|Battle of Aegospotami|
|Part of the Peloponnesian War|
A Greek trireme
|Commanders and leaders|
|170 ships||180 ships|
|Casualties and losses|
|Minimal|| 160 Ships,|
3,000 sailors executed
The Battle of Aegospotami ( // ee-gəs-POT-ə-my) was a naval confrontation that took place in 405 BC and was the last major battle of the Peloponnesian War. In the battle, a Spartan fleet under Lysander destroyed the Athenian navy. This effectively ended the war, since Athens could not import grain or communicate with its empire without control of the sea.
Aegospotami or Aegospotamos is the ancient Greek name for a small river issuing into the Hellespont, northeast of Sestos.
The Peloponnesian War was an ancient Greek war fought by the Delian League led by Athens against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first phase, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated invasions of Attica, while Athens took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Peloponnese and attempt to suppress signs of unrest in its empire. This period of the war was concluded in 421 BC, with the signing of the Peace of Nicias. That treaty, however, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Peloponnese. In 415 BC, Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Syracuse, Sicily; the attack failed disastrously, with the destruction of the entire force in 413 BC. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Decelean War, or the Ionian War. In this phase, Sparta, now receiving support from the Achaemenid Empire, supported rebellions in Athens's subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia, undermining Athens's empire, and, eventually, depriving the city of naval supremacy. The destruction of Athens's fleet in the Battle of Aegospotami effectively ended the war, and Athens surrendered in the following year. Corinth and Thebes demanded that Athens should be destroyed and all its citizens should be enslaved, but Sparta refused.
In 405 BC, following the severe Spartan defeat at the Battle of Arginusae, Lysander, the commander who had been responsible for the first Spartan naval successes, was reinstated in command.Since the Spartan constitution prohibited any commander from holding the office of navarch more than once, he was appointed as a vice-admiral instead, with the clear understanding that this was a mere legal fiction.
The naval Battle of Arginusae took place in 406 BC during the Peloponnesian War near the city of Canae in the Arginusae islands, east of the island of Lesbos. In the battle, an Athenian fleet commanded by eight strategoi defeated a Spartan fleet under Callicratidas. The battle was precipitated by a Spartan victory which led to the Athenian fleet under Conon being blockaded at Mytilene; to relieve Conon, the Athenians assembled a scratch force composed largely of newly constructed ships manned by inexperienced crews. This inexperienced fleet was thus tactically inferior to the Spartans, but its commanders were able to circumvent this problem by employing new and unorthodox tactics, which allowed the Athenians to secure a dramatic and unexpected victory. Slaves and metics who participated in the battle were granted Athenian citizenship.
Navarch is an Anglicisation of a Greek word meaning "leader of the ships", which in some states became the title of an office equivalent to that of a modern admiral.
One of Lysander's advantages as a commander was his close relationship with the Persian prince Cyrus. Using this connection, he quickly raised the money to begin rebuilding the Spartan fleet.When Cyrus was recalled to Susa by his father Darius, he gave Lysander the revenues from all of his cities of Asia Minor. With the resources of this entire wealthy Persian province at his disposal, Lysander was able to quickly reconstitute his fleet.
Cyrus the Younger, son of Darius II of Persia and Parysatis, was a Persian prince and general, Satrap of Lydia and Ionia from 408 to 401 BC. His birth date is unknown, but he died in 401 BC after a failed battle to oust his elder brother, Artaxerxes II, from the Persian throne.
Susa was an ancient city of the Proto-Elamite, Elamite, First Persian Empire, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires of Iran, and one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about 250 km (160 mi) east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers. The site now "consists of three gigantic mounds, occupying an area of about one square kilometer, known as the Apadana mound, the Acropolis mound, and the Ville Royale mound."
Darius II Ochus, also Darius II Nothus, was king of the Persian Empire from 423 BC to 404 or 405 BC.
He then set off on a series of campaigns throughout the Aegean.He seized several Athenian-held cities, and attacked numerous islands. He was unable to move north to the Hellespont, however, because of the threat from the Athenian fleet at Samos. To divert the Athenians, Lysander struck westward. Approaching quite near to Athens itself, he attacked Aegina and Salamis, and even landed in Attica. The Athenian fleet set out in pursuit, but Lysander sailed around them, reached the Hellespont, and established a base at Abydos. From there, he seized the strategically important town of Lampsacus. From here, the way was open to enter the Bosporus and close down the trade routes from which Athens received the majority of her grain. If the Athenians were to avoid starvation, Lysander had to be contained immediately.
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, 27 kilometres from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of the hero Aeacus, who was born on the island and became its king. During ancient times Aegina was a rival of Athens, the great sea power of the era.
Salamis, is the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, about 1 nautical mile (2 km) off-coast from Piraeus and about 16 kilometres west of central Athens. The chief city, Salamina, lies in the west-facing core of the crescent on Salamis Bay, which opens into the Saronic Gulf. On the Eastern side of the island is its main port, Paloukia, in size second in Greece only to Piraeus, the port of Athens.
Attica, or the Attic peninsula, is a historical region that encompasses the city of Athens, the capital of Greece. It is a peninsula projecting into the Aegean Sea, bordering on Boeotia to the north and Megaris to the west.
The Athenian fleet of 180 shipscaught up with Lysander shortly after he had taken Lampsacus, and established a base at Sestos. However, perhaps because of the need to keep a close watch on Lysander, they set up camp on a beach much nearer to Lampsacus. The location was less than ideal because of the lack of a harbor and the difficulty of supplying the fleet, but proximity seems to have been the primary concern in the minds of the Athenian generals. Every day, the fleet sailed out to Lampsacus in battle formation, and waited outside the harbor; when Lysander refused to emerge, they returned home.
Sestos was an ancient city in Thrace. It was located at the Thracian Chersonese peninsula on the European coast of the Hellespont, opposite the ancient city of Abydos, and near the town of Eceabat in Turkey.
At this time, the exiled Athenian leader Alcibiades was living in his ship's castle near the Athenian camp. Coming down to the beach where the ships were gathered, he made several suggestions to the generals. First, he proposed relocating the fleet to the more secure base at Sestos. Second, he claimed that several Thracian kings had offered to provide him with an army. If the generals would offer him a share of the command, he claimed, he would use this army to assist the Athenians. The generals, however, declined this offer and rejected his advice, and Alcibiades returned home.
Alcibiades, son of Cleinias, from the deme of Scambonidae, was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War. He played a major role in the second half of that conflict as a strategic advisor, military commander, and politician.
The forecastle is the upper deck of a sailing ship forward of the foremast, or the forward part of a ship with the sailors' living quarters. Related to the latter meaning is the phrase "before the mast" which denotes anything related to ordinary sailors, as opposed to a ship's officers.
Thrace is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria, northeastern Greece and the European part of Turkey.
Two accounts of the battle of Aegospotami exist. Diodorus Siculus relates that the Athenian general in command on the fifth day at Sestos, Philocles, sailed out with thirty ships, ordering the rest to follow him.Donald Kagan has argued that the Athenian strategy, if this account is accurate, must have been to draw the Peloponnesians into an attack on the small force so that the larger force following could surprise them. In the event, the small force was immediately defeated, and the remainder of the fleet was caught unprepared on the beach.
Xenophon, in contrast, relates that the entire Athenian fleet came out as usual on the day of the battle, and Lysander remained in the harbor. When the Athenians returned to their camp, the sailors scattered to forage for food; Lysander's fleet then sailed across from Abydos and captured most of the ships on the beach, with no sea fighting at all.
Whichever account of the battle itself is accurate, the result is clear. The Athenian fleet was obliterated; only nine ships escaped, led by the general Conon. Lysander captured nearly all of the remainder, along with some three or four thousand Athenian sailors. One of the escaped ships, the messenger ship Paralus, was dispatched to inform Athens of the disaster. The rest, with Conon, sought refuge with Evagoras, a friendly ruler in Cyprus.
Some historians, ancient and modern, suspect that the battle was lost as the result of treachery, perhaps on the part of Adeimantus, who was the only Athenian commander the Spartans captured at the battle who was not put to death, and perhaps with the treasonous connivance of the oligarchical faction at Athens, who may have wanted their city defeated in order to overthrow the democracy. But this all remains speculative.
Lysander and his victorious fleet sailed back to Lampsacus. Citing a previous Athenian atrocity when the captured sailors of two ships were thrown overboard,Lysander and his allies slaughtered Philocles and 3,000 Athenian prisoners, sparing other Greek captives. Lysander's fleet then began moving slowly towards Athens, capturing cities along the way. The Athenians, with no fleet, were powerless to oppose him. Only at Samos did Lysander meet resistance; the democratic government there, fiercely loyal to Athens, refused to give in, and Lysander left a besieging force behind him.
Xenophon reports that when the news of the defeat reached Athens,
...a sound of wailing ran from Piraeus through the long walls to the city, one man passing on the news to another; and during that night no one slept, all mourning, not for the lost alone, but far more for their own selves.
Fearing the retribution that the victorious Spartans might take on them, the Athenians resolved to hold out from the siege, but their cause was hopeless. Without a fleet to import grain from the Black Sea, and with the Spartan occupation of Deceleia cutting off land transportation, the Athenians were beginning to starve, and with people literally dying of hunger in the streets,the city surrendered in March 404 BC. The walls of the city were demolished, and a pro-Spartan oligarchic government was established (the so-called Thirty Tyrants' regime). The Spartan victory at Aegospotami marked the end of 27 years of war, placing Sparta in a position of complete dominance throughout the Greek world and establishing a political order that would last for more than thirty years.
The Spartans commemorated their victory with a dedication at Delphi of statues of the trierarchs who had fought in the battle. A verse inscription explained the circumstances:
Lysander (; died 395 BC, was a Spartan admiral who commanded the Spartan fleet in the Hellespont which defeated the Athenians at Aegospotami in 405 BC. The following year, he was able to force the Athenians to capitulate, bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end. He then played a key role in Sparta's domination of Greece for the next decade until his death at the Battle of Haliartus.
Thrasybulus was an Athenian general and democratic leader. In 411 BC, in the wake of an oligarchic coup at Athens, the pro-democracy sailors at Samos elected him as a general, making him a primary leader of the successful democratic resistance to that coup. As general, he was responsible for recalling the controversial nobleman Alcibiades from exile, and the two worked together extensively over the next several years. In 411 and 410, Thrasybulus commanded along with Alcibiades and others at several critical Athenian naval victories.
Conon was an Athenian general at the end of the Peloponnesian War, who led the Athenian naval forces when they were defeated by a Peloponnesian fleet in the crucial Battle of Aegospotami; later he contributed significantly to the restoration of Athens' political and military power.
Theramenes was an Athenian statesman, prominent in the final decade of the Peloponnesian War. He was particularly active during the two periods of oligarchic government at Athens, as well as in the trial of the generals who had commanded at Arginusae in 406 BC. A moderate oligarch, he often found himself caught between the democrats on the one hand and the extremist oligarchs on the other. Successful in replacing a narrow oligarchy with a broader one in 411 BC, he failed to achieve the same end in 404 BC, and was executed by the extremists whose policies he had opposed.
The naval Battle of Cyzicus took place in 410 BC during the Peloponnesian War. In the battle, an Athenian fleet commanded by Alcibiades, Thrasybulus, and Theramenes routed and completely destroyed a Spartan fleet commanded by Mindarus. The victory allowed Athens to recover control over a number of cities in the Hellespont over the next year. In the wake of their defeat, the Spartans made a peace offer, which the Athenians rejected.
Pausanias was the Agiad King of Sparta from 445 BC to 426 BC and then from 408 BC to 395 BC. He was the son of the Spartan Agiad king Pleistoanax.
The Battle of Notium in 406 BC, was a Spartan naval victory in the Peloponnesian War. Prior to the battle, the Athenian commander, Alcibiades, left his helmsman, Antiochus, in command of the Athenian fleet, which was blockading the Spartan fleet in Ephesus. In violation of his orders, Antiochus attempted to draw the Spartans into battle by tempting them with a small decoy force. His strategy backfired, and the Spartans under Lysander scored a small but symbolically significant victory over the Athenian fleet. This victory resulted in the downfall of Alcibiades, and established Lysander as a commander who could defeat the Athenians at sea.
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states, Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos, backed by the Achaemenid Empire. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which both Thebes and Sparta intervened. The deeper cause was hostility towards Sparta, provoked by that city's "expansionism in Asia Minor, central and northern Greece and even the west". The Corinthian War followed the Peloponnesian War, in which Sparta had achieved hegemony over Athens and its allies.
The Battle of Abydos was an Athenian naval victory in the Peloponnesian War. In the battle, the Spartan fleet under Mindarus attempted to rescue a small allied fleet that had been driven ashore at Dardanus, but was attacked by the Athenian fleet, under Thrasybulus. The fighting was evenly contested for a great length of time, but towards evening the arrival of Alcibiades with Athenian reinforcements tipped the balance in favor of the Athenians, and the Peloponnesians were forced to flee back to their base at Abydos, suffering heavy losses along the way.
The Battle of Mytilene was a battle fought in 406 BC between Athens and Sparta. The Spartans were victorious.
Thrasyllus was an Athenian strategos (general) and statesman who rose to prominence in the later years of the Peloponnesian War. First appearing in Athenian politics in 410 BC, in the wake of the Athenian coup of 411 BC, he played a role in organizing democratic resistance in an Athenian fleet at Samos. There, he was elected strategos by the sailors and soldiers of the fleet, and held the position until he was controversially executed several years later after the Battle of Arginusae.
Mindarus was a Spartan admiral who commanded the Peloponnesian fleet in 411 and 410 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. Successful in shifting the theatre of war into the Hellespont, he then experienced a string of defeats; in the third and final of these, he was killed and the entire Peloponnesian fleet was captured or destroyed.
The Second Athenian League was a maritime confederation of Aegean city-states from 378–355 BC and headed by Athens, primarily for self-defense against the growth of Sparta and secondly, the Persian Empire.
Eteonicus was a Spartan commander during the Peloponesian and Corinthian Wars. He participated in many key engagements, held important commands and is mentioned multiple times by Thucydides, Xenophon and Diodorus Siculus. His appearance in the record however, is mostly episodic with his roles not being particularly influential.
Hegesandridas or Agesandridas, son of a "Hegesander" or "Agesander", perhaps the same who is mentioned as a member of the last Spartan embassy sent to Athens before the Peloponnesian War, was himself a Spartan general in that war. In 411 BC he was placed in command of a fleet of 42 ships destined to further a revolt in Euboea. News of their being seen off Las of Laconia came to Athens at the time when the Four Hundred were building their fort of Eëtioneia on a promontory commanding Piraeus, and the coincidence was used by Theramenes in evidence of their treasonable intentions. Further intelligence that the same fleet had sailed over from Megara to Salamis coincided again with the riot in Piraeus, and was held to be certain proof of the allegation of Theramenes.
Thorax of Lacedaemonia is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus as acting under Spartan commander Callicratidas during his operations in Lesbos in 405 BC, and as having been commissioned by him, after the capture of Mithymna, to conduct the heavy-armed troops to Mytilene. In the following year we again find Thorax in command of the land-force which cooperated with the fleet under Lysander in the storming of Lampsacus; and he was left at Samos as harmost by Lysander, when the latter was on his way to Athens after the Battle of Aegospotami in 404 BC. According to Plutarch, when the satrap Pharnabazus sent to Sparta to complain of ravages committed in his territory by Lysander, the Lacedaemonian government put Thorax to death, as he was a friend and colleague of the accused admiral, and they had found money in his possession. The date and circumstances of this, however, are very doubtful.
The Theban–Spartan War of 378–362 BC was a series of military conflicts fought between Sparta and Thebes for hegemony over Greece.