I'm starting to put together new resources for my fall courses, and one thing I want to have in hand this time around is a Peloponnesian War timeline, since I've come to the conclusion that understanding Plato (I use Plato's Gorgias in my intro courses) really does require having some sense of the Peloponnesian War. Just as some of the specific arguments in Plato only make sense when you consider the particular people to whom they are addressed, so many of the general themes in Plato only make sense if you keep in mind that many of his dialogues are set during or shortly after the worst war in Greek history up to that point. These are my notes; I'd be interested if any of you have any particular events that you think should be on the list, or notice any errors. It's long -- a lot has to be included -- so I'll put it up in three parts.
(Some dates may be approximate)
479 The Greeks, led by the Athenians and Spartans, push the invading Persians out of the Aegean.
477 The Delian League, led by Athens, forms with the intention of continuing the war with the Persians, as a war of vengeance. Members either provide military forces or pay a tax into a common treasury, to serve as a war fund.
471 Naxos attempts to secede from the Delian League. It is defeated.
466 Athenian general Cimon defeats the Persians in the Battle of the Eurymedon; this success leads more Greek cities to join the Delian League voluntarily.
465 Athens founds the colony of Amphipolis; nearby Thasos, fearing that its mining interests may be threatened by the colony, attempts to secede from the Delian League. During the rebellion, Sparta promises to come to the aid of Thasos, but is prevented from doing so by a massive helot revolt. After a three-year siege, Thasos is defeated, its walls are torn down, it is forced to turn over its mines to Athens, and it is required to pay a yearly tribute.
To deal with the helot revolt, more massive than any revolt before, Sparta is forced to call on its Hellenic allies. Along with other Greek cities, Athens sends troops, but Sparta, perhaps fearing that Athens will switch sides, dismisses them, while using the troops of other cities. This ends up being a serious blow to the Sparta-friendly faction in Athens, and Athens begins making anti-Spartan alliances with Thessaly to the north, Argos (Sparta's major rival and traditional enemy on the Peloponnesus), and Megara (which is in a dispute with Corinth, a powerful Spartan ally). It also begins to help helots resettle after the helot revolt is put down.
460 Egypt revolts against Persia; to assist, Pericles sends an expedition to assist. Cyprus is captured, but the Persians put down the rebellion and capture or kill many Athenians.
The First Peloponnesian war begins as Athens goes to war against Corinth.
458 Aegina joins forces with Corinth and its allies in an attempt to end Athenian intrusion into the area. While powerful in its own right, the Aeginan fleet is crushed by the Athenian fleet. Athens blockades the isle of Aegina, and simultaneously defends Megara from Corinth by scraping together an army of men who would ordinarily be too young or old to serve. By a bit of luck the Megarans and the rag-tag army manage in the end to give a serious defeat to the Corinthians. Aegina is eventually defeated and forced to join the Delian League.
A minor military dispute begins between Phocis and Doris; Phocis is an Athenian ally and the Spartans consider themselves to have distant blood ties with Doris. The Spartans enter on the side of Doris, forcing the Phocians to accept terms. The Spartan army's way home by sea is blocked, however, when an Athenian fleet arrives to help the Phocians; the Spartans take the long land route through Boeotia. Athens, alarmed, sends troops, and are defeated at the Battle of Tanagra. Rather than invade Attica, the Spartan army returns home. The Athenian army, however, begins to conquer Boeotia. Sparta, worried about growing Athenian power, sends support to Thebes, the most powerful city in Boeotia.
Athens finishes its Long Walls, which protect the link between Athens and the sea.
454 Pericles seizes the treasury of the Delian League and has it moved to Athens, ostensibly to protect it from the Persians.
451 A truce is negotiated between Athens and Sparta.
449 Some ancient authors give this date for the Peace of Callias, a treaty between Persia and Athens that is thought by some to have ended the Persian War completely after the Athenians manage to fend off the Persians from Cyprus. Its existence, however, is controversial.
The Second Sacred War begins as Sparta forces the Phocians to give the holy city of Delphi back to the Delphians. After the Spartans leave, the Athenians recapture Delphi and give it back to the Phocians.
447 Boeotia begins to revolt against Athenian rule; the Athenians are defeated at the Battle of Coronea, and abandon Boeotia, allowing Boeotia to secede from the Delian League. This Boeotian success will lead to revolts in Euboea and Megara. While the Athenians are attempting to deal with these revolts, the Spartans invade Attica.
445 The Thirty Years' Peace is established between Athens and Sparta. Athens gives up some of its conquests, and Megara is allowed to join the Lacedomonian League. Despite the name, the truce will only last thirteen years.
Peloponnesian War Timeline II (Archidamian War)