Thirty Years of Peace Between the Pelopponessian Wars
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When many of us think of ancient Greece, we think of the ferocious Spartans and the Trojan War. It turns out that the Spartans and Athenians had been fighting for some time. However, they decided to come to a peace treaty for at least a small period of time known at the “Thirty Years’ Peace”. This is a time period between the First and Second Peloponnesian Wars.
First Peloponnesian War
The first Peloponnesian War started in 460 B.C. and lasted for about five years. It started mostly due to Sparta’s jealousy of growing Athens. The Athenians were winning at first until Sparta started winning in 457 B.C. This was mostly due to new troubles the Athenians were facing with the Persians. To minimize damage, the Athenians arranged the diplomatic Cimon to arrange a treaty. He was a leader who was actually banned for insulting the Spartans whether intentionally or not intentionally. This treaty was his way to earn his way back into good graces.
Thirty Years of Peace
The Thirty Years of Peace started in 446 B.C. While it sounds like an amazing time in ancient Greek history, it wasn’t as great as it sounds. The treaty is thought to have favored the Athenians more than the Spartans. Also, during this time, Athens was forced to handle certain kingdoms rebelling against the treaty. They were forced to keep themselves safe while still trying to manage to maintain peace, which became exceedingly difficult.
Also, there was a war developing between Corcyra and Corinth. T
hese two Greek kingdoms were fighting over ownership of a small island. When Corcyra wen to Athens to ask for help, Athens reluctantly agreed. However, it was mostly a defensive decision. They did not want to go to war. When the Corinthians crossed the line, they were forced to fight at the Battle of Sybota. When Athenians started fighting again, the Spartans took it as a sign of breaking the truce and declared war. It only took 15 years to end the thirty years of peace.
Second Peloponnesian War
The Second Peloponnesian War (simply referred to as the Peloponnesian War) started in 431 B.C. With Athens growing rapidly in power, Spartans needed to shut them down before it became a threat to them. For this reason, they moved quickly when Athens decided to ignore the peace treaty out of necessity and fight the Corinthians.
At first, Athens used their naval superiority, but, with help from the Achaemenid Empire, Sparta was able to undermine Athen’s control over the seas and eventually win the war. While their allies wanted the entire Athens civilization destroyed, Spartans were wise enough to see the value in their culture and allowed them to continue living as normal with some newfound respect for the Spartans.
Ancient Greece was a different time when safety meant everything and people were loyal to allies. While we wouldn’t condone the instant reaction to run to war, these early wars helped humanity learn how to manage treaties and peace today.
Categorized in: Ancient Greek History
This post was written by Greek Boston