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The Start of the Delian League
In 479 B.C., Persia was defeated at the battle of Plataea. Although the Persians lost, they remained a threat. Athens began the Delian League with other city-states to be ready if the Persians returned. But Sparta wasn't included.
Delian League Intro
The Delian League promised to protect its members from the Persians. It also drove the Persians out of Greek territories in Asia Minor. The league eventually freed almost all Greek territories from the Persians.
Originally, the Delian League headquartered on the island of Delos. However, the commanders and chief officials were based in Athens, as most of the troops were, so they moved the headquarters to Athens. Slowly, Athens gained control over most of the city-states in the alliance. Soon the league went from being a partnership against Persia, to an Athenian Empire.
Athens had a strong faith in their democracy. Today, their system would be referred to as a direct democracy. In a direct democracy, people gather at mass meetings to decide on govt. matters. Every citizen could vote on laws and politics.
What made direct democracy work in Athens was the small size of the population. At the time, they had a population of about 43,000. In a representative democracy, people select representatives to vote on their behalf.
Achievements of Pericles
Athenians would reelect their favorite generals again and again. After the Persian Wars, the leading figure in Athenian politics was Pericles. He guided Athens for 30 years, from 461, to 429 B.C., when he was first elected, until he died.
He helped Athens dominate the Delian League. He treated other city-states like subjects, demanding strict obedience and loyalty, and steady taxes. He also insisted that they use Athenian coins. At the same time, he made Athens more democratic at home. He allowed lower-class male citizens to run for public offices.
Culture bloomed under the rule of Pericles. The Persians had destroyed most of the city during The Persian War, so Pericles started a rebuilding program. He had new temples and statues build. Pericles enjoyed and supported artists, architects, writers and philosophers. Philosophers are people who ponder questions about life.
In the 400s, more people lived in Athens then any other city-state. Athens had about 285,000 residents. Only 150,000 were citizens, and only 43,000 of them had political rights. Foreigners in Athens were numbered at about 35,000, and 100,000 slaves.
Many Athenians depended on farming for a living. Athens didn't have enough farmland to grow crops for all its people, so the city had to import grain. During the 400s, Athens became a major trading center of the Greek world. Athenian herders raised sheep and goats.
Athenian men usualy worked in the morning then exercised or attended meetings of the assembly. In the evening, upper-class men had all male gatherings where they drank, dined, and discussed politics and philosophy.
For Athenian women, life revolved around the home and family. Girls married early, around 14 or 15, and were expected to have kids and take care of the household duties. Poor women might also work with their husbands in the fields or sell goods in the agora. Upper-class women stayed at home. They supervised the household servants and worked wool into cloth-spinning, dyeing, and weaving it. They rarely went out, only for funerals and festivals. Even then, they could only go out with a male relative.
Athenian Women II
Although the women couldn't attend school, many learned to read and write and play music. Still, no woman was considered the equal to a man. They had no political rights, and couln't own property. Fathers took charge of unmarried daughters. Husbands looked after their wives. Sons or other male relatives would look after widows.
Athenian Women III
A few women did move more freely in public life. Aspasia is perhaps the most famous example. Aspasia wasn't a native Athenian, this gave her special status. She was well educated and taught public speaking to many Athenians. Her writing didn't survive, but Plato, the Greek philosopher, said her work helped shape his ideas. Pericles often consulted with Aspasia, as did many other leaders.
The Peleponnesian War
As the Athenian empire grew rich and strong, other city-stated questioned its intent. Led by Sparta, they joined forces against Athens. Sparta and Athens had built two different societties, and neither state trused or understood the other.The two groups clashed several times over what Sparta and its allies saw as Athenian aggression. Finally, war broke out in 431 BC. It would drag on until 404 BC and shatter all possibility of future cooperation amoung the Greeks. Historians call this conflict the Peloponnesian War because Sparta was located in the Peloponnesian Peninsula.
Pericles' Future Oration
In the first winter of the war, the Athenians held a public funeral. Its purpose was to honor those who died in battle. On this day, Pericles spoke. He talked about the greatness of Athens and reminded the people that they made their govt. strong.
In this famous speech, Pericles pointed out that Athenians were part of a community. As citizens, they agreed to obey the rules in their constitution. They accepted certain duties, such as paying taxes and defending the city. They also gained certain rights, such as the ability to vote and run for office. Pericles' speech reminded Athenians of the power of democracy and gave them courage to keep fighting. Its ideas are still important for people living in democractic nations today.
Why Was Athens Defeated?
At the begining of the war, Athens and Sparta both thought they knew how to win. The Spartans and their allies surrounded Athens, hoping they would send out an army to fight. However, Pericles knew that Spartan forces could beat the Athenians in an open battle. Believing that his people would be safe behind the city walls,he urged farmers and others on the outskirts of the city to move inside the city.There Athenians stayed there and had the navy bring supplies from their colonies and allies. Because Sparta didn't have a navy, they couldn't attack Athenian ships. Athens escaped serious harm for some time.
Then, in the second year of the war, a deadly disease spread though the city. It killed more than a third of the population, including Pericles himself in 429 BC. Despite these terrible losses, the Athenians fought on. The standoff continued for another 25 years.
The historian Thucydides recorded what he saw:
This, then, was the calamity which fell upon Athens, and the times were hard indeed, with men dying inside the city and the land outside being laid waste.
The Spartan Alliance
Finally, being desperate to win, Sparta made a deal with the Persian Empire. In exchange for enough money to build a navy, they gave the Persians some Greek territory in Asia Minor. In 405 BC, Sparta's new navy destroyed the Athenian fleet. The next year, after losing more battles on land, Athenians surrendered. The Spartans and their allies then tore down the city walls and broke up the Athenian Empire.
The Peloponnesian War weakened all major Greek city-states, both the winners and losers. Many died in the fighting, and many farms were destroyed. Thousands were left without jobs. The war also made it impossible for Greeks to unite and work together again. After defeating Athens, Sparta tried to rule all of Greece. Within 30 years, however, the city-states rebelled. Sparta fought Persia again and tried to maintain control of rebellious allies. While they were fighting amongst themselves, the Greeks failed to notice that to their north, the kingdom of Macedonia was growing in power. This would eventually cost them their freedom.
1: What caused the Peloponnesian War?
The war started because the other city-states were afraid of Athens' growing power. Led by Sparta, they decided to stop the Athenians.
2: According to Pericles, what duties did the Athenian citizens have?
Obeying rules, paying taxes, and defending the city.
3: Fill in chart
Govt.- Democracy. Economy- Farming, Trade. Culture-Creativity, Rebuilding the City. War Name- Peloponnesian War
4:What caused the lack of trust between Athens and Sparta
The Athenians were drawing more power to themselves, and the lack of understanding between the two cultures.
5: Role of Athenian Women
They would cook, clean, sew, etc. They would serve men food, but not eat with them.
6: How did direct democracy in Athens differ from our democracy today.
Athenians had a mass assembly, we have representatives because of our large population.
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