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View Poll Results: Most responsible for the outbreak of war?
Sparta 5 33.33%
Athens 5 33.33%
Corinth 2 13.33%
Other 3 20.00%
Voters: 15. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 29th, 2013, 11:41 AM   #1

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Most responsible for outbreak of Peloponnesian War


If you had to chose one city as most responsible for bringing about Peloponnesian War when it happened, who would it be? Sparta? Athens? Corinth? Perhaps an individual?

Can you explain your choice a bit?
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Old November 29th, 2013, 01:22 PM   #2

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^ Thank you for making this thread, Alchi!

I think the Spartans were likely the most responsible for the Peloponnesian War. If I remember rightly from my reading (I'm reading Kagan's The Pelopponesian War, if that helps), Athens was attempting to figure out how to settle the fighting between Corinth and Corcyra without the Spartans fearing that they were abandoning their previously agreed settlement on the truce that ended the First Peloponnesian War. Ironically, their decision to send in a small fleet caused the Spartans to panic anyway.

The Spartans, by sending demands to Athens, was unknowingly starting the very war they wanted to prevent. They wanted Athens to understand its place, and remember the treaty they signed. Athens, led by Pericles, didn't want to seem like they were weak and submissive, so they refused. From there, things just started falling into place for the next war.

Neither side wanted war, but they ended up starting one up anyway.

EDIT: Though, to be fair, it wasn't just Sparta, but Athens, too. Sparta reacts the way it does, and Athens, rather than saying something like, "Hey, guys, look, we're trying to mediate a matter over here between these two, not trying to start another war/expand our empire. It's OK, we don't want war with you." they refuse to listen to Spartan's demands, likely causing the already paranoid Spartans to be convinced that the Athenians were about to do the 'empire expanding' thing again.

Last edited by HistoryFreak1912; November 29th, 2013 at 01:30 PM.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 05:13 PM   #3
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I'll take neither, can i take that one?
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Old November 29th, 2013, 05:44 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypernova View Post
I'll take neither, can i take that one?
Neither of whom? If you haven't noticed, there are 3 specified options. Corinth deserves to be seriously considered just as much as the primary 2 opponents.

Besides, what do you want to say by that? That they were all equally responsible, that no one is to blame or...?
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Old November 29th, 2013, 07:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcibiades View Post
Neither of whom? If you haven't noticed, there are 3 specified options. Corinth deserves to be seriously considered just as much as the primary 2 opponents.

Besides, what do you want to say by that? That they were all equally responsible, that no one is to blame or...?
Well, it depends how you look at international relations theory. See I'm a big fan of structural realism, and that framework would lead me to believe that notions like blame for starting a war are not only erroneous but basically irrelevant. Put simply the conditions for warfare were formed by the strategic competition driven by the rise of Athenian power and the destabilizing effect that had upon the original security order i.e. the primacy of Sparta. From that perspective with each actor trying to maximize their own security warfare simply eventuated.

Or in simple terms, the Pelloponnesian War was simply a manifestation of a defect of the international system in 431.

But if you were going to force me to pick someone who actually started it, then it would probably be the Spartans.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 08:51 AM   #6

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Thread resurrection....

There's this kid at my work that just started going to college. His major is history and his favorite topic or period in history is the Peloponnesian War. I asked who he favored, Sparta or Athens, he was very emphatic for his support of Sparta. He said Athens was the bully, "no doubt about it."

Thoughts?
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Old May 16th, 2018, 09:12 AM   #7

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Jon Ledon would basically agree with him--see "Song of Wrath". If I remember correctly, Athens was growing jealous of Sparta's status as "The Best of the Greeks", acknowledged by the other cities. Athens wanted to be rated at least as good as Sparta, and kept getting brushed off, as it were. Hence the opening Athenian raids and skirmishes, pecking to establish pecking order. Sparta even did its best to ignore this sniping at first, since that would acknowledge Athens' power. But then things got serious.

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Old May 16th, 2018, 10:50 PM   #8

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Corinth in a very tight contest. Corinth foreshadowed the role played by Rome's amici in both the Macedonian Wars and, more so, the Antiochene war. Money, money, money. Athens, I'm afraid, seriously impinged upon Corinth's economic interests.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 11:12 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salaminia View Post
Corinth in a very tight contest. Corinth foreshadowed the role played by Rome's amici in both the Macedonian Wars and, more so, the Antiochene war. Money, money, money. Athens, I'm afraid, seriously impinged upon Corinth's economic interests.
Well said. They all played a hand (even Thebes, though noticeably less than the Big 3), but if I have to pick one who most pushed for when it happened, it would have to be Corinth.

Have you by any chance read Thucydides and the Ancient Simplicity by Gregory Crane? Though it does not directly deal with the issue at hand (blame for war), I really liked how he describes several key episodes in the lead-up to the war, particularly the Corinthian and Corcyrean embassies to Athens.
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Old May 16th, 2018, 11:30 PM   #10
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Athens. the Imposition of the Athenian empire over the Deiian league was the root cause of the war.
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