Battle of Marathon Cause:499 B.C. Greek colonist in Asia minor which the Persian occupied rebelled against the Persian King Darius. Athens sent 20 ships to help the rebels but they were defeated
To punish Athens Darius invaded Greece Result: 490 B.C. the Persians landed at Marathon. 25 miles from Athens. The persians were thoroughly defeated. Wanting the news for their victory to reach Athens as quickly as possible their swiftest runner Phidippidesset off to Athens and cried out “Rejoice we are victorious” then collapsed and died.
The Persians invade Greece again Cause: Persians were unwilling to accept defeat after 10 years, Darius’ son Xerxes set out with large army to conquer all of Greece. Crossing the Hellespont and made their way to Northern Greece. Battle of Thermopylae Persians clashed with Spartan army Leonidas, the King of Sparta. 300 Spartans and about 700 Greeks refused to retreat . The small Greek force held off much larger Persian army for 3 days. Then the traitor showed the Persians a path around the past and the Greeks meet their death.
The Greek historian Herodotus describe how bravely the Greeks meet their death “Here they resisted to the last, with their swords if they had them, and if not with their hands and teeth until the Persians coming on from the front over the ruins of the wall and closing in from behind, finally overwhelmed them” Result: Fall of Thermopylae
The Greeks fled to the nearby Island of Salamis, and watched as the Persians burned the city. The Athenians however built a strong navy on the advice of their leader Themistocles the Greek ships now gathered around Salamis. Themistocles tricked the Persians into sailing their fleet into a narrow passage between the island and the mainland. Crowded together and getting in each others way. The Persian ships were rammed and sank by the Greek vessels. Xerxes watch in horror as his hopes for conquest sunk to the bottom of the sea.
The Spartans defeated the Persians at Plataea forcing the invaders to withdraw from Greece.
Golden Age of Greece or Periclean Age Sparta and Athens formed an alliance with the other city-states to protect themselves from enemies. Athenians formed an alliance with the city-states in Asia minor and called it DELIAN LEAGUE. Each city-state contributed ships , soldiers and money. This League had turned into Athenian Empire. Pericles – great statesman, rebuilt Athens, strengthen defenses and promoted democracy. -government jobs were opened to all classes, government officials received salaries. Popularized,”Athens is in the hands of the many and not of the few.
The Athenians cherished freedom of the speech and thought. Citizens could criticize leading generals or statesman without being punished. The poorest shoemaker had as much as the right to speak and vote as the rich landowner. They follow the direct democracy. The duties of the government was performed by the ordinary citizens. They believed that the Athenians should take part in the government. They took care of the public buildings, kept the waterfront safe for ships, and watched over the city’s food supply. They served in the army and rowed ships in the navy. Officials were chosen by picking out from the hat and will serve for one year. They value education necessary for good citizenship. The Greeks cherished learning but they also valued physical strength and health. It is important to them to appreciate beauty and artistry. At 18, young Athenian men began two years of military training and service. Women have limited rights than men. Slaves could not be a citizen. Household slaves worked as tutors and servants and were often looked upon as trusted members of the family.
Ancient Greece in 431 BC was not a nation. It was a large collection of rival city-states located on the Greek mainland, on the west coast of Asia Minor, and on the many islands of the Aegean Sea.Most of the city-states had become allied with one or the other of the leading military powers, Athens and Sparta. Athens was a great naval power, while Sparta relied mainly on its army for superiority. In 431 BC these alliances went to war against each other in a conflict called the Peloponnesian War.
The war, which went on for 27 years, is named for the Peloponnesus, the peninsula on which Sparta is located.The result of the war was the crushing defeat of Athens and the end of its maritime empire. A more long-range result was the weakening of all the city-states. This made them vulnerable to a takeover by Macedonia several decades later. A brilliant account of the war was written by the historian Thucydides as events unfolded. His work still stands as a definitive source of information on the war.
The Athenian Empire and the Spartan Alliance coexisted as long as a balance of power was maintained between them. A truce called the Thirty Years' Treaty had been signed by both powers in 445 BC. Within a decade the truce was breaking down as Athens sought to extend its empire. In 433 Athens allied itself with Corcyra, a colony of Corinth, but Corinth was an ally of Sparta. Incited by Corinth, Sparta accused Athens of aggression and threatened war. Athens, under the leadership of Pericles, refused to back down. War began in the spring of 431, when Thebes, a Spartan ally, attacked Plataea, an ally of Athens.
The war fell into three phases. First came ten years of intermittent fighting, concluded by an uneasy truce in 421. This truce phase, named after the Athenian general Nicias, lasted until 415. The final phase began when Athens launched a massive and ill-fated assault against Sicily. This campaign was so catastrophic for Athens that the city barely recovered militarily. In 411 the democracy at Athens was also temporarily overturned, and the city remained in political turmoil for years.
When the democracy was restored, its leaders could not agree on truce terms, and many wanted to continue the war at all costs. Fighting went on for the next six years. Athens rebuilt its fleet, while Sparta and its allies created their own navy. The end for Athens came in 405, when the Spartan navy under Lysander decisively defeated the Athenians in the battle of Aegospotami.
The six-year truce was used by both sides to win more allies. The peace was doomed because the fighting thus far had settled nothing. On both sides there were men eager to renew the conflict. Alcibiades took the lead in promoting the Sicilian expedition in 415. When he was recalled to Athens to stand trial for religious offenses, he defected to Sparta. Athens was badly defeated at Sicily but survived for a few more years because Sparta did not press its advantage after the Sicilian losses.
By 412 Sparta, with the help of allies, had built its own navy. This was done with aid from Persia, a traditional enemy of the Greek city-states. Sparta's alliance with Persia, however, made the other city-states uneasy, and they became less eager to revolt against Athens. Athens was in trouble politically by this time. An oligarchy (government by a few) overthrew the democracy in 411, and the oligarchs were soon replaced by a more moderate regime. Full democracy was restored in the summer of 410 after a major Athenian naval victory over the Spartans. Alcibiades was recalled by Athens and given supreme command. But in 406 his fleet was lost in the battle of Notium, won by Sparta's Lysander, who was the ablest Spartan commander in the war. Battles continued, mainly at sea, with each side trading losses.
In 405 Lysander took his navy northward to the Hellespont (now called the Dardanelles) to cut off Athens from its vital grain supply lines to the Euxine (now called the Black) Sea. Lysander made a surprise attack on the Athenian ships at Aegospotami while the crews were dispersed on land. All but nine of the Athenian ships were lost, and several thousand Athenians and their allies were slain. Peace was signed in the spring of 404. Sparta won the war and imposed humiliating terms on Athens. The city walls were to be torn down; the fortifications of its port, the Piraeus, were to be destroyed; and all but 12 warships were to be surrendered. Athens was henceforth to be a Spartan ally and to follow the same foreign policy.