From 395 BC to 387 BC, the Corinthian War involved a handful of ancient Greek city-states, including the mighty Spartans and the popular Athenians. Overall, a group of four city-states decided to build a coalition (Thebes, Corinth, Athens, and Argos) so that they could defeat Sparta. With the initial backing of Persia, the city-states were confident in the war they raged. In this article, you will learn the reason why the Corinthian War broke out in the first place.
The Reason Behind the War
In the northwestern part of Greece, a local conflict broke out. Both Thebes and Sparta took the time to intervene, but in the end, hostility towards Sparta grew deeper. The city had been exerting their strength in parts of Asia Minor, in central and northern parts of Greece, as well as in the west. This expansion did not go over well with the other city-states.
Military forces concentrated in two regions during the Corinthian War. When on land, battles took place close to Corinth and Thebes. While at sea, the fighting continued in the Aegean. For Sparta, they enjoyed many early victories in major battles that took place on land. However, they were unable to truly take advantage of their gain and whatever progress they earned , was eventually squandered. The Spartans were not so lucky at sea. Early in the war, the Persians easily overcame the Spartans in decisive fashion. As a result, Sparta would later abandon any thoughts of becoming a factor in naval affairs.
When the weaknesses of Sparta’s naval fighting came to light, Athens would launch many attacks at sea during the later years of the war. Because of this effort, a handful of islands were recaptured that had once belonged to the original Athenian Empire during 5th century BC. When the success of Athens shined too brightly, the Persians took notice and started to support Sparta during the war. This move by the Persians would eventually force the allies to reach some sort of peaceful agreement.
In 387 BC, the Peace of Antalcidas (most often referred to as the King’s Peace) was signed. This marked the end of the war. In the treaty, Persia was given control of all Ionia. All other Greek cities would gain their independence. Sparta was given the role of being the ‘guardian of the peace.’ They were also given the power to enforce any clauses associated with the treaty.
To learn more about the earlier events associated with the Corinthian War, as well as information on some of the victors in battles that took place , check out the article titled ” The Corinthian War: The Early Years.”