Western Civilization lesson 30

And now we have the usual two reports for W. Civ.

In 507 B.C. Athens sent representatives to Persia seeking an alliance to protect them from the newly formed threat of Sparta. Persia accepted under one condition—they would be the ones in control of all the decisions. Athens, desperate for help, accepted even though the general consensus of the citizens was to not trust Persia. Later when the Ionian Greeks needed help in their defense against Persian troops, Athens made a big mistake. Forgetting their previous vow, Athenian soldiers were sent to the aid of Ionia in defiance of the Persians. Persia, outraged at the bold actions of their ‘allies”, began the Persian war that would prove that even though outnumbered, Athens had the strength and smarts to fend off a second culture that would have completely altered the course of Western Civilization.

After the Persian wars, all of the Greek city states formed a league to fend off any remaining Persian attacks. Each member agreed to contribute something so that the cost of armies would not run any one member dry. Athens possessed a superior navy and so many other states simply donated money to the cause of building ships. Some time went by before a handful of the city states realized that Persians no longer attacked in any force. So where was all of their money going? The city of Athens was torched to the ground in the Persian war and now the buildings were towering sky high, embellished beautifully. AHA! The money had gradually left the seaside to travel inland, effectively rebuilding Athens at the cost of everyone but the culprit, kick-starting the Peloponnesian war. This all happened a long time ago so why is it so important today? The Peloponnesian War altered the direction Western Civilization was taking–Greek domination of the known Western world– crafting it into what we know today.

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