Peloponnisian War created by: Tahaa Shafi


  • Historic war between Athens and Sparta
  • Lasted about 27 years
  • Periods of truce and stalemates during this time
  • Athens was the superior state: large wealth and powerful navy
  • Sparta was close second to Athens and "challenged" Athens
  • Outcome was eventual downfall of Greece

In the Beginning

  • 431 BC: Sparta and allies attack Athens
  • Plague kills 25% of population - Pericles (leader) among them
  • Kept out by city walls, but devastated country side
  • Athens greatly weakened by attack
  • Sparta army could not withstand Athens, Athens navy could not attack Sparta (interior state)
  • 421 BCE: Stalemate - peace treaty signed

Athens Strikes

  • 413 BC: Athens assists ally to destroy Syracuse, which was ally of Sparta
  • Sicilian Civil War
  • 50,000 men and 200 ships lost by Athens
  • Some allies side with Sparta
  • Sparta strikes deal with Persians who supply them naval fleet

Sparta Strikes

  • 407 BC: Sparta has new naval fleet with support from its allies
  • Challenges Athenian invincibility with its Navy
  • 404 BC: Sparta enters Athens, destroys defensive wall and defeats Athens
  • War is over
  • Thirty Tyrants: Commissioned by Sparta to govern defeated city
  • 401 BC: Spartan king Pausanias restores democracy

The Outcome

  • Neither side fully recovered from disasters of the wars
  • Crippled interstate relations in Greece, and intrastate relations among city-states
  • Testament to power of Democracy at the time
  • Left Greece in ruins
  • Opened many challenges for Sparta and Athens among themselves and among other countries

What Happens Next

  • 359 BC: Philip II of Macedon takes control
  • Macedonia originally primitive society from North
  • Philip II learns new military tactics and waged war against Greece
  • 338 BC: Macedonia defeats Greece

The Tragedy of Greece

  • Stems from how Greece was structured/divided
  • Organization of city-states ultimately leads to eventual downfall
  • Each had its own strengths/weaknesses
  • Collectively would have power to withstand other nations
  • Constant fighting and civil war weakened each city-state
  • Not having unified empire destroyed what could have been very powerful nation
  • Comparable to downfall of Mesopotamia

Classical Greece and its Impact

  • Beauty of Greece was its culture and the profound way of life that was lived
  • City-states now too weak to be a threat to other nations
  • Set example for other countries on what not to do and how not to structure a country
  • A few individuals used this time period to reflect on deep values of life and human beings

The Plus: Post-Peloponnesian Wars

  • No more "bullying" from Athens and Sparta
  • Cultural awareness via art, poetry and tragedy emerges
  • Intellects make more of s presence by pondering and writing about histories of Athens and Sparta
  • Herodotus & Thucydides: Utilized firsthand accounts and factual information to present logical & critical ideas
  • Presented the whys and hows behind everything that happened: internally (within the city-states) and externally (between city-states)
  • Paves path for new scientific and systematic ways of thought for future generations


  • The¬†Cultures of the West: Volume One: To 1750: A History, Backman, Chapter 5
  • Peloponnisian War¬†Lecture, Todd Zimmerman

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