then pursued and met the combined Spartan and Persian fleets at the Battle of Cyzicus later in the spring of 410, achieving a significant victory.

                                    Lysander and the end of the war Edit

                                    Sparta then built a fleet, with the financial help of the Persians, to challenge Athenian naval supremacy, and found a new military leader in Lysander, who attacked Abydos and seized the strategic initiative by occupying the Hellespont, the source [ clarification needed ] of Athens' grain imports. [35] Threatened with starvation, Athens sent its last remaining fleet to confront Lysander, but he decisively defeated it at Aegospotami (405 BC). The loss of her fleet threatened Athens with bankruptcy. In 404 BC Athens sued for peace, and Sparta dictated a predictably stern settlement: Athens lost her city walls, her fleet, and all of her overseas possessions. Lysander abolished the democracy and appointed in its place an oligarchy called the "Thirty Tyrants" to govern Athens.

                                    Meanwhile, in Sparta, Timaea gave birth to a child. The child was given the name Leotychidas, after the great grandfather of Agis II—King Leotychidas of Sparta. However, because of Timaea's alleged affair with Alcibiades, it was widely rumoured that the young Leotychidas was fathered by Alcibiades. [19] Indeed, Agis II refused to acknowledge Leotychidas as his son until he relented, in front of witnesses, on his deathbed in 400 BC. [36]

                                    Upon the death of Agis II, Leotychidas attempted to claim the Eurypontid throne for himself, but this was met with an outcry, led by Lysander, who was at the height of his influence in Sparta. [36] Lysander argued that Leotychidas was a bastard and could not inherit the Eurypontid throne [36] instead he backed the hereditary claim of Agesilaus, son of Agis by another wife. With Lysander's support, Agesilaus became the Eurypontid king as Agesilaus II, expelled Leotychidas from the country, and took over all of Agis' estates and property.

                                    The end of the Peloponnesian War left Sparta the master of Greece, but the narrow outlook of the Spartan warrior elite did not suit them to this role. [37] Within a few years the democratic party regained power in Athens and in other cities. In 395 BC the Spartan rulers removed Lysander from office, and Sparta lost her naval supremacy. Athens, Argos, Thebes, and Corinth, the latter two former Spartan allies, challenged Sparta's dominance in the Corinthian War, which ended inconclusively in 387 BC. That same year Sparta shocked the Greeks by concluding the Treaty of Antalcidas with Persia. The agreement turned over the Greek cities of Ionia and Cyprus, reversing a hundred years of Greek victories against Persia. Sparta then tried to further weaken the power of Thebes, which led to a war in which Thebes allied with its old enemy Athens.

                                    Then the Theban generals Epaminondas and Pelopidas won a decisive victory at Leuctra (371 BC). The result of this battle was the end of Spartan supremacy and the establishment of Theban dominance, but Athens herself recovered much of her former power because the supremacy of Thebes was short-lived. With the death of Epaminondas at Mantinea (362 BC) the city lost its greatest leader and his successors blundered into an ineffectual ten-year war with Phocis. In 346 BC the Thebans appealed to Philip II of Macedon to help them against the Phocians, thus drawing Macedon into Greek affairs for the first time. [38]

                                    The Peloponnesian War was a radical turning point for the Greek world. Before 403 BC, the situation was more defined, with Athens and its allies (a zone of domination and stability, with a number of island cities benefiting from Athens' maritime protection), and other states outside this Athenian Empire. The sources denounce this Athenian supremacy (or hegemony) as smothering and disadvantageous. [39]

                                    After 403 BC, things became more complicated, with a number of cities trying to create similar empires over others, all of which proved short-lived. The first of these turnarounds was managed by Athens as early as 390 BC, allowing it to re-establish itself as a major power without regaining its former glory.

                                    The fall of Sparta Edit

                                    This empire was powerful but short-lived. In 405 BC, the Spartans were masters of all—of Athens' allies and of Athens itself—and their power was undivided. By the end of the century, they could not even defend their own city. As noted above, in 400 BC, Agesilaus became king of Sparta. [40]

                                    Foundation of a Spartan empire Edit

                                    The subject of how to reorganize the Athenian Empire as part of the Spartan Empire provoked much heated debate among Sparta's full citizens. The admiral Lysander felt that the Spartans should rebuild the Athenian empire in such a way that Sparta profited from it. Lysander tended to be too proud to take advice from others. [41] Prior to this, Spartan law forbade the use of all precious metals by private citizens, with transactions being carried out with cumbersome iron ingots (which generally discouraged their accumulation) and all precious metals obtained by the city becoming state property. Without the Spartans' support, Lysander's innovations came into effect and brought a great deal of profit for him—on Samos, for example, festivals known as Lysandreia were organized in his honour. He was recalled to Sparta, and once there did not attend to any important matters.

                                    Sparta refused to see Lysander or his successors dominate. Not wanting to establish a hegemony, they decided after 403 BC not to support the directives that he had made.

                                    Agesilaus came to power by accident at the start of the 4th century BC. This accidental accession meant that, unlike the other Spartan kings, he had the advantage of a Spartan education. The Spartans at this date discovered a conspiracy against the laws of the city conducted by Cinadon and as a result concluded there were too many dangerous worldly elements at work in the Spartan state.

                                    Agesilaus employed a political dynamic that played on a feeling of pan-Hellenic sentiment and launched a successful campaign against the Persian empire. [42] Once again, the Persian empire played both sides against each other. The Persian Court supported Sparta in the rebuilding of their navy while simultaneously funding the Athenians, who used Persian subsidies to rebuild their long walls (destroyed in 404 BC) as well as to reconstruct their fleet and win a number of victories.

                                    For most of the first years of his reign, Agesilaus had been engaged in a war against Persia in the Aegean Sea and in Asia Minor. [43] In 394 BC, the Spartan authorities ordered Agesilaus to return to mainland Greece. While Agesilaus had a large part of the Spartan Army in Asia Minor, the Spartan forces protecting the homeland had been attacked by a coalition of forces led by Corinth. [44] At the Battle of Haliartus the Spartans had been defeated by the Theban forces. Worse yet, Lysander, Sparta's chief military leader, had been killed during the battle. [45] This was the start of what became known as the "Corinthian War" (395–387 BC). [42] Upon hearing of the Spartan loss at Haliartus and of the death of Lysander, Agesilaus headed out of Asia Minor, back across the Hellespont, across Thrace and back towards Greece. At the Battle of Coronea, Agesilaus and his Spartan Army defeated a Theban force. During the war, Corinth drew support from a coalition of traditional Spartan enemies—Argos, Athens and Thebes. [46] However, when the war descended into guerilla tactics, Sparta decided that it could not fight on two fronts and so chose to ally with Persia. [46] The long Corinthian War finally ended with the Peace of Antalcidas or the King's Peace, in which the "Great King" of Persia, Artaxerxes II, pronounced a "treaty" of peace between the various city-states of Greece which broke up all "leagues" of city-states on Greek mainland and in the islands of the Aegean Sea. Although this was looked upon as "independence" for some city-states, the effect of the unilateral "treaty" was highly favourable to the interests of the Persian Empire.

                                    The Corinthian War revealed a significant dynamic that was occurring in Greece. While Athens and Sparta fought each other to exhaustion, Thebes was rising to a position of dominance among the various Greek city-states.

                                    The peace of Antalcidas Edit

                                    In 387 BC, an edict was promulgated by the Persian king, preserving the Greek cities of Asia Minor and Cyprus as well as the independence of the Greek Aegean cities, except for Lymnos, Imbros and Skyros, which were given over to Athens. [47] It dissolved existing alliances and federations and forbade the formation of new ones. This is an ultimatum that benefited Athens only to the extent that Athens held onto three islands. While the "Great King," Artaxerxes, was the guarantor of the peace, Sparta was to act as Persia's agent in enforcing the Peace. [48] To the Persians this document is known as the "King's Peace." To the Greeks, this document is known as the Peace of Antalcidas, after the Spartan diplomat Antalcidas who was sent to Persia as negotiator. Sparta had been worried about the developing closer ties between Athens and Persia. Accordingly, Antalcidas was directed to get whatever agreement he could from the "Great King". Accordingly, the "Peace of Antalcidas" is not a negotiated peace at all. Rather it is a surrender to the interests of Persia, drafted entirely for its benefit. [48]

                                    Spartan interventionism Edit

                                    On the other hand, this peace had unexpected consequences. In accordance with it, the Boeotian League, or Boeotian confederacy, was dissolved in 386 BC. [49] This confederacy was dominated by Thebes, a city hostile to the Spartan hegemony. Sparta carried out large-scale operations and peripheral interventions in Epirus and in the north of Greece, resulting in the capture of the fortress of Thebes, the Cadmea, after an expedition in the Chalcidice and the capture of Olynthos. It was a Theban politician who suggested to the Spartan general Phoibidas that Sparta should seize Thebes itself. This act was sharply condemned, though Sparta eagerly ratified this unilateral move by Phoibidas. The Spartan attack was successful and Thebes was placed under Spartan control. [50]

                                    Clash with Thebes Edit

                                    In 378 BC, the reaction to Spartan control over Thebes was broken by a popular uprising within Thebes. Elsewhere in Greece, the reaction against Spartan hegemony began when Sphodrias, another Spartan general, tried to carry out a surprise attack on Piraeus. [51] Although the gates of Piraeus were no longer fortified, Sphodrias was driven off before Piraeus. Back in Sparta, Sphodrias was put on trial for the failed attack, but was acquitted by the Spartan court. Nonetheless, the attempted attack triggered an alliance between Athens and Thebes. [51] Sparta would now have to fight them both together. Athens was trying to recover from its defeat in the Peloponnesian War at the hands of Sparta's "navarch" Lysander in the disaster of 404 BC. The rising spirit of rebellion against Sparta also fueled Thebes' attempt to restore the former Boeotian confederacy. [52] In Boeotia, the Theban leaders Pelopidas and Epaminondas reorganized the Theban army and began to free the towns of Boeotia from their Spartan garrisons, one by one, and incorporated these towns into the revived Boeotian League. [48] Pelopidas won a great victory for Thebes over a much larger Spartan force in the Battle of Tegyra in 375 BC. [53]

                                    Theban authority grew so spectacularly in such a short time that Athens came to mistrust the growing Theban power. Athens began to consolidate its position again through the formation of a second Athenian League. [54] Attention was drawn to growing power of Thebes when it began interfering in the political affairs of its neighbor, Phocis, and, particularly, after Thebes razed the city of Plataea, a long-standing ally of Athens, in 375 BC. [55] The destruction of Plataea caused Athens to negotiate an alliance with Sparta against Thebes, in that same year. [55] In 371, the Theban army, led by Epaminondas, inflicted a bloody defeat on Spartan forces at Battle of Leuctra. Sparta lost a large part of its army and 400 of its 2,000 citizen-troops. The Battle of Leuctra was a watershed in Greek history. [55] Epaminondas' victory ended a long history of Spartan military prestige and dominance over Greece and the period of Spartan hegemony was over. However, Spartan hegemony was not replaced by Theban, but rather by Athenian hegemony.

                                    The rise of Athens Edit

                                    Financing the league Edit

                                    It was important to erase the bad memories of the former league. Its financial system was not adopted, with no tribute being paid. Instead, syntaxeis were used, irregular contributions as and when Athens and its allies needed troops, collected for a precise reason and spent as quickly as possible. These contributions were not taken to Athens—unlike the 5th century BC system, there was no central exchequer for the league—but to the Athenian generals themselves.

                                    The Athenians had to make their own contribution to the alliance, the eisphora. They reformed how this tax was paid, creating a system in advance, the Proseiphora, in which the richest individuals had to pay the whole sum of the tax then be reimbursed by other contributors. This system was quickly assimilated into a liturgy.

                                    Athenian hegemony halted Edit

                                    This league responded to a real and present need. On the ground, however, the situation within the league proved to have changed little from that of the 5th century BC, with Athenian generals doing what they wanted and able to extort funds from the league. Alliance with Athens again looked unattractive and the allies complained.

                                    The main reasons for the eventual failure were structural. This alliance was only valued out of fear of Sparta, which evaporated after Sparta's fall in 371 BC, losing the alliance its sole 'raison d'etre'. The Athenians no longer had the means to fulfill their ambitions, and found it difficult merely to finance their own navy, let alone that of an entire alliance, and so could not properly defend their allies. Thus, the tyrant of Pherae was able to destroy a number of cities with impunity. From 360 BC, Athens lost its reputation for invincibility and a number of allies (such as Byzantium and Naxos in 364 BC) decided to secede.

                                    In 357 BC the revolt against the league spread, and between 357 BC and 355 BC, Athens had to face war against its allies—a war whose issue was marked by a decisive intervention by the king of Persia in the form of an ultimatum to Athens, demanding that Athens recognise its allies' independence under threat of Persia's sending 200 triremes against Athens. Athens had to renounce the war and leave the confederacy, thereby weakening itself more and more, and signaling the end of Athenian hegemony.

                                    Theban hegemony – tentative and with no future Edit

                                    5th century BC Boeotian confederacy (447–386 BC) Edit

                                    This was not Thebes' first attempt at hegemony. It had been the most important city of Boeotia and the centre of the previous Boeotian confederacy of 447, resurrected since 386.

                                    The 5th-century confederacy is well known to us from a papyrus found at Oxyrhynchus and known as "the Anonyme of Thebes". Thebes headed it and set up a system under which charges were divided up between the different cities of the confederacy. Citizenship was defined according to wealth, and Thebes counted 11,000 active citizens.

                                    The confederacy was divided up into 11 districts, each providing a federal magistrate called a "boeotarch", a certain number of council members, 1,000 hoplites and 100 horsemen. From the 5th century BC the alliance could field an infantry force of 11,000 men, in addition to an elite corps and a light infantry numbering 10,000 but its real power derived from its cavalry force of 1,100, commanded by a federal magistrate independent of local commanders. It also had a small fleet that played a part in the Peloponnesian War by providing 25 triremes for the Spartans. At the end of the conflict, the fleet consisted of 50 triremes and was commanded by a "navarch".

                                    All this constituted a significant enough force that the Spartans were happy to see the Boeotian confederacy dissolved by the king's peace. This dissolution, however, did not last, and in the 370s there was nothing to stop the Thebans (who had lost the Cadmea to Sparta in 382 BC) from reforming this confederacy.

                                    Theban reconstruction Edit

                                    Pelopidas and Epaminondas endowed Thebes with democratic institutions similar to those of Athens, the Thebans revived the title of "Boeotarch" lost in the Persian King's Peace and—with victory at Leuctra and the destruction of Spartan power—the pair achieved their stated objective of renewing the confederacy. Epaminondas rid the Peloponnesus of pro-Spartan oligarchies, replacing them with pro-Theban democracies, constructed cities, and rebuilt a number of those destroyed by Sparta. He equally supported the reconstruction of the city of Messene thanks to an invasion of Laconia that also allowed him to liberate the helots and give them Messene as a capital.

                                    He decided in the end to constitute small confederacies all round the Peloponnessus, forming an Arcadian confederacy (the King's Peace had destroyed a previous Arcadian confederacy and put Messene under Spartan control).

                                    Confrontation between Athens and Thebes Edit

                                    The strength of the Boeotian League explains Athens' problems with her allies in the second Athenian League. Epaminondas succeeded in convincing his countrymen to build a fleet of 100 triremes to pressure cities into leaving the Athenian league and joining a Boeotian maritime league. Epaminondas and Pelopidas also reformed the army of Thebes to introduce new and more effective means of fighting. Thus, the Theban army was able to carry the day against the coalition of other Greek states at the battle of Leuctra in 371 BC and the battle of Mantinea in 362 BC.

                                    Sparta also remained an important power in the face of Theban strength. However, some of the cities allied with Sparta turned against her, because of Thebes. In 367 BC, both Sparta and Athens sent delegates to Artaxerxes II, the Great King of Persia. These delegates sought to have the Artaxerxes, once again, declare Greek independence and a unilateral common peace, just as he had done in twenty years earlier in 387 BC. As noted above, this had meant the destruction of the Boeotian League in 387 BC. Sparta and Athens now hoped the same thing would happen with a new declaration of a similar "Kings Peace". Thebes sent Pelopidas to argue against them. [56] The Great King was convinced by Pelopidas and the Theban diplomats that Thebes and the Boeotian League would be the best agents of Persian interests in Greece, and, accordingly, did not issue a new "King's Peace." [49] Thus, to deal with Thebes, Athens and Sparta were thrown back on their own resources. Thebes, meanwhile, expanded its influence beyond the bounds of Boeotia. In 364 BC, Pelopidas defeated the Alexander of Pherae in the Battle of Cynoscephalae, located in south-eastern Thessaly in northern Greece. However, during the battle, Pelopides was killed. [57]

                                    The confederational framework of Sparta's relationship with her allies was really an artificial one, since it attempted to bring together cities that had never been able to agree on much at all in the past. Such was the case with the cities of Tegea and Mantinea, which re-allied in the Arcadian confederacy. The Mantineans received the support of the Athenians, and the Tegeans that of the Thebans. In 362 BC, Epaminondas led a Theban army against a coalition of Athenian, Spartan, Elisian, Mantinean and Achean forces. Battle was joined at Mantinea. [49] The Thebans prevailed, but this triumph was short-lived, for Epaminondas died in the battle, stating that "I bequeath to Thebes two daughters, the victory of Leuctra and the victory at Mantinea".

                                    Despite the victory at Mantinea, in the end, the Thebans abandoned their policy of intervention in the Peloponnesus. This event is looked upon as a watershed in Greek history. Thus, Xenophon concludes his history of the Greek world at this point, in 362 BC. The end of this period was even more confused than its beginning. Greece had failed and, according to Xenophon, the history of the Greek world was no longer intelligible.

                                    The idea of hegemony disappeared. From 362 BC onward, there was no longer a single city that could exert hegemonic power in Greece. The Spartans were greatly weakened the Athenians were in no condition to operate their navy, and after 365 no longer had any allies Thebes could only exert an ephemeral dominance, and had the means to defeat Sparta and Athens but not to be a major power in Asia Minor.

                                    Other forces also intervened, such as the Persian king, who appointed himself arbitrator among the Greek cities, with their tacit agreement. This situation reinforced the conflicts and there was a proliferation of civil wars, with the confederal framework a repeated trigger for them. One war led to another, each longer and more bloody than the last, and the cycle could not be broken. Hostilities even took place during winter for the first time, with the invasion of Laconia in 370 BC.

                                    Rise of Macedon Edit

                                    Thebes sought to maintain its position until finally eclipsed by the rising power of Macedon in 346 BC. The energetic leadership within Macedon began in 359 BC when Philip of Macedon was made regent for his nephew, Amyntas. Within a short time, Philip was acclaimed king as Philip II of Macedonia in his own right, with succession of the throne established on his own heirs. [58] During his lifetime, Philip II consolidated his rule over Macedonia. This was done by 359 BC and Philip began to look toward expanding Macedonia's influence abroad.

                                    Under Philip II, (359–336 BC), Macedon expanded into the territory of the Paeonians, Thracians, and Illyrians. [59] In 358 BC, Philip allied with Epirus in its campaign against Illyria. In 357 BC, Philip came into direct conflict with Athens when he conquered the Thracian port city of Amphipolis, a city located at the mouth of the Strymon River to the east of Macedonia, and a major Athenian trading port. Conquering this city allowed Philip to subjugate all of Thrace. A year later in 356 BC, the Macedonians attacked and conquered the Athenian-controlled port city of Pydna. This brought the Macedonian threat to Athens closer to home to the Athenians. With the start of the Phocian War in 356 BC, the great Athenian orator and political leader of the "war party", Demosthenes, became increasingly active in encouraging Athens to fight vigorously against Philip's expansionist aims. [60] In 352 BC, Demosthenes gave many speeches against the Macedonian threat, declaring Philip II Athens' greatest enemy. The leader of the Athenian "peace party" was Phocion, who wished to avoid a confrontation that, Phocion felt, would be catastrophic for Athens. Despite Phocion's attempts to restrain the war party, Athens remained at war with Macedonia for years following the original declaration of war. [61] Negotiations between Athens and Philip II started only in 346 BC. [62] The Athenians successfully halted Philip's invasion of Attica at Thermopylae that same year in 352 BC. However, Philip defeated the Phocians at the Battle of the Crocus Field. The conflict between Macedonia and all the city-states of Greece came to a head in 338 BC, [63] at the Battle of Chaeronea.

                                    The Macedonians became more politically involved with the south-central city-states of Greece, but also retained more archaic aspects harking back to the palace culture, first at Aegae (modern Vergina) then at Pella, resembling Mycenaean culture more than that of the Classical city-states. Militarily, Philip recognized the new phalanx style of fighting that had been employed by Epaminondas and Pelopidas in Thebes. Accordingly, he incorporated this new system into the Macedonian army. Philip II also brought a Theban military tutor to Macedon to instruct the future Alexander the Great in the Theban method of fighting. [64]


                                    Philip's son Alexander the Great was born in Pella, Macedonia (356–323 BC). Philip II brought Aristotle to Pella to teach the young Alexander. [65] Besides Alexander's mother, Olympias, Philip took another wife by the name of Cleopatra Eurydice. [66] Cleopatra had a daughter, Europa, and a son, Caranus. Caranus posed a threat to the succession of Alexander. [67] Cleopatra Eurydice was a Macedonian and, thus, Caranus was all Macedonian in blood. Olympias, on the other hand, was from Epirus and, thus, Alexander was regarded as being only half-Macedonian (Cleopatra Eurydice should not be confused with Cleopatra of Macedon, who was Alexander's full-sister and thus daughter of Philip and Olympias).

                                    Philip II was assassinated at the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra of Macedon with King Alexander I of Epirus in 336 BC. [68] Philip's son, the future Alexander the Great, immediately claimed the throne of Macedonia by eliminating all the other claimants to the throne, including Caranus and his cousin Amytas. [69] Alexander was only twenty (20) years of age when he assumed the throne. [70]

                                    Thereafter, Alexander continued his father's plans to conquer all of Greece. He did this by both military might and persuasion. After his victory over Thebes, Alexander traveled to Athens to meet the public directly. Despite Demosthenes' speeches against the Macedonian threat on behalf of the war party of Athens, the public in Athens was still very much divided between the "peace party" and Demosthenes' "war party." However, the arrival of Alexander charmed the Athenian public. [71] The peace party was strengthened and then a peace between Athens and Macedonia was agreed. [72] This allowed Alexander to move on his and the Greeks' long-held dream of conquest in the east, with a unified and secure Greek state at his back.

                                    In 334 BC, Alexander with about 30,000 infantry soldiers and 5,000 cavalry crossed the Hellespont into Asia. He never returned. [73] Alexander managed to briefly extend Macedonian power not only over the central Greek city-states, but also to the Persian empire, including Egypt and lands as far east as the fringes of India. [59] He managed to spread Greek culture throughout the known world. [74] Alexander the Great died in 323 BC in Babylon during his Asian campaign of conquest. [75]

                                    The Classical period conventionally ends at the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the fragmentation of his empire, divided among the Diadochi, [76] which, in the minds of most scholars, marks the beginning of the Hellenistic period.

                                    Legacy of classical Greece Edit

                                    The legacy of Greece was strongly felt by post-Renaissance European elite, who saw themselves as the spiritual heirs of Greece. Will Durant wrote in 1939 that "excepting machinery, there is hardly anything secular in our culture that does not come from Greece," and conversely "there is nothing in Greek civilization that doesn't illuminate our own". [77]


                                    Peloponnesian War: Battle of Pylos

                                    There is no human affair which stands so constantly and so generally in close connection with chance as War.” So spoke Carlvon Clausewitz in the 19th century. But the thought is surely as old as warfare itself and was examined some 23 centuries earlier by the Athenian historian Thucydides. Many examples of the decisive effects of chance on the course of events emerge from his profound study of the Peloponnesian War of 431404 bc, and among the more interesting and decisive are those connected with the capture of Pylos in 425 bc.

                                    The conflict between the city-states of Athens and Sparta was in its sixth year, and the Athenians were straying from the careful plan laid down by Pericles for a limited, defensive war. Uninterested in territorial expansion or in decisively defeating the Spartans, who were overwhelmingly strong on land with the forces of their Peloponnesian League, Pericles had outlined a strategy that would capitalize on the strong suits of Athens’ mercantile empire in the Aegean–money and ships. With her population sheltered in the Athens? Piraeus fortress and fed by her grain ships, Athens could simply ignore the enemy invasion and crop destruction that were at the heart of traditional Greek warfare. Meanwhile, her navy would raid the coastal areas of Sparta’s allies in the Peloponnesus, helping to convince them that the war was not in their best interests. Under growing pressure from their reluctant allies, Pericles concluded, the Spartans would tire of spending their summers in Attica without achieving anything, and the war would fizzle to an end.

                                    Although it was hard on the morale of the Athenians, who had to be restrained by Pericles from launching suicidal attacks on the enemy army lying outside their walls, his strategy appeared to be working in the opening years of the war. Unfortunately for Athens, however, Pericles died in 429, and with him died his plan for history’s first war of attrition. Falling increasingly under the sway of the emerging radical imperialists, the Athenian democracy found it more and more difficult to resist the temptations of power inherent in its immense superiority of resources. Without Pericles, the state began undertaking more risky offensive operations, aimed at expanding Athenian power rather than simply defending it. This development was gradual and was resisted by a conservative faction led by Nicias, but each success whetted the imperial appetite of the people and strengthened the position of the radical hawks.

                                    In the spring of 425, a fleet of 40 warships was sent west to aid the pro-Athenian democrats in the civil war on Corcyra and to further Athenian ambitions in Sicily. With the expedition was the experienced general Demosthenes, at that time a private citizen with no official position, but with a writ from the assembly to use the fleet “around the Peloponnesus.” His plan was to establish a fortified base at Pylos on the west coast of Messenia, a fortified base from which the Athenians could raid into Spartan territory and to which helots, the serfs on whose toil the Spartan system depended, could flee. The actual commanders of the fleet, Eurymedon and Sophocles, were unenthusiastic about the operation, especially once they heard that a Peloponnesian squadron had already arrived at Corcyra, but a sudden storm forced them to take refuge at Pylos. As the bad weather continued, the men fell to fortifying the position out of sheer boredom. Six days later, the work was complete, and the fleet sailed on, leaving Demosthenes with a garrison of five ships.

                                    The Athenian generals were not overly impressed with Pylos as a strategic base, but the Spartan leadership was, and it reacted immediately. King Agis brought his army back from its annual sojourn in Athenian territory, while locally available troops were sent to the area as an advance guard. The 60 Peloponnesian ships at Corcyra were also summoned and reached the area soon after the first land forces, but not before Demosthenes had sent off two of his own vessels to catch the Athenian fleet, while the remaining three were dragged up behind a palisade.

                                    The Athenians were, in fact, only some 75 miles away at Zacynthus, very likely because they had received word of the departure of the enemy fleet from Corcyra and were waiting to intercept it. Learning from Demosthenes’ appeal that the Peloponnesians had probably already slipped by them, they hastened back to Pylos.

                                    Pylos is a narrow, rocky promontory about three-quarters of a mile long, and in antiquity was connected to the mainland all along its eastern side (the lagoon of Osmyn Aga is a recent development). The natural defenses of the place are such that the Athenians had to augment them with stone walls at just three points–short stretches in the north and southeast, and a longer line covering several hundred yards of vulnerable beach in the southwest. Pylos was in many ways a ready-made fortress, but nevertheless the forces available to Demosthenes for its defense were a bit thin, even with the addition of two small Messenian vessels that “happened by” (according to Thucydides–or perhaps they were actually summoned from the Athenian? Messenian base at Naupactus). Theships’ crews provided perhaps 600 men, but most of them were poorly armed and carried improvised wicker shields. As for serious heavy infantry, Demosthenes had at least 90hoplites (10 marines from each of his ships and 40 brought in by the Messenians), though there were probably more, since his successful defense is otherwise hard to explain.

                                    Thucydides says nothing about the number of Spartan troops, but it must have been well over 1,000, perhaps 2,000 or more, if they could station several hundred hoplites on Sphacteria while simultaneously assaulting Pylos. The Spartans were confident that, given their superiority in numbers and the quality of their soldiers, they could easily overwhelm the hastily built and poorly defended fortifications at Pylos before the Athenian fleet returned. As soon as their forces were gathered, they attacked Demosthenes’ defenses at all three points, a squadron of 43 ships carrying a landing force of hoplites toward the wall along the southwestern beach. The Spartan command, which included Brasidas, one of the rare clever leaders to emerge from Sparta’s military system, calculated that the Athenian fortifications along the sea beach would be the weakest, because the Athenians would as usual have assumed that they would be in control of the sea and thus need to face assaults only on the landward sides. Thucydides, in fact, commented on the oddness of the situation, in which an Athenian army was defending against a landing by a Spartan fleet, a complete reversal of the normal circumstances.

                                    The Spartan assessment was correct, but Demosthenes could just as easily read the situation. He sent the bulk of his forces to guard the landward walls, where Spartan numbers could ensure steady, tiring pressure, but he himself led a detachment of 60 hoplites and a few archers to deal with the expected amphibious attack. That attack indeed came, but despite superior numbers and the exhortations of Brasidas, who was wounded and put out of the action early, the Spartans could not gain a foothold. Because of the rocky and difficult nature of the shore and the narrowness of the Sphacteria channel,they could bring in only part of their fleet at a time, while the Athenians took courage from the knowledge of how extremely hard it was to force a landing against a resolute hoplite force on the beaches. The assaults went on for all of one day and part of the next, when the Spartans called a temporary halt and began preparing for a more serious attempt with some siege equipment the following day. The Spartans now faced the imminent return of the Athenian fleet, but they had already taken measures that they thought would solve that problem.

                                    Lying immediately to the south of Pylos and stretching almost three miles across the entrance of the Bay of Navarino, the island of Sphacteria is extremely rough and, in Demosthenes’ day, was wooded. The channel north of the island is very narrow, about 150yards, but the southern passage is some 1,400 yards wide and 200 feet deep. That latter fact made the Spartan contingency plan, as explained by Thucydides, very difficult to understand. According to the historian, they intended–should they fail to capture Pylos before the Athenian fleet returned–to block the entrances to the bay with their ships and thus deny the Athenians an anchorage and any significant access to their comrades at Pylos. A force of hoplites was stationed on the island in order to prevent the enemy from establishing a base there.

                                    That all made little sense, since the Peloponnesians could not have blocked the wide southern channel with twice the number of ships they had. Closing off the bay could only mean a full-fledged naval battle, and the war had gone on long enough for the Spartans to realize that that was a recipe for disaster, even against half their number of Athenian vessels. Thucydides had no apparent problem with that, since–lacking any firsthand knowledge of the area–he thought the channel was sufficiently narrow (“eight or nine ships abreast”). But even he never explained why the Spartans did not implement that plan when the enemy did arrive. They, of course, failed to implement it because in view of the actual topography it could never have been their plan. Why then did they station men on Sphacteria, where they would be immediately trapped if any Athenian fleet showed up?

                                    In the absence of any other plausible answer to that question, one is forced to accept the explanation identified for many a blunder in military history–overconfidence and stupidity. The Spartan system did not produce brilliant leadership, and while the more than normally clever Brasidas was present, he was a subordinate commander, and in any case had no more experience in naval affairs than the average Spartan. Further, while Sparta’s naval allies had direct experience of Athenian naval skill, the Spartans themselves did not, and the impressive record of their army over the past century had bred an unmatched military self-confidence. That confidence, laced with contempt for the “soft” Athenians and perhaps inflated by their numerical superiority in warships, could easily have led to enthusiasm edging out sound judgment. It would not have been the first or last such case in military annals.

                                    The Spartan reaction to the return of the Athenian fleet certainly supports the idea of a plan based on little more than the Greek sin of hubris (overweening pride). Arriving on the day after the assault on Pylos had been halted, the Athenian squadron, now increased to 50 triremes, made a quick reconnaissance and sailed off 10 miles to the north, to pass the night at the islet of Prote. The Spartans thus had plenty of time to evacuate their troops from Sphacteria, but they did not do so. Instead, they sailed out to give battle when the enemy entered the bay the following day. Confidence then ran up against the hard reality of Athenian skill at sea, and the Spartans were immediately put to flight. Most of their ships were saved from capture only by the action of the soldiers, who waded into the bay and dragged the vessels ashore.

                                    That action, however, left 420 hoplites and their helot attendants trapped on the island. The Spartans immediately sought an armistice in order to negotiate an end to the war. That might seem an overreaction, but those troops on Sphacteria constituted a tenth of Sparta’s entire national army, and probably more than a third of them were Spartiates, members of the relatively small and inbred class of full Spartans that held political domination over Laconia and Messenia. Just how valuable a prize the Spartans had handed the Athenians is demonstrated by the terms of the truce. Each side would, of course, refrain from attacking the other, and the men on the island would be provisioned. But the Spartans also agreed temporarily to hand over all their navy at Pylos and in Laconia–some 60 warships in all. Since the Athenians could immediately suspend the truce by claiming some violation, the Spartan navy was thus made hostage to successful peace negotiations. Only desperate men would agree to such terms.

                                    The Spartan ambassadors to Athens may have entertained high hopes, since the peace they offered granted all of Pericles’ war aims and some minor territorial gains as well. They were also careful to point out to the Athenian assembly that this was an attractive offer considering that, although Sparta was suffering a temporary embarrassment, the basic balance of power between the two states had not altered at all. But the mood in Athens had changed since Pericles’ day. Led by Cleon, one of the new breed of demagogic imperialists, the assembly rejected the offer–some out of distrust of Sparta, but more, it would seem, out of a desire to press the advantage even further. Cleon made a number of impossible territorial demands involving Spartan allies, and when the Spartans offered to discuss those outrageous proposals in private, he denounced them and thus killed the negotiations.

                                    Once negotiations had broken off, the Athenians at Pylos promptly claimed a violation of the truce and refused to return the ships, thereby eliminating at a stroke the Peloponnesian navy. Joined by another 20 vessels from Athens, they expected the blockade of the island to produce quick results, since the trapped men had no food and only brackish water available. The Spartans, however, demonstrated surprising cleverness in smuggling food past the blockade in small boats and in bags towed by swimmers.

                                    As the siege dragged on, the morale of the perhaps 14,000 Athenians now present began to sink. There was no place for the fleet to land, so the crews were forced to take turns cooking their meals on cramped beaches and spent the nights on their ships, something to which Greek sailors were unaccustomed. The only local water, a small spring at Pylos, was not quite adequate, and all food had to be brought in from Athens, which meant short rations. It also meant that this blockade was going to be extremely expensive if it went on for much longer. The Athenians, in fact, were beginning to wonder if they could complete the operation before the summer sailing season ended and made their position completely untenable. Clearly, the Spartans had also realized all that–they stopped sending embassies to Athens to attempt to reopen negotiations.

                                    Back at Athens, Cleon was beginning to feel the heat and responded by accusing his political enemies, such as the cautious Nicias, of cowardice. Demosthenes, a bold general and natural ally of Cleon, had already requested additional light-armed troops for an assault on the island, and Cleon was reacting to the delaying tactics of Nicias, who had been delegated to lead the relief forces. Nicias replied to Cleon’s goading by offering him his command of the expedition. Delighted by that amusing turn, the assembly took up the suggestion, forcing Cleon into a political corner. Though he had no military experience, Cleon was compelled to take the offer and declared that he would capture or kill the Spartans on Sphacteria within 20 days. While the assembly considered that another example of his foolishness, Cleon knew that Demosthenes’ assault must succeed or fail well within that period.

                                    Demosthenes was probably the best man available for the attack on Sphacteria, since his failed expedition into Aetolia the previous year had gained him valuable experience of fighting in rough and wooded terrain, where hoplites did not fare very well. He in fact had hesitated to launch an assault because the low woods on the island provided excellent cover for the as-yet-unknown number of Spartan troops there. But chance intervened again when the cooking fire of an Athenian ship’s crew who had briefly put ashore on Sphacteria to prepare their evening meal accidentally started a conflagration that burned off most of the trees. That revealed to Demosthenes several landing places and the numbers and dispositions of the enemy on the island. A small detachment occupied an old fort at the northern end, 30 hoplites guarded the south, and the main force, under the garrison commander Epitades, protected the water supply at the center.

                                    Once Cleon arrived, the assault began. Under cover of darkness, Demosthenes landed 800 hoplites at two points on the southern end of the island and easily surprised and overwhelmed the Spartan guard. His beachhead established, he then brought in everything he had at dawn, leaving only a small garrison at Pylos. The invasion force then consisted of the 800 hoplites, 800 archers, perhaps 2,000 light-armed troops and as many as 8,000poorly armed rowers, all of whom were divided into companies of roughly 200. The Athenians immediately seized all the high points on the island.

                                    The main Spartan force responded by forming up and advancing on the Athenian hoplites, but they were beset on all sides by the light-armed troops, who launched a barrage of javelins, arrows and stones. The heavily encumbered Spartans quickly began to tire from their unsuccessful charges at the light infantry, which effortlessly eluded them in the rough terrain. Encouraged, the Athenian hoplites repressed their instinctive fear of the legendary Spartans and pressed their attacks even harder.

                                    Exhausted, blinded by the dust and beginning to take serious casualties, the Spartans regrouped and undertook a harrowing retreat north to the old fort. There, they were able to establish a viable defense, the fort and cliffs providing them a position where they could not be outflanked and taken from all sides.

                                    The battle raged on, but heat, thirst and exhaustion were taking their toll on both sides, and it seemed a stalemate had been reached. Actually, Demosthenes had already won, since the Spartans now had no water supply, and their defeat was consequently only a matter of time. A Messenian commander, however, convinced Demosthenes to allow him to lead a small force of archers and light-armed troops through the rough cliffs that protected the Spartan rear. The climb was extremely difficult, but because of that fact the Spartans had left this route unguarded, and the force soon appeared on high ground behind the Spartans.

                                    Trapped now like their ancestors at Thermopylae and with Epitades dead, the Spartans lost all hope. Cleon and Demosthenes, realizing the immense value of live Spartan prisoners, called a halt to the fighting and asked the Spartans to surrender. Probably to their surprise–certainly to the shock of the Greek world–the surviving Spartans did exactly that, breaking a two-century-old tradition of death before surrender. Seventy-two days after the siege had begun with the Athenian naval victory, 292 Spartans, about 120 of them full Spartiates, entered captivity.

                                    The military and political repercussions of the Athenian victory at Sphacteria were far-reaching. The Spartan prisoners gave the Athenians, who threatened their execution, a guarantee against further Peloponnesian incursions into Attica and a powerful bargaining edge in any peace negotiations. That Sparta did not write off the captives as dishonorable cowards, as an earlier generation would have done, reveals just how far the gradual breakdown of her system and the decline in manpower was undermining traditional Spartan values. Further, the base at Pylos, garrisoned after the victory with free Messenians, remained a serious thorn in Sparta’s side, sending guerrilla raids into the Messenian countryside and serving as a magnet for rebelling helots. More than anything else, the captives and the Pylos base would lead Sparta to the negotiating table and the ultimately unworkable Peace of Nicias in 421 bc.

                                    Athens, of course, went wild with joy. She was now free from the threat of invasion, had eliminated the Peloponnesian fleet and, through Pylos, could carry the war virtually into the heart of Spartan territory. Morale shot sky-high–who else had ever forced Spartans to surrender? The victory was not, however, an unqualified benefit for the Athenians. Cleon, with his aggressive imperialist policies, now enjoyed more influence than any other Athenian leader since Pericles. Nicias and the conservatives saw their hopes for a quick peace dashed as their countrymen, delirious with power, followed Cleon into increasingly dangerous expansionist schemes.

                                    In the year after Sphacteria, Athens would send armies west into Megara and northwest into Boeotia. The Boeotian expedition would quickly culminate in the disaster at Delium, a recapitulation of the Athenian defeat at Coronea in 447, and the troops lost there might have been better employed guarding the strategically vital city of Amphipolis, which revolted in 424. Only the loss of Amphipolis and Cleon’s death in a failed attempt to recover it in 422 would finally lead the Athenians to the peace negotiations that the Spartans had desperately desired since Sphacteria. And in those negotiations, Nicias would foolishly throw away the prize of Sphacteria by trading the prisoners for promises that the Spartans had little hope of fulfilling.

                                    For Thucydides, history was made by human beings. And if one understands human nature and how people, especially large groups of them, act in given sets of circumstances, one can to a great extent calculate future events that is the prime quality of a great statesman like Pericles. But Thucydides also understood the role played by chance (tyche), which consists of those random occurrences that are outside human control, or purely accidental, such as the storm that drove the Athenian fleet into Pylos and the forest fire on Sphacteria. Such occurrences are usually minor and unimportant, but should they happen at a critical moment, they can have a dramatic effect on the course of events. That is true of all human affairs, but especially so during wartime, because war produces many more critical moments, when chance can powerfully swing events in one direction or another. Pylos in 425 was clearly one of those moments.

                                    The storm at Pylos was undeniably important, since despite Demosthenes’ plan for a base on the Messenian coast, it simply would not have happened in 425 but for that weather. Nor would Pylos have been the site, though it was Demosthenes’ first choice, had the storm driven the fleet in at some other point on the coast. And the storm helped determine the circumstances of the fortification: The hastily built and weakly manned defenses and the departure of the fleet attracted an immediate Peloponnesian attack. In the course of that attack, the Spartans presented the Athenians with another opportunity through their key blunder of garrisoning Sphacteria. The accidental forest fire is harder to assess, since Demosthenes might well have decided to launch an assault regardless, given his superiority in light-armed soldiers and the magnitude of the prize. Moreover, it might have occurred to the Athenians to set the forest ablaze deliberately such destruction of wooded cover for military reasons would not have been unprecedented. In any event, the fire did occur and made the entire operation much easier.

                                    Without that chance storm off Pylos, the course of the war and the political climate in Athens would certainly have been very different, at least for the next several years. But for all the dramatic impact of such chance occurrences at critical moments, Thucydides was quick to assert that it is still men who react to those intrusions of chance. One of the qualities of a great leader, according to Thucydides, was the ability to react quickly and correctly to the random surprises tyche sends one’s way, as Demosthenes did. Thucydides would have no doubt agreed with the sentiments of Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke: “Luck in the long run is given only to the efficient.”

                                    This article was written by Richard M. Berthold and originally published in the February 1997 issue of Military History magazine. For more great articles be sure to subscribe to Military History magazine today!


                                    The Minor Incident that Sparked the Peloponnesian War

                                    The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was actually the second war fought between Athens and Sparta in the fifth century. Why did hostilities break out into the open again? The reflections of the Greek general and historian Thucydides on this question in his History of the Peloponnesian War constitute one of the greatest books of all time. Not only does Thucydides in his inquiry investigate the causes of this second war between Athens and Sparta, which resulted in the end of the Athenian Empire, but he does so in a way that allows us to understand the potential causes of any war in human history. In short, every age has good reasons for returning to a close reading of Thucydides.

                                    Because there is so much profound analysis of human character and political action in Thucydides, no brief treatment of his writings can do him justice. But I would like to focus briefly on a key example concerning how a crisis, if not properly managed, can spiral out of control and eventually into a full-blown war. In the case of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides takes special care to describe the Epidamnus affair.

                                    Although Epidamnus (remotely located far in the north, up on the west coast of Greece) was a daughter colony of Corcyra (Corfu in modern times), its mother Corcyra nonetheless had a relatively isolationist foreign policy. When democrats seized power in Epidamnus, the exiled oligarchs allied with some foreign powers and struck back. But Corcyra saw no reason to get involved. Corcyra refused to help.

                                    Only when the desperate democrats, under siege in Epidamnus, turned to the Corinthians, did the real drama begin. Corcyra was itself a Corinthian colony, and so the appeal from Epidamnus to Corinth was like a daughter going now straight to grandmother, when mother would not give her what she wanted. In the case of Corinth and Corcyra, there was bad blood between them for centuries, as they frequently went to war with one another and quarreled over colonies that they each claimed to be their own.

                                    In the current situation, Epidamnus was seeking to gain from this rivalry, offering to declare itself a colony not of Corcyra, but of Corinth, in return for aid from Corinth. Corinth’s power and prestige had been declining, whereas Corcyra’s isolationism had resulted in the astonishing growth of her navy, such that Corcyra now had 120 ships. In other words, Corcyra’s fleet was only second to the Athenian fleet in size. The mother had surpassed the grandmother with a highly visible success embodied in this powerful navy. Therefore, the grandmother was more than pleased to accept this request that enlarged her pride and honor more than anything else. The Corinthians accepted the invitation of Epidamnus: The daughter would now say that grandmother was their real mother. Corinth would send troops and settlers, adopting Epidamnus as her own.

                                    Thucydides describes the emotional motivation behind the Corinthians’ willingness to stir the geopolitical pot in consenting to the invitation from Epidamnus:

                                    This the Corinthians consented to do. Believing the colony to belong as much to themselves as to the Corcyraeans, they felt it to be a kind of duty to undertake their protection. Besides, they hated the Corcyraeans for their contempt of the mother country. Instead of meeting with the usual honors accorded to the parent city by every other colony at public assemblies, such as precedence at sacrifices, Corinth found herself treated with contempt by a power, which in point of wealth could stand comparison with any even of the richest communities in Hellas, which possessed great military strength, and which sometimes could not repress a pride in the high naval position of an island whose nautical renown dated from the days of its old inhabitants, the Phaeacians. This was one reason of the care that they lavished on their fleet, which became very efficient indeed they began the war with a force of a hundred and twenty galleys (I.25.3–4, Loeb trans.).

                                    Thucydides helps reveal an important dimension in political dynamics and motivation apart from a merely rational calculation. Thinking not in terms of any grand strategy beyond themselves, the Corinthians took the stability of the Greek world for granted. Preservation of the peace between Athens and Sparta after their first war was not uppermost in the minds of the Corinthians. The tiny colony Epidamnus, up in the middle of nowhere, was not seen as linked to any actions of universal consequence. Instead, what was foremost in the minds of the Corinthians was an opportunity for indulging in what seemed mostly to be an emotional satisfaction.

                                    But the impetuous decision-making was quickly reciprocated. Corcyra flexed its muscles and decided to send a fleet to Epidamnus. Sailing under clouds of emotion, there was no strategy of negotiation. The bigger navy simply sought to issue ultimatums backed by the threat of force.

                                    Pause for a moment and consider, not only how quickly things escalated, but for what reasons. No interest of Corcyra was threatened by Corinth’s new adoption. No loss of power or prestige would be the consequence. The proof of this lies in Corcyra’s foreign policy before the Corinthians took action. Corcyra had been happy to stand aloof from the civil war within Epidamnus. But now they were committing themselves to a course of action it would be hard to back down from without losing face. All the same, Corcyra sent forty ships to Epidamnus, to aid the exiled oligarchs and their allies in taking back the city from the democrats.

                                    But it was a miscalculation on the part of Corcyra with regard to the steely resolve of grandmother, and how much fight grandmother still had in her, despite her vastly inferior navy. Corinth, burning with passion, had resolved to do whatever it took. She would build her naval power up again, to recapture what was imagined to be her old greatness.

                                    Moreover, Corinth had greater influence among the Greeks, even if its navy was smaller than Corcyra’s. Not backing down, Corinth set her diplomatic network to the task of getting new settlers from all corners of Greece, to move to Epidamnus as the newly declared colony of Corinth. Not only that, she also set about vigorously recruiting, into her service, ships and money from her allies in order to strike back at Corcyra.

                                    At this point, realizing that an unforeseen crisis point had now been reached, Corcyra sought out a diplomatic solution. But precisely at this point, we must consider, along with Thucydides, what the grand strategy should have been for the great powers, Athens and Sparta, to keep the peace. How did their grand strategy fail, as it ultimately did in 431? For, after the battles of Leucimme (435) and Sybota (433) with Corcyra, the burning hatred of Corinth against Athens over the Epidamnus affair, among other causes, was a key factor pushing the great powers into war.

                                    Corcyra responded to the determination of the Corinthians by implicitly threatening to form a naval alliance with Athens. This barely concealed threat was, in fact, a much larger threat to the stability of the Greek world for those with the strategic minds to realize it. An alliance between the navies of Corcyra and Athens would be an unacceptable existential threat to Sparta’s own military supremacy, upon which the status quo was predicated in their postwar treaty with the Athenians.

                                    The recklessness of the Corcyraean threat, to ally with Athens, is that it gave more motivation for Corinth to go to war than not. Moreover, when Corinth lost at Leucimme, she would not go away with any less ambition and hatred or any diminishment of feelings over her honor. The opposite was true. She burned the hotter. That battle at Leucimme was no resolution of the crisis, but only an exacerbation of it, given the relentless determination of Corinth to gain her revenge. Thus, with Thucydides, we have the perennial opportunity, in retrospect, to focus our attention on the battle of Sybota. We may ask, what could have been done differently?

                                    In attempting to manage the crisis, Athens sent only ten ships to this battle in which Corcyra and Corinth again squared off. It was a symbolic gesture of moderation, a gesture made mostly for the benefit of Sparta. Even when Athens, having second thoughts about such Periclean moderation, sent another twenty ships, they arrived too late for the battle to result in anything other than the ensuing standoff.

                                    But a nagging question should bother us: What if Athens had crushed Corinth at Sybota, instead of engaging in what appears to be a moderate exercise of attempted deterrence? Subsequent events would show that Corinth, in fact, could not be deterred. How can a grand strategy account for such incorrigible actors and still keep the peace?

                                    One possible outcome could have been a Corinthian victory in which Corinth took possession of Corcyra’s navy. A Corinthian victory against Corcyra would have thus been as destabilizing for the Greek world as an Athenian victory against Corinth. Therefore, the only choices available seemed to involve victory for one of the three rival navies: Corcyra, Corinth, or Athens.

                                    Given this precise dynamic, the uncomfortable situation of a threefold rivalry, it seems that what the Athenians required was not simply a plan for deterrence that would keep the peace, but also a grand strategy for victory against the greatest threat to peace.

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                                    References

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                                    9. ^Corfu Life UK Quote: "The French were the ones who turned the Spianada into a public square and park - one of the biggest in Europe"
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                                    14. ^Corfu map: The bridge was destroyed during a German attack in World War II. The remains can still be seen today.
                                    15. ^Strab. vi. p. 407
                                    16. ^ Will Durant. The Renaissance. pag 684. MJF Books. New York, 1981 ISBN 1-56731-016-8
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                                    19. ^destination-guides Food info
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                                    21. ^Serbs in Corfu website
                                    22. ^ abcdefHistory of Corfu from Corfu City Hall website
                                    23. ^ abUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museum on the Holocaust in Corfu. Also contains information about the Nazi collaborator mayor Kollas.
                                    24. ^ From the interview of a survivor in the film "Shoah"
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                                    27. ^BBC WW2 People's War Quote: "By the time I got back to camp the troop had returned from Corfu full of stories about the wonderful reception they’d had from the locals as the liberators of the island." Bill Sanderson's Wartime Experiences -Part 4 - 40 Commando by Bill Sanderson (junior) Bill Sanderson's Wartime Experiences -Part 4 - 40 Commando by Bill Sanderson (junior) Retrieved 31-07-2008
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                                    31. ^Europe since 1945 The Corfu Channel Incident By Bernard A Cook, Inc NetLibrary by Google Books Retrieved 31-07-2008
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                                    43. ^ abcdCorfu city hall website on Easter festivities
                                    44. ^As the Old Philharmonic concludes its marching in front of their building with a hearty rendition of the Graikoí March, the New Philharmonic appears and "salutes" their rivals with yet another rendition of the same march
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                                    This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


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