Episodes: 60 - 71

60: Disaster on the Nile

As Athens was establishing new alliances and launching campaigns on the Greek mainland, a message would arrive from across the Mediterranean seeking Athenian aid to assist a revolt in Egypt. Xerxes had been assassinated and the accession of Artaxerxes would see Egypt attempt to break away from the Persian Empire. Athens would send military aid to the Egyptian rebels, which would see them quickly defeat the Persian army sent to put the revolt down. However, another Persian army would follow and what would follow would turn out to be one of the biggest disasters for Athens in generations.

61: After Tanagra

Athens had been defeated by Sparta at the battle of Tanagra, though both sides had suffered badly. Sparta was in no condition to follow up their victory and had returned back to the Peloponnese. Now, only 62 days after the battle, Athens would launch a campaign into Boeotia attempting to disrupt Theban and Spartan designs of the past few months. This would turn out to be just the first of a number of campaigns that would be focused on Sparta’s allies in central Greece and the Peloponnese. By the end of the campaigning, Athens would have significantly increased its influence in mainland Greece. However, news of the disaster in Egypt would arrive which would see Athens having to switch to focusing on other challenges.

62: Crisis in the Aegean

Athens had been spreading its influence throughout Greek lands during the first Peloponnesian War, much of this coming at the expense of Sparta or their allies. Though, with the news of the disaster in Egypt arriving in 454 BC, Athens, now led by Pericles, would need to change their policy to face the new challenges ahead of them. A crisis would now threaten to develop in the Aegean, with Delian league members seeing Athens in a weakened state. While, the disaster in Egypt would threaten a response from Artaxerxes, Athens, seeing the Aegean not as safe from Persian military action as the past decades. Though, as we will see in this coming episode, Athens would put measures in place and conduct its own military expedition to deal with the brewing crisis.

63: Wars End

Athens and Sparta were both is a state of truce with one another, which would help them both focus on matters closer to home. However, as the truce was coming up to expire, Sparta had begun campaigning again, this time around Delphi in what would be the second sacred war. Athens would then begin to lose control of Boeotia, with cities being reclaimed by exiles now returning, perhaps encouraged by Sparta’s actions north. Athens would also face more league members attempting to revolt. Before then the First Peloponnesian War would come to ahead. Sparta would invade Attica, once the truce came to an end. Though, a battle would be avoided and a peace would be established that was supposed to last 30 years.

64: Samian Revolt

Athens and Sparta had entered into an agreement known as the 30 years’ peace, seeing the first Peloponnesian war coming to an end. Athens would now turn to affairs within their area of influence, while Pericles would face a serious challenge within the political arena. Athens had dealt with a number of revolts already, but they would have to face another that would turn out to be one of the greatest threats yet to Athens position in the Aegean. Two members within the Delian league would go to war with each other but Athens would have to intervene. This would see the breakout of the Samian war and test the agreements in place with both Sparta and Persia.

65: Corinth's Early History

Along our journey in this series we have been stopping off on the way, visiting different cities and regions as they become more pronounced in the narrative. Having reached the countdown to the Peloponnesian war we have seen how the polis of Corinth has featured more frequently in our episodes. Corinth was now playing a bigger role in affaires on the Greek mainland with them having more of an impact on diplomatic proceedings. Before we move forward with the narrative we are going to look back at how Corinth would emerge out of the Palaeolithic and Bronze ages. Then we will be able to look at how the city would develop and its changes through political phases.

66: Corinth, Emergence on the Greek stage

We continue our look at the development of the city state of Corinth. We will see how due to the geopolitical situation on the Peloponnese they would become allied with Sparta. From the forming of this alliance and their inclusion in the Peloponnesian league, Corinth would emerge as a senior partner in the alliance. We then look at Corinth through the Greco-Persian Wars where, even though they fought for Greek freedom, the would be portrayed in a negative light. However, this may be due to the time the histories were being recorded and the political realities of those times. We then see Corinth would continue to gain more influence in intercity state relations where we will eventually see them involved in the spark that would ignite the Peloponnesian War.

67: The Athenian Empire

Coming out the Samian War Athens was able to once again extinguish another fire in the Aegean. This conflict had tested the 30 years peace with Sparta and the Peace of Callias with Persia, as both looked on ready to pounce if the time was right. Though, with the threat gone Athens would now turn to securing the various far flung regions where they held a tenuous hold. This as we will see this episode, would leave Athens in a more secure position it had been since the creation of the Delian league. By this stage there would also be no mistake that Athens no longer headed the Delian league, but now resided over its own Empire.

68: The Powder Keg

Throughout history great conflicts have often erupted from smaller seemingly insignificant regions. A great example of this was the events that led to the outbreak of world war one, far away from the great empires that would clash in the most destructive war to that period. The same would also occur leading to the Peloponnesian war in an area north of Greece on the Albanian coast. A dispute would erupt over a colony both Corinth and Corcyra had claim to, this being far out of the areas of interest for both Sparta and Athens. However, as the situation developed the greater powers of Greece would be brought in through indirect connections. This would turn a regional conflict into a volatile situation for the whole Greek world.  

69: Pressure Builds

Athens had now taken the decision to help Corcyra in the unfolding situation that had begun with the Epidamnus affair. This would not deter Corinth and they would still set their forces a course for Corcyra. Athens, would send a small fleet, where the commanders had the instructions to only intervene if Corcyrean territory was directly threatened. The naval battle of Sybota would be fought between the two sides, However, as the Corcyrean fleet threatened to break, the Athenian ships would charge in and engage in combat. Both Corcyra and Corinth would claim victory, though Corcyra would remain intact in still in control of their waters. The situation in Greece was now growing more volatile with each passing action, this time with a breach in the 30 years peace.

70: War is in the Air

Hostilities between Corinth and Athens had developed with Athens decision to support Corcyra in their regional dispute. However, actions taken during Athens support would see Athenian and Corinthian ships engage in battle. This would lead to confusion over the statue between the two and the path that lay before them. Athens, seeing war with Corinth was likely would not begin to take measures to prepare for it. However, some of the actions they would take would see tensions further inflamed, with what’s known as the Potidaean affair and the Megaraian Decree having the greatest impact. In light of these actions Corinth would increase pressure on other Peloponnesian cities to enter into hostilities with Athens, with a particular focus on Sparta.

71: The Decision

With Potidaea now under siege by the Athenians, Corinth along with a number of their allies would travel to Sparta to attempt to bring the Spartans into the conflict. This would see a number of speech’s made in the Spartan assembly. First, some smaller cities would describe how Athens had harmed them, while then Corinth would address the Spartans at length. Athens would also have representatives in the city, although uninvited. They would attempt to urge the Spartans to think hard about the decision they were about to make. This would then see members from the peace party and war party within Sparta make cases for their points of view. In the end Sparta would vote if Athens had broken the 30 years peace, where it would then seem war was going to be the likely outcome.