The True Cause of Conflict Between Athens and Sparta

Topics: Peloponnesian War, Sparta, Ancient Greece Pages: 3 (979 words) Published: February 28, 2013
'The True cause of the conflict between the Athenians and the Spartans was growing fear of Athenian domination.' To what extent is this an accurate assessment?

This assessment is accurate however there are other causes which led to conflict between Athens and the Spartans, which many historians have discussed the different causes of the Peloponnesian War, the two equal but different powers in control of Greece and the surrounding area. Athens with a democratic rule expanded by using the surrounding waterways for trade and developing a great navy. Sparta with an oligarchic rule settled in by developing a thriving agriculture community and a land based army. The balance of power leans towards Sparta and her allies. Sparta already feared Athens’ growing power. Therefore, Sparta needed to check Athens’ control of the region. The need to keep a balance of power is the main reason of the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides attains that Sparta’s fear of Athenian rule provided an unavoidable path to war. Athens controlled about half of the city-states; dominated much of the trade; and maintained a strong navy. Sparta kept a strong army and retained equal allies but was primarily an agriculture state. Athens’ ability to maneuver on the sea provided opportunities to expand her power, and this alarmed Sparta. Since Sparta is concerned by Athens’ growing power, Sparta waits for a way to be able to stop the expansion. By waiting for an opportunity that comes for war against Athens, Sparta is not very reluctant and could even be considered eager to enter an altercation, however key individuals such as Pericles convinced the Athenians that allowing allied states to become free was a sign of weakness. In addition, he convinced them that Sparta was no match and could not win a long-term war against the great Athenian navy. He stressed the need for Athens to rely on the navy and utilize the walls around Athens while Sparta’s army attacked. This method proved to be a weakness in...
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