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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
II. THE GREAT AGE OF THE GREEK REPUBLICS TO 362 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 19
RESOURCES OF THE CONTESTANTS
The two antagonists were fairly matched. The one was strong where the other was weak. Sparta, mainly a continental power, commanded all the Peloponnesian states except Argos and Achaea, besides some of the smaller states of central Greece. Athens, mainly a maritime power, ruled all the subject cities of the Aegean. The Spartans possessed the most formidable army then in the world, but lacked money and ships. The Athenians had a magnificent navy, an overflowing treasury, and a city impregnable to direct attack. It seemed, in fact, as if neither side could seriously injure the other.
FIRST STAGE OF THE WAR, 431-421 B.C.
The war began in 431 B.C. Its first stage was indecisive. The Athenians avoided a conflict in the open field with the stronger Peloponnesian army, which ravaged Attica. They were crippled almost at the outset of the struggle by a terrible plague among the refugees from Attica, crowded behind the Long Walls. The pestilence slew at least one-fourth of the inhabitants of Athens, including Pericles himself. After ten years of fighting both sides grew weary of the war and made a treaty of peace to last for fifty years.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy