Sybota

A Greek hoplite preparing for war

A Greek hoplite preparing for war

In 445, Athens and Sparta put an end to a war that had lasted fifteen years. Both sides were exhausted and sincerely longing for peace. Immediately after the treaty had been concluded, the Athenians were invited to found a colony in southern Italy, Thurii, and they called it an all-Greek (“panhellenic”) town to prevent irritation in Sparta and its ally Corinth, which traditionally were interested in the far west. This gesture was appreciated, and when the island of Samos revolted against Athens (440), the Corinthians and Spartans refused to support the rebels.

Peace reigned and few would have believed that within seven years, Corinth and Athens would clash in a big naval battle near Sybota, and that in 431, war between the two alliances would be renewed. It was to last twenty-seven years and was believed to be the greatest war ever.

I put online an article that was published a year ago in Ancient Warfare: read it here (or subscribe to Ancient Warfare).

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