The Fall of the Athenian Empire (A New History of the Peloponnesian War)
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In the fourth and final volume of his magisterial history of the Peloponnesian War, Donald Kagan examines the period from the destruction of Athens' Sicilian expedition in September of 413 B.C. to the Athenian surrender to Sparta in the spring of 404 B.C. Through his study of this last decade of the war, Kagan evaluates the performance of the Athenian democracy as it faced its most serious challenge. At the same time, Kagan assesses Thucydides' interpretation of the reasons for Athens’ defeat and the destruction of the Athenian Empire.
of the clas sical period like to follow, when they can, the narrative historical account that they judge to be the most reliable, and they tend to prefer it to other evidence from sources that they consider less trustworthy. Whatever its merits in general, this practice is unwise for the period between 4 1 1 and 404 B.C. Of the extant writers of narrative accounts, Xenophon alone was a contemporary, and his Hellenica presents a continuous description of the events of that time. It is natural,
the silence of Thucydides powerfully ar gues, or would do so soon, as acceptance of the chronology of An docides indicates, makes little difference. Reality required a positive response. "In the desperate situation in which the Athenians found themselves their decision to cooperate with Amorges was not foolhardy but perfectly reasonable. '>35 That the envoys from the Persian satraps went not to Agis but directly to Sparta was, no doubt, both normal and natural, although they may also have
seized their lands and houses, distributing them among themselves. The vindictive revolutionaries seem to have de prived the aristocrats of their civic rights and even of the right of intermarriage with the newly dominant lower class .20 The new de mocracy on Samos was powerfully dependent upon Athens for support against a countercoup, perhaps supported by a colony of oligarchic exiles long since established at Anaea on the coast just opposite the '6Cynossema: 8. 104- 1 06; Cyzicus: Xen. 1 . 1
may not have been exaggerating their forces to win Spartan support. Perhaps they included in the total some ships that were not seaworthy. In any case, we never hear of more than forty-seven of their ships at any one time. The ease with which the Athenians controlled the sea around Chios at this time suggests that they may have been superior numerically as well as tactically. 34Andrewes (HCT V, 56) suggests that the hoplites were compelled to serve on the ships because thetes were in short supply
Spartan forces for his own purposes, and warmly received the double renegade Alcibiades. Those Spartans who had originally favored collaboration with Pharnabazus in the Hel"Arrival: 8.41 . 1 ; orders: 39. 2 . "To Cnemus i n 429 (2 .85 . 1 ) and to Alcidas i n 427 (3.69. 1 ). 745 .63 04"On Lichas, see HeT V, 85; and Kagan, Peace of Nicias, 75-76, 1 34- 1 35 . 768. 39. 2 . SPARTA' S RIPOSTE 87 lespont and those who had not, but opposed Endius and Alcibiades, were ready to turn against what now