From Unity to Civil War: 

The Fifth-Century Greek Tragedy



Š    How did the Greeks move from a moment of unity and triumph in the Persian Wars to “civil war” and disaster in the Peloponnesian War?


Key Terms

1)   Marathon                               6) Melos 

2)   Salamis                                   7) Alcibiades

3)   Delian League                       8) The Thirty

4)   Peloponnesian League          9) Socrates’ Trial

5)   Pericles’ Funeral Oration     10) Demosthenes & philippics



I. The Persian Wars (499/479)


Revolt of the Ionian Greeks and Athenian Support

Round One (499): Darius Invades and the Triumph of Athens

The Battle of Marathon

Round Two (479): Xerxes Invades and the Greeks Unite

The Battles of Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plantea


Western Civilization Saved?  Contingency and History


II. The Athenian Moment:  Democracy and Imperialism (479-431 B.C.E.)


The Delian League and the Athenian Quest for Hegemony (Empire)

The Peloponnesian League and Spartan Resistance


The “Golden Age” of Athenian Democracy

Pericles (495-429) and Athenian Greatness


III. The Peloponnesian War and the Greek Catastrophe  (431-404 B.C.E.)

Sea Power vs. Land Power = Stalemate


War, Plague, and Brutalization

The Destruction of Melos


The Sicilian Adventure and the “Hubris” of Alcibiades (or: Athens)


The Defeat and Decline of Athenian Democracy

The “Four Hundred” and “The Thirty”


Restoring Democracy and the Trial of Socrates, 403-399 B.C.E.


IV.  The Fourth Century and the Decline of Classical Greece


      The Decline of Civic Identity


      Continued Conflict among Greek City States



A New Enemy:  Phillip II (356-336 B.C.) of Macedonia



The “Obsolescence” of the Polis and the Perils of Democracy