The Rise and Fall of Athens

by Haibo Sun

The War Introduction

War, terrible war, can lead to glory or to extinction and that was the case for one of the most famous cities in Ancient Greece. Athens was the centre of -the world and the heart of Ancient Greece. Its magnificent history dates were one of the oldest cities and it was one of the first western civilizations in human history. The heroic people of Athens who had passed through thousands of petty and small wars and had an invincible army with legendary generals. There were two epic, gory wars that changed Athens' destiny in early human history.

Great War with Persia

In 492 B.C, the alert rang in Athens. People in Athens heard about the eastern monster---Persia, had occupied Turkey entirely, and they were ready to invade Greece. Persians worshiped war and fighting, and they always invaded their neighbours. In summer, the Persians' first invasion began, with a total of 25 000 men who invade Greece. Unfortunately, the defence of Greece was obstinate and strong, and a tornado devastated all the warships of Persia. The Persians lost their first invasion but they still coveted to wealthy Greece; they thought they lost the war because they met the tornado. After 12 years of each country making preparations for war, Persians invaded Greece again, with a total of 250 000 strapping men and 1000 immense warships. After a bloody battle with 300 Spartan soldiers, Persians finally occupied Athens. When they came inside Athens, Persians did not find anybody. The Persians were confused, but only the Greeks knew this was the empty-city stratagem. On the sea, 300 valiant small warships from Athens beat 800 immense Persian warships in the Salamis sea. The battle of Salamis stupefied all the Persian soldiers. The Persian soldiers in Athens had no way to win and they to withdrew from Athens. Finally, Athens successfully routed Persian's second invasion. In 479 B.C, Persians invaded Greece for a third time with 50 000 soldiers. This time, Athens used the empty-city stratagem again and coped Persians easily without blood. Now, Persia had no stamina to invade Greece again, and it was time Persians got invaded! In 478 B.C, the great cornerback began, and Athens occupied the north shore of Helles Pang Strict, then controlled the way to the black sea. Athens combined with alliances in the Aegean sea. The result of Persian war was Athens won magically, and Persia lost distressingly! Now, all the Greek city-states knew Athens was the leader of Greece but that made Sparta furious.

Trouble inside Greece

Athens made another 'tiger' mad after the Persian war, and this 'tiger' was Sparta. There were 180 city-states that were celebrating the victory of Persian war and Athens became the superstar for most city-states. Athens was overconfident smug and boasted itself to other city-states. Athens constrained most of the city-states to trade with Athens, and if they didn't, then Athens would attack you. Then, Athens created a league called the Delian League. The Delian League made Sparta disquieting and Sparta welcomed several city-states being friends with Sparta. The league that Sparta created called the Peloponnesian League. But most of the city-states been obedience to the Delian League because nobody wanted to make Athens, this boisterous volcano, mad. Now, Greece has been divided by two sides: one side was led by Athens, the Delian league, and the other side was led by Sparta, the Peloponnesian League. The war between Athens and Sparta was inevitable. The military in Athens was getting worse after the Persian war because Athens was too high on itself, but its navy was still the best in Greece. Sparta was busy preparing for the war and Sparta had an invincible land army. Also, Sparta's navy progressing was immense. Everybody in Greece knew that the war between Athens and Sparta were assured, because Athens was greed with power, and it was a question of time.

The Sacred War

The leader of Athens, Pericles, who was a fanatic of democracy, started the sacred Peloponnesian war. In 431 B.C, the famous Archidamus war began, or the 'Ten Years War'. Pericles' plan was to defend on land an initiative on the sea; Sparta wanted to invade the city states that surrounded Athens. After a long time of small wars, Athens navy besieged a part of the Spartan army on a small island and Spartan had no way except peace talks with Athens. Athens agreed to discuss with Sparta. Peace finally came, but the 'cold war' was still happening. Athens technically won the first war. Some alliances saw Sparta would have lost the war and they joined the Delian alliance with Athens. Athens felt overjoyed with the war and Athens became more confident than before. From 421 B.C to 413 B.C, it was peaceful. In 413 B.C, Athens started the war again, because Athens saw Sparta was weak like a little and cute rabbit! This time, the war was not in Greece, was in Syracuse, Sicily. Syracuse was the biggest city in Sicily and didn't pick a side during the first war. Athens invaded Syracuse because Athens thought Syracuse was too weak and like a 'soft tomato'. But actually, Syracuse was not weak like Athens thought and they were a strong city-state in Sicily. When Athens army arrived in Syracuse, Athens besieged Syracuse for a long time but did not occupy it. Unfortunately, the Spartan army arrived in Syracuse at the most important time, almost all the Athens land army killed, and Syracuse stood on Sparta side this time. The loss in Sicily was a titanic shock for Athens and Athens had no power to battle again. Some city-states left Athens and joined Sparta, Athens harshly punished them, and the result was almost all the city-states joined Sparta.Two years later, the Spartan army invaded Athens and Athens resisted for eight years until the most important part of Athens navy was devastated; at the end, Athens surrendered to Sparta. The sacred Peloponnesian war gained a complete victory and Athens' democracy system got destroyed. This war influenced all of Greece and the entire world.

The Cruel Ending

Athens, the most famous city the ancient time. The final result got devastated miserably, why? That is because, after the Persian war, Athens was too smug, overconfident and bully another city-state who did not agree with Athens. Athens saw others too low, and saw itself too high, then trying to use military force solved the questions. Then the result was tragic. This is always happening in the real life, and we do not want the tragedy happens to us! The Persian war leads Athens to glory, and the Peloponnesian War caused Athens to extinction. War changes everything and depends on a country's power and economy. Athens was one of the cruel examples in human history! The majestical and ground war will always vibrate our heart!

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