First Peloponnesian War Essay

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During the First Peloponnesian War the goal of both side’s strategies was containment—Sparta’s to contain Athens from rising, and Athens’ to prevent Sparta from interfering. The Athenian’s primary strategy during the First Peloponnesian War was to isolate and contain Spartan forces to the Peloponnese. This was necessary due to the superiority of Spartan hoplites, and was the continuation of two policies initiated by Themistocles: securing Athens from a Spartan land invasion and solidifying Athenian naval superiority. While Athenian strategy in the First Peloponnesian war was the expansion of old defensive policies, Spartan strategy focused on containing Athenian expansion by invading Attica, either through proxy, or by marching a Spartan army overland. Sparta was forced to go on the march to win the war, but Athens only had to wage a defensive war along their borders. In the First Peloponnesian war, Sparta only engaged in two offensive actions against Athenian forces: the relief expedition to Doris in 458/7 and the invasion of Attica over the Megarid in 446. Some scholars, such as A.J. Holladay, believe that this inactivity reflects a lack of Spartan will to fight. Kagan and Ste. Croix…show more content…
He believed that the wall’s “size and thickness [would] keep off the attacks of the enemy; he thought they might be adequately defended by a small garrison of invalids, and the rest be freed for service in the fleet.” Themistocles had recognized that fortifications would allow Athens to resist attacks by land, enabling them to focus on strengthening her navy to project power outside Attica. In 457, a renewed focus on the construction of fortifications due to the war resulted in the long walls towards Phalerum and the Piraeus. These walls rendered Athens unassailable from land, and with a secured connection to the port, able to resist sieges as
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