The period from the defeat of the Persian invasion in 479 BC to the Macedonian hegemony in 338 BC saw the flowering of Classical Greek civilization. At the center of the period was the dramatic confrontation between Athens and Sparta known as the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides’ classic work on this conflict was the first major study of strategy in history. While covering a range of strategic issues, the book is also excellent study of military and political leadership.
This course will cover the period from the end of the Persian wars through the Peloponnesian War and its aftermath, examining the military, political, cultural and economic contexts. Field trips will visit some of the historic sites, including Athens and Sparta. Readings draw from Thucydides, Herodotus, Xenophon and Plutarch, as well as contemporary analyses of the period and its relevance to current events.