Throughout the course of this paper, I hope to explain the reasoning behind the dissension between Sparta and Athens, made war between these former allies inevitable....
Sparta did not part with her authority willingly but was forced into it by Athens’ accession and other circumstances which prevented Sparta’s further expansion for some time.
You would have lived in a City State and would very proud of it!Athens versus Sparta comparison chart; Athens Sparta; About: The capital and largest city of Greece.
Spartan education stressed love of intellect and Compare & Contrast Essay: The Role of Women in Ancient Athens.
When the walls were finally built he step out and confessed what Athenians have done,
informing Spartans that Athens was now able to make decision about her own interests and the interests of the rest of Hellos ( I, 91).
Thucydides stated that in the 477/76 BC Sparta sent her army under the leadership of Pausanians on Cyprus and Byzantiuru (I, 96), which suggests that they had desire to extend their influence and stay in the race with Athens.
According to Diodorus, there was a disagreement between young and old Spartans about the issue of the hegemony.
They regarded the Athenians as being perfectly capable of exercising the command and as being also at that time friendly to themselves” (I, 95).
Sparta’s ongoing need to keep her army at home most of the time to guard against helots’ revolt also made prolonged overseas operations difficult to maintain.
It has been suggested that Thucydides made up the disease to add drama to his text, however, this theory can be ruled out as his description is so detailed, and as he says his aim was to write an account so that if it occurred again people would be able to recognize the symptoms and act faster, therefore I believe this view can be discredited.
He believed that
Sparta began to feel threatened because Athens was getting stronger and bigger.
The second reason of the strengthening of Athens was the Spartan commander, Pausanias.
Athenians successfully took over the leadership and took in hand all important decisions about the war, quantity of money or number of ships that every country was
required to contribute.
Difficulty of understanding these events stars with the question how good the relationship between Sparta and Athens really was after the Persian war.
A new political order emerged among the Greek
states centred on the two great powers of Athens and Sparta that was to have a profound effect on later Greek history.
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Physical training and fitness was considered to be an important part of a Spartan child’s education. Girls did not fight in wars but they took part in physical activities because Spartans believed fit and strong women would have healthy babies that would be good soldiers. Boys went to live at an army barracks at the age of 7.
Setting the Stage
The first two decades of the fifth century B.C. marked one of the great turning points in world history. These were the years of the Persian and Greek wars. The powerful Persian Empire in 546 B.C. extended from Asia to Eygpt to what is now Turkey. This great empire built the first Suez Canal which linked the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
Greece on the other hand, consisted of a scattering of independent city-states, called poleis. These early city-states spawned the democratic ideas that have persisted into modern times. Athens eventually became the largest and most prosperous polis. Another Greek polis, Sparta, was not so democratic. They kept their kings and maintained a conservative, regimented society built around military training and the art of war.
The Persian/Greek War
The Persian Empire over the years expanded to the Mediterrean Sea. In the process some Greek settlements were conquered. Ionia was one such settlement. After many years, they tried to revolt against the Persians but the uprising was immediately squashed by the powerful Persian Army. By the year 490 B.C., the Persian Army was ready to expand their territory and move into Europe. They landed a large force just outside of Athens on the plains of Marathon and prepared for attack.
The Role of Phidippides
The Athens, vastly outnumbered, desperately needed the help of Sparta's military base to help fend off the attack. Time was short, so the Athenian generals send Phidippides (or Philippides) a professional runner to Sparta to ask for help. The 140 mile course was very mountainous and rugged. Phidippides ran the course in about 36 hours. Sparta agreed to help but said they would not take the field until the moon was full due to religious laws. This would leave the Athenians alone to fight the Persian Army. Phidippides ran back to Athens (another 140 miles!) with the disappointing news. Immediately, the small Athenian Army (including Phidippedes) marched to the plains of Marathon to prepare for battle.
The Battle of Marathon
The Athenian Army was outnumbered 4 to 1 but they launched a suprise offensive thrust which at the time appeared suicidal. But by day's end, 6400 Persian bodies lay dead on the field while only 192 Athenians had been killed. The surviving Persians fled to sea and headed south to Athens where they hoped to attack the city before the Greek Army could re-assemble there.
Phidippides was again called upon to run to Athens (26 miles away) to carry the news of the victory and the warning about the approaching Persian ships. Despite his fatigue after his recent run to Sparta and back and having fought all morning in heavy armor, Phidippides rose to the challenge. Pushing himself past normal limits of human endurance, the reached Athens in perhaps 3 hours, deliverd his message and then died shortly thereafter from exhaustion.
Sparta and the other Greek polies eventually came to the aid of Athens and eventually they were able to turn back the Persian attempt to conquer Greece.
Concluding Remarks and Beginning of Olympic Marathon Races
The Greek victory marked one of the decisive events of world history because it kept an Eastern power (the persians) from conquering what is now Europe. The victory gave the Greeks incredible confidence in themselves, their government and their culture.
In the two centuries that followed, the Greek culture spread across much of the known world. It made Europe possible and in affect won for civilization the opportunity to develop its own ecomomic life.
Modern European-based nations such as the United States and Canada can trace their growth straight back through an unbroken chain of Western historical events back to the Victory at Marathon.