The Ancient Spartan Education

The apogee of one’s training was to comprehend the laws and to be a vital member of the Apella. By Antonios LoizidesHistorian According to the legend, the Spartan law was written by the great lawmaker (Greek : νομοθέτης, nomothetis) Lycurgus. Plutarch mentions that Lycurgus (literally “wolf-worker”) wrote the laws in order to make the city[…]

The Life of Alcibiades: Liar, Coward, and Traitor of Ancient Athens

During the course of the Peloponnesian War, Alcibiades changed his allegiance on several occasions. Introduction Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides, meaning Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, from the deme of Skambonidai; c. 450–404 B.C.E.), was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He was the last famous member of his mother’s aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from[…]

The Peloponnesian War and Its Aftermath at Athens

The losses that Athens suffered in the Peloponnesian War show the sad consequences of the repeated unwillingness to negotiate peace. Introduction Athens and Sparta had cooperated in the fight against Xerxes’ great invasion of Greece in 480–479 B.C., but by the middle of the fifth century B.C. relations between the two most powerful states of[…]

Sparta and the Collapse of Ancient Greece

Neither the course nor the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War was foreseeable at its outset. Of the two most powerful states in classical Greece, Athens was a forward-looking democracy with a far-flung naval empire, Sparta a land-locked mixed government heading a league of nearby states.  In 431 BC, the long-simmering rivalry between them erupted into open[…]

The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta

The Lacedaemonians abandoned the grand strategy they had articulated early on. Introduction In ancient Lacedaemon, as in all enduring political communities, there was a symbiotic relationship between the form of government chosen, the way of life that this form of government fostered, and the grand strategy that the community gradually articulated for the defense of[…]

The Delian League: Revenge and Hellenic Liberation

The alliance’s name derives from the island of Delos, where the League originally housed its treasury. By Christopher PlaneauxLecturer in Classical StudiesIndiana University Origins Down to the Battle of Eurymedon Introduction The modern term Delian League refers to the primarily maritime συμμᾰχία or symmachy (offensive-defensive alliance) among various Greek poleis, which emerged after the second Mede invasion of the[…]

The Peloponnesian League and Spartan Dominance

The League gave Sparta protection from uprisings within its own borders and eventually secured its dominance in the region. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Peloponnesian League (c. 550 BCE – c. 366 BCE) was a loose confederation of Greek city-states led by Sparta. The League was the oldest and longest-lasting political association in the ancient[…]

Thucydides on Brasidas: The Most Athenian of Spartans

Thucydides placed Brasidas’s Homeric ending in a singularly admirable light. By Nathan A. JenningsNATO Planner, Afghanistan In his seminal work, The Peloponnesian War, the ancient historian Thucydides employs numerous characters from the storied conflict as devices to reveal competing aspects of human nature. Among the varied personalities exposed by the tensions of war, the Spartan commander[…]

‘The First Man of Greece’: Epaminondas and the End of Spartan Tyranny over Thebes

Epaminondas transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics. Introduction Epaminondas (Greek: Ἐπαμεινώνδας) (ca. 418 B.C.E.–362 B.C.E.) was a Theban general and statesman of the fourth century B.C.E. who transformed the Ancient Greek city-state of Thebes, leading it out of Spartan subjugation into a preeminent position in Greek politics. In the process he broke Spartan[…]