History of the Peloponnesian War  

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"Right is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." -- Thucydides; History of the Peloponnesian War

424 BC: The Spartan general Brasidas captures Amphipolis, which is a setback for Athens. Thucydides is held responsible for the Athenian failure and is ostracised. This gives him time to start writing his history book

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The History of the Peloponnesian War is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War, which was fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens). It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian historian who also happened to serve as an Athenian general during the war. His account of the conflict is widely considered to be a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The Histories are divided into eight books by editors of later antiquity.

Outline of the work

  • Book 1
    • The state of Greece from the earliest times to the commencement of the Peloponnesian War, also known as the Archaeology. 1.1-1.19.
    • Methodological excursus. 1.20-1.23.
    • Causes of the war (433-432 BC) 1.24-1.66.
    • Congress of the Peloponnesian League at Lacedaemon. 1.67-1.88
      • The Speech of the Corinthians. 1.68-1.71.
      • The Speech of the Athenian envoys. 1.73-1.78.
      • The Speech of Archidamus. 1.80-1.85.
      • The Speech of Sthenelaidas. 1.86.
    • From the end of the Persian War to the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, also known as the Pentecontaetia. 1.89-1.117.
      • The progress from supremacy to empire.
    • Second congress at Lacedaemon and the Corinthian Speech. 1.119-1.125.
    • Diplomatic maneuvering. 1.126-1.139.
    • Pericles' first speech. 1.140-1.145.
  • Book 2 (431-428 BC)
    • War begins with Thebes' attempt to subvert Plataea. 2.1-2.6.
    • Account of the mobilization of and list of the allies of the two combatants. 2.7-2.9.
    • First invasion of Attica. 2.10-2.23.
      • Archidamus leads the Peloponnesian army into Attica. 2.10-2.12.
      • Athenian preparations and abandonment of the countryside. 2.13-2.14.
      • Excursus on Athenian synoikism. 2.15-2.16.
      • Difficult conditions in Athens for refugees from countryside. 2.17.
      • Archidamus ravages Oenoe and Acharnai. 2.18-2.20.
      • Athenian fury and anger at Pericles. 2.21-2.22.
    • Athenian naval counter-attacks along coast of Peloponese and islands. 2.23-2.32.
    • Pericles' Funeral Oration. 2.34-2.46.
    • The plague of Athens. 2.47-2.54.
    • Second invasion of Attica and Athenian naval counter-attacks. 2.55-2.58.
    • Pericles' third speech, defending his position and policy. 2.59-2.64.
    • Thucydides' estimate of Pericles' qualities and the causes for Athens' eventual defeat. 2.65.
    • Diplomacy and skirmishes in Thrace, the islands, and the Northeast. 2.66-2.69.
    • Fall of Potidaea. 2.70.
    • Investment of Plataea. 2.71-2.78.
    • Naval victories of Phormio in the Northeast. 2.80-2.92.
    • Threat of raid on the Piraeus. 2.93-2.94.
    • Thracian campaign in Macedonia under Sitalces. 2.95-2.101.
  • Book 3 (428-425 BC)
    • Annual invasion of Attica. 3.1.
    • Revolt of Mytilene. 3.2-3.50.
      • Speech of Mytilenian envoys to Sparta at Olympia, asking for help. 3.9-3.14.
      • Sparta accepts Lesbos as an ally and prepares to counter the Athenians. 3.15.
      • Mytilene surrenders to Athens despite Spartan support. 3.28.
      • Mytilenian Debate. 3.37-3.50.
    • Fall of Plataea. 3.20-3.24, 3.52-68.
      • Some Plataeans escape. 3.20-3.24.
      • Plataea surrenders. 3.52.
      • Trial and execution of the Plataeans. 3.53-3.68.
        • Speech of Plataeans, 3.53-3.59.
        • Speech of the Thebans. 3.61-3.67.
    • Revolution at Corcyra. 3.70-3.85.
      • Thucydides' account of the evils of civil strife. 3.82-3.84.
    • Athenian campaigns in Sicily. 3.86, 3.90, 3.99, 3.103, 3.115-3.116.
    • Tsunami and inquiry into its causes 3.89.2-5
    • Campaigns of Demosthenes in western Greece. 3.94-3.98, 3.100-3.102, 3.105-3.114.
    • Spartans establish Heracleia in Trachis. 3.92-3.93.
    • Athenians purify Delos. 3.104.
  • Book 7 (414-413 BC)
    • Arrival of Gylippus at Syracuse
    • Fortification of Decelea
    • Successes of the Syracusans
    • Arrival of Demosthenes
    • Defeat of the Athenians at Epipolae
    • Folly and obstinacy of Nicias
    • Battles in the Great Harbour
    • Retreat and annihilation of the Athenian army

See also

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