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Battle of Aigos Potamos 405 BC

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Battle of Aigos Potamos 405 BC

Postby Anatol » Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:15 pm

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The battle of Aigos Potamos in the Thracian Chersonesos took place in 405 B.C. between the fleets of Athens and Sparta. This was the last major battle of the Peloponnesian War. At the end of this battle, the Spartan fleet under the command of Lysander completely destroyed its Athenian rival. This actually put an end to the war, since Athens could not import grain or communicate with the rest of its empire without control of the sea. The final phase of the war began in 407. In this year the Spartans appointed a new admiral, Lysander, to command their fleet in the Aegean. He would prove to be an able leader who improved the quality of the Peloponnesian fleet, and laid the foundation of the final Spartan victory. In the same year Cyrus, the younger son of the Great King, was appointed as satrap of Lydia, Great Phrygia and Cappadocia. He was determined to support Sparta and to ensure the defeat of Athens. By the start of the campaigning season of 405 BC Lysander had been second in command to get around a Spartan rule against serving for two terms in a single command. Towards the end of the summer Lysander took his large fleet into the Hellespont, in an attempt to intercept the Athenian grain fleets. An Athenian fleet of 180 ships followed, under three new generals. For four days the two fleets faced each other across the Hellespont, the Athenians at Aegospotami, the Spartans at Lampsacus. On five days the Athens put to sea to offer battle, and Lysander refused to take the bait. On the fifth day, as soon as the Athenians returned to shore and dispersed from their ships, Lysander attacked. The resulting battle of Aegospotami (405 BC) was the final decisive battle of the long Great Peloponnesian War. Caught entirely by surprise, the Athenian fleet was annihilated. Conan escaped with eight or nine ships, but the rest of the fleet was captured, along with two of the three generals. Everyone now knew that the war was effectively over. Both of the Spartan kings led an army to Athens - Agis from the fort at Decelea, Pausanias from the Peloponnese. Lysander sailed to the Piraeus with 150 ships, and blockaded the city from the sea. The resulting siege of Athens lasted into 404 BC, but the final outcome was never in doubt. The only issue was what terms would be imposed. Corinth and Thebes led a group of cities that wanted to see Athens destroyed, the men of military age executed and everyone else sold into slavery, but the Spartans refused to impose such draconian terms (officially because of the important services Athens had performed for Greece, but probably because they didn't want to see either Corinth or Thebes step into a power vacuum in Attica). The final terms were comparatively moderate, considering the length and often bitter nature of the war. Athens was to dismantle the Long Walls and the fortifications of the Piraeus. She was only allowed to retain twelve warships. Exiles were to be allowed to return home and Athens was to become an ally of Sparta on the same terms as members of the Peloponnesian League - to have the same friends and enemies as Sparta and to follow them on land and sea. After the terms were accepted Lysander's fleet sailed into the Piraeus, and began to demolish the walls to the sound of flutes.
Gabon 2019; 900f. Source: http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/wars great peloponnesian war.html.
Anatol
 
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