Episodes: 72 - 84

72: Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War

Sparta had now agreed that Athens were in breach of the 30 years peace that had been established nearly 15 years ago. Even though there was an appetite for war within the majority, they would still need to put the matter to a vote within the Peloponnesian league. A congress at Sparta would be held with all the allies were many spoke in favour of war with Athens. The resulting decision from the congress would see that war was the option most saw as the best path forward. However, it would be some time before any hostilities would develop. Sparta in the meantime would send a number of ultimatums to Athens, though all being rejected. Finally, an action would take place that would be the beginning of the war, however this would take place in Boeotia between allies of both Athens and Sparta.

73: Causes for War

The outbreak of the Peloponnesian War is now upon us. In the series we have followed developments from the Greek victory over the Persians in 479 BC where Athenian and Spartan interests would depart. This would see both these powerful city states develop centres of power around their own interests, seeing many smaller Greek polies following one or the other. Its in these roughly 50 years after the Persian War that interactions, situations and developments would end up seeing the Peloponnesian War develop. In this coming episode we head back to explore these to try and understand what lead to the War breaking out. We will look to how Thucydides frames the causes, before we then turn to the concepts around the remote and immediate cause. We will see a very complicated history develop where perhaps trying to look for a single cause risks oversimplifying the path to war.

74: Attica Invaded

We now turn to the first year of the Peloponnesian War, with this first phase of the war known as the Archidamian War, named after the Spartan king Archidamus, who had tried to prevent war breaking out. He would lead the Spartans and their Peloponnesian allies into Attica where they would raise the Attic countryside in hopes of drawing the Athenian army from out behind the walls of Athens. The army would not take the bait, but Athens would engage in naval operations around the Peloponnese and other areas to sure up their position. We cover these events plus much more in the coming episode around the first year of the War.

75: Pericles' Funeral Oration

The end of the first campaigning season of the Peloponnesian War was now coming to a close. Sparta had gone on the offensive, while Athens employed its defensive strategy which would see that a result in this first year would not be reached. Back in Athens, traditionally during times of war, a funeral procession would be held to honour those who had fallen. To accompany the procession a speech would follow, this time delivered by Pericles. His funeral oration would mark the close of the first year of the war and would serve to inspire the Athenians and help them keep their resolve as the war would continue. The speech given by Pericles would also prove to be a lasting legacy with it influencing and shaping political speeches into our times.

76: The Plague of Athens

In the second year of the Peloponnesian War, Sparta and Athens continued their struggle. Archidamus led a determined Attica invasion, while Athens targeted a larger Peloponnesian objective with its potent fleet. Amidst this, an unforeseen catastrophe emerged: the plague.

Originating in the Mediterranean, the plague infiltrated Athens through trade routes. The war-swollen population and unsanitary conditions facilitated its spread, causing unprecedented suffering. Lives were lost, families torn apart, and Athenian resilience tested.

This second year embodied more than warfare; it was a collision of the will of cities and nature's fury. The plague disrupted convention, reminding Athenians of vulnerability. Amidst ongoing conflict, Athens grappled with an implacable force, transcending martial clashes – an enduring testament to human choices and capricious fate.

77: Athens Carries On

In this episode, we transport you back to the heart of ancient Athens, a city gripped by a devastating plague. We find ourselves still in the second year of the Peloponnesian War. However, our journey takes a different turn as we venture north to the Chalcidice, where Athens has dispatched additional forces to lay siege to Potidaea. Along the way, we'll explore the intricate web of diplomacy in Thrace and Macedon. Returning to Athens as the year draws to a close, we'll witness Pericles navigating a perilous situation amidst the city's suffering. And finally, we will look at the actions by both sides that would close out the campaigning season of the second year of the war.

78: Potidaea, Plataea & Tragedy

Coming Soon!

06 Oct 2023