After the revolt in Boeotia, several island city-states that had been part of the Delian League decided to rebel, the most significant being Megara. However, they failed, and it had become clear to both sides the war was going nowhere. However, there are strong arguments for locating the pamphlet in the early years of the Peloponnesian War: references to Athens’ behaviour when the enemy invades ‘now’ (ii. Tensions within the Greek world remained and the Spartans were eventually removed as the Greek hegemon. p. 70). This gave Sparta an initial edge in the Peloponnesian war, but Athens hadn’t committed anywhere near enough troops for this defeat to have a significant effect on the overall conflict. ii). For the temple of Athena Nike (and after it the Erechtheum: cf. ), Athenian Identity and Civic Ideology, 67–101. In Peace (421, produced about the time when the Peace of Nicias was ratified, so written before then) the hero rescues Peace from her long imprisonment. … The result was in theory democracy but in fact rule by the first man. Unfortunately, not all of these sources agree with each other and scholars must make reasoned inferences regarding several key events. In 425 BC, Cleon reached the summit of his fame by capturing and transporting to Athens the Spartans who had been blockaded at the Battle of Sphacteria. Nicias, who concluded the Peace of Nicias after Cleon's warmongering. Athens’ new offensive strategy was to attack Sparta at its weakest point: its dependence on helots. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. At this point in the Peloponnesian war, it’s important to recognize the political instability occurring within Athens. The conquest of ancient Greece by Phillip of Macedon and the rise of his son, Alexander (the Great) were largely predicated on the conditions following the Peloponnesian War. 501), and in 420/19, when the Peace of Nicias had made Epidaurus accessible, the cult of the healing god Asclepius was brought from there to Athens (cf. 509), but it is possible to see him as suggesting that better policies could have prevented the war and could now end the war (Cleon’s rejection of peace is featured in Eq. Sparta sent forces to support Doris, a city-state in Northern Greece with which it maintained a strong alliance, in a war against Phocis, an ally of Athens. Desperate to expand, but knowing that doing so on the Greek mainland would almost certainly lead to war with the Spartans, Athens began looking further afield for territories it could place under its control. Disagreements about how to proceed in the fight against Persia broke out, with Athens and Sparta having different opinions about what to do. Cleon (/ˈkliːɒn, -ən/; Ancient Greek: Κλέων Kleon, Ancient Greek: [kléɔːn]; died 422 BC) was an Athenian general during the Peloponnesian War. Can someone please confirm or correct me?  However, Pericles' setback was temporary and he was soon reinstated. 6. iii); when his father Cleinias died at Coronea in 447/6 (cf. Cleon agreed with Pericles on the need for firm control of the empire (Athens’ rule is called a tyranny by Pericles in Thuc. 2 (1904), p. 988, note 3. Thucydides’ contrast between the era of Pericles and what followed is at best exaggerated, since Pericles was not an unchallenged leader, and Athens’ mechanisms did not allow any man to enjoy as much power as Thucydides attributes to him (cf. The disagreement emerged for two main reasons: However, during this final period of the war, Athens fought without the help of Sparta. To take advantage of this, Sparta began sending envoys to these cities encouraging them to rebel against Athens, which many of them did. Hyperbolus, who aspired to take Cleon’s place after his death (cf. London: Macmillan, 1956. 4. ii), and it is again likely that his father founded the family fortune. The cult of Asclepius was brought from Epidaurus in 420/19 (cf. However, he failed, and fearing retaliation from the Persian king, Aristagoras encouraged the Greeks living throughout Ionia, the region on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey, to rebel against the Persian throne, which they did. Civilians became much more involved in the Peloponnesian war and entire citizen bodies could be wiped out as happened at in Boeotia and Mykalessos. Whether he also introduced a property-tax for military purposes, and even held a high position connected with the treasury, is uncertain. Lazenby, John F. The Defence of Greece: 490-479 BC. Long-term causes are usually tied to ongoing geopolitical and trade conflicts, whereas short term causes are the proverbial “straws that break the camel’s back.” Historians since have spent time dissecting the causes outlined by Thucydides, and most agree the long-term motivations were: As far as short term causes, most historians agree that the attack on a Theban envoy made by the citizens of Plataea was what finally drove these two city-states to war. Indeed, of all the persons who appear in Thucydides' History, Cleon is treated with the least impartiality. Once under Athenian control, helots began flocking to the coastal stronghold, putting further strain on the Spartan way of life. At the time, Sparta had the most formidable army in the Greek world, yet it continuously refused to commit a significant amount of troops. After Brasidas’ campaign, Cleon attempted to summon a force to retake the territory Brasidas had won, but political support for the Peloponnesian war was waning, and the treasuries were running low. 11; among those arguing from ch. However, it does show how, despite the Peace of Nicias, Athens was not going to stop trying to grow, and, perhaps more importantly, it showed just how closely Athenians linked their empire with democracy. When Athens decided to move, the superiority of its navy meant Melos stood little chance of resisting. The Spartan’s had managed to destroy most of the land in Attica, forcing people to flee to Athens, and this meant Athens was entirely dependent on its maritime trade for food and other supplies. But when they got to the battle, they ended up fighting, which only escalated things further. However, when the Athenian army arrived in Sparta, they were sent away for reasons unknown, a move that greatly angered and insulted Athenian leadership. … Cleon, it seems, more than anyone else corrupted the people by his wild impulses, and was the first man who, when on the platform, shouted, uttered abuse and made speeches with his clothes hitched up [to make wild gesticulation easier], while everyone else spoke in an orderly manner. They reminded everyone of how the Athenians were the principle reason the Greeks managed to stop the great Persian armies of Xerxes, a claim that is debatable at best but essentially just false. The Athenians, however, showed up uninvited to this congress, and a great debate, recorded by Thucydides, took place. In short, it’s better to be the rulers than the ruled. Leaders like Cleon inserted a frenetic note, which had been absent in the time of Pericles and of which Thucydides and Aristophanes disapproved; until 424 the war brought more successes than failures. But Nicias, although he was not one of the aristocrats, behaved like them and tried to make himself acceptable to them. The Athenians attempted to gather this support after landing on the island, but in the time it took for them to do this, the Syracusans were able to organize their defenses and call together their armies, leaving the Athenian prospects for victory rather slim. Warfare in Ancient Greece: A Sourcebook. In 426 BC, Cleon brought an unsuccessful prosecution against Laches based on his generalship in the unsuccessful first Sicilian expedition. A sanctuary of Heracles Alexikakos, ‘averter of evil’, was established in the city (schol. Where did pericles rule? 4325). His contemporaries, the historian Thucydides and the comedic playwright Aristophanes, both represent him as an unscrupulous, warmongering demagogue, but both of them had strong motives to present Cleon unfavorably. p. 123). A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great. 37. ii; Pericles is not known to have proposed killing all the men of a rebellious city, but he might have done if he had lived longer), and he sought to dominate the assembly in his way as Pericles had in his. iii. This series of conflicts, known as the Greco-Persian Wars, threatened the very existence of the ancient Greeks. This distracted Athens from the Spartan threat and Sparta tried to invade Attica during this time. Thebes was allied at the time with Athens, and Plataea was linked to Sparta. We therefore have to turn to other literature of the late fifth century. He was born probably in the 470’s , and may already have challenged Pericles in the 430’s (cf. The character of Cleon is represented by Aristophanes and Thucydides in a very unfavourable light. The ancient Greek historian Thucydides, who many consider the world’s first true historian, spent time traveling to the various theaters of war to interview generals and soldiers alike, and he also analyzed many of the long- and short-term causes of the Peloponnesian war, an approach still taken by military historians today. When was this written, and in what circumstances? After Cleon died, he was replaced by a man named Nicias, and he rose to power on the idea that he would sue for peace with Sparta. Shortly after the end of the Greco-Persian War, a series of skirmishes broke out between Athens and Sparta, and historians often call this the “First Peloponnesian War.” Although it didn’t reach anywhere near the scale of the conflict that was to come, and the two sides rarely fought one another directly, these series of conflicts help show how tense relations were between the two cities. As a member of political factions within Athens that most desired war and expansion, he almost immediately changed the defensive strategy Pericles had devised. This, plus the Spartan decision to not require soldiers to return home each year for the harvest, allowed the Spartans to keep the pressure on Athens as it ran campaigns throughout its territories. However, perhaps more importantly, the Peloponnesian War dramatically changed the political structure of Ancient Greece. Instead, a sneak attack by the citizens of Plataea would set in motion arguably the greatest war of Greek history. This initial chapter lasted for ten years, and its events help show just how difficult it was for either side to gain an advantage of the other. 21. iii, cf. 91, 187–8). The heavily armed hoplite in the phalanx formation (lines of closely packed hoplites protecting each other with their shields) still dominated the Greek battlefield but the phalanx did become deeper (more rows of men) and wider (a longer front of men) during the Peloponnesian War. In an effort to continue to expand his empire, the Persian king at the turn of the 5th century BCE, Darius I, convinced a Greek tyrant, Aristagoras, to invade the Greek island Naxos on his behalf. Ach. Since he was strong in both repute and intellect and was conspicuously incorruptible, [Pericles] held the masses on a light rein and led them rather than let them lead him. The base at Decelea meant that Athens could no longer rely on the territories throughout Attica to supply it with the supplies it needed. Accepting these peace terms all but ended the aspiration some Athenian leaders had of making Athens the head of a unified Greece, and it also marked the peak of Athenian imperial power. He ran campaigns in Boeotia and Aetolia to drive back the Spartan forces stationed there, and he was able to have some success. Thucydides, believing in the shortcomings of democratic government, had also been prosecuted (unjustly, his ships arriving two days after a town was occupied by Spartan forces) for military incapacity and exiled by a decree proposed by Cleon.
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