70: War is in the Air

Casting Through Ancient Greece


Athens support of Corcyra had seen hostilities once again develop with Corinth who had been engaged in a dispute with the island polis. Athens would send ships to support Corcyra, as the Corinthian set sail to impose their will. Out of this affair would see the battle of Sybota take place and with it the first engagement seeing Athenian and Corinthian ships openly fight one another. This would see tension raised further and questions around the official statue between the two.

Once the Athenians had learnt of what had taken place around Corcyra, they saw that war with Corinth was likely. They would now take measures to prepare for this coming conflict, though they would also attempt to not take any action that would breach the 30 years’ peace. Early measures included preparing financially with decrees made on how funds were to be spent, this seeing Athens scale back its building projects for the time being. However other measures would be taken that targeted other regions.

One would be known as the Potidaean affair, where Athens looked to secure their influence over the port city of Potidaea on the Chalcidice in Thrace. Potidaea was originally a Corinthian colony and still had ties to their mother city, Athens seeing Potidaea at risk of going into revolt due to Corinthian incitement. Athens would make demands on the city to take down its walls and expel any Corinthians within. However, Potidaea would resist and obtain Corinthian support along with other allies. This would see Athens having to commit to an ever-growing situation developing around Potidaea where they would end up being forced into laying siege to the city.

The second measure taken by Athens during this period that would also be seen to have a major impact on a future war with Sparta developing, would be that of the Megarian Decree. This would see Athens impose economic sanctions on the polis that sat at the exit of the Corinthian isthmus, leading into Attica. Megara was a member of the Peloponnesian league, with this economic strangle hold having flow on effects to their other trading partners within the league. These actions by Athens plus other would see Corinth put forward a case to Sparta and the other Peloponnesian that action was needed against Athens, less they sit by and watch Athens dominate all of Greece.

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