In this episode, we discuss the years spanning 461-454 BC, covering the early part of the First Peloponnesian War / "The Undeclared War"
(2:35) The balance of power shifted towards Athens, when Megara flipped sides, creating a wall between the Peloponnese and Attica. When the Spartans peacefully settled with the helots at Mt Ithome, Athens settled them in Naupactus, angering the Spartans and causing further alarm for the Corinthians, who saw Athenian encroachment on their western trade routes. War began on land and sea around the Saronic Gulf between Athens and Argos against the Corinthians, Epidaurians, and Aeginetans. (10:51) At the same time, the Athenians sent a force to aid the Egyptians in revolt against the Persians. After an initial victory, the Persian garrison was held up in Memphis and placed under siege. Artaxerxes ordered Themistocles to lead an army to put down the revolt but he refused to fight against his fellow Athenians and so he committed suicide. (19:20) Meanwhile, the Athenians continued to fight against the Corinthians on land, until finally the Spartans entered the fray. The Spartans, after linking up with the Thebans in Boeotia, won a narrow victory over the Athenians at Tanagra, but suffered heavy casualties in the process, causing them to head back to Sparta. (27:35) The Athenians rebounded and won a decisive victory over the Boeotians at Oenophyta, with the result that most of Boeotia, Phocis, and Locris fell under their dominion. That same year, the Athenians forced the Aeginetans to surrender and become a subject ally. The Athenians followed this up with a series of raids all along the Peloponnesian coast and gained greater naval control of Corinthian Gulf. (35:40) Athens’ remarkable string of successes came to a crashing halt in Egypt, as the Persian army finally responded to the revolt and utterly destroyed the Athenian and rebel forces. As a consequence, there was a whole rash of rebellions in the Delian League, and the Athenians moved the league treasury from Delos to the Athenian Acropolis.
Intro by Ahmet Ozakca of the Groovy Historian Podcast