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V. The Peloponnesian War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2016

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If the picture of the Athenian empire after 446/5 given in the previous chapter is correct, we may accept Thucydides’ judgement that the truest reason for the Peloponnesians’ going to war against Athens was the growth of Athenian power and Sparta’s fear of it (1.23.6, 88, 118.2). Sparta demanded that Athens should leave the Greeks autonomous (1.139.3), and Thucydides remarks that most men favoured the Spartans, ‘particularly as they proclaimed that they were going to liberate Greece’ (2.8.4).

The Spartans’ initial strategy was to invade Attica in the hope that the Athenians would come out of the city to fight; the Athenians’ was to stay inside the city when Sparta invaded, and to rely on their naval power – for ultimate survival, according to Thucydides (1.143.4–5, 2.13.3, 65.7), but the scale of the expeditions mounted and of the running-down of Athens’ financial reserves in the early years of the war suggests that in fact they hoped to win a quick victory by demonstrating their invulnerability. Corcyraean ships were used in 431 and Chian and Lesbian in 430 (2.25.1, 56.2); soldiers from tribute-paying allies are first encountered in 425 (4.7, 42). The allies’ tribute was spent on the war: there seemed no need to increase the general level of the tribute in 430, but there were substantial increases in 428 and 425 – to an optimistic assessment of over 1,460 talents, as compared with prewar figures of 600 talents given by Thucydides, 430 talents calculated from the tribute lists.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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1 On the causes, immediate and long-term, of the Peloponnesian War see Kagan, D., The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War (Ithaca, N.Y., 1969)Google Scholar, de Ste Croix, and the works which they cite. Kagan has continued his history to 413 in The Archidamian War (1974) and The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition (1981).

2 On finance in the 420s see p. 18 with 21 nn. 39-40.

3 For the prewar figures see p. 8 with 10 n. 12. The Athenians also taxed themselves more heavily to pay for the war: Thuc. 3.19.1 mentions the first levying, in 428, of the property tax called eisphora.

4 Democracy in restoration in IG i3 66, 1.6; contr. Quinn, T. J., Historia 20 (1971), 405-17Google Scholar, Athens and Samos, Lesbos and Chios: 478-404 B.C. (Manchester, 1981), pp. 36-7. It is uncertain whether the friendly IG i3 66 and Antiph. 5. Caed. Her 77 represent a more generous view of the settlement worked out in 427 than Thucydides gives or a later relaxation: see for the first view Meritt, B. D., AJP 75 (1954), 359-68Google Scholar; Brunt, P. A., Ancient Society and Institutions (p. 10 n. 6, above), pp. 82-4Google Scholar; for the second Gomme, A. W., Studies ... D. M. Robinson, ii (St. Louis, 1953), pp. 334-9Google Scholar, H.C.T., ii. 328-32. Meritt’s conjecture that IG i3 67 also concerns Mytilene is controversial.

5 Who was (made an Athenian citizen and) elected general (Plat. Ion 541D, Ath. 11.560A, Ael. V.H. 14.5), who in the 390s increased the rate of pay for attendance at the assembly, and who bore the nickname Basileus, ‘King’ (Ath. Pol. 41.3).

6 Most of those who have discussed the Peace of Callias have discussed the Peace of Epilycus too, including Schrader, pp. 71-103, and Meister, pp. 79-94 (cf. p. 25 with 28 n. 18). I note Wade-Gery, H. T., HSCP Supp. 1 (1940), 127-32Google Scholar = Essays in Greek History (Oxford, 1958), pp. 207-11, with prosopographical arguments for dating the decree 424/3; Lewis, D. M., Sparta and Persia (Cincinnati Cl. Stud.2 1. Leiden, 1977), pp. 70-7Google Scholar, with further consideration of the chronology. A few scholars have accepted the treaty but have argued for a rather later date.

7 IG ii2 65, reedited by Walbank, M. B., ZPE 48 (1982), 261-3Google Scholar, and joined to the bottom of IG i3 227, ZPE 51 (1983), 183-1. I had previously been one of the unbelievers: Rhodes, P. J., Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia (Oxford, 1981), p. 493 Google Scholar.

8 Gomme, H.C.T., iii. 672-3; contr. A.T.L., iii. 90.

9 Meritt, B. D., Athenian Financial Documents of the Fifth Century (Ann Arbor, 1932), pp. 1617 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; cf. notes with tribute lists in A.T.L., i, ii; note after IG i3 290; Meiggs, pp. 438-9.

10 Dover, K. J., H.C.T., iv. 401-3Google Scholar.

11 Mattingly, H. B., Ancient Society and Institutions (p. 10 n. 6, above), pp. 199-200Google Scholar; BSA 62 1967), 13-14.

12 See commentary in M&L (no. 84); Rhodes, P. J., The Athenian Boule (Oxford, 1972), pp. 98-102Google Scholar. It is possible that the reorganization took place slightly earlier than 411.

13 The words which Thucydides uses of Tissaphernes suggest that he was not simply a satrap but had been given a special command in Asia Minor: see Andrewes, A., H.C.T., v. 1316 Google Scholar.

14 Lewis, op. cit., 108-35.

15 On the slogan of freedom for the Asiatic Greeks see Seager, R. J. and Tuplin, C. J., JHS 100 (1980), 141-54CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Seager, R. J., CQ2 31 (1981), 106-12CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 Probably Athens had imposed a democracy in 439 but had subsequently tolerated a return to oligarchy: see p. 27 with 29 n. 29, above, and Andrewes, H.C.T., v. 44-7.

17 Compare the guarantee of autonomy for the Eteocarpathians (Tod 110, now dated c 445-430: Sherwin-White, S. M., Ancient Cos [Hypomnemata, 51. Göttingen, 1978], 40 n. 63, 377 n. 8)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, and the economic concessions to Methone and Aphytis (pp. 40-1, below).

18 After Cyzicus, Diod, Sic. 13.52-3, Philochorus, FGH 328 F 139; in 408, when an exchange of prisoners was arranged, Androtion, FGH 324 F 44; but the texts which refer to a peace offer after Arginusae (Ath. Pol. 34.1 and, derived from it, schol. Ar. Ran. 1532) are probably referring inaccurately to the offer made after Cyzicus. See Rhodes, Commentary (n. 7, above), pp. 424-5.

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