The Gods' Bloody Tune: A Classical Greek TL

Prologue: A Joyful Day
The Gods' Bloody Tune: A Classical Greek TL

Greek warfare.png

''In those days some hoped that the days of strife might soon come to an end in Hellas. The gods, however, had other plans and mens will long continue to dance to their bloody tune...''
Xenophon, Hellenica

Prologue: A Joyful Day
Demetrios Lysandros, The third day of the month of Hekatombaion of the second year of the 83rd Olympiad (1):

Demetrios, son of Lysander, wine merchant and proud Athenian felt sorrow. It should have been a joyful day. A few months ago Athenai had believed herself on the brink of destruction, her once mighty and glorious having either been sunk or besieged in the harbour of the island of Mytilene. To build and crew another fleet to relieve the surviving ships the citizens of Athena’s city had to go as far as far to melt some of the golden statues of Nike (2), in her temple on the Acropolis and to offer citizenship to slaves willing to row in the city’s new fleet.

It was on this inexperienced fleet with a low morale that that the hopes of Athenai layed. It was this cash starved fleet who was sent to face a Spartan fleet made confident by recent victories, kept well paid and supplied by Persian gold and, for the first, time more experienced than their Athenian opponents. It was this fleet that, to save their poleis and her empire, needed to not only win a great victory but to do so quickly, for the depleted Athenian treasury could only keep them at sea for so long. And, against all expectations, they did, the brilliance of their admirals having overcome all obstacles.

At the Battle of the Arginusae Islands more then half the Spartan fleet had found its doom, their commander, the young and daring Navarch Calitrades, among them. Out 120 spartan triremes 77 now lay the at the bottom of the Aegean. The siege of Mytilene was lifted and what remained of the Spartan fleet, often in rather bad shape, retreated to Chios. The Athenians, for their part, had lost 25 of their 150 triremes. Significant loses, by all accounts, but nevertheless light ones, especially considering what had been achieved. And now the victorious fleet had returned home. Really it should have been a joyful day.

But a storm had raged in the hours following the battle, preventing any attempts to rescue stranded sailors and recover the bodies of the dead. Enraged at the thoughts of brave sailors abandoned to the tender mercies of the sea, and of mens who had died for the Poleis to be denied proper burials (3), the Athenian peoples soon began to scream for vengeance and look for those responsible. Demetrios and some likeminded individuals had attempted to make their voices heard at the Eklesia, arguing for calm and clemency considering the circumstances and what the mens commanding the fleet had accomplished, but their words had been drowned by the outrage felt by so many.

Demetrios was thus forced to stand there, powerless as the generals in command of the fleet (4) and the captains who had, at first, been charging with recovering the stranded and the bodies of the dead, accuse his each other. He felt despair rise inside his soul as he could imagine a trial depriving Athenai of some of her most brilliant warriors (5), no matter who prevailed, through the execution of those deemed responsible, just as Sparta was no doubt busying herself rebuilding her fleet with Persian gold! Silently, Demetrios begged the Lady Athene Pelle to help her city…

And then it came, first it seemed to be simply a whisper in the wind, coming from Piraeus, but then it grew loulder and louder, as it travelled along the Long Walls and toward Athenai's Walls. Soon all in Athenai had heard of the news from the east and, from uncountable throats, rose the same chant of relief and hope. ‘’The Great King is dead! The Great King is Dead! The Great King is Dead! (6)’’

Soon Demetrios, joined in the chanting. It did, after all, proved to be a joyful day!

(1) Sometimes in July of 406 BC
(2) Greek goddess of victory
(3) Very much a big deal according to ancient Greek religious beliefs and practises.
(4) Ancient Greece didn’t have the same concept of separation between land and naval forces we have and in Athens the commanders of military forces where usually those elected to the Board of Generals.
(5) Theramenes and Thrasybulus, the two captains having been put in charge of the rescue mission, had both been generals in the past and had served brilliantly.
(6) The POD, in OTL Darius II died only two years latter.
 
Last edited:
Questions and Answers
Q: What the hell is that?
A: ''That'' is an attempt to make a TL out of a concept that I have been toying with for a while: having the Peloponesian War end in a stalemate, rather then in a clear cut victory for either. Old Hellas will be left in even more chaos then OTL as a result. As an asside, I also want to use this TL to try my hand at in-story POV writing.

Q: OK, but it isn't like there is a lack of Ancient Greek TL going around, why should I read yours?
A: A fair criticism, but most TLs I have come accross have tended to focus on either the fifth century BC or on Philip, Alexander and what came after. The third century, the main focus of this TL, hasn't gotten as much screen time. Moreover, we will also deal with how the butterflies affect the rest of the world.

Q: Well, that sounds midly interesting I suppose but how is a stalemate supposed to come about when, as you yourself even admit in the Prologue, Athens is exhausted?
A: Again, a fair point but following the Battle of Arginusae the Spartans and their allies in the Aegean are not exactly in good shape either and, more then ever, need Persian money. The earlier death of Darius II will have some interesting consequences on the course of the Peloponesian War...
 

formion

Banned
Subscribed.

Interesting take. I guess you aim at a persian civil war so that the Lacedemonians loose the funds to rebuild their fleet.

Certainly the Athenians don't have the resources to continue the war. I am not so sure about the Lacedemonians. Even limited support from a satrap (either of Lydia or Phrygia) would be enough to fund one last campaign. Moreover, they still controlled all the Ionian cities and important islands such as Chios and Rhodes. Even without persian gold, these former Athenian allies, along with a last effort by Corinth and Boeotia could produce a major offensive.

Cyrus will make a bid for the throne. However, he may give a parting gift to Lysander. When Lysander's generalship ended, instead of providing Callicratidas the remaining persian gold, he returned the funds to Cyrus. It was a move to weaken the brass young Callicratidas. I can see the shrewd Lysander reclaiming back these funds as a parting gift. Perhaps the Lacedemonians could earn much more persian gold for providing mercenaries for gold. After all they didn't lack hoplites but gold to build triremes. It would be easy for them to send 10-12,000 hoplites to Cyrus for a large amount of gold. Without land battles in the last years and Attica under firm Peloponnesian control, there are thousands of unemployed hoplites that may prefer mercenary service than return to their fields.

In general, I think Sparta still holds most of the cards.
 
Subscribed.

Interesting take. I guess you aim at a persian civil war so that the Lacedemonians loose the funds to rebuild their fleet.

Certainly the Athenians don't have the resources to continue the war. I am not so sure about the Lacedemonians. Even limited support from a satrap (either of Lydia or Phrygia) would be enough to fund one last campaign. Moreover, they still controlled all the Ionian cities and important islands such as Chios and Rhodes. Even without persian gold, these former Athenian allies, along with a last effort by Corinth and Boeotia could produce a major offensive.

Cyrus will make a bid for the throne. However, he may give a parting gift to Lysander. When Lysander's generalship ended, instead of providing Callicratidas the remaining persian gold, he returned the funds to Cyrus. It was a move to weaken the brass young Callicratidas. I can see the shrewd Lysander reclaiming back these funds as a parting gift. Perhaps the Lacedemonians could earn much more persian gold for providing mercenaries for gold. After all they didn't lack hoplites but gold to build triremes. It would be easy for them to send 10-12,000 hoplites to Cyrus for a large amount of gold. Without land battles in the last years and Attica under firm Peloponnesian control, there are thousands of unemployed hoplites that may prefer mercenary service than return to their fields.

In general, I think Sparta still holds most of the cards.
Thank you, glad to have you follow it :) and yes, a Persian civil war is at least part of the plan.

As for the rest,

A good analysis overall and I certainly do not completely disagree with most of the points you have raised.

This being said, Athens I do feel it would also be fair to say that Athens isn't completely devoid of cards to play at this stage either.

Yes, its treasury his rather depleted but Arginusae has given her at least some leaway to raise funds to once more raise some tributes without taking too big a risk of a revolt (as long as she doesn't push it too much in term of amounts) and has done allot to secure the tool from the Bosphorus. While Athens fiscal situation remain very delicate they aren't quite as close to the clif as they where before Arginusae in that regard.

In OTL Aegospotami was lost not because of lack of funds but because of a tactical blunders by Athenian generals (or by treachery, if the hypothesis of some modern authors is to be believed), with Conon really appearing to be the one competent sea commander of the bunch. The execution of the admirals who had won at Arginusae obviously didn't help in that regard, and neither did the cloud of unpopularity Thrasybulus and Theramenes where under, since they where seen by many as at least partially responsible for the executions of the aforementionned admirals. ITTL the mens who won at Arginusae are still very much alive, altough the whole fiasco surrounding the failed rescue mission has still dented their popularities, and Thrasybulus and Theramenes stand a good chance of being elected on the Board of Generals next year. Without going too much into the details (more will be revealed in the next update) the Athenian fleet will be far better commanded in 405 BC compared to OTL.

Back to the money, the Peloponesian do have some serious assets as well but their situation is actually more delicate then it can appear to be at first glance. Yes, Chios, Milet, Ephesus and Halicarnassus (the exact map of the Eastern Agean at this juncture varies from one historian to another but personally I tend to go with those four cities, alongside Abydos, has being the five major assets Sparta retained in the area, with Rhodes being essentially neutral at this point) can give some money but the whole pitch Sparta made to them was that, unlike Athens, they will not levy tribute. Therefore Lysander has to thread carefully on this one. A similar point can be made regarding the Peloponesians allies of Sparta, who where fairly use to give contingents but not financial contributions, and Corinth and Boetia, as the anti-Spartan parties who would take power after the end of the war in OTL where probably already making their influence felt.

Obviously there is also Cyrus the Younger, who will indeed do what he feel he can do to help Sparta and his friend Lysander, and the possibility to raise funds through mercenaries. Even there, however, there is limitations: Cyrus doesn't have access to the Persian treasury anynmore and he needs his warchest to finance his bid for the throne and while having a big hoplitic mercenary army would help but Arginusae does complicate matters when it comes to actually getting the army to Cyrus, since the Athenians dominate the Aegean for the moment. Of course, a new spartan fleet could potentially solve the problems but they're will inevitably be a delay and the temptation is definitely there for Cyrus to not allow Arthaxerxes' the time to consolidate his control over the empire...

Overall its a rather messy situation and you are correct in stating that Sparta still hold the advantage but Cyzicus and Arginusae have shown that this is far from a guarantee of a Spartan victory (especially the latter).

Then, and without giving too many spoilers, there is a certain Athenian politician currently in exile in Thrace, who might just have last big trick up his sleeves ;)

Intriguing premise. Please continue.

Thank you, I hope you will enjoy what is to come :)
 
Last edited:
Exciting, I wonder how the events will affect Plato. Without the comparative highs of his relatives being among the Thirty Tyrants to the lows of his teacher being killed by the restored democracy, he might be a less confrontational dude :closedeyesmile:
 
Chapter I : Shifting Grounds
Chapter I : Shifting Grounds

Persian Darics.png
Pharnazabus II, Satrap of Phyrgia

Pharnazabus liked to think himself as a good Persian noble. His father had taught him to ride to shot the bow, tell the truth, treat both his fellows and his inferiors with kindness and serve faithfully whoever Ahura Mazda had chosen to rule as Kings of Kings. Those things where, in Pharnazabus opinion, the matters to which not only a Persian noble but any man needed to attend to if he was to be of value to his fellows. Hellenes often did not particularly like Pharnazabus for, in Pharnazabus opinion, they also often did not understand those things. They tended to saw his loyalty and willingness to accept the world as it was ordered by Ahura Mazada as servility. They preferred their shields and spears to the bow and the horse and, as far as Pharnazabus was concerned, they were all to ready to lie when it served their purposes.

To be fair, however, Pharnazabus was not particularly fond of the Hellenes himself and, to his own mind if to no one else, he was willing to admit that they often puzzled him as well. The sources of their exaggerated attachments to their small cities, of their frequent dislike for government by one man and their rather obnoxious sense of superiority over other nations often remained mysteries to him. Some might even go as far as to say that Pharnazabus held only disdain for the Hellenes. At the court of the King of Kings, at Susa or Persepolis, it was considered of good tone to diminish the importance of the great defeats the Hellenes inflicted on them all those years ago, or even to avoid mentioning them altogether. That didn’t make them any less real. Foolish was the man who underestimated their triremes and hoplites.

It was precisely because he was not a fool that Pharnazabus had recently often received the very Hellene he disliked above all others, and had to currently bear the burden of his presence in his palace. In front of him was sitting a lover of debauchery and lies, a man who barely tought more of his friends then of his enemies, a man who had betrayed both the city of his birth and the one who had sheltered him. Pharnazabus could not deny his physical beauty but he could see the rotten soul hiding behind his golden looks. It was that man who had explained to Pharnazabus that it was in his, and his master's, best interest, to help Athenai prevail. If Sparta was to triumph a mighty forces of hoplites would probably cross the sea to help Cyrus the Younger, or the brat of Sardis as Pharnazabus often tought of him, in his bid to throne. With them Cyrus might very well prove able to defeat his half-brother, an event that would spell doom for Pharnazabus and his family (1). Pharnazabus would have dearly loved to turn him down but he could not, for truth had ringed in the athenian’s words.

As a result Pharnazabus had used all his influence to secure the funds needed Alkiabiades had requested (2). The gold had quickly travelled from Susa and was now transferred to the Athenian’s care. As his visitor was about to depart Pharnazabus struggled to find polite words of parting, but at the end he couldn’t.

‘’You have what you asked for Athenians! Now go, convince your city and be victorious!’’.

____

Thrasybulus, son Olorophon

Thrasybulus sometimes wondered why he was so attached to democracy and why he was willing to do so much to defend it. Aboard a trireme or among hoplites his booming voice commanded the respect and obedience of all under him, communicating what needed to be done in laconic intonations that the Spartans themselves would not have disapproved. At the Ekklesia, however, he had often struggled to convince his fellow Athenians for he did not possess the gift of oratory like others.

Usually he would have despaired of his ability to prevail over a brilliant speaker such as Kleophon, who was brilliant in precious little else. Today, however, he felt a certain degree of confidence for he had simple common sense of his side. Kleophon’s attacks on Alkibiades and the satrap of Phyrgia might be where devastating, none could deny it, and Thrasybulus sometimes struggled to hide his irritation and the insults directed at one of his old political allies. Nevertheless, he simply answered, calmly and in a matter of fact fashion, that to accept the help offered would provide a massive boon for Athenai if, like Cleophon ardently desired, the Poleis decided to turn down Sparta’s offer of peace and continue the war (3).

‘’Therefore I ask that this assembly recall Alkibiades, allow him to be candidate to the Board of Generals despite his absence from the Poleis and accept to do all in its power to prevent help to reach to Prince Cyrus at Sardis, in exchange for the support of the satrap of Phyrgia!’’ he concluded. As he looked at the expression painted on the faces gathered around him he could not repress a smile, for he knew he had won!

___
Atipathes, son of Agis

Atipathes could hear their loud voices coming down from across the long hall of the palace of the Kings of Lydia.

Despite the Athenian refusal of their peace offer, the old guard in Sparta had put a stiff resistance to his political patron’s return as Navarch (4). It had taken most of the political influence, cunning and popularity Lysander’s possessed to allow him to break the normal constitutional rules regarding such positions in Sparta (5) and attempt to complete what he had started at Notium. Much of the rest had been spent convincing the Gerousia and the Apela to levy a financial contributions on Sparta’s allies to help pay for the campaign. To say that the latter had not been exactly fond of the idea would have a been a gross overstatement and the sums in question had to kept quite low as a result. And then came the news that the Athenian might very well have gained a fair few new friends…

After the news of Darius II’s death Lysander and Atipathes had originally hoped that the funds they took away with them while salling easterward, alongside whatever funds they could convince their allies to provide, could allow them to rebuild the fleet and gain victory over Athenai without needing too much of the gold they know Cyrus might very well now be more reluctant to give. It was obvious that this hope had come to naught. More then ever, the fate of the Spartan fleet depended on her Persian friends, and the words coming down the hall didn’t do much to calm Atipathes worries in that regard. After all, screams according to which the Spartan Navarch was forgetting himself in front of the Great King, or that the aforementioned Great King was only a child who would do well to give proper respect to his elders where hardly good signs.

Instants after instants passed in dreadful awaiting for Atipathes, as it became more and more evident that the young pretender was demanding that Sparta help him defeat his half-brother before he could provide them with the same support then in the past, while both he and Lysander knew that Sparta had to prevail over Athenai to be able to make its weight truly felt in the successions crisis. At the Antipathes remained confident that Cyrus would give them at least some gold, the bounds of friendship between him and Lysander were simply too strong for things to turn out otherwise, but the old days when the Spartan fleet seemed to swim in Darics would not return.

Without the Persian pretender’s massive assistance they would have to not ask for gold and silver from Kios, Miletos, Ephesus and Halicarnassus but demand it, in large quantity. The cities who had rallied to Sparta to no longer pay tribute to Athenai would no doubt resent it. Who knew how their citizens would react?

At that question Atipathes felt fear creeping toward his heart but he managed to ignore it. He was a Spartan, he was not supposed to be afraid of war!

___
Stratis, son of Philomenos

Stratis had only still been a boy when his father and grandfather had been butchered by the crowd. They had been a good men, proud citizens of Miletos who had done everything they could to help their poleis to navigate the treacherous waters of Ionian politics, cultivating Athenai's friendship in the hope of eventually seeing the cities’ tribute reduced and also because they truly believed in democracy.

As a result, when the oligarchs of the poleis had risen up in favour of Sparta he had been deemed a friend of Athens, and therefore butchered. Some had wanted to visit the same faith on Stratis but more moderates voices had prevailed. After all, he was of good noble lineage, one of their class, and could be brought correctly now that his traitorous father and grandfather had descended to Hades. What they did not know, however, was that Stratis had already been gained to the political ideals of his family. A few weeks after the oligarchip coup Stratis had sworn an oath, a bloody oath, a terrible oath, to avenge his father and grandfather and restore democracy to Miletus or die in the attempt.

Since the arrival of the Spartans he had done everything he could to keep Miletos democratic party alive. Hidden letter after hidden letter he had managed to restore and maintain a degree of communication with some of Athenai’s statesmen, providing them with what information he could and attempting to prepare for the return of her fleet. Now, at least, Stratis had grown into a man and there was hope for the future. Now that Persian gold was no longer flowing to him, Lysander’s rapacity for wealth had been revealed, his heavy handedness had shown to Miletus the true face of Sparta.

In his atria were assembled many wealthy and influential Miletines, gathered to discuss what was to be done. In spite of their recently acquired dislike for Sparta they hesitated to follow Stratis’ lead in preparing to deliver the poleis to Athenai at the first occasion. Why should they act against one master if it was only to gain another?

Stratis merely smiled at their objections and, rather theatrically, poured the content of a small bag full of Darics on the table while announcing that more might soon be given to them if they followed his lead! Seeing the hungry expressions they now had he knew that gold had managed to do what word couldn’t and he silently asked Nemesis and Nikée to give victory to the Athenian fleet.

___
Demetrios, son of Lysandros

As the fleet began to sail away from Piraeus Demetrios watched the crowd who had gathered to see them off depart before turning his eyes toward the rest of the fleet. All around the trireme he now commanded he could see the sails marked by crude drawings of Athene’s owl. Only a blind man could not see the political divide among the seven generals commanding the fleet, with Alkibiades, Thrasybulus and Theramenes on one side, Periclès the Younger, Thrasylus and Erasnides (who, in spite of criticisms still levied on them for their role in the failed rescue mission at Arginusae had still gained enough credit for their role during the battle to be reelected as generals) on the other while the ever apolitical Konon in the middle. Yet Demetrios remained confident, for the last days had seen them apparently willing to put their differences at rest, for the moment at least, to ensure that Athenai could seize the chance offered to her by the gods when they had striken down the Great King Darius.

In truth, never since the Sikelian disaster had an Athenian fleet seemed so formidable. The Satrap of Phyrgia's gold had ensured that its rowers would be well feed and paid while the victory at Arginusae and the death of the Darius had restored their faith in their final victory. The mastery of the Aegean belonged to Athenai, not to Sparta. Things will be put right and the proper order of the world restored told himself smuggly. With grim determination he continued to watch the rest of the fleet at is sailed east, toward Samos and toward battle.

(1) Pharnazabus II was satrap of Lydia before Cyrus the Younger used his mother's influence at court to have relegated to Phyrgia, a less important satrapy. As a result the two men tensions have quickly grown between them. Cyrus becoming Great King would be extremely bad news for him.
(2) In OTL the man first tried to help Sparta just enough for the war to continue, but not enough for it to win, hoping that Sparta and Athens would exhaust each other. After he once more became satrap of Lydia and the main persian policy maker regarding Hellas he then proceeded to ally with Athens, Persia's traditional ennemy, to weaken Sparta as the latter as the latter was trying to keep control of the Ionian city they had promised to return to Persian control during the Peloponesian War. Overall Pharnazabus seem to be a rather canny operator with a realpolitik outlook. I really do believe that it wouldn't be out of character for him to help Athens win if he believed it necessary to ensure his political, and perhaps also physical, survival.
(3) Both ITTL and OTL the traditionalists in Sparta managed to have a peace offer presented to Athens, where all would conserve their current possessions. In both cases the offer was refused, tough in this TL doing so is not nearly as reckless for Athens as it was in OTL.
(4) At this point Sparta citizen body is essentially divided in two factions. The traditonalist only seek that their city be secure in her status as a great power of Hellas and that the economic, social and political statu quo in Sparta be preserved. They do not like Persia and would rather find a way to mend fences with Athens rather then to continue to cooperate with the Persians. The imperialist, on their part, want to win the war at sea and make Sparta the master of Hellas. To do so they are willing to make important consessions to Persia.
(5) Second terms as Navarch where usually prohibited in Sparta.
 

Attachments

  • Persian Darics.png
    Persian Darics.png
    485.4 KB · Views: 118
Last edited:
Exciting, I wonder how the events will affect Plato. Without the comparative highs of his relatives being among the Thirty Tyrants to the lows of his teacher being killed by the restored democracy, he might be a less confrontational dude :closedeyesmile:
Thank you, I hope you will like the chapter I just posted :)

It is often tought that Plato became a strident oligarch because of Socrates' execution. Personally I think its the other way around: Socrates was the target of a political trial because he had ties with several proeminent oligarchs, including Plato's uncle and leader of the Thirties, Critias.

Ods are Plato won't change all that much when it comes to his political beliefs but with Socrates living longer, and most likely not being executed, Plato might very well found less reception for them in phylosophical circles.
 
Q: OK, but it isn't like there is a lack of Ancient Greek TL going around
Actually, maybe I just do a terrible job of observing new threads, but it has been years since I have seen any threads with a Classical POD of any sort. There were a few, including some set long before in the Mycenaean period, and another excellent one involving the Persians having more success in their invasion of Hellas, but all of these appear to have come to long hiatus and are presumably dead forever. I haven't seen anything resembling your work in quite a while really--which is not to say it is not happening I suppose, but certainly under my radar!

I am not sure if Athens can prevail, but not for the specific reasons others here have offered. It seems the Greeks never really solved the problem of organizing collective actions among the poleis, save by means of tyrannical rule of some monarchy or such despotism--first Philip of Macedon, then the Romans.

For Athens to prevail in the long run her league needs to devise some kind of federal system I would think. IIRC Arnold Toynbee in his Study of History mentioned an OTL federation, on the Thracian coast IIRC--I have only heard of it in his mention, which is suggestive perhaps of how little this particular model might be worth; either it was only possible for some quite peculiar, atypical poleis to so unite, or the model failed to spread because the idea is just not suitable to the classic Hellenic mindset maybe. And it could be that some federation of poleis might prevail but not one including Athens--it would be something like poetic justice I suppose if the outcome of an altered Pelopenesian War is the defeat of both Sparta and Athens but some third Hellenic group comes to the fore to dominate instead.

"The Spartans were actually the good guys" is a take I have heard, and perhaps deep study of the different forms of Hellenic societies and the dynamics of the war, its precedents and antecedents, might convince me of that--but I doubt it, the basic nature of Lacedaemonian society (with the remarkable exception of the status of women among the Spartiates) seems pretty awful. Laconophilia seems to have a lot in common with the Lost Causer mythos and worse things.

Meanwhile power and morals seem to go only haphazardly together as a general thing.

Sentimentally I'd like to see Athens come out ahead, but in a more ethical way than seems likely, on many fronts.
 

formion

Banned
@phil03 I want to congratulate you on your knowledge of the Peloponnesian War and Thucydides/Xenophon! The timeline has a great start. Keep up the great work!

A couple of minor titbits if I may. "Poleis" is plural and "Polis" is singular, when you need to mention a city-state. Also, it is Miletus (latinized) or Miletos (greek form). Milet is the modern turkish name of the city that seems out of place.

Laconophilia seems to have a lot in common with the Lost Causer mythos and worse things.

Hear hear! Excellent comment. I never understood laconophilia as well.

For Athens to prevail in the long run her league needs to devise some kind of federal system I would think.

Indeed. Athens needs political reform more than military success. There are a few potential PODs that won't seem out of place/ASB for the time period:
- After the recent disasters the Athenians promised citizenship to slaves. Certainly in terms of manpower they were scrapping the barrel. So, they could provide citizenship for all metics. They could unmake the Periclean citizenship law and provide citizenship in a permament basis to those metics who have served a number of years in the phalanx or navy and their children.
- Provide a second-class citizenship with limited privileges to the most loyal allies (e.g Samians). Not full one as they did with the Plateans in the past or the Samians after Aegospotami, that would be too much in the ancient greek mindset. This was they can gradually develop a more roman-style view of citizenship.
 
I am not sure if Athens can prevail, but not for the specific reasons others here have offered. It seems the Greeks never really solved the problem of organizing collective actions among the poleis, save by means of tyrannical rule of some monarchy or such despotism--first Philip of Macedon, then the Romans.

For Athens to prevail in the long run her league needs to devise some kind of federal system I would think. IIRC Arnold Toynbee in his Study of History mentioned an OTL federation, on the Thracian coast IIRC--I have only heard of it in his mention, which is suggestive perhaps of how little this particular model might be worth; either it was only possible for some quite peculiar, atypical poleis to so unite, or the model failed to spread because the idea is just not suitable to the classic Hellenic mindset maybe. And it could be that some federation of poleis might prevail but not one including Athens--it would be something like poetic justice I suppose if the outcome of an altered Pelopenesian War is the defeat of both Sparta and Athens but some third Hellenic group comes to the fore to dominate instead.

Excellent analysis of the obstacles Athens would come accross in trying to establish a durable hegemony over Hellas and its always good to have somebody bring up old Toynbee. :)

It is really a shame that he spent so much time trying to establish a grand theory of history (probably a vain endavour overall IMO) instead of concentrating on simply establishing paterns and trends and explain how they play accross times and places, which he was really good at.

In the short run, Athens isn't fighting for dominance at this point of the war, for the immediate future that ship has sailed with the Sicilian Disaster. She merely seeks to emerge from the conflict with her maritime empire mostly intact, allowing her to recover and comes back for another round in better circumstances. Essentially, they are seeking a stalemate.

Obviously I won't say whether Sparta, Athens, a third party or no one at all will prevail in the long run for that would be one rather big spoiler ;)

Hear hear! Excellent comment. I never understood laconophilia as well.
"The Spartans were actually the good guys" is a take I have heard, and perhaps deep study of the different forms of Hellenic societies and the dynamics of the war, its precedents and antecedents, might convince me of that--but I doubt it, the basic nature of Lacedaemonian society (with the remarkable exception of the status of women among the Spartiates) seems pretty awful. Laconophilia seems to have a lot in common with the Lost Causer mythos and worse things.

Meanwhile power and morals seem to go only haphazardly together as a general thing.

Sentimentally I'd like to see Athens come out ahead, but in a more ethical way than seems likely, on many fronts.
I fully agree regarding Laconophilia and I will even add that a ''the Spartan where the good guys'' take necessitate to not only ignore how awfull Spartan society in essentially every way save for the status of Spartiates women but also to completely ignore the ideological dimension of the Peloponesian War, and of the atheno-Spartan rivalry as whole. Athens, in spite of all its flaws, was very much the champion of democracy in Hellas while Sparta was ever eager to maintain and install Oligarchies.

While their is some historians who defend Sparta they tend to specialist of Sparta itself, rather then scholars having a broader scope of study. Their writings often tend to give me the impression that they have fallen in one of the classical traps of all historians: developing an undue degree of sympathy for their subjects.

Overall the Atticophiles in modern academia both severely outnumber the Laconophiles AND count among their ranks the bulk of the most celebrated historians of Ancient Greece still alive, a fact I do believe his revealing.

Of course, Sparta's has more fans among the general public, mainly because of their portrayal in pop culture. Hellots are very seldom depicted in pop culture, while Sparta's attachment to Oligarchies, and the damages the Agogé caused to the city cultural life, are only very rarely brought up. Moreover, when it comes to physical depiction of Sparta you often see buildings that would have been more at home in Athens then in a Polis that was infamous for his lack of architectural achievements, and who even had laws severely restricted what could be built.

The comparaison with the Antebellum South does indeed comes to mind regarding Sparta (I have made it myself on a few occasions) . Altough, unlike the Lost Causers, I dont think Laconophiles should be judged personally. I simply strongly disagree with them.

Overall Sparta does pause a serious challenge when it comes to writing this TL: any accurate depiction of it as a whole would necessarely be negative and I don't want to participate in the city's whitewashing. On the other hand, I also want to avoid turning them Spartans into carricatures so there is a balance to be strucked. I suppose we will all have to wait to see how well I manage to maintain it. :)

@phil03 I want to congratulate you on your knowledge of the Peloponnesian War and Thucydides/Xenophon! The timeline has a great start. Keep up the great work!

A couple of minor titbits if I may. "Poleis" is plural and "Polis" is singular, when you need to mention a city-state. Also, it is Miletus (latinized) or Miletos (greek form). Milet is the modern turkish name of the city that seems out of place.
Thank you, I must admit that, in particular, I was worrying what peoples reactions to Alcibiades last trick might be and I am happy that you seem to have liked it. :)

And thanks for the pointers, overall I try to use the time accurate spelling, except for when it might cause confusion among non-initiated (for example Athens/Athenai is a go but not Sparta/Lakaidamoi) but sometimes I might drop it and accidently go with the modern alphabet, please do raise it if/when you notice it :)
 
Last edited:

Don Quijote

Banned
I tend to take Sparta's side when it comes to the inevitable comparison with Athens, if only because Athens already has so many supporters convinced that 'their' city is morally better. I certainly have read in more detail about Sparta than about Athens, which is bound to influence my opinion, but the trap that @phil03 mentions can catch an Athenophile as easily as a Laconophile. The history of most Greek cities involves slavery, tyranny and the occasional massacre - yet we're here to read this TL because we're (probably) all Hellenophiles in spite of that.

On the TL itself, it looks very promising and I'll be following it closely. I'd be keen to see more about the situation in Persia if that's within the scope of the story.
 
I tend to take Sparta's side when it comes to the inevitable comparison with Athens, if only because Athens already has so many supporters convinced that 'their' city is morally better. I certainly have read in more detail about Sparta than about Athens, which is bound to influence my opinion, but the trap that @phil03 mentions can catch an Athenophile as easily as a Laconophile. The history of most Greek cities involves slavery, tyranny and the occasional massacre - yet we're here to read this TL because we're (probably) all Hellenophiles in spite of that.

On the TL itself, it looks very promising and I'll be following it closely. I'd be keen to see more about the situation in Persia if that's within the scope of the story.
This is, of course, true to some extent, even as an avowed Atticophile I do strongly believe that Athens should not be withewashed (and neither do I plan for this TL to be a straight up Athenian wank either). Their treatment of rebellious subject, in particular, do come to mind in that regard.

I do, however, feel that considering Athens and Sparta isn't quite fair to Athens. Yes, Athens did practice widespread slavery, which is uncontionable by any modern standard, but the proportion of slave population compared to the free population was far higher in Sparta then in Athens. Moreover, and while the impact slavery had on athenian culture, economy, society, economy and political life should obviously not be discounted, neither can it really be compared to Sparta, where political, economic, cultural and social life where all organised around their fear of an Hellot revolt, and their desire to do anything to prevent it. To bring old Toynbee in the picture once more by quoting him: ''The Spartans became the humblest of servants of their own domination of Messenia''.

Basically, Athens was a society with slavery while Sparta was a slave society

Then there is the ideological dimension of the Atheno-Spartan rivalry. Ancient democracy was incredibly imperfect, no one would deny it, but it was a start and as a convinced democrat I do believe that Athens status as the champion of ancient democracy made her defeat by Sparta in 404 BC a significant historical tragedy in the grand scheme of things.

All this being said, I am glad you seem to have enjoyed the first chapter and do hope that our disagreement on the Athenian/Spartan divide won't prevent you from continuing to do so :)

As to whether we will see the situation in Persia, yes, I certainly plan to cover the succession to at least some degree! The greek world will be the main focus of the TL but I do plan to show how the butterflies will affect other nations and cultures :)
 
Last edited:
Chapter II: The Battle of Chalcedon
Chapter II: The Battle of Chalcedon

1586026248634.png

''As the Athenian fleet was docking in Samos Alcibiades position must have seemed almost unassailable. His exile had been lifted and, in spite of the significant opposition some had expressed to his return, had received a hero’s welcome from the peoples and feasted as the man who had secured for Athens the assistance that would grant her victory. His charisma, as well as the support of Theramenes and Thrasybulus had secured a majority at the Athenian Ekklesia. Among the generals accompanying the fleet he more often then not managed to rally Konon to his cause, as the eminent seamen was conscious of the crucial role played by the Persian gold Alcibiades in the Athenian war effort, allowing to more often than not dictating strategy and tactics. Alcibiades seemed to have become the first men in Athens once more.

Yet, the fragility of it all could not have escaped the attention of the ever clever politician. It was as the source of Artaxerxes’ gold that he had been welcomed back and restored in a position of, if not supreme power, at least pre-eminence. What was to happen when the war would have come to an end and that gold was no longer needed, and would at any rate no longer been forthcoming? How long would it take for his old enemies to go on the offensive once more? How long would it take for Theramenes and Thrasybulus, the former having wielded great political power in the past and the second having grown in stature among the Athenians during Alcibiades’ absence, before they grew tired of his leadership? Restoring the prestige he had lost at Notium through a spectacular naval victory couldn’t but have seemed to be the obvious solution to most of the problems facing the Athenian trickster. The temptation to provoke a decisive confrontation with Lysander must have been great indeed.

However, and rather surprisingly considering the sum of his career, Alcibiades successfully resisted it (1). While the rest of the generals commanding the fleet where busying themselves drilling the fleet, trying to instruct the valiant but inexperienced crews who had won the day at Arginusae in some of the more subtle arts of naval tactics, Alcibiades endeavoured to strike a grievous blow to the Spartan fleet without even leaving the harbour of Samos, with Persian gold as his weapon. The pay of the rowers of the Athenian was raised to five oboles per day. Short of extorting so much funds from his remaining allies in the area that a general rebellion would have been all but a certainty Lysander could not hope to equal it. As a result he could only assist helplessly to the desertions multiplying among his rowers, the 150 triremes he could crew at the end of the spring of (X) BCE quickly dwindling to 120 (2). Lysander needed to force a battle, as soon as possible and only one step could allow him to achieve that objective. And thus the Spartan fleet sailed toward the strait, establishing its new base of operation at Abydos and endeavouring to block the grain routes upon which Athens’ survival depended.

Upon arriving at Abydos Lysander endeavoured to solidify Sparta’s position in the area by convincing some of the Poleis surrounding its waters to surrender to him, or at the very least to extract some money from them to fund his fleet. This proved to be a mistake, as it allowed the Athenian fleet to force the squadron he had left at the entry of the straits to flee without a fight (3), destroying any hopes Lysander’s might have held for a battle among the narrow waters near Sestos and Abydos that would have nullified much of Athens’s 210 triremes superiority in numbers. As a result Lysander had no choice but to flee further east and further north, to go where the importance of that superiority could be lessened as much as was feasible…


Thus, on a sunny day of the Greek month of Thargelion, the stage was set for the last great battle of the Peloponesian War, the Battle of Chalcedon.''

Excerpt of A New History of the Peloponesian War.


1586039378455.png

Rouch map of the Position of the fleets at the beguinning of the battle, the Athenians are in blue and the Spartans are in red (please ignore the modern roads, buildings and names) Due Credits to Google Maps

Atipates, son of Agis

‘’FASTER! FASTER!!! FASTER!!!!!!!!!!’’

The voices of Antipates and his captains ringers in the waters of the straights, their rowers doing everything they could to follow their orders as the Spartan squadron raced around the island of the Proti (4), hoping to strike the Athenian right wing on its flank while they would be busy facing the elite of the of the Spartan fleet, directly commanded by Lysander himself. Against the superiority of the Athenian’s fleet Antipatos’ friend, strategos and political patron had turned to tactical innovation to be able to prevail.

The tactic adopted by the Spartan admiral could neither be deemed a Periplous (5), nor a Diekplous (6). It was both and neither. The center of the main Spartan’s squadron was to sail directly toward the Athenian right-wing squadron, commanded by Alkibiades in person, and disrupt their formation while, the triremes will proceed to ram the Athenian vessels in the vicinity, hopefully creating a large gap between most of the and the rest of the fleet. Antipates and his ships, having previously hided behind Proti, where then to emerge and attack the already beleaguered Athenian squadron on a second flank, routing it. Deprived of their admiral and left exposed by the flight or the destruction of its right-wing squadron, the rest of the Athenian fleet would then be an easy prey.

By all accounts it was a sound plan, bearing all the marks of his friend’s tactical acumen. As the squadron he commanded was about to, at last, emerge among the bloody waters where battle had been joined Antipates silently begged Ares to help his favourite sons and, as he finally caught a glimpse of what the bloody scene, it seemed that the God was indeed with his city!

Alcibiades and the squadron holding the Athenian right flank had been separated from the rest of the fleet and, slowly but surely, they were pushing further and further away from it. Soon Atipathes and his triremes had joined the fray, ramming the Athenians triremes on their exposed flank with all the speed they could muster, only accentuating their apparent disarray. Chants of ‘’Sikelia, Sikelia, Sikelia!’’ spread among the Spartans triremes and, for one wonderfull and glorious, it seemed that Lysander’s genius might just prevail, after all, and that Sparta would be made the high city of Hellas.

And then, from behind the Athenian lines it came, a lone and booming voice, somehow rising above the clamor of the battle and seemingly louder then Zeus’ own thunder:

‘’ATHENE!’’

The voices of the crews of dozens of Athenian triremes, who had apparently been left behind to form a reserve squadron, soon answered at once:

‘’NIKÉ’’

Again and again, the war cries rose into the sky.

‘’ATHENE! NIKÉ!’’

‘’ATHENE! NIKÉ’’

Atipathes had never heard the lone booming voice before. He had, however, heard tales of the disaster of Kyzikus, and he instinctively the name of the man to whom the voice belonged and his blood turned to ice.


1586040273276.png

Another Rough Map, this time at the key moment of the battle, when Alcibiades' squadron is in difficulty and the reserves under Thrasybulus are about to intervene. No game changers elsewhere but the rest of the Spartan line is already being slowly pushed toward the shore, its left flank dangerously exposed

Demetrios, son Lysandros

Demetrios liked to think of himself as a couragerous man, a man of Arete (7), a man who would accept to plunge among blood and screams without taking pleasure in it and only to do his duty to his Polis. He had never imagined he would enjoy it, and truly he didn’t for there was nothing to savour in the chaos of battle. And yet, in the middle of suffering and tragedies great and small, Demetrios was smilling, for Niké was once smilling on Athenai.

Few could make their voices heard by Alkiabiades but his old brother in arm Thrasybulus was one of them. When, on the day before the battle, he had predicted that the Spartan would use the island of Proti to organise some kind of ambushes Alkibiades had listened and had placed him in command of a reserve of 40 triremes, placed near the Athenian right-wing and presumably ready to respond to any bad surprise the Spartans might have in store, Demetrios’ trireme was among them.

As a result they had found themselves perfectly well placed to come to the rescue of Alkiabiades' triremes. Soon Lysander’s and the triremes directly under his command had found themselves facing a masterfully executed Diekplous by Thrasybulus’ squadron and who had to fend off the blows of the ships who had constituted Athenai’s right win, as the arrival of reinforcements had lead them to abandon all ideas of flight and to rally and reform their lines. Lysander’s and the ships directly under his command had resisted, for a time, but numbers and the superior tactical position of the Athenian’s made the outcome inevitable. In a storm of wood, blood and water the flower of the Spartan fleet had died, with only a precious few managing to flee, presumably in the hope of reaching Abydos. Lysander had not been among them.

Some of Athenai’s warship had turned southward and eastward, to pursue them and also neutralise the ships who had emerged from behind Proti. Demetrios had not been among them, however. Like most of the triremes who faced Lysander he and his mens had turned their eyes toward the rest of the Spartan fleet. Escape was to be denied to them, they where to be driven and, finally destroyed. For Athenai’s sake Sparta’s naval power needed to die.

___
Atipathes, son Agis

As his trireme was racing away from the battle site Atipates could only look helplessly at the, presumably final, destruction of the fleet on which so much of his hope and dream had once rested. He had not even dared to enquire as to whether anyone knew of Lysander’s, for he had forbidden himself any hope for his friend survival.

It was then that he saw it, the man standing at the prow of the trireme who the chances of battle had dictated his fleeing ship would pass close by. Despite the distance only a glance was needed to recognise the man who had betrayed Sparta after she had sheltered him. Without a tought he grabed a bow close by and the arrow soon raced, striking Alkibiades close to his neck. As his vessel continued to make his way toward relative safety he could see the Athenian remove it, almost immediately, but something in him knew the injury would nevertheless be fatal.

Despite the defeat Antipates allowed himself a degree of grim satisfaction.

___
Arakus, son of Amphidamos

Arakus was a Spartan of the old school and, has a result, he had never liked Lysander. As far as he was concerned the Athenian could have the Aegean as taking it away from her was simply not worth the price. No wealth in the world was worth turning to medism by betraying their fellow Helenes to the Medes (8), no wealth in the world was worth betraying Sparta’s soul by giving Spartiates more power then he legally should have held or venerate him like the heroes of old. A most impious act if there was any. Victory achieved by those means was simply not worth it.

Many Spartans had disagreed, however, and when Athenai had refused the peace that was offered Lysander was made Navarch once more in all but name, allowing him to resume his Medism, and he, Arakus, was forced to wear an empty title. Because of his minor victory at Notion Lysander had been allowed to defile all the tradition of the Polis and praised for it and, at the end, he had been proved to be a false hero.

Today the Athenians where rewarded for having refused the peace and Sparta was seeing what remained of his hope at sea die. After Lysander had presumably drowned, swarm of Athenian triremes had descended upon Arakus’ ships, and those of his brother and arm Cleomedes. For hours they had fought on, desperately trying to escape the jaws of the trap that where closing on them. A handful had managed to do so but most had not found a way out and, slowly but relentlessly, had been pushed toward the shore before being forced to beach their ships, hoping that the gods would give them to time to prepare for the inevitable onslaught on land that would follow the rout at sea.

The gods where not with Sparta on that day, however, and a mighty force of Athenian marines (9) had managed to land before the chaos reigning among the Spartan crews could have been master. Now fighting with the energy of despair Arakus managed to kill two Athenians before, quick and sudden, a lance came and ended Arakus' war for good.


1586041324611.png

The last moments of the battle (again, rough map)

Thrasybulus, son of Olorophon

As he stood above the dead body of his old political partner and brother in arm Thrasybulus could barely hold his tears.

The death of the fleet defacto commander had been kept as well guarded a secret as it could be but now, as victory had been secured, there was time to mourn.

‘’How?’’ he at last asked.

‘’One arrow killed him, like so many before and so many to come’’ answered an oddly familiar voice

At that he nodded and, as his thoughts turned to past events, a tinge of guilt began to share his thoughts alongside his sorrow. It was Alkibiades who had exhorted Sparta to help Syrakousai, making possible the disaster in Sikelia possible. It was Alkiabiades who had spoken in favour of the establishment of the fortress at Dekelia, leading to the occupation of Atika. It was Alkiabiades who had done whatever he could to convince Sparta’s to turn toward the Medes… He had betrayed Athenai and done her great harm and would have undoutebly done so again if he believed it was in his interest to do so, for that was the kind of man Alkibiades was.

And yet, Alkibiades mourned him. What kind of man was he then?

‘’You knew his fault, just like I did, and yet we loved him anyway. That is Philé, the purest for me of love’’ added the voice, seemingly reading his toughts.

At last Thrasybulus turned around and saw the famously ugly face of the man whom the Oracle of Delphi had once called the wisest in Hellas, a face who nevertheless seemed to radiate with compassion and kindness.

For a few moments, the General and the Sophist cried together.

___

''Out of the 120 triremes that had sailed for Sparta at the beginning only 27 managed to escape. The Athenians, saw 39 of their triremes found their final rest at the bottom of the Propontis, most of them lost during the initial phase of the battle or at the hands of desperate Spartan triremes. Significant loses, without doubt, even if their importance was diminished by the ever willy Alcibiades, who had done what he could to ensure that triremes sailed and rowed by mens rallied to Athens by Golden Darics would suffer most of the casualties, while those crewed and rowed by Athenian themselves would be somewhat protected.


Many historians have theorised that at Chalcedon the Athenians had sought to replicate their previous victory at Cyzicus. If it was the case they failed, for Chalcedon fell far from the quasi-tactical perfection of Cyzicus, in spite of Athens’ far stronger position. Nevertheless, from a strategical and geopolitical perspective Athens’ success could not be denied. Abydos surrender to Athens a mere few days after the battle while Milet, Ephesus, Hallicarnus and other smaller Ionian cities soon saw pro-athenian and democratic parties reassert themselves and move to open the gates of their Poleis to the victorious Athenian fleet. The strength of oligarchic resistance proved stronger in some cities then in others but, when all was said is done, Athenian domination of Ionia and Caria had been quickly re-established.

Only in Chios did the Athenians find stiff resistance as, alone among the members of the Delian League, the island had always managed to avoid housing an Athenian garrison and paying tribute. After the Sicilian Disaster they had been the spark who had begun the great revolt among Athens’s subject. Athens’ victory meant the end of Chian authonomy, and so even the city’s democrats did not prove willing to help the enemy. Nevertheless, a naval blockade was soon established and a land fort was built and staffed by an Athenian garrison. Chios resistance could not last eternally.

In many ways Chalcedon was for Athens at sea what Mantinea had been for Sparta on land 13 years before. Just like Athens during the sixth year before Chalcedon, a series of defeat had lead Sparta to tether on the brink of destruction until a great victory on land, in a battle where defeat might very well have spelt doom, restored their reputation, their control over their hegemonia and their immediate security.

The specter of imminent defeat had, at last, ceased to haunt Athens and the Spartan naval challenge was at an end.


The war had reached an impasse.''

Excerpt of A New History of the Peloponesian War.

(1) The fact that Lysander did defeat him at Notion only a few years before had made Alcibiades more cautious.
(2) Lysander and the Spartans had used the same trick against Alcibiades and the Athenians in 406 BC, leading to the defeat of the latter at Notion. He his rather enjoying returning them the favour, truth be told.
(3) In OTL Lysander would not have made that mistake but he also didn't face a major cash shortage (in comparaison to his ennemies) that dictated much of his strategy.
(4) Today Kinaliada.
(5) A traditional Ancient Greek naval tactic, who consisted in beating your opponent through speed to be able to ram the ennemy's triremes vulnerable sterns.
(6) Another traditional Ancient Greek naval tactic, who this time consisted in sailing through the ennemy lines to be able to outmaneuver it.
(7) Ancient Greek term that roughly translate as moral excellence.
(8) The Persians.
(9) The term is definitely a bit jarring but it is how established classicists call Athens' naval infantry so I decided to go with it.

Author Note: Well, that was a dosy! Please let me know if you have any opinion regarding the lenght, as I am worried it might be a bit too long. Alternatively, I do hope that the battle was not too confusing (and that the maps help), they where often rather messy affairs in real life, something that I tried to reflect.

Next chapter will touch on the end of the Peloponesian War itself and will put some seeds to the grounds regarding future conflicts!
 

Attachments

  • 1586038726027.png
    1586038726027.png
    125.8 KB · Views: 92
Last edited:
I'm really enjoying this so far. From what I've seen most threads on the Peloponnesian war tend to focus on Mantinea or the Sicilian Expedition, so this is quite a welcome surprise to be sure. With the war appearing to be nearing the end, I'm curious to see what the post war situation looks like going forward as Athens is in a much stronger position relative to OTL.

I will follow this with great interest so keep up the good work!
 
I'm really enjoying this so far. From what I've seen most threads on the Peloponnesian war tend to focus on Mantinea or the Sicilian Expedition, so this is quite a welcome surprise to be sure. With the war appearing to be nearing the end, I'm curious to see what the post war situation looks like going forward as Athens is in a much stronger position relative to OTL.

I will follow this with great interest so keep up the good work!
Thank you, glad that you are enjoying it :)

And yes, most of the threads of the Peloponesian War essentially go for a complete reversal of the outcome of the war, with Sparta's power ending up being as decisively broken as Athens' was in OTL (tough Athens did manage something of a limited comeback her days as a Medditeranean superpower where over), and the early are obviously the easiest source of PODs for that.

Now, it is understandable as an Athenian decisive victory would have produced massive butterflies almost immediately and came tentalisingly close to happens. Hell, I'd go as far as to argue that one better decision by the Argive commander at the critical point of Mantinea would have been enough to doom Sparta.

Add to that the fact that many history buffs and scholars tend to be Atticophiles (Yours truly included) and you obviously have a relatively well troden path. Hell, I might even have a crack at it myself at some point in the future but, for the time being, I decided to go with a more original concept.

Essentially this TL isn't so much an Athenian wank as simply avoiding the Spartan wank that, in many regards, OTL was in this period. Athens hasn't so much won, not even in the Periclean sense where the empire would have emerged intact, as managed to prevent Sparta's from winning and force a stalemate.

As to what will come next, well, for that we will have to wait and see will we? ;)

While we will see more of it in the next update I will still say, however, that, even more then in OTL Hellas will be something of a mess politicaly. Both Athens and Sparta spent allot of ressources and political capital throughout the war, have serious internal issues to deal with and will still need to keep an eye on each other. As a result their ability to project their power and control events at the four corners of the greek is seriously lessened compared to where it stood in 431 BC, leaving allot more space for smaller powers all over the place to try to settle some old scores or realise some new ambitions...
 

Don Quijote

Banned
space for smaller powers all over the place to try to settle some old scores or realise some new ambitions...
Don't tease us Phil - are we going to see a Mycenean hegemony or not? :p

More seriously, my main question after the latest (very good) update is what Cyrus has been up to. Have his payments to Lysander dried up altogether?
 
Don't tease us Phil - are we going to see a Mycenean hegemony or not? :p

More seriously, my main question after the latest (very good) update is what Cyrus has been up to. Have his payments to Lysander dried up altogether?
I am affraid that the time of the Myceneans had past. Now, the Minoans on the other hand.... ;)

Cyrus did what he felt he could to help Lysander while still leaving himself, in his own judgement, free and in a good position to make his bid to the throne (which we will cover latter on, if not immediately after we conclude the Peloponesian War then not too long after ). Essentially, Cyrus swore to Lysander that when he would be King of Kings Sparta's would get all the gold it might need to win, as well as provided with a pretty sizable one time payment to allow Sparta to hold on in the meantime.

The main issue with the plan is that it assumed the Athenian would not counteract the possibly temporary nature of the change in circumstances cause by Darius II's death and take steps to get more quickly to the point where the financial issues of the Spartan fleet would really become crippling. Considering Lysander had used a similar trick to the one Alcibiades deployed when he overpayed his rowers, to bring about desertions from the Spartan's fleet, Cyrus really should have seen this but the was, if not incompetent, far from a military and political genius. Add to that the fact that he really didn't want to allow his half-brother time to consolidate his own hold to the throne and he simply took the wrong decision.
 
Last edited:
Top