History of War

ONE WAR, OR TWO?

History has treated the lengthy conflict, known as the Peloponnesian War, running from 431 BCE to 404 BCE, as a single war. This reflects the idea, deriving from Thucydides, the greatest historian of the era, that the struggle was simply one long conflict.

There is good reason for agreeing to this traditional view. The identity of the primary participants, the Athenians and the Spartans, were the same throughout. Each state led a coalition of allies, or subject states, against the other from beginning to end, notwithstanding the long lull that followed the Peace of Nicias in 421 BCE. The 27-year ‘superconflict’ was very much an Athens versus Sparta fight. Thucydides

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