The causes of the Peloponnesian War stretch back for decades. After the Persian navy was destroyed at the battle of Mycale, the Athenians founded the Delian League to punish the Persians by taking their colonies in the Aegean and adding them to the Athenian Empire. With no navy to defend them, the Persians were soundly defeated, and within 30 years, the Athenians controlled a vast maritime empire containing most of the islands in the Aegean and much of the coast of Asia Minor. Meanwhile, back at home, as Athens grew ever richer and more powerful, the Spartans were feeling increasingly nervous about Athens' imperial ambitions. As I wrote in my history, 'The growth of the power of Athens, and the alarm which this inspired in Lacedaemon (Sparta), made war inevitable.'
Causes of the Peloponnesian War flashcards | Quizlet
In this lecture, Professor Kagan focuses on the causes of the Peloponnesian War and the possible motivations for Thucydides' book, The History of the Peloponnesian War. Concerning the first point, Professor Kagan parts ways with Thucydides and argues that the war was not inevitable and that the Athenians under Pericles followed a policy of deterrence, which was aimed at peace. Similarly, he points out that there were a number of Spartans who did not want war as well. Therefore, according to this line of reasoning, war broke out due to a number of factors that were avoidable. Concerning the second point, Professor Kagan argues that Thucydides was a revisionist historian. In other words, Thucydides was writing not as a disinterested historian, but as a historian with a point to make, namely, that the war was inevitable and that Athens was only a democracy in name under Pericles. Finally, Professor Kagan acknowledges that his two points are debatable.
The Causes of the Peloponnesian War: Part 3 – The Megarian Decree
Thucydides explains the next contributing factors for the cause of the Peloponnesian War was the dispute over the Corcyraeans. The dispute over Corcyra was a result from the dispute of the Epidamnus, and leads to the dispute of the Potidaea. The Corinthians were not backing down, following the war against the Corcyraeans, Corinthians spent time and money building new ships and trained rowers from the Peloponnese to fight against Corcyra. The Corcyra never joined the Athenian League or the Spartans, which made them nervous to fight the Corinthians because they did not have enough man power or allies. Knowing the Corinthians might have a chance to win in a second battle, Corcyra sought the help of Athens. Ironically, Athens was already a party to the Peace Treaty of the Peloponnesian, and had ties to the Corintheans because they too were involved in the treaty. Regardless of the treaty, Athens decided to hear both sides of the argument before deciding which city to side with. The hearing in Athens between the Corinthians and the Corcyraeans was a major factor of the Peloponnesian War because Athens took the Corcyraeans side and put their own city at risk and in an unsettling position.
The True Cause of the Peloponnesian War - JSTOR