The Greek colonies in Asia Minor (green on this map) were overrun by the Persian army in the 6th century BCE. In 499 BCE, the Ionian Greek cities in Asia Minor led an unsuccessful revolt against the Persian. This revolt caused Darius, the Persian ruler, to seek revenge. In 490 BCE, Darius’ army landed on the plain of Marathon, 26 miles from Athens. The Athenian army, outnumbered, defeated the Persians. According to legend, the news was brought to Athens by Pheidippides, who raced the 26 miles to Athens and then dropped dead. The modern marathon is based on this story.Persian Wars 499-479 BCE
After Darius died in 486 BCE, Xerxesassumed the throne and vowed revengeon the Greeks.The Athenians prepared for Xerxes’attack by rebuilding their navy. By thetime Xerxes invaded, the Athenians hada fleet with around 200 vessels.Xerxes invaded with about 180,000troops and thousands of warships. TheGreeks tried to delay the Persians atThermopylae, a mountain pass on themain road to central Greece.The Greeks held off the Persians for twodays, when they were betrayed and the In 479 BCE, the Greeks united to form thePersians found a path to defeat them. largest army up to that point and defeatedThe Athenians abandoned the city. the Persian army at Plataea, north of Athens.Persian Wars 499-479 BCE
After the Persian War, the Athenians led the Greek world. In 478 BCE, the Athenians formed an alliance called the Delian League, to defend the Greeks against the Persians. The main headquarters of the Delian League were on the island of Delos, but its commanders were all from Athens. The Delian League attacked Persian in order to free the Greek States that had been under Persian control. (The areas in green on the map). In 454 BCE, the Athenians moved the treasury of the Delian League to Athens. Through the Delian League, the Athenians controlled a Greek empire.Athenian Empire 478 BCE 0 405 BCE
Pericles was a dominant figure in Athenian politics from 461 to 429 BCE. Under Pericles, Athens expanded its empire. Pericles led the Athenian’s direct democracy, a political system in which all eligible citizens participated in the government. Pericles introduced reforms that allowed more Athenians to participate in their government.Pericles
The Athenian direct democracy was really a democracy of Athenian male citizens. No women or slaves participated. The Athenian assembly had about 43,000 eligible males, but usually no more than 6,000 voted in the assembly. The assembly met every 10 days on the hillside east of the Acropolis.Periclean System Acropolis
The Athenian assembly passed all laws, elected public officials, and made decisions on foreign policy and war. Pericles made lower-class male citizens eligible for public office, and he paid officeholders a stipend. This made it possible for poor citizens to participate in public affairs. To participate, one must be a male citizen over the age of 18.Athenian Democracy
Ten officials known as generals ran the government on a daily basis. The generals could be reelected, making it possible for the same person to hold office for long periods of time (which is how Pericles stayed in charge for so long!) To rid themselves of too-powerful politicians, the Greeks devised the practice of ostracism. If at least 6000 citizens in the assembly wrote a politician’s name on pottery fragments, that person was banned from the city for ten years!Athenian Government
PericlesGenerals (Pericles Magistrates Assembly was a General) Council (smaller group of Assembly representatives)Periclean System
The Persian Wars had destroyed much of Athens. Pericles’ started a rebuilding program and rebuilt temples and statues. Athens became the center of Greek culture. Art, architecture, and philosophy flourished under Pericles. Athens became known as “the School of Greece”Athens under Pericles
Peloponnesian After the Persians were War defeated, the Greek The Peloponnesian War was a world was split into two war between the Athenians and the Spartans spheres of influence: Sparta and the Athenian empire Sparta did not like the Athenians expanding influence, and a series of disputes and conflict led to the outbreak of war in 431 BCE
Athens StrategyAthens believed they had awinning strategy. Theyplanned on staying behind thecity walls and get suppliesfrom their allies delivered bytheir navy. They built wallsaround the city and the portto keep the Spartans out.Pericles knew the Spartanshad the better military – theSpartans trained their soldiersfrom a very young age – sohe wanted to avoid openbattles.
SpartanStrategyThe Spartans tried to draw the Athenians out of their walls for open battle, where theyknew they could beat the Athenians.The Athenians had strong allies, however, who helped them with supplies and thenavy.
During the second year PLAGUE of the war, a plague broke out in Athens, killing more than a third of its population. Pericles died the following year. The Athenians and their allies kept fighting despite their losses.
The Peloponnesian war lasted 27 years. In 405 BCE, the Athenian naval fleet was destroyed on the Hellespont. Within a year, the Athenians surrendered. The Spartans tore down the walls surrounding Athens, disbanded the navy, and destroyed the Athenian Empire. Even though the Spartans won, the major Greek states were weakened by 25 years of fighting. The Greek states of Sparta, Athens, and Thebes competed for 66 years to dominate Greek affairs. While the Greeks were fighting for dominance over Greece, they ignored Macedonia, which was becoming a powerful country to their north.End of the Peloponnesian War