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C O U R S E 
Alexander the Great
Guy MacLean Rogers, Wellesley College
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Peloponnesian War and Internal Greek Struggles
Notes taken on May 29, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
Athenians in second half of the 5th century BC
recapture the Aegean Islands from the Persians
push the Persians away from the coast of Asia Minor
450 BC peace signed
gave Greek cities on coast of Asia Minor the right to follow their own laws
soon the ever quarreling gave the Persians reasons to reassert their influence there
431-404 BC Peloponnesian War
400-350 BC Sparta, Thebes and Athens struggled against each other to assert dominance over the Greek world
Spartans squandered the initiative that they had gained through their victory in the Peloponnesian War
Thebans got the upper hand
because of military innovations
infantry men usually wore helmets, breastplates, and carried a spear and a shield made of wood with a metal rim
shield is called a hoplon which is where we get the word hoplites
hoplites were arranged in lines
city-states would send their armies out into an open field, e.g. the land in dispute
line of the hoplite armies would close into each other and clash
the goal was to have mass
the object was to break open a hole in the other line
the goal usually was not to annihilate your enemy but to push them off the land itself
of course it was an extremely bloody kind of warfare, characterized by thrashing and thrusting
took a great deal of courage
hoplites needed to train and be prepared to fight together and protect each other
important to stay in their places in the lines to prevent breakthroughs
each hoplite was responsible not only for protecting himself but the person next to him
their shield they held in their left hand could only protect the left side of their body
the man on your right had to protect you as well
coordination and cohesion was absolutely essential and critical
you all fought together, or you all died together
because most city-states had populations of male citizens that were more or less consistent
most city-states could only put into the field hundreds or a few thousand hoplite warriors
only 1,2,3,4,5 or at most 8 lines of these warriors
most of these battles resulting in these kinds of scrums, both sides pushing together to make a breakthrough
this is where the Theban military innovations become important
had a much larger population
got the idea of extending the lines, the sum total which was called a phalanx not just to 8 ranks but to an unbelievable 50 ranks
made it easier to bash through the lines of their opponents
Thebans also trained up a kind fo special forces unit called a Sacred Band
150 pairs of elite soldiers who trained together from the time their were very young, camped together, and, there is evidence, were actually lovers as well
fought side by side in battle
put into battle at crucial moments and at important places
using these military innovations, the Thebans were able to defeat the Spartans in two important battles
371 BC
400 Spartans of the officer class were killed
Thebes gained the upper hand in Greater Greece
362 BC
unfortunately, their great tactical and innovative genius, Epaminondas, was killed in battle
the Athenians in the fourth century
won naval alliances
pursued the Persians
dominated the Aegean
ran out of money
became exhausted as well
the middle of the fourth century
the three powers in Greece
had worn themselves out, fighting amongst each other
the result was that after more than a century of struggle Persia was yet again in the position to be the dominant influence up to and including the coast of Asia minor
paying back Persia for its acts of ancient sacrilege, was a rhetorical pipe dream
there was only one potential threat to Persia from the West
the Kingdom of Macedon and a boy growing up there named Alexander