|CONFLICTS AND BATTLES OF THE HUMANITY|
EUROPE / THE MEDITERRANEAN/GREECE
Conflict against Persian Empire
In the medium of VIth century, the greek expansion towards the East begins again with the conquest of the area of the strait by Athens which creates clerouquies. It is the new shape of military colony, widespread in the Aegean Sea, formed with colonists chosen among the poor and which remain Athens'citizens. At that time monarchy is eliminated by the tyrants, resulting from the aristocracy. The trade develops by sea. In Athens, Pisistrate's policy causes the ruin of the land aristocracy and the development of the bases of the maritime empire.
During this time, Sparta gathers in the Peloponnesian league the main part of the cities in the south of the isthmus, except for Achaïe and for Argos. This defensive league enables them to eliminate Argiens out Cythere and Thyreatide. Allied with Corinth, Sparta is also influential on sea. Trustful in the belt of hills which surrounds the city and in the value of its soldiers, the Spartans do not build fortifications until the period of Diadoques
The situation changes with Cyrus'expansion, in Asia, Cyrus, the Persian sovereign subjects Cresus, the king of Lydia and seizes the greek Ionian cities. The domination is first endured, the tribute is comparable with that which was due to the Lydians and, Cyrus, occupied by the submission of Babylon and the war in Bactriane, lets a relative autonomy to the governors. Nevertheless, Phoceans forsake their city and rejoin their colonies, Massalia in Provence and Alalia in Corsica. The possesion of the ionian and phenicians fleets and that of seaports of Aegean See, change Perse into a maritime power. Cyrus reacts to the feeling of revolt of the Greeks of Asia by supporting Phoenicians'trade. Cyprus and Samos are conquered. The conquest of Egypt by Cambyse and the ruin of Naucratis, the rich ionian colony is a first blow. Then Darius conquers Milet's colonies : Byzantium and Sibaris. Milet suffers from the loss of its points of support and the opposition increases. Darius organises a forwarding against Scythians whose only result is the formation of the satrapy of Thrace.
Failure undergone by Large King is known by Ionian cities whose engineers took part in the construction of the bridges of boats on the straits. This monarch is regarded as a despot. There are discord of interests and political opposition. The revolt bursts in - 498, it is conducted by city of Milet and takes Aristagoras for chief. In the mainland, greek cities hesitate to support the rebels who asked for their assistance. Sparta and many cities refuse, Athens and Eretria agrees to send a weak reinforcement (25 triremes). After some successes, and the havoc of Sardes, the chief town of satrapy, the revolt of the ionians is repressed, Milet is destroyed. For to be avenged, Darius attacks the Greek cities. It is the beginning of Persian Wars.
The revolt of Ionian cities obliges Darius to interfere. The fire of Sardes deserves an exemplary revenge. The first attempt in - 492 fails because of the destruction of the fleet by tempest.
In - 490, Persian diplomacy insulates Athens and Sparte which refuse Large King'domination. An attack by the sea is launched towards Attic. Eubee is aimed firstly, Eretria is burned after a seat and the Persians unload in Marathon, near Athens. There, Athenian strategist Miltiade, without the Spartans but with Plateans, decides to attack brutally the persian army and inflicts heavy losses to him. Persians renounce and return at home.
In 482, a new campaign is thoroughly prepared with means more considerable than in - 490. Persian army traverses North of Greece and clears the obstacle of Thermopyles, burns Athens and plunders Attic. But its fleet is severely defeated in Salamine. Xerxes leaves Greece, Mardonios and its army.
In - 479, this army is defeated to Platees, in Beotia, by a
ordered by king of Sparta Pausanias. Persian fleet sinks at Mycale
cape, this campaign is a complete failure. Greeks have from now on the
initiative of the operations. Athens listening to the councils of
built the Long Walls connecting Athens to its ports of Piree and
During this time, in Sicily, the Carthaginians, installed in the
part, want to conquer the island completely and attack the Greeks at
same time than the Persians, towards - 480. The division of Hellenes is
obvious here and Rhegion and Selimonte fight with the Carthaginians.
But the tyrant of Syracuse, Gelon with his father-in-law Theron of
Agrigente, on the edges of river Himere, defeats Hamilcar and the
Carthaginians which retreat the west of Sicily. The plunder is
consequent and the punic advance is stopped. Hieron which follows after
Gelon, defeats etruscan fleet close to Cumes towards - 474 and seizes
the opportunity to dominate the major part of Sicily.
The fleet of Sparta and allies's was withdrawn from the combat
the victory of Mycale's cape. Athens continues its offensive and
the Ionian cities of the Persian empire. The treaty of defensive
(symmachie) concluded between Athens and the Greek cities from Minor
as number Aegean Islands becomes "the League of Delos" in - 478. This
ejects persian garrisons out of Thrace and the pirates out of the
Sea. Towards - 465, a new Persian fleet built by Xerxes is eliminated
the Greek fleet led by Cimon, the son of Miltiade.
The athenian expansion leaves the Greek framework and aims all
Mediterranean Sea. The Athenians benefit from the disorders of
succession to the throne of the Persian empire, as well as revolts
of the people subjected to help the Egyptians at the time of the revolt
of Inaros. The satrap of Memphis is beaten towards - 460. The
reaction of Artaxerxes is vigorous and the Persians succeed in burning
the fleet of help sent by the Greeks and arrival too late. In - 454,
the Athenian forces in Egypt are destroyed by the Persians. During
this time, Sparte undergoes an earthquake which destroy the city and a revolt of the hilotes (- 464) then of Messenians which mobilizes
its forces during ten years and obliges Sparte to call the Athenians. Also, the first conflict which opposes on the one hand, Sparte and its allies: Corinth, Megare and the Beotians to on the other hand, Athens from - 461 is not very constant. Athens subjects Egine, and dominates the Aegean Sea.
The armies of Sparte and Thebes beat that of Athens in Tanagra in - 457 but Athens takes its revenge with Oinophita as soon as the Spartan army gone away. A five years truce is concluded between Sparte and Athens, who uses it to defeat twice a phenician fleet near Cyprus. The war begins again and in 447, Beotians, in Coronee, vainquish the Athenians.
In - 446, an agreement is concluded between the belligerents
the division from the Greek "world".
For Athens : North and the Aegean Sea
For Corinth West and its trade
For Sparte the Peloponnese.
The arrival with the capacity of Pericles in Athens corresponds to a more strict control of League of Delos's allies whose revolts are pitilessly broken (Samos in - 440). The treasure of the confederation is transported, in - 454, on the Acropolis and Athens finishes the construction of the Long Walls and develops its navy. Sparte presents as a champion Greek freedoms in danger and independence of the cities.
The truce planned for 30 years between Sparte and Athens does not last. The "businesses" of Corcyre, Megare and Potidee make burst the conflict.
In - 435, the defection of Epidamme causes a war between Corcyre and its old Corinth metropolis and its allies. Corcyre requires helps in Athens, which signs a defensive agreement and sends a quota symbolic system (10 ships) At the time of the decisive meeting, favourable with the Corinthians, corcyreans ships undergo heavy losses but survive some thanks to protection from the Athenian fleet reinforced during the battle (passing from 10 to 30 trieres).
In - 433, Corinth encourages Potidee to leave the Delos'
requires this city, at the same time Corinthian and allied colony
paying tribute, which it shaves its wall and drives out the Corinthian envoys. Fearing the defection of the city and allies close to Thrace,
Athens dispatches thirty ships and 1000 hoplites "to bring back the order". But it is insufficient vis-a-vis in the cities insurgent and
reinforced by the Corinthians, that is to say 2000 infantrymen directed by Adeimantos. Athens must send reinforcement, 40 ships and 2000
hoplites, ordered by Callias. They face the Corinthians, Potideates and Chalcidiens and also the 200 riders of Perdiccas the king of Macedonia and gain the victory, then put the seat in front of the walls of Potidee
Lastly, Athens shows Mégare to accomodate its slaves in escape and to punish this city prohibits to him the markets of the Delos League, threatening it of ruin.
Corinth and Megare plead in front of the Peloponnesian League the rupture of the truce which is decided soon. Pericles is certain to quickly carry it by the control of the sea. Athens appears an impregnable fortress connected to the sea.
From - 431, Athens preventively evacuated the inhabitants behind the Long Walls and the hostilities start with an attack of Thebes against Platee, the allied one of Athens. The attack is pushed back. A fleet is sent to protect the Eubee's island. During this time, Sparte invades the Attic and ruins agriculture but cannot take Athens. The tactics of Pericles seem effective.
But in 430, the plague, arrival of Egypt, are declared in Athens, where the population is piled. The seat of Potidee ends by the catch of the city. Pericles dies of the plague. The revolt of Mythilene is severely punished. Cleon of Athens attacks the coasts of the Peloponnese and to Sphacterie, Spartiates soldiers capitulate in - 425 ! Slaves of Laurion themselves revolt . Brasidas reforms the army Spartan and, in Thrace, conducts an effective campaign against the interests of Athens. Cleon is beaten by Brasidas in Thrace in front of Amphipolis in - 422. The death of the two protagonists Cleon and Brasidas allows the negotiation between the belligerents. It is the peace of Nicias into 421, planned for 50 years. Athens and Sparte go their conquests.
Peace is short, Alcibiade boiling is named strategist in Athens and under its influence, the island of Melos is integrated by force in the Athenian league, while Argos, Mantinee and Elides of the Peloponnese return in alliance. The hostilities begin again between Athens weakened by internal conflicts and Sparte which throws all its forces, into - 418, the battle of Mantinee gives the advantage to Sparte. The forwarding carried out in Sicily, by Alcibiade, Nicias and Lachamos, at the request of Egeste against Syracuse, allied of Sparte, in - 415 is a complete failure.
The Spartans benefit from this serious failures, by attacking the area of Athens since the near fortress of Decelie. They are allied by the treaty of Milet, with Persia which provides him financial supremacy in exchange of the abandonment of the Ionians cities to Persian supremacy. Athens reacts with firmness under the control of Alcibiade and faces to new defections among its allies (in Iony in particular), and a "coup d'etat" of the Four Hundred oligarchs.
In - 410 Alcibiade and Athenians gain a naval victory in
Cyzique and in Abydos, restore the democracy and refuse the peace
requested by the Spartans. The spartan fleet better paid becomes more
powerful. An Athenian naval defeat in Notion follows in - 407. A
brilliant Athenian naval victory in the Arginuses Islands in - 406 is
wasted by the decision of the assembly to condemn to dead the
victorious strategists. In - 405, the spartan fleet, ordered by
navarque Lysandre, gains the decisive combat in Aigos Potamos (the
Brook of the Goat), in Chersonese (Dardanelles), vis-a-vis with Conon
and the athenian fleet supported by Samos, only allied remained
faithful. The following year, Athens is besieged, and, no supported by
its allies, make its rendering. The Long Walls are broken, the fleet is
delivered to the winners. It is the end of the Peloponnesian War..
But the war between Greek cities continues during a half century. Initially Sparte imposes in Athens the tyranny of the Thirty (form of dictatorship), the civic body is tiny room with 3000 citizens. In Sparte the Lysandre General knows disgrace. Garrisons Spartans replace the Athenian colonists and the tribute is perceived with the profit of this new power. Anabase (retirement) of the Greek mercenaries engaged by Cyrus the Young against the central power, and the various revolts whose successful rising of Amyrtee in Egypt against Achemenides, show the weakness of the Persian empire. Also Sparte breaks its alliance with Artaxerxes IInd. Towards - 400, a new revolt of Ionian cities calls the Greek cities with the assistance and puts Sparte in the embarrassment. The army Spartan, including Athenian quotas, led by the General Thibron then Derkillas does not obtain any result, but then led by the king Agesilas II, it is victorious among that of the satraps of Decay and Lydie. However it must return because of the general rising of the Greek cities against Sparte.
Indeed, Athens, from - 403 expels the garrison Spartan which supported the Thirty and restores the democracy and its independence with the assistance of Thebans. Other cities refuse hegemony lacedemonian and are raised. Thebes is disappointed with repercussions of the victory against Athens. The new coalition against Sparte gathers Corinth, Argos, Athens under the impulse of Thebes and with the financial support of Perse.
This war of Corinth starts with a frontier conflict between Thebes and Sparte. The battle of Haliarte sees the defeat and the death of Lysandre in - 395. The rejection of Sparte gains Thessaly. The siege of Corinth by the spartan army starts, while Conon the Athenian, takes his revenge and gains, at the top of the phenician fleet provided by Artaxerxes IInd and directed by king of Sidon, the naval battle of Cnide where he destroys the spartan fleet in - 394. This obliteration of the spartan fleet delivers Ionian cities to the persian domination. The same year, Agesilas IInd overcomes a little welded coalition of Athenians, Corinthians, Thebans and Argiens in Nemee and Coronee. Athenians rebuild the Long Walls and by Persian gold's grace and fifty trieres reported by Conon, raise their maritime power this which brings Sparte closer to the Persians. The war continues mainly around Corinth besieged. The city is delivered by a new tactic of the Athenian Iphicrate, an attack of peltastes which drives out 600 spartan hoplites. The Bosphorus is barred by Persian and Spartan fleets what prevents the Athens' provisioning of cereals coming from the Euxin Bridge.
The Persians, seeing the fast restauration of Athens and their support for the Cyprus' revolt directed by Evagoras, prefer to conclude the peace of the King or Antalcidas in - 386, who affirms the autonomy of all the Greek cities under the monitoring of Sparte and Persian domination on Cyprus, and all Ionian cities. Athens has Lemnos, Imbros and Scyros. Only Sparte can preserve its League and is suspected of treason by all Greece. But the Perse which slightly profited from the operation, reverses its policy to weaken a little more the Greeks.
In Thrace, Olynthe disputes spartan domination and tries to link Chalcidique, in contradiction with the peace of King. Sparte picks up 10 000 soldiers to punish it in all the symmachie. Thebes refuses to provide its share. Phoibidas, a spartan general, on the way towards Thrace takes by surprise, Cadmee, citadel of Thebes in - 382 and installs a garrison there. Olynthe resists until into -379.
Athens facilitates the release of Thebes in - 379, but does not want to take again the conflict with Sparte. These tries a blow of hand against Athens to the manner of the catch of Cadmee. This attack fails and it is the rupture. Athens reconstitutes a less constraining maritime Confederation for the allies in - 377 and neutral with respect to Perse since directed against the League of the Peloponnese. The naval victory of Naxos gained by Athens vis-a-vis in Sparte gets to him the naval supremacy at Aegean sea and many adhesions. A new peace is concluded in Sparte under the arbitration from the Large King towards - 374.
Thebes wants to join together Beotia counters the will of Sparte. This fragile balance is broken by the victory theban of Leuctres in - 371. The higher army Spartan numbers some and ordered by Cleombrotos is overcome by a new tactic. Epaminondas changes the rules of the game The theban army , reorganized around the crack corps: the crowned battalion, is able to beat in open country the invincible army Spartan. It is consternation in all Greece! More serious for Sparte in full demographic crisis, 4000 combatants died with Cleombrotos. The Peloponnese is raised against Sparte which continues the fight...
Thebes inserts of Platees force in the Beotienne League and asserts territories. Epaminondas enters in Laconie and releases Messeny, towards - 370. The rise of the Beotian League under the direction of Epaminondas brings closer Athens and Sparte which are combined in - 369. After two other victorious campaigns against Sparte, Perse recognizes Thebes like the first Greek power, it is the rescrit of Suse which confirms the independence of Messenie and orders with the Atheniens ships to leave the open sea. Athens tries to rejoin the cities opposed to Thebes which fights on several faces and gains the victory of Cynoscephales in - 364 vis-a-vis in Thessaliens. Thebes obtains a fleet of 100 trieres to counter Athens on sea and causes the rising of Tap-holes, allied of Athens, quickly subdued. Epaminondas attacks Corinth, but does not manage to take it prevented by the Chabrias Athenian.
Sparte concludes peace with Messeniens and Arcadiens, peace quickly broken by a strong army thebaine invading the Peloponnese. Athens intervenes with the help of Sparte. Epaminondas carries it but dies by continuing its enemies overcome with the battle of Mantinee in - 362. The adversaries even sign peace on the battle field. It is the end of the military hegemony of Thebes on Greece which lasted 9 years. Athens is again dominant and disallows the proposals for an alliance of Thebes, but its relations with the allies are always difficult. Corcyre leaves alliance and Eubee on the councils of Thebes is ready to imitate it, it is with difficulty that Athens makes it return in the row. Athens acts with more prudence than the preceding times and the syntaxis (contribution) is weaker, but must make ceaseless forwardings to hold this confederation.
In - 357, the refusal of Tap-holes to pay the syntaxis starts the war of the Allies. Tap-holes, Cos, Rhodos and Byzantium are opposed in Athens. In Perse, the new sovereign Artaxerxes III, firmly holds the empire and the satrap of Decay supports the enemies of Athens. The threat is real and the best fleet is sent ordered by Chabrias, transporting a body of mercenaries directed by Chares. Chabrias is beaten and killed with broad of Tap-holes and Chares beats a retreat. A new attempt with its best strategists, Iphicrate, Chares and Timothee, fails so much the competitions between the strategists are large.
The intervention of Macedonia
During this Philippe time of Macedonia, which seeks an outlet towards the sea, occupies Amphipolis and Pydna in - 357 and Potidee in - 356. Olynthe is the next target one, it turns to Athens which cannot take action pursuant. Ruined Athens aspires to peace. Philippe is a taker of fortified towns and cities, and it east fears for that. The seat is short. Philippe puts the hand on the gold bearing mines of Pangee, that is to say an income of 1000 talents. The catch of Methone, its last place on the coast Macedonian does not cause reaction on behalf of Athens, very worried by its financial re-establishment. Philippe benefits from the various conflicts between Greek cities to apply his policy of expansion. Thus the third crowned war bursts between the Philistines combined in Thessaliens, and Phocidiens marked to have plowed crowned grounds of the sanctuary of Delphes. Phocidiens recruit mercenaries with the gold stolen in the temple of Delphes and resist victoriously in - 354.
Philippe of Macedonia intervenes while being combined with Thebes and beats Phocidiens supported by the tyrants of Pheres. He benefits from it to seize the port Pagases in - 352, and to dominate Thessalie. In Athens, Demosthene incarnates resistance to the Macedonians. Philippe advances until Thermopyles but stops in front of the army of united carried out by Athens. Philippe attacks Thrace, and in answer, Athens sends troops in Chersonese. The corn importation of the shores of the Black Sea must be maintained costs that costs. The head office of Olynthe starts in - 349 and reduced with the famine, the city capitulates in - 348. Insulated, Athens obtains the peace of Philocrate that Philippe delays time to finish the conquest of Thrace in - 346. Thebes benefits from alliance to harden its control of Beotie. Athens tries to prepare its revenge against Philippe, inside his partisans are pursued and the State is reformed to provide the means of continuing the fight, outside, the last places held in Thrace are defended and it search for new alliances is a success. Megare, Eubee and Achaie join the camp anti-Macedonian. On the other hand the support of Large King Artaxerxes III Ochos, anxious of progress of the Macedonians is rejected.
Philippe does not seek to crush the Greek cities but to be made allies of them to fight against Perse. Demosthene uses the 6 years of peaces which follow to reorganize the marine and strongly increases the military appropriations. During this time, Philippe beats Illyriens and dominates Epire. The head office of Perinthe in Chersonese and that of Byzantium and the catch of a convoy of Athenian supply by Philippe in - 341, precipitates the war. Philippe must slacken this convoy in front of the determination of Athens and leaves Byzantium supported by the Athenian fleet. Athens gathers in a congress panhellenic the cities which are opposed to Philippe: Corinth, Megare, Argos, Corcyre. Philippe finds another reason to make the war. Locrians are condemned to have cultivated the ground devoted to Apollon, and Philippe is charged to punish them. To make obstacle there, Thebes occupies Thermopyles. The Macedonian circumvents the difficulty by obtaining from Phocidiens the delivery of their Elatee capital from where the passage in Attic is easy. Once at Elatee, Philippe sends an embassy to Thebes. Demosthene reacts quickly and concludes alliance with Thebes. The efforts of Philippe cannot break this alliance which envisages the command combined by Thebes and the financing to two thirds by Athens.
September 1 338, the decisive shock occurs in Cheronee, in a
plain of Beotie, the armies are of similar manpower. The difference is
made on the level command. It is a complete victory for Philippe and
Alexandre. The crowned battalion of Thebes is destroyed and this city
is treated hard for its "treason" and is occupied by a garrison, while
Athens is spared and preserves the democracy but loses the control of
its foreign policy.
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