Saturday, January 13

Do you know the Peloponnesian War?

When my husband was studying for his post graduate in History, he used to recount me some of the unusual wars that were fought in ancient times.

The way he narrated such stories would have made him a good film director.

One such narration was about the Peloponnesian War. It was in the front page of wikipedia today and some excerpts from it are given below.

The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian expedition to Sicily from 415 BC to 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. After initial success it turned into an unmitigated disaster for the Athenian forces.

As Thucydides recounts wryly in his History of the Peloponnesian War, the generals leading the campaign had scant knowledge of Sicily, or of its population, and thus the forces marshaled for its conquering were woefully inadequate.

The first phase of the Peloponnesian War had ended with the Peace of Nicias in 421 BC, and Athens and Sparta were nominally at peace in 415. That year, ambassadors from the Sicilian city Segesta (Egesta in Greek) were sent to Athens to request for help in their war against Selinus.

The Segestans brought to Athens enough money to pay for sixty ships for one month. The Athenians had sent fleets to Sicily earlier in the war, and were attracted to the island's wealth in grain and other resources; by helping Segesta, they felt they could gain a foothold in Sicily which could lead to an eventual conquest. As long as Pericles was still alive, he had advised Athens not to overextend their empire, but by now this advice had been all but forgotten.

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