The Peloponnesian War Resources and Strategies


The war of Sparta and its allies against Athens was a war of a land power against a sea power, of states lacking ready money against a state well supplied with ready money; and, since it was a war about the power of Athens, a war which Sparta needed to win, in order to break Athens’ power, whereas for Athens avoidance of defeat would count as victory The Spartan king Archidamus, warning the Spartans not to rush into war, says that the Spartans are inferior in ships, and still more inferior in money, which they neither possess publicly nor readily contribute individually (Thuc. I. 80. iii-iv). Similarly Pericles, in his first speech in Thucydides, says,’ The Peloponnesians are men who farm their own land, and do not have money either individually or publicly; next, they lack experience of lengthy and overseas wars. … Most importantly, they will be hindered by the lack of money’ (I. 141. iii, 142. i).

Athenian Resources

From his opening chapters (e.g. I. 2. ii, 7) Thucydides shows his awareness of the importance of financial strength, but he rarely gives details. A great exception is his summary of a speech of Pericles at the beginning of the war (II. 13: see box), saying that ‘their strength lay in the receipt of money from the allies, and most successes in war were won by judgment and a ready supply of money’ (§ii).

Pericles also advised them about their situation as he had done before, that they should prepare for the war and bring in their possessions from the fields, and not go out for battle but come into the city and guard that, and fit out the fleet, in which they were strong, and keep matters to do with the allies under control. He said that their strength lay in the receipt of money from the allies, and most successes in war were won by judgment and a ready supply of money.

He told them to be confident, because the city had an income of about 600 talents in tribute each year from the allies, apart from their other revenue, and they still at that time had on the acropolis 6,000 talents in coined silver (the maximum had been 300 talents short of 10,000, from which they had spent on the Propylaea of the acropolis and the other buildings and on Potidaea).

In addition there was uncoined gold and silver in private and public dedications, the sacred equipment they had for processions and contests, spoils from the Persians and other things of that kind, to a value of not less than 500 talents.

Beyond that, he added, there was no small sum of money from the other sanctuaries, which they could use; and if they were deprived of absolutely everything there was the gold cladding of the goddess herself: He revealed that the statue contained 40 talents ‘weight of refined gold, all of which could be removed. He said that they could use this for their salvation, but must replace no smaller quantity afterwards. (Thucydides, II. 13. ii-v)

In fact the tribute lists suggest that Athens was receiving about 400 talents a year in tribute, and perhaps Thucydides ‘600 talents, like his 460 talents at the League’s foundation (cf. p. 20), is derived from an optimistic assessment list; Xen. An. VII. i. 27 gives Athens’ total revenue as not less than 1,000 talents, which is credible. The 6,000 talents’ on the acropolis’ are probably (in view of what is said in §v) the money in the treasury of Athena; according to an alternative version of this text the Athenians had maintained about 6,000 talents and currently had 5,700. The money’ from the other sanctuaries’ probably includes the consolidated treasury of the Other Gods, established in 434/3 (cf. p. 90). The 40 talents of gold on Pheidias’ gold and ivory statue of Athena were equivalent to 560 talents of silver: they were not in fact used until 296/5 (FGrH 257a F 4. 1–16).

Athens seems never to have built up a surplus in the state treasury, but it had built up surpluses in the sacred treasuries, and was willing to use these to finance the war. The first of Callias ‘financial decrees, probably in 434/3, noted that 3,000 talents due to the treasury of Athena had been paid, and ordered the payment of sums due to the other gods (M&L 58 = IG i3 52 ~ Fornara 119, A. 2–13). We can only guess how the debts had arisen, but a possibility is that they were sums taken for the war against Samos in 440–439, which could be repaid once Samos paid its reparations (cf. p. 73). Another inscription (M&L 72 = IG i3 369, extracts Fornara 134; table of annual totals M&L p. 217) gives us a detailed record of sums taken as loans from the sacred treasuries in 426/5-423/2, with a summary for 433/2-427/6, a calculation of interest due and (with a minor error) the total sum due in summer 422 - slightly under 5,600 talents capital and c. 1,424 talents interest. We cannot deduct 5,600 from 6,000 and conclude that Athens had only 400 talents left: some of the money was taken before the time of Pericles’ speech; his 6,000 talents is probably the figure for the treasury of Athena only; and the treasuries are likely to have had some income during these years, which may have exceeded their other expenses. A special reserve of 1,000 talents was set aside in 431 and was not used until 412 (Thuc. II. 24. i,VIII. 15. i). What is certain is that at the beginning of the war there were very large loans - c. 1,145 talents in 432/1, c. 1,370 in 431/0, c. 1,300 in 430/29 - but c.600 talents in 429/8 and never more than 262 talents after that: Athens had much less money left in 428 than in 431, but not much less in 422 than in 428. Despite the confidence displayed inThucydides’ reports of Pericles’ pronouncements, in the early years of the war the Athenians took money from the reserves at a rate which would soon have led to bankruptcy, but about 429/8 (perhaps not coincidentally, Pericles died in autumn 429: Thuc. II. 65. ii) there was a change in policy.

Large and expensive naval expeditions were sent out in the first two years of the war, but not after that (though a campaign in Sicily, which had to be funded throughout the year, was begun in 427 and reinforced in 425). More money was obtained from the Delian League. Thucydides mentions ‘fund-raising ships’ in 430/29, 428/7 and 425/4 (II. 69. i, III. 129, IV. 50. i) - perhaps referring to special levies or else to pressure on nominal members who did not pay regularly. Assessments of tribute were normally made every four years, in the years of the Great Panathenaea. If the orthodox arrangement of fragmentary tribute lists from the early years of the war is right, there was no major change in the first war-time assessment in 430, but there was an additional assessment, with significant increases, in 428. Then, certainly, in 426 there was no assessment but a decree of Cleonymus tried to improve the collection of tribute by having individual citizens of allied states made eklogeis, ‘collectors’, with personal responsibility for their state’s tribute (M&L 68 = IG i3 68 ~ Fornara 133); and in 425 a decree ofThudippus ordered another assessment (IG i3 71; decree and extracts from list M&L 69 ~ Fornara 136). It explicitly stated that the tribute had become too little, and that no state’s assessment was to be reduced unless it could demonstrate inability to pay; the list of assessments appended to the decree has a total almost certainly to be restored as somewhat over 1,460 talents. The list is optimistic, including states which are unlikely to have paid (e.g. Melos: cf. p. 138); but if the Athenians managed to collect 1,200 talents, that will have been three times the pre-war level. The decree orders [a return to] assessments in Panathenaic years, and the assessment of 422 probably made little change. Cleinias’ decree for the collection of tribute (M&L 46 = IG i3 34 ~ Fornara 98) is probably to be dated after the assessment decree of 425. The Athenians themselves also had to pay more towards the war: Thuc. III. 19. i reports that in 428/7 they’ paid for the first time an eisphora (property tax) of 200 talents’;eisphora was already a possibility in 434/3 (M&L 58 = IG i3 52 ~ Fornara 119, B. 15–17), and it is possible but not certain that what happened first in 428/7 was that it was used to raise so large a sum.

The sums taken from the sacred treasuries were regarded as loans, and interest was calculated on them - at a rate equivalent to 6 per cent p.a. to 426 but 1.2 per cent afterwards (cf. the War Loan stocks issued by the British government in 1914–17, originally at rates rising from 4 per cent to 5.3 per cent but reduced to 3.5 per cent in 1932): in summer 422 the total of capital and interest due was c. 7,024 talents. The orator Andocides claimed in 392/1 (III. Peace 8–9) that after the Peace of Nicias, in 421, the Athenians deposited 7,000 talents on the acropolis (which may reflect a decision, perhaps partly rather than fully carried out, to repay the whole outstanding debt), and received tribute of 1,200 talents a year (which may reflect assessment rather than payment). Certainly reduced activity after summer 422 will have allowed a substantial recovery, though we happen to have records of small loans from 418/7 onwards (M&L 77 = IG i3 370, part Fornara 144).

The ambitious Sicilian expedition of 415 (the original force will have cost at least 150 talents per month, throughout the year) was undertaken in the false expectation that Egesta would pay the whole cost (Thuc. VI. 6. ii-iii): in fact Egesta provided only 60 talents in advance and 30 when the Athenians arrived (8. i, 46. i), but the Athenians persisted with the campaign and sent substantial reinforcements later; it is possible that a fragmentary inscription refers to the setting aside of 3,000 talents for Sicily in 416/5 (M&L 78 =IG i3 93 ~ Fornara 146, frs. d + g). Ironically, the sales of properly confiscated from those convicted in connection with the religious scandals of 415 (cf. pp. 165–7) will have made a significant contribution to Athens ‘funds. But the money was spent in vain, and when the campaign ended in disaster in 413 the Athenians did not have left sufficient ships or skilled men for them or money to pay for fighting (Thuc. VIII. 1. ii). Thucydides writes of their being in financial difficulties earlier in 413, when they had sent reinforcements to Sicily and the Spartans had built a fort at Decelea, thus preventing the Athenians from using their land and their silver mines: at that point they replaced the Delian League’s tribute with a 5 per cent harbour tax, which they expected to yield more (VII. 28. iv-29. i).

Despite their failure in Sicily the Athenians resolved to keep going but to try to economise (Thuc. VIII. 1. ii-iii); however, in 412 they had to use the 1,000 talents set aside at the beginning of the war (15. i). Sparta obtained Persian support, and for a surprisingly long time the Athenians hoped that that could be redirected to them; one of the reasons for the establishment of an oligarchic regime in 411 was that an oligarchy would not have to pay civilian stipends and so would be cheaper. We hear of fund-raising expeditions in 411/0 (Xen. Hell. I. i. 8). Probably the harbour tax was abandoned and the tribute resumed (the assessment IG i3 100 is perhaps to be dated 410; cf. Xen. Hell. I. iii. 9), but from 410 a 10 per cent tax was levied at the Bosporus (Xen. Hell. I. i. 22). In 410 an attempt was made to repay debts to the sacred treasuries (IG i3 99); but later inscriptions show the treasuries providing money out of income, presumably because they had no capital left (e.g. M&L 84 = IG i3 375 ~ Fornara 154, 3). Reorganisations were attempted, with the Athenian state treasury and the Delian League‘s treasury merged in or before 411 (cf. Ath. Pol. 30. ii) and the treasuries of Athena and the Other Gods combined in 406. Although Pheidias’ statue of Athena survived, some gold statuettes were melted down for coinage, and token, silver-plated bronze coins were issued (Ar. Ran. 718–26 with schol. 720 = Fornara 164. B, gold, 407/6; 725, bronze, 406/5). After the battle of Aegospotami in 405 Athens could not afford to build yet more ships to replace those lost then, and so the war came to an end.

Peloponnesian Resources

In the fifth century Athens was not merely the most prosperous Greek city but one whose prosperity took a form which made it exceptionally well supplied with ready money. Sparta was at the other extreme, with citizens who lived off the land which was farmed for them by their helots, and who made contributions in kind to the messes at which they ate; but most of Sparta’s allies were agricultural communities (cf. Pericles in Thuc. I. 141. iii, and notice III. 5). Corinth is likely to have been the strongest Peloponnesian state financially, and it claimed to be able and willing to contribute (I. 121. v), but there is no sign that it did so on a large scale. Of the great panhellenic sanctuaries, Olympia was controlled by Elis, a member of the Peloponnesian League, and Delphi expressed its support for the Peloponnesians (I. 118. iii): the Corinthians suggested that money could be borrowed from these (I. 121. iii, cf. Pericles in I. 143. i), but again there is no reason to think that this happened on a large scale. Most of the western Greeks were of Peloponnesian origin, and Sparta hoped for help from them (II. 7. ii), but they sent none until 412 and little then.

Almost our only other evidence is an inscription (IG v. i 1 = M&L 67 ~ Fornara 132; augmented by an additional fragment, SEG xxxix 370), which records a modest number of modest contributions ‘to the Spartans for the war’ (the total is equivalent to a little over 13 Athenian talents). Some believe the contributions to be spread over the 420’s-410’s (in which case it is striking that Ephesus, in Asia Minor, and the island of Melos are among the contributors); others date it c.411 (in which case the Melians must be exiles who escaped before Athens’ destruction of their city in 416/5, and the Chian exiles will be those of Diod. Sic. XIII. 65. iii-iv).

From the beginning of the war Sparta tried to obtain help from Persia, whose wealth was by Greek standards unlimited; and so too did Athens, which had less need for Persian money itself but needed to prevent Sparta from obtaining it (cf. Thuc. II. 7. i). By 413 Athens ‘financial superiority had been thrown away in Sicily, and from 412 Sparta did obtain help from Persia (and the Athenians’ hopes were never fulfilled). This enabled Sparta at last to confront Athens effectively at sea, and to persist until Athens was exhausted.

Athenian Forces and Strategy

Thuc. II. 9 lists the allies of each side at the beginning of the war. Athens had the Delian League (including all the Aegean islands except Thera, which was paying tribute by 429, and Melos), and Corcyra and other allies in northwestern Greece; Sparta had the Peloponnesian League (all the Peloponnese except most of Achaea, which had joined by 429, and Argos), much of central Greece and some places in the north-west.

For human as for financial resources we have details on the Athenian side but not on the Peloponnesian. The Periclean speech of 431 summarised by Thucydides lists (II. 13. vi-viii) a field army of 13,000 hoplites (probably those aged 20–39), and, for garrison duties, 16,000 reserves (perhaps 10,000 ‘oldest and youngest’ Athenians, aged 18–19 and 40–59, and 6,000 metics), 1,000 cavalry and 200 mounted archers (cf. Ar. Eq. 225), 1,600 archers, and 300 seaworthy triremes (which would require 60,000 crew members, an unknown proportion of whom would be mercenaries from outside Athens, mostly from the Delian League). Thucydides claims that at the beginning of the war the Athenians set aside not only 1,000 talents but also their hundred best triremes (II. 24. ii). That would have been foolish and is hard to believe; but perhaps there was a decision at the beginning of the war not to send out all the ships simultaneously but to keep at least a hundred in the docks (as far as we know, more than two hundred were not in use at once until 413). In the League, Chios and the cities of Lesbos still had navies, and contributed fifty ships in 430 (II. 56. ii), while Corcyra contributed fifty ships in 431 (II. 25. i); allied soldiers were used on a number of occasions, but not frequently or on a large scale. It is usually assumed that the Athenians had about a 3:1 superiority in ships, and far greater skill in the use of them, but a 1:3 inferiority in hoplites, and Sparta’s hoplites were the best in fifth-century Greece (cf. pp. 135–6).

Hoplite fighting was done by the comfortably off, who could afford the equipment: except in Sparta most hoplites were farmers, who would not be eager to fight at times when their farms needed attention. At the beginning of the war not much importance was attached to soldiers other than hoplites; but fighting on rough terrain demonstrated the advantages of light infantry (NB the defeat of Demosthenes in Aetolia in 426:Thuc. III. 97–8), and there were in fact only two major hoplite battles in Greece during the war, in both of which the Athenians were defeated: at Delium in 424/3 and at Mantinea in 418 (cf. pp. 116, 135–6). Siege warfare was still rudimentary, though we are now at the beginning of a century of development: at Plataea the latest in machinery was used by both attackers and defenders, but it was the blockade which finally led to the city’s surrender (II. 75–8, III. 52. i-iii).

The Spartans began the war in the traditional way, invading Attica in the spring, destroying the crops, and hoping that the Athenians would come out of the city to fight and be beaten. Remarkably, Pericles ‘response was not to go out and fight a hoplite battle (though he did use cavalry to harass the invaders: e.g. Thuc. II. 22. ii). The long walls, built in the 450’s-440’s (cf. pp. 48, 70), made a single fortified area of Athens and Piraeus, and Pericles proposed that the Athenians should abandon the countryside, migrate inside the fortifications and rely on their control of the sea to import what they needed; they should keep control of the empire, but not try to expand it or run unnecessary risks (I. 143. ii—144. i, II. 13. ii, 65. vii). Animals were boarded out on Euboea and other islands (II. 14. i). The city whose power had been built up by the navy would continue to rely on its navy.

That, presented with approval by Thucydides, was a strategy for avoiding defeat, not for gaining victory (though for Athens avoidance of defeat would amount to victory: cf. p. 96). Pericles in his first speech adds that Athens can do more harm to the Peloponnesians than they can do to Athens (see box).

If they come against our land with foot-soldiers, we shall sail against theirs; and the devastation of part of the Peloponnese will not be on the same level as [but more serious than] that of the whole of Attica, for they will not be able to acquire other land instead without fighting for it, but we have plenty of land in the islands and on the mainland, for control of the sea is a great thing. (Thucydides, I. 143. iv-v)

In the first two years of the war (but not afterwards) the Athenians did send large and expensive expeditions against the Peloponnese (cf. pp. 113–14), but they seem to have achieved little, and Thucydides ‘narration of them is very disjointed and unemphatic. As we have seen, Athens began the war spending money at a rate which it could not afford to continue. The naval strategy and Thucydides’ presentation of it is therefore problematic; and various explanations have been attempted. Plutarch writes of relieving the overcrowding inside Athens (Per. 34. v-35. i), and there is probably something in that. My own suggestion is that Thucydides’ emphasis on the strategy of avoiding defeat and the possibility of a long war (NB I. 141. iii and Archidamus in I. 81. vi) reflects Pericles’ public pronouncements; but privately Pericles hoped that, if Athens demonstrated that it was invulnerable to the Peloponnesians’ attacks and capable of striking back, they would within a few years realise that in challenging Athens’ power they had taken on an impossible task, and admit defeat - and Pericles was wrong.

The biannual attacks on Megara which began in autumn 431 (Thuc. II. 31) were the culmination of the dispute that had begun some years earlier (cf. pp. 91–2). Athens ‘hoplites were not a match for the combined armies of the Peloponnesians, but they could face that of a single city (and withdraw if the other Peloponnesians combined to oppose them); and they would have won a major strategic advantage if they had gained control of the Megarid. There might have been hopes that the naval expedition of 430 would entice Argos out of its neutrality, but Thucydides does not say so (II. 56 - but Ar. Eq. 465–9 suggests that Cleon was involved in an approach to Argos later); Prasiae in the Peloponnese was captured in 430 but not retained; and Argos remained neutral until 420.

Thucydides reports discontent with Pericles ‘defensive strategy in 431, and Plutarch suggests that Cleon was one of the discontented (Thuc. II. 21. ii—22. i, Plut. Per. 33. iv-viii). After Pericles’ death, more adventurous strategies were attempted. From the beginning of the war Athens took some interest in northwestern Greece, an area containing several Corinthian colonies, and so an outpost of Peloponnesian power, but accessible by sea. Demosthenes campaigned unsuccessfully in Aetolia in 426 (Boeotia, mentioned III. 95. i, may have been a long-term but was probably not an immediate objective: cf. p. 110); and successfully, with the collaboration of Cleon, at Pylos in 425, which gave Athens a stronghold in Sparta’s territory (cf. pp. 110–11) and (which could not have been predicted) Spartan hostages whom Athens used to prevent further invasions of Attica. There was an expedition to Sicily begun in 427, in which ambitious hopes were invested eventually if not from the beginning, but which had to be abandoned in 424 when the Sicilian Greeks reached an agreement; Nicias captured Cythera in 424; there was an unsuccessful attack on Boeotia in 424/3, with which Demosthenes was once more involved.

Sparta‘s weak point was its large subject population of helots and perioikoi, whose loyally could not be taken for granted. After Athensv capture of Pylos and Cythera, Sparta was greatly afraid that Athens would use these to destabilise the whole of Laconia and Messenia (cf. Thuc. rV. 41. iii, 55, V. 14. iii, 23. iii); but that did not happen on a serious scale, and Thucydides does not make it clear whether this was because the Athenians did not try hard enough to exploit their advantage or because they tried but were unsuccessful.

Although Pericles was right to warn against taking unnecessary risks and trying to enlarge the empire - and Athens’ Sicilian hopes were certainly misguided - a long war which ended only with Sparta’s failing to defeat Athens would not in fact be satisfactory, as the Peace of Nicias in 421 was to show. Despite Thucydides’ lack of sympathy, avenues which offered the chance of positive success without excessive risks for Athens were worth exploring.

Peloponnesian Forces and Strategy

The army which invaded Attica in 431 was a two-thirds levy (Thuc. II. 10. ii); Plutarch gives a figure of 60,000 (Per. 33. v, An Seni 784 E), but most scholars have thought about 30,000 more likely. At first only allies north of the Isthmus could provide cavalry (Thuc. II. 9. iii); Sparta created a force of 400 cavalry in 424 (Thuc. rV. 55. ii; cf. 44. i for Corinth’s lack of cavalry). In 433 Corinth and its allies mustered 150 ships, but the largest Peloponnesian fleet between 431 and 412–411 numbered 100 (I. 46. i, contr. II. 66. i).

To break the power of Athens, the Peloponnesians needed a positive victory. They had no short-term prospect of matching the Athenians at sea (but at first did not realise how far they fell short in skill as well as in numbers: Thuc. II. 85. ii), and could not expect to capture Athens and Piraeus by force. They began the war by invading Attica, to damage the crops and provoke the Athenians to come out and fight (II. 11. vi-viii): most Greeks thought the Athenians would not hold out for long (e.g. IV. 85. ii, V. 14. iii), and indeed in 430 (when a plague added to their troubles: cf. pp. 118–19) they did try to come to terms. But invasions of Attica had to be abandoned when Athens threatened to kill the prisoners taken at Pylos in 425, and many Spartans after that were willing to abandon the war and make peace with Athens.

In 429 naval battles in the Gulf of Corinth ended disastrously, and a plan to attack the Piraeus in the following winter was aborted. But, according to Thucydides, the Corinthians in 432 pointed out that there were other possibilities: to detach Athens ‘allies and take away its revenues, andepiteichismos, to establish a fort from which Attica could be continually attacked (I. 122. i: cf. Athens’ occupation of Pylos and Cythera, pp. 110–11, 115). Epiteichismos required a situation in which a comparatively small force could hold a strong point after a large force had set it up; and the Peloponnesians achieved that only with their occupation of Decelea in 413, when a large proportion of Athens’ manpower had been sent to Sicily.

Some Peloponnesians did try to seize opportunities to detach allies from Athens. Mytilene appealed for Peloponnesian support when it revolted against Athens in 428, Sparta‘s appeal for an additional invasion of Attica came at a time which was too inconvenient for its allies, and the force which was sent to Mytilene was singularly ineffective. Corinth sent back to Corcyra upper-class prisoners captured in 433, to stir up an anti-Athenian movement, but the resulting conflict led to the victory of the pro-Athenian democrats in an exhausted Corcyra. If north-western Greece was the outpost of Peloponnesian power which the Athenians could reach by sea, the Thracian coast was the part of the Athenian empire which the Peloponnesians could reach by land: the Spartans accepted an opportunity to found a colony at Heraclea, near Thermopylae and the route to the north, in 426, and from 424 until his death in 422 Brasidas with a small force was active in winning cities in the Thracian region for Sparta, though the reality turned out to be less generous to the cities than Brasidas’ promises. While Demosthenes was the most adventurous Athenian strategically, Brasidas was the most adventurous Spartan: in the earlier years of the war he was associated with the criticism of the Peloponnesian naval squadron in 429 after its first defeat in the Corinthian Gulf, and with the plan to attack the Piraeus; and he was sent as an adviser to Alcidas in the west after his inept attempt to support Mytilene (NBThuc. III. 79. iii).

Sparta did not control the Peloponnese as Athens controlled the Delian League: at the end of the 420‘s there was fighting among the Arcadians (Thuc. TV. 134, cf. V. 29. i, 33. i); Lepreum (close to Messenia), which before the war had come to an arrangement with Elis which involved its paying 1 talent a year to Olympian Zeus, stopped paying by 421 and turned to Sparta for support (V. 31. i-v). Argos, always unfriendly to Sparta, kept to the thirty-year peace treaty of 451 (cf. p. 50) until it expired in 421, but Sparta must have been afraid that it would not. In 421 Sparta was not able to persuade all its allies to agree to the Peace of Nicias.

As we noticed above, it was Persian support which from 412 onwards enabled the Spartans to confront the Athenians at sea, and to persist (and grow in experience) until the Athenians were exhausted. To gain that support Sparta had (at least in the short term: cf. pp. 152, 156) to be willing to pay Persia’s price, the return to Persia of the Greeks of mainland Asia Minor: that was difficult for a state which claimed that it was fighting to liberate the Greeks; and this, in addition to the fact that the defeat of the Athenians became easier to believe in after their failure in Sicily in 415–413, helps to explain why Sparta did not succeed in gaining that support earlier.


On the Peloponnesian War in general see Cawkwell, Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War, Kagan‘s three volumes The Archidamian War, The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition, The Fall of the Athenian Empire; Lazenby, The Peloponnesian War.

On Athenian finance there is a thorough study in Samons, Empire of the Owl; Kallet-Marx, Money, Expense and Naval Power in Thucydides’ History, and Kallet, Money and the Corrosion of Power in Thucydides, show that, although he does not often supply the kind of information we should like, Thucydides was by no means as neglectful of financial considerations as has sometimes been alleged.

For the Spartan inscription IG v. i 1 = M&L 67 ~ Fornara 132, since the publication of the new fragment dates before the Athenian capture of Melos have been championed by A. P. Matthaiou and G. A. Pikoulas, images, imagesvii 1989, 77–124, Loomis,The Spartan War Fund (who includes an English translation of the revised text); a later date (involving the supposition that the Melian contributors are men who escaped from the island before it was captured) has been preferred by B. Bleckmann,’ Sparta und seine Freunde im Dekeleischen Krieg: zu Datierung von IG v. i 1’, ZPE xcvi 1993, 297–308, M. Pierart,’ Chios entre Athenes et Sparte’, BCHcxix 1995, 252–82.

The need of triremes for a friendly coast was stressed by A. W. Gomme, ‘A Forgotten Factor in Greek Naval Strategy’, JHS liii 1933, 16–24, revised in his Essays in Greek History and Literature, ch. 10.

On Athenian strategy in general see A. J. Holladay, ‘Athenian Strategy in the Archidamian War’, Hist, xxvii 1978, 399–427 = his Athens in the Fifth Century, ch. 6. The problem of Pericles’ strategy andThucydides’ downplaying of the naval campaigns of 431–430 has been discussed by G. Cawkwell,’ Thucydides’ Judgment of Periclean Strategy’, YCS xxiv 1975, 53–70; H. T Wade-Gery, in the article’ Thucydides’ in the OCD (in the 3rd ed., p. 1519); H. D. Westlake,’ Seaborne Raids in Periclean Strategy’, CQ xxxix 1945, 75–84 = his Essays on the Greek Historians and Greek History, ch. 5. In Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War, ch. 3, Cawkwell argues that Thucydides was lacking in strategic understanding.

On Spartan strategy see P. A. Brunt, ‘Spartan Policy and Strategy in the Archidamian War’, Phoen. xix 1965, 255–80 = his Studies in Greek History and Thought, ch. 4; T Kelly,’ Peloponnesian Naval Strength and Sparta’s Plans for Waging War Against Athens’, inStudies in Honor ofT B. Jones, 245–55,’ Thucydides and Spartan Strategy in the Archidamian War’, AHR lxxxvii 1982, 25–54.

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!