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Encyclopedia > Battle of Sphacteria
Battle of Sphacteria
Part of the Peloponnesian War
Date: 425 BC
Location: Sphacteria
Result: Athenian victory
Combatants
Athens Sparta
Commanders
Demosthenes
Cleon
Epitadas†
Styphon
Strength
About 3000 440
Casualties
Very few (about 230) 148
Peloponnesian War
SybotaPotidaeaChalcisNaupactusTanagraOlpaePylosSphacteriaDeliumAmphipolisMantineaSicilian ExpeditionSymeCynossemaCyzicusNotiumArginusaeAegospotami

The Battle of Sphacteria was a battle of the Peloponnesian War in 425 BC, between Athens and Sparta. It was an important part of the longer Battle of Pylos. Map of the Greek world at the start of the Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War began in 431 BC between the Athenian Empire (or The Delian League) and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC - 420s BC - 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC Years: 430 BC 429 BC 428 BC 427 BC 426 BC - 425 BC - 424 BC 423 BC... Sphacteria is a small island at the entrance to the bay of Pylos in the Peloponnese, Greece. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα Athína IPA ) is the capital of Greece and one of the most famous cities in the world, named after goddess Athena. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα Athína IPA ) is the capital of Greece and one of the most famous cities in the world, named after goddess Athena. ... Sparta (Σπάρτη) was a city in ancient Greece, whose territory included, in Classical times, all Laconia and Messenia, and which was the most powerful state of the Peloponnesus. ... For the Athenian orator, see Demosthenes. ... Cleon (d. ... Map of the Greek world at the start of the Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War began in 431 BC between the Athenian Empire (or The Delian League) and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. ... Battle of Sybota Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 433 BC Place Off Corcyra Result Indecisive The Battle of Sybota took place in 433 BC between Corcyra and Corinth. ... Battle of Potidaea Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 432 BC Place Potidaea Result Athenian victory The Battle of Potidaea was, with the Battle of Sybota, one of the catalysts for the Peloponnesian War. ... Battle of Chalcis Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 429 BC Place Chalcis Result Athenian defeat The Battle of Chalcis took place in 429 BC between Athens and the Chalcidians and their allies, in the early part of the Peloponnesian War. ... The naval Battle of Naupactus took place over the course of a week in 429 BC, in the early part of the Peloponnesian War, between the Athenian fleet under Phormio and a combined Spartan and Corinthian fleet. ... Battle of Tanagra Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 426 BC Place Tanagra Result Athenian victory The Battle of Tanagra was a battle in the Peloponnesian War in 426 BC between Athens and Tanagra. ... Battle of Olpae Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 426 BC Place Olpae Result Athenian victory The Battle of Olpae was a battle of the Peloponnesian War in 426 BC, between armies led by Athens and Sparta. ... Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Demosthenes Thrasymelidas Brasidas Strength 50 ships Hundreds of troops 60 ships Unknown troops Casualties Unknown Unknown The Battle of Pylos took place in 425 BC during the Peloponnesian War, between Athens and Sparta. ... The Battle of Delium took place in 424 BC between the Athenians and the Boeotians, and ended with the siege of Delium in the following weeks. ... Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Cleon† Nicias Thucydides Brasidas† Clearidas Strength About 2000 About 2500 Casualties About 600 8 {{{notes}}} The Battle of Amphipolis was fought in 422 BC during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. ... The Battle of Mantinea took place in 418 BC between Sparta and its allies, and an army led by Argos and Athens. ... The Sicilian Expedition was an Athenian expedition to Sicily from 415 BC to 413 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. ... Battle of Syme Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 411 BC Place Off Syme Result Indecisive The Battle of Syme was a naval battle in 411 BC between Sparta and Athens, during the Peloponnesian War. ... Battle of Cynossema Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 411 BC Place Off Cynossema Result Athenian victory The Battle of Cynossema was a naval battle in the Hellespont in 411 BC between Athens and Sparta, around the same time the Athenian democracy was overthrown in favour of a short_lived oligarchy. ... The Battle of Cyzicus in 410 BC was a small-scale naval battle during the Peloponnesian War between an Athenian fleet led by Alcibiades and a Peloponnesian fleet led by Sparta. ... At the Battle of Notium (or Ephesus) in 406 BC, the Spartan fleet of Lysander defeated a part of the Athenian fleet, resulting in the recall of Alcibiades, the Athenian admiral. ... The naval Battle of Arginusae took place in 406 BCE during the Peloponnesian War. ... Battle of Aegospotami Conflict Peloponnesian War Date 405 BC Place Aegospotami Result Spartan victory The battle of Aegospotami in 405 BC was the destruction of the Athenian navy in the Peloponnesian War, and led directly to Athens final defeat by Sparta in the following year. ... Map of the Greek world at the start of the Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War began in 431 BC between the Athenian Empire (or The Delian League) and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC - 420s BC - 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC Years: 430 BC 429 BC 428 BC 427 BC 426 BC - 425 BC - 424 BC 423 BC... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα Athína IPA ) is the capital of Greece and one of the most famous cities in the world, named after goddess Athena. ... Sparta (Σπάρτη) was a city in ancient Greece, whose territory included, in Classical times, all Laconia and Messenia, and which was the most powerful state of the Peloponnesus. ... Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Demosthenes Thrasymelidas Brasidas Strength 50 ships Hundreds of troops 60 ships Unknown troops Casualties Unknown Unknown The Battle of Pylos took place in 425 BC during the Peloponnesian War, between Athens and Sparta. ...


The Athenian land forces in Pylos had successfully driven back the Spartan attempts to land from the sea, and the fifty Athenian ships were able to drive the sixty Spartan ships out of the harbour at Pylos (see Battle of Pylos). This meant that the island of Sphacteria, where Epitadas had landed with 440 hoplites, was completely blockaded by the Athenian fleet. This was such a shock to the Spartans that representatives from Sparta itself came to negotiate an armistice at Pylos, with a view to safeguarding the troops on Sphacteria until an end to the war with Athens could be arranged. An armistice was agreed upon between the combatatants at Pylos, the terms of which were as follows: There are also Pylos in Ilia including Pylos Ilias and Pyrgos Trifylias which are both archaeological sites Pylos (Greek Πύλος Formerly Navarino) is the name of a bay and a town on the west coast of the Peloponnese, in the district of Messenia in southern Greece. ... Combatants Athens Sparta Commanders Demosthenes Thrasymelidas Brasidas Strength 50 ships Hundreds of troops 60 ships Unknown troops Casualties Unknown Unknown The Battle of Pylos took place in 425 BC during the Peloponnesian War, between Athens and Sparta. ... Sphacteria is a small island at the entrance to the bay of Pylos in the Peloponnese, Greece. ... A hoplite armed with a spear. ...

  1. All Spartan ships would be handed over to the Athenians for the duration of the armistice
  2. The Athenians would allow the Spartans on shore to send rations, under close supervision, to the troops on Sphacteria; the Spartans would make no unauthorized visits to the island
  3. Neither side would atack the other; the Spartans on shore would desist form their attempts to capture the fortifications, while the Athenians would not attempt to capture the island garrison
  4. The Athenians would transport Spartan ambassadors to Athens to allow them to attempt to negotiate a truce. When their work was concluded, they would be returned to Pylos. The armistice would be ended upon their return, and the Spartan navy would be restored to them.

Both sides agreed that any infringement of the terms of the armistice would result in its immediate cancellation. The ships were handed over, and a ship was dispatched to carry the ambassadors to Athens.


In Athens the ambassadors made an uncharacteristically lengthy speech calling for a truce:

"Sparta calls upon you to make a treaty and to end the war. She offers you peace, alliance, friendly and neighbourly relations. In return she asks for the men on the island, thinking it better for both sides that the affair should not proceed to the bitter end...Now is the time for us to be reconciled, while the final issue is still undecided, while you have won glory and can have our friendship as well, and we, before any shameful thing has taken place, can, in our present distress, accept a reasonable settlement." (Thucydides 4.18-20)

The Spartans were operating on the assumption that the Athenians had wanted to make peace earlier, but had been prevented from doing so by Spartan opostion to the idea. Bust of Thucydides Thucydides (between 460 and 455 BC–circa 400 BC, Greek Θουκυδίδης, Thoukudídês) was an ancient Greek historian, and the author of the History of the Peloponnesian War, which recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens. ...


However, the Athenians, led by Cleon, were opposed to peace now that they had the upper hand. Cleon proposed that the Spartans on Spahcteria surrender their arms and be brought to Athens. If this were done, and the Spartans agreed to return the lands that Athens had forfeited by the terms of the previous peace treaty, then an end to the war could be negotiated. The Spartans replied that they wished to appoint an arbitration committee, so that they could discuss the proposed terms in a calm atmosphere; Cleon refused, and prevented them from achieving their goals by inflaming the assembly against them. Seeing that they would not accomplish their goals, the ambassadors left, returning to Pylos. When they arrived, the Athenians claimed the armistice had been broken due to a Spartan attack on the fortification, along with other very minor infractions, and that they therefore did not have to return the Spartan ships. After formally protesting this, the Spartans prepared to renew the attack; by this point there were now seventy Athenian ships blockading Sphacteria, and the Spartans had been joined by their Peloponnesian allies, who had set up camp outside Pylos. Cleon (d. ... Though Peloponnese is used to refer to the entire peninsula, the periphery with that name includes only part of that landmass. ...


The Athenian blockade of Sphacteria continued for much longer than either side had anticipated; there was very little food, water, or room for the Athenians in the beach fortifications. The Spartans had enough food for themselves and for the hoplites on Sphacteria, who were supplied by helots promised money and freedom by the Spartans for successfully breaking the Athenian blockade. They would put to sea and land on the seaward shore of Sphacteria, where it was difficult for the Athenians to maintain the blockade at all times.


In Athens, people by now felt that they should have accepted the offer of peace when it was made. They realized that the onset of winter would end the blockade, and allow the garrison to escape. Cleon, becoming unpopular for having blocked the peace treaty, declared the messengers were lying about the true state of affairs. As a result, he was chosen to sail out and assess the situation fisrthand. Realizing the damage this would do to him (he would have to contradict his previous stance, for the situation really was dire) Cleon suggested sending out another expedition instead, with competent generals, and proceeded to blame the lack of leadership for the situation. He got into trouble, however, by saying that he would have captured the island long ago, and was forced to accept command of the new expedition. He claimed he would have the matter cleared up in twenty days or less, without even taking any Athenian troops, and set sail for pylos with light allied reinforcements.


Demosthenes, the commander at Pylos, had meanwhile been planning to land on the island. His plans were aided when a fire, accidentally caused by a Spartan soldier, burned down most of the woods on Sphacteria. The open ground thus created, along with the ability to see the terrain, greatly encouraged him. Upon Cleon's arrival, they sent a herald to the island asking for the garrison's surrender, which was refused. The next night, they loaded 800 men onto ships, and landed on both sides of the island before dawn. These men immediately attacked the forward Spartan camp (there were three) and overran the surprised defenders in it. As soon as day broke, the rest of the army was landed as well, and they drove the Spartans to the western extremity of the island, into a small fortification there. The Spartans mounted a fierce defense, which was broken when they were flanked by archers, caught in the rear, and rendered unable to effectively defend themselves. Cleon and Demosthenes called back their forces, wanting to take the remaining Spartans alive. Surprisingly, the Spartans surrendered after a conference among themselves, something they were not accustomed to doing. Of the 440 Spartan hoplites, 148 had been killed. After seventy-two days of siege and battle at Pylos and Sphacteria, both sides withdrew, and Cleon returned to Athens having fulfilled his promise to capture the island in twenty days. For the Athenian orator, see Demosthenes. ...


External links

  • Livius Picture Archive: the blockade of Sphacteria (425 BCE)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Battle of Pylos - Academic Kids (529 words)
The Battle of Pylos took place between Athens and Sparta during the Peloponnesian War in 425 BC.
Accompanying this battle was the Battle of Sphacteria.
Although the Spartans would not meet them for a battle at sea, they had also not properly blockaded the entrance to Pylos, and the Athenian fleet was able to enter and chase away and destroy the attacking Spartan ships.
Battle of Sphacteria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1134 words)
The Battle of Sphacteria was a battle of the Peloponnesian War in 425 BC, between Athens and Sparta.
It was an important part of the longer Battle of Pylos.
This meant that the island of Sphacteria, where Epitadas had landed with 440 hoplites, was completely blockaded by the Athenian fleet.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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