Long Walls

Although long walls were built at several locations in ancient Greece, notably Corinth and Megara,[1] the term Long Walls (Ancient Greek: Μακρὰ Τείχη) generally refers to the walls that connected Athens to its ports at Piraeus and Phalerum. Built in several phases, they provided a secure connection to the sea even during times of siege. The walls were about 6 km in length,[2] initially constructed in the mid 5th century BC, destroyed by the Spartans in 403 BC after Athens' defeat in the Peloponnesian War, and rebuilt again with Persian support during the Corinthian War in 395-391 BC. The Long Walls were a key element of Athenian military strategy, since they provided the city with a constant link to the sea and thwarted sieges conducted by land alone.

The Piraeus and the Long Walls of Athens
The Piraeus and the Long Walls of Athens.
Ancient Athens



The ancient wall around the acropolis was destroyed by the Persians during the occupations of Attica in 480 and 479 BC, part of the Greco-Persian Wars. After the Battle of Plataea, the invading Persian forces were removed and the Athenians were free to reoccupy their land and begin rebuilding their city. Early in the process of rebuilding, construction started on new walls around the city proper. This project drew opposition from the Spartans and their Peloponnesian allies, who were alarmed by the recent increase in the power of Athens. Spartan envoys urged the Athenians not to go through with the construction, arguing that a walled Athens would be a useful base for an invading army, and that the defences of the Isthmus of Corinth would provide a sufficient shield against invaders. However, despite these concerns, the envoys did not strongly protest and in fact gave helpful advice to the builders. The Athenians disregarded their negative arguments, fully aware that leaving their city unwalled would place them utterly at the mercy of the Peloponnesians;[3] Thucydides, in his account of these events, describes a series of complex machinations by Themistocles through which he distracted and delayed the Spartans until the walls were built up high enough to provide adequate protection.[4]


In the early 450s BC, fighting began between Athens and various Peloponnesian allies of Sparta, particularly Corinth and Aegina. In the midst of this fighting between 462 BC and 458 BC, Athens had begun construction of two more walls, the Long Walls, one running from the city to the old port at Phalerum, the other to the newer port at Piraeus. In 457 BC, a Spartan army defeated an Athenian army at Tanagra while attempting to prevent the construction, but work on the walls continued and they were completed soon after the battle.[3] These walls ensured that Athens would never be cut off from supplies as long as she controlled the sea. These Phase 1a walls [5] enclosed a vast area and included Athens two main ports.

Athenian strategy and politics

The building of the Long Walls reflected a larger strategy that Athens had come to follow in the early 5th century. Unlike most Greek city states, which specialized in fielding Hoplite armies, Athens had focused on the navy as the centre of its military since the time of the building of her first fleet during a war with Aegina in the 480s BC. With the founding of the Delian League in 477 BC, Athens became committed to the long term prosecution of a naval war against the Persians. Over the following decades, the Athenian navy became the mainstay of an increasingly imperial league, and Athenian control of the sea allowed the city to be supplied with grain from the Hellespont and Black Sea regions. The naval policy was not seriously questioned by either democrats or oligarchs during the years between 480 and 462 BC, but later, after Thucydides son of Melesias had made opposition to an imperialist policy a rallying cry of the oligarchic faction, the writer known as the Old Oligarch would identify the navy and democracy as inextricably linked, an inference echoed by modern scholars.[6] The long walls were a critical factor in allowing the Athenian fleet to become the city's paramount strength.

With the building of the Long Walls, Athens essentially became an island within the mainland, in that no strictly land based force could hope to capture it.[7] (In ancient Greek warfare, it was all but impossible to take a walled city by any means other than starvation and surrender.) Thus, Athens could rely on her powerful fleet to keep her safe in any conflict with other cities on the Greek mainland. The walls were completed in the aftermath of the Athenian defeat at Tanagra, in which a Spartan army defeated the Athenians in the field but was unable to take the city because of the presence of the city walls; seeking to secure their city even against siege, the Athenians completed the long walls; and, hoping to prevent all invasions of Attica, they also seized Boeotia, which, as they already controlled Megara, put all approaches to Attica in friendly hands.[8] For most of the First Peloponnesian War, Athens was indeed unassailable by land, but the loss of Megara and Boeotia at the end of that war forced the Athenians to turn back to the long walls as their source of defense.

The Middle Wall

Pelopennesian War, Walls Protecting the City, 431 B.C.

During the 440's, the Athenians supplemented the existing two Long Walls with a third structure (Phase 1b).[9] This "Middle Wall" or "Southern Wall" was built to mirror the original Athens-Piraeus Wall and was constructed to be another wall connecting the city to Piraeus. There are many known possibilities for the purpose of the Middle Wall, such as: it was thought to have been built as a back-up defense in case someone penetrated the first Athens-Piraeus Wall. This was proven false however due to the construction of the wall. Its main access points were built so that it would withstand attacks only from the direction of Phaleron. After the naval challenges of 446 BC, Athens was no longer the complete dominant power of the sea, so the Middle Wall is more a backup structure for the Athens-Phaleron Wall. The distance between the two original (phase Ia) walls left a substantial amount of room for amphibious invasions along the coast, and with this new wall, Athenians could retreat within the more narrow area of the two Athens-Piraeus Walls.

Also by the time the Middle Wall was built, in the mid-fifth century, the importance of the Athenian ports had changed. Piraeus had become the principal economic and military harbor, while Phaleron had begun to lapse into obscurity. This development will have caused a re-evaluation of the fortification system which secured Athens' connection with its ships.[10]

The Peloponnesian War

Lysander has the walls of Athens demolished
Lysander has the walls of Athens demolished in 404 BC, as a conclusion to the Peloponnesian War.

In Athens' great conflict with Sparta, the Peloponnesian War of 432 BC to 404 BC, the walls came to be of paramount importance. Pericles, the leader of Athens from the start of the war until his death in 429 BC in the plague that swept Athens, based his strategy for the conflict around them. Knowing that the Spartans would attempt to draw the Athenians into a land battle by ravaging their crops, as they had in the 440s, he commanded the Athenians to remain behind the walls and rely on their navy to win the war for them. As a result, the campaigns of the first few years of the war followed a consistent pattern: The Spartans would send a land army to ravage Attica, hoping to draw the Athenians out; the Athenians would remain behind their walls, and send a fleet to sack cities and burn crops while sailing around the Peloponnese. The Athenians were successful in avoiding a land defeat, but suffered heavy losses of crops to the Peloponnesian raids, and their treasury was weakened by the expenditures on the naval expeditions and on import of grain. Furthermore, a plague ravaged the city in 430 BC and 429 BC, with its effects being worsened by the fact that the entire population of the city was concentrated inside the walls.

The Athenians continued to use the walls for protection through the first phase of the war until the seizure of Spartan hostages in 425 BC, during the Athenian victory at Pylos. After that battle, the Spartans were forced to cease their yearly invasions until 413 BC, since the Athenians threatened to kill the hostages if an invasion was launched.

In the second phase of the war, the walls again became central to the strategy of both sides. The Spartans occupied a fort at Decelea in Attica in 413 BC, and placed a force there that posed a year-round threat to Athens. In the face of this army, the Athenians could only supply the city by sea. Athens was also weakened from the disastrous conclusion of the Sicilian Expedition and began to modify their walls in the summer of 413 BC and ultimately abandoned the Athens-Phaleron Wall, focusing on the two Piraeus Walls. The Long Walls, and the access to a port that they provided, were by now the only thing protecting Athens from defeat. Realizing that they could not defeat the Athenians on land alone, the Spartans turned their attention to constructing a navy, and throughout the final phase of the war devoted themselves to trying to defeat the Athenians at sea. Their eventual success, Aegospotami, cut the Athenians off from their supply routes and forced them to surrender. One of the most important terms of this surrender was the destruction of the long walls which were dismantled in 404 BC. The peace treaty that was reached in the same year also provided the termination of Athens' naval power. Xenophon tells us that the long walls were torn down with much jubilation and to the song of flute girls.

Rebuilding of the Long Walls

Rebuilding the walls of Athens 393 BCE
The Achaemenid Satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia Pharnabazus II funded the rebuilding the walls of Athens, and provided his seamen as manpower, in 393 BC.[11]

Following their defeat in 404, the Athenians quickly regained some of their power and autonomy, and by 403 BC had overthrown the government that the Spartans had imposed on them. By 395 BC, the Athenians were strong enough to enter into the Corinthian War as co-belligerents with Argos, Corinth, and Thebes against Sparta. For the Athenians, the most significant event of this war was the rebuilding of the Long Walls. By 395 BC the rebuilding of the fortifications had begun and according to the Athenian admiral Conon, the walls had reached their final stages by 391 BC. In 394 BC, a Persian fleet under satrap Pharnabazus II and Conon decisively defeated the Spartan fleet at the Battle of Cnidus, and, following this victory, Pharnabazus sent Conon with his fleet to Athens, where it provided aid and protection as the Long Walls were rebuilt. Thus, by the end of the war, the Athenians had regained the immunity from land assault that the Spartans had taken from them at the end of the Peloponnesian War. The rebuilt walls stood for many years, unchallenged, and were never mentioned to have been incorporated in Athens' defence planning until after the 340s BC.

According to Xenophon in Hellenica:

Conon said that if he (Pharnabazus) would allow him to have the fleet, he would maintain it by contributions from the islands and would meanwhile put in at Athens and aid the Athenians in rebuilding their long walls and the wall around Piraeus, adding that he knew nothing could be a heavier blow to the Lacedaemonians than this. (...) Pharnabazus, upon hearing this, eagerly dispatched him to Athens and gave him additional money for the rebuilding of the walls. Upon his arrival Conon erected a large part of the wall, giving his own crews for the work, paying the wages of carpenters and masons, and meeting whatever other expense was necessary. There were some parts of the wall, however, which the Athenians themselves, as well as volunteers from Boeotia and from other states, aided in building.

— Xenophon Hellenica 4.8.7 4.8.8[12]

The Long Walls in the 4th Century BC

From the Corinthian War down to the final defeat of the city by Philip of Macedon, the Long Walls continued to play a central role in Athenian strategy. The Decree of Aristoteles in 377 BC reestablished an Athenian league containing many former members of the Delian League. By the middle of the 4th century, Athens was again the preeminent naval power of the Greek world, and had reestablished the supply routes that allowed it to withstand a land-based siege. The Long Walls had become obsolete and the length and location of the structures rendered them dangerously vulnerable to the advanced siege techniques of the day. The Athenians began to strengthen their urban defence systems by rebuilding the Long Walls again to be able to withstand contemporary methods of assault in 337 BC. The new walls included attributes such as substructures built of cut blocks and possibly even roofs above the walk-ways. However, the Athenians were not in the position to use the new Long Walls until Alexander the Great's death in 323 BC. By this time Athens' navy had been crushed in the Lamian War and they became subordinate to the Macedonians and the use of the Long Walls in a naval strategy was ruled out. Macedonian leaders controlled cities on both sides of the Long Walls and they had little use for these fortifications, thus the mid-fourth century Long Walls were never actually employed.[13]

Later history

The walls were still standing at the beginning of the 1st century BC. However, during the First Mithridatic War, the Siege of Athens and Piraeus (87–86 BC) was won by the Roman general Sulla and he destroyed the Long Walls.

See also


  • G.E.M. de Ste. Croix. The Origins of the Peloponnesian War. Duckworth and Co., 1972. ISBN 0-7156-0640-9
  • Fine, John V. A. The Ancient Greeks: A Critical History. Harvard University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-674-03314-0
  • Hornblower, Simon and Spawforth, Anthony ed. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-866172-X
  • Kagan, Donald. The Peloponnesian War. Penguin Books, 2003. ISBN 0-670-03211-5
  • Kagan, Donald. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. Cornell, 1969. ISBN 0-8014-9556-3
  • Conwell, David H. Connecting a City to the Sea: The History of the Athenian Long Walls. Brill NV, 2008. ISBN 978-90-04-16232-7


  1. ^ "Long Walls, the," from The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, ed.
  2. ^ Mark Cartwright (June 2, 2013). "Piraeus". Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Fine, The Ancient Greeks, 330
  4. ^ Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 1.90–91
  5. ^ Conwell, David H. Connecting a City to the Sea: The History of the Athenian Long Walls. Brill NV, 2008. ISBN 978-90-04-16232-7
  6. ^ Kagan, in The Peloponnesian War, describes the oligarchy of 411 BC as fundamentally untenable so long as the fleet remained the crucial military arm of Athens.
  7. ^ Kagan, Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, 87
  8. ^ Kagan, Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, 95
  9. ^ Conwell, Connecting a City to the Sea, 77
  10. ^ Conwell, Connecting a City to the Sea, 76
  11. ^ Smith, William (1877). A History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Roman Conquest. William Ware & Company. p. 419.
  12. ^ Xenophon. Perseus Under Philologic: Xen. 4.8.7.
  13. ^ Conwell, Connecting a City to the Sea, 158

External links

440s BC

This article concerns the period 449 BC – 440 BC.

== Events ==

=== 449 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

The Greek city-states make peace with the Persian Empire through the Peace of Callias, named after the chief Greek ambassador to the Persian Court, an Athenian who is a brother-in-law of Cimon. Athens agrees to end its support for the Egyptians rebels still holding out in parts of the Nile Delta, while the Persians agree not to send ships of war into the Aegean Sea. Athens now effectively controls all the Greek city states in Ionia.

Pericles begins a great building plan including the re-fortification of Athens main port Piraeus and its long walls extending to Athens main city.

Pericles proposes a "Congress Decree" allowing the use of 9,000 talents to finance the massive rebuilding program of Athenian temples. This leads to a meeting ("Congress") of all Greek states in order to consider the question of rebuilding the temples destroyed by the Persians. The Congress fails because of Sparta's opposition.

Pericles places the Athenian sculptor Phidias in charge of all the artistic aspects of his reconstruction program. Construction begins on the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, while the Athenian Senate commissions Callicrates to construct a temple to Athena Nike on the Acropolis.

The Second Sacred War erupts between Athens and Sparta, when Sparta forcefully detaches Delphi from Phocis and renders it independent.

====== Roman Republic ======

The Law of the Twelve Tables (developed by the Decemvirates) is formally promulgated in 450 B.C. The Twelve Tables are literally drawn up on twelve ivory tablets which are posted in the Forum Romanum so that all Romans can read and know them.

When the Decemvirate's term of office expires, the decemviri refuse to leave office or permit successors to take office. Appius Claudius Crassus is said to have made an unjust decision which would have forced a young woman named Verginia into prostitution, prompting her father to kill her. This leads to an uprising against the Decemvirate forcing the decemviri to resign their offices. The ordinary magistrates (magistratus ordinarii) are re-instituted. Appius Claudius is said to have committed suicide as a result of these events.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

Herodotus completes his History, which records the events concerning the Persian War.

=== 448 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Pericles leads the Athenian army against Delphi to restore the sanctuary of the oracle of Delphi to Phocis.

The Athenians begin constructing the middle component of the Long Walls from their main city to its port of Piraeus.

====== Rome ======

Following the co-optation of two patricians to the office of Tribune of the Plebs, the tribune Lucius Trebonius Asper introduces the Lex Trebonia, a law forbidding tribunes from co-opting their colleagues in the future.

=== 447 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Pericles leads Athenian forces in the expulsion of barbarians from the Thracian peninsula of Gallipoli, in order to establish Athenian colonists in the region. Thus Pericles starts a policy of kleruchos or "out-settlements". This is a form of colonisation where poor and unemployed people are assisted to emigrate to new regions.

A revolt breaks out in Boeotia as the oligarchs of Thebes conspire against the democratic faction in the city. The Athenians, under their general Tolmides, with 1000 hoplites plus other troops from their allies, march into Boeotia to take back the towns revolting against Athenian control. They capture Chaeronea, but are attacked and defeated by the Boeotians at Coronea. As a result, the Athenians are forced to give up control of Boeotia as well as Phocis and Locris, which all fall under the control of hostile oligarchs who quit the Delian League.

The middle component of the Long Walls from Athens to the port city of Piraeus is completed.

==== By subject ====

====== Literature ======

Achaeus of Eretria, a Greek playwright, produces his first play.

====== Architecture ======

Pericles commissions the architects Kallikrates and Iktinos to design a larger temple for the Parthenon and the construction begins on rebuilding the great temple of Athena (the Parthenon) on the Acropolis at Athens soon afterwards.

=== 446 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Achaea achieves its independence from Athens, while Euboea, crucial to Athenian control of the sea and food supplies, revolts against Athens. Pericles crosses over to Euboea with his troops.

Megara joins the revolt against Athens. The strategic importance of Megara is immediately demonstrated by the appearance, for the first time in 12 years, of a Spartan army under King Pleistoanax in Attica. The threat from the Spartan army leads Pericles to arrange, by bribery and by negotiation, that Athens will give up its mainland possessions and confine itself to a largely maritime empire.

The Spartan army retires, so Pericles crosses back to Euboea with 50 ships and 5,000 soldiers, cracking down any opposition. He punishes the landowners of Chalcis, who lose their properties, while the residents of Histiaea are uprooted and replaced by 2,000 Athenian settlers.

After hearing that the Spartan army had accepted bribes from Pericles, Pleistoanax, the King of Sparta, is impeached by the citizens of Sparta, but flees to exile in Arcadia. His military adviser, Cleandridas also flees and is condemned to death in his absence.

====== Sicily ======

Ducetius, the Hellenised leader of the Siculi, an ancient people of Sicily, returns from exile in Corinth to Sicily and colonises Cale Acte on the north coast with Greek and Siculi settlers.

Acragas declares war on Syracuse because of the return of Ducetius and is defeated by Syracuse in the Battle of the Himera River.

====== Roman Republic ======

In the Battle of Corbione, Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus leads Roman troops to a victory over the Aequi of north-east Latium and the Volsci of southern Latium.

=== 445 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Pericles, concerned over the draining effect of years of war on Athenian manpower, looks for peace with the support of the Assembly. Athenian diplomat, Callias, goes to Sparta and after much bargaining arranges a peace treaty with Sparta and her Peloponnesian allies, thus extending the 5 years truce of 451 BC for another 30 years. According to this treaty, Megara is to be returned to the Peloponnesian League, Troezen and Achaea become independent, Aegina is to become a tributary to Athens but autonomous, and disputes are to be settled by arbitration. Each party agrees to respect the alliances of the other.

The Temple of Poseidon is completed south of Athens at Cape Sunion.

====== Roman Republic ======

A new law, the Lex Canuleia removes the ban on inter-marriage of the Roman classes, i.e. plebeian with patrician.

The Plebeians demand the right to stand for election as consul but the Roman senate refused to grant them this right. Ultimately, a compromise is reached, and consular command authority is granted to Consular Tribunes ("Military Tribunes with Consular powers" or tribuni militares consulari potestate).

=== 444 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

The conservative and democratic factions in Athens confront each other. The ambitious new leader of the conservatives, Thucydides, accuses the leader of the democratic faction, Pericles, of profligacy and criticises the way Pericles is spending money on his ambitious building plans for the city. Thucydides manages, initially, to gain the support of the ecclesia. Pericles responds by proposing to reimburse the city for all the expenses from his private property, on the condition that he would make the inscriptions of dedication in his own name. His stance is supported by the ecclesia, so Thucydides' efforts to dislodge Pericles from power are defeated.

====== Persian empire ======

Nehemiah, the Jewish cupbearer to Artaxerxes I at Susa, is given permission by Artaxerxes to return to Jerusalem as governor of Judea, in order to rebuild parts of it.

=== 443 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Republic ======

No consuls are elected in Rome, but rather military tribunes with consular power are appointed in their stead. While only patricians could be consuls, some military tribunes were plebeians. These positions had responsibility for the census, a vital function in the financial administration of Rome. So to stop the plebeians from possibly gaining control of the census, the patricians remove from the consuls and tribunes the right to take the census, and rather entrust it to two magistrates, called censores who were to be chosen exclusively from the patricians in Rome.

====== Italy ======

Pericles founds the colony of Thurii near the site of the former city of Sybaris, in southern Italy. Its colonists include Herodotus and Lysias.

=== 442 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

As a result of his failure to effectively challenge Pericles, the Athenian citizens ostracise Thucydides for 10 years and Pericles is once again unchallenged in Athenian politics.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

Sophocles writes Antigone.

=== 441 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== China ======

Zhou ai wang becomes King of the Zhou Dynasty of China but dies before the year's end, to be succeeded by Zhou si wang.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

The Greek playwright, Euripides, wins his first victory in a dramatic festival.

The Greek playwright Sophocles writes Antigone.

=== 440 BC ===

==== By place ====

====== Greece ======

Samos, an autonomous member of the Delian League and one of Athens' principal allies with a substantial fleet of its own, quarrels with Miletus and appeals to Athens for assistance. Pericles decides in favour of Miletus, so Samos revolts. Pericles then sails to Samos with a fleet to overthrow its oligarchic government and install a democratic one. Sparta threatens to interfere. However, at a congress of the Peloponnesian League, its members vote not to intervene on behalf of Samos against Athens.

====== Roman Republic ======

A famine strikes in Rome.

====== China ======

Zhou Kao Wang becomes King of the Zhou Dynasty of China.

==== By topic ====

====== Physics ======

Democritus proposes the existence of indivisible particles, which he calls atoms.

====== Art ======

Polykleitos completes one of his greatest statues, the Doryphorus (The Spear Bearer) (approximate date).

The stela, Demeter, Persephone and Triptolemos, from Eleusis, is made (approximate date). It is now kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

A temple for Poseidon is erected in Sounion.

Agis II

Agis II (Greek: Ἄγις; died c. 401 BC) was the 18th Eurypontid king of Sparta, the eldest son of Archidamus II by his first wife, and half-brother of Agesilaus II. He ruled with his Agiad co-monarch Pausanias.Agis succeeded his father Archidamus II in 427 BC, and reigned a little more than 26 years. In the summer of 426 BC, he led an army of Peloponnesians and their allies as far as the isthmus, with the intention of invading Attica; but they were deterred from advancing farther by a succession of earthquakes. In the spring of the following year he led an army into Attica, but ceased his advance fifteen days after he had entered Attica. In 419 BC, the Argives, at the instigation of Alcibiades, attacked Epidaurus; and Agis with a large force from Lacedaemon set out and marched to the frontier city of Leuctra. No one, Thucydides tells us, knew the purpose of this expedition. It was probably to make a diversion in favour of Epidaurus.At Leuctra the unfavourable outcome of various sacrifices deterred Agis from proceeding. He therefore led his troops back, and sent around a notice to the allies to be ready for an expedition at the end of the sacred month of the Carnean festival. When the Argives repeated their attack on Epidaurus, the Spartans again marched to the frontier town, Caryae, and again turned back, supposedly on account of the aspect of the victims. In the middle of the following summer of 418 BC the Epidaurians being still hard pressed by the Argives, the Lacedaemonians with their whole force and some allies, under the command of Agis, invaded Argolis. By a skilful manoeuvre he succeeded in intercepting the Argives, and posted his army advantageously between them and the city. But just as the battle was about to begin, the Argive generals Thrasyllus and Alciphron met with Agis and prevailed on him to conclude a truce for four months.

Agis, without disclosing his motives, pulled his army back. On his return he was severely censured in Sparta for having thus thrown away the opportunity of reducing Argos, especially as the Argives had seized the opportunity afforded by his return and taken Orchomenus. It was proposed to pull down his house, and inflict on him a fine of 100,000 drachmas. But on his earnest entreaty they contented themselves with appointing a council of war, consisting of 10 Spartans, who needed to be present before he could lead an army out of the city. Shortly afterwards they received intelligence from Tegea, that, if not promptly reinforced, the party favourable to Sparta in that city would be compelled to surrender. The Spartans immediately sent their whole force under the command of Agis. He restored stability at Tegea, and then marched to Mantineia. By turning the waters to flood the lands of Mantineia, he succeeded in drawing the army of the Mantineans and Athenians down to the level ground. A battle ensued, in which the Spartans were victorious. The Battle of Mantinea was reckoned one of the most important battles ever fought between the Grecian states.In 417 BC, when the news reached Sparta of the counter-revolution at Argos, in which the oligarchical and Spartan faction was overthrown, an army was sent there under Agis. He was unable to restore the defeated party, but he destroyed the long walls which the Argives had begun to extend down to the sea, and took Hysiae. In the spring of 413 BC, Agis entered Attica with a Peloponnesian army, and fortified Decelea; and in the winter of the same year, after the news of the disastrous fate of the Sicilian expedition had reached Greece, he marched northwards to levy contributions on the allies of Sparta, for the purpose of constructing a fleet. While at Decelea he acted largely independent of the Spartan government, and received embassies from the disaffected allies of the Athenians, as from the Boeotians and other allies of Sparta. He seems to have remained at Decelea until the end of the Peloponnesian War. In 411 BC, during the administration of the Four Hundred, he made an unsuccessful attempt on Athens itself. Afterwards the focus of the Peloponnesian War shifted to Asia Minor, and Lysander assumed a greater role in the siege of Athens. After victory was secured, Agis voted to charge his Agiad co-monarch Pausanias with treason, but Pausanias was acquitted.In 401 BC, the command of the war against the notoriously disloyal Elis was entrusted to Agis, who in the third year compelled the Eleans to sue for peace, acknowledge the freedom of their Perioeci (Triphylians and others), and allow Spartans to take part in the Olympic Games and sacrifices. As he was returning from Delphi, where he had gone to consecrate a tenth of the spoil, he fell sick at Heraea in Arcadia, and died a few days after he reached Sparta. He was buried in Sparta, with unparalleled solemnity and pomp.Agis left a son, Leotychides. However, he was excluded from the throne, as there was some suspicion with regard to his legitimacy. A common legend states that while Alcibiades was in Sparta, Agis II suspected that Alcibiades had slept with his queen, Timaea (and that Alcidbiades had fathered Leotychides). It was probably at the suggestion of Agis that orders were sent out to Astyochus to put him to death. Alcibiades, however, received warning (according to some accounts from Timaea herself), and evaded the Spartans. However, others claim that, judging from the sources, Leotychides was a man at the time of Agis' death, and Alcibiades as his father was a later replacement for a now unknown lover.

Anastasian Wall

The Anastasian Wall (Greek: Ἀναστάσειον Τεῖχος, Turkish: Anastasius Suru) or the Long Walls of Thrace (Greek: Μακρὰ Τείχη τῆς Θράκης, Turkish: Uzun Duvar) is an ancient stone and turf fortification located 64 km (40 mi) west of Istanbul, Turkey, built by the Eastern Roman Empire during the late 5th century.

Battle of Potidaea

The Battle of Potidaea was, with the Battle of Sybota, one of the catalysts for the Peloponnesian War. It was fought near Potidaea in 432 BC between Athens and a combined army from Corinth and Potidaea, along with their various allies.

Potidaea was a colony of Corinth on the Chalcidice peninsula, but was a member of the Delian League and paid tribute to Athens. After Sybota, Athens demanded that Potidaea pull down part of its walls, expel Corinthian ambassadors and send hostages to Athens. Athens was afraid that Potidaea would revolt due to Corinthian or Macedonian influence, as Perdiccas II of Macedon was encouraging revolts among Athens' other allies in Thrace.

Athens gathered a fleet of 30 ships and 1,000 hoplites under the overall command of Archestratus, which was originally meant to fight Perdiccas in Macedonia, but was diverted to Potidaea. The Potidaeans sent ambassadors to Athens and Sparta, and when negotiations broke down in Athens, Sparta promised to help Potidaea revolt. The Athenian fleet sailed for Potidaea, but when it arrived, Archestratus attacked the Macedonians instead, as the Potidaeans had already revolted and allied with Perdiccas. Corinth sent 1,600 hoplites and 400 light troops to Potidaea as well, under the command of Aristeus, but as "volunteers", thus hoping not to provoke a larger war. In response, Athens sent out another 2,000 hoplites and 40 more ships, under the command of Callias. After some fighting against Perdiccas, the combined Athenian forces sailed to Potidaea and landed there. Perdiccas and 200 of his cavalry joined with Aristeus, and their combined army marched to Potidaea.

In the ensuing battle, Aristeus' wing of Corinthian troops defeated a section of the Athenian line, but elsewhere the Athenians were victorious. Aristeus returned to Potidaea along the sea coast with some difficulty, hoping to avoid the main Athenian army. A reserve force of Potidaeans, located in nearby Olynthus, attempted to relieve Aristeus, but they were also defeated. The Corinthians and Potidaeans lost about 300 men, and the Athenians about 150, including Callias. The Macedonian cavalry did not join the battle.

The Athenians remained outside Potidaea for some time, and were reinforced by another 1,600 hoplites under the command of Phormio. Both sides built walls and counter-walls, and the Athenians succeeded in cutting off Potidaea from the sea with a naval blockade. During the blockade, representatives from Corinth, Athens and Sparta met in Sparta, resulting in a formal declaration of war.However, this siege, which lasted until 430/429 BC, seriously depleted the Athenian treasury, with as much as 1,000 talents per year required for the military activity. This was not popular with the Athenians, and in combination with the plague that swept through Athens in the early 420s BC, made the continued leadership of Pericles untenable. The Periclean strategy of hiding behind the Long Walls and relying on the low cash reserves of the Peloponnesians was starting to become unfavourable to the greater Athenian consciousness.In several of Plato's dialogues, the philosopher Socrates is revealed to be a veteran of the Battle of Potidaea, where he saved the life of Alcibiades (Symposium 219e-221b).

City walls of Athens

The city of Athens, capital of modern Greece, has had different sets of city walls from the Bronze Age to the early 19th century. The city walls of Athens include:

the Mycenaean Cyclopean fortifications of the Acropolis of Athens

the Pelasgic wall at the foot of the Acropolis

the so-called "Archaic Wall", whose existence and course are debated by scholars

the Themistoclean Wall, built in 479 BC, the main city wall during Antiquity, restored and rebuilt several times (under Conon, Demosthenes, Demetrios Poliorketes, etc.)

the Long Walls, built in the 460s and 440s BC, connecting Athens with its ports at Piraeus and Phaleron

the Protocheisma, a second wall built in front of the Themistoclean Wall in 338 BC as an extra defence against the Macedonians

the Diateichisma, built in the 280s BC as a second line of defence against Macedonian-held Piraeus

the Valerian Wall, built in ca. 260 AD, partly along the lines of older walls, partly as a new fortification, to protect the city against barbarian attacks

the Herulian Wall, a much smaller circuit built in c. 280 AD, enclosing the very centre of the ancient city following its sack by the Heruli in 267 AD

the Rizokastro, built in the 11th/12th century around the Acropolis

the Wall of Haseki, constructed in 1778 by the Ottoman governor of Athens, Hadji Ali Haseki

Classical Athens

The city of Athens (Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, Athênai [a.tʰɛ̂ː.nai̯]; Modern Greek: Αθήναι Athine [a.ˈθi.ne̞] or, more commonly and in singular, Αθήνα Athina [a.'θi.na]) during the classical period of Ancient Greece (480–323 BC) was the major urban center of the notable polis (city-state) of the same name, located in Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Isagoras. This system remained remarkably stable, and with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC (aftermath of Lamian War). The peak of Athenian hegemony was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the Age of Pericles.

In the classical period, Athens was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Plato, Pericles, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then-known European continent.

Cycladic culture

Cycladic culture (also known as Cycladic civilisation or, chronologically, as Cycladic chronology) was a Bronze Age culture (c. 3200–c. 1050 BC) found throughout the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In chronological terms, it is a relative dating system for artefacts which broadly complements Helladic chronology (mainland Greece) and Minoan chronology (Crete) during the same period of time.

Delian League

The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Second Persian invasion of Greece. The League's modern name derives from its official meeting place, the island of Delos, where congresses were held in the temple and where the treasury stood until, in a symbolic gesture, Pericles moved it to Athens in 454 BC.Shortly after its inception, Athens began to use the League's navy for its own purposes – which led to its naming by historians as the Athenian Empire. This behavior frequently led to conflict between Athens and the less powerful members of the League. By 431 BC, Athens's heavy-handed control of the Delian League prompted the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War; the League was dissolved upon the war's conclusion in 404 BC under the direction of Lysander, the Spartan commander.

First Peloponnesian War

The First Peloponnesian War (460–445 BC) was fought between Sparta as the leaders of the Peloponnesian League and Sparta's other allies, most notably Thebes, and the Delian League led by Athens with support from Argos. This war consisted of a series of conflicts and minor wars, such as the Second Sacred War. There were several causes for the war including the building of the Athenian long walls, Megara's defection and the envy and concern felt by Sparta at the growth of the Athenian Empire.

The First Peloponnesian War began in 460 BC with the Battle of Oenoe, where Spartan forces were defeated by those of Athenian-Argive alliance. At first the Athenians had the better of the fighting, winning the naval engagements using their superior fleet. They also had the better of the fighting on land, until 457 BC when the Spartans and their allies defeated the Athenian army at Tanagra. The Athenians, however, counterattacked and scored a crushing victory over the Boeotians at the Battle of Oenophyta and followed this victory up by conquering all of Boeotia except for Thebes.

Athens further consolidated their position by making Aegina a member of the Delian League and by ravaging the Peloponnese. The Athenians were defeated in 454 BC by the Persians in Egypt which caused them to enter into a five years' truce with Sparta. However, the war flared up again in 448 BC with the start of the Second Sacred War. In 446 BC, Boeotia revolted and defeated the Athenians at Coronea and regained their independence.

The First Peloponnesian War ended in an arrangement between Sparta and Athens, which was ratified by the Thirty Years' Peace (winter of 446–445 BC). According to the provisions of this peace treaty, both sides maintained the main parts of their empires. Athens continued its domination of the sea while Sparta dominated the land. Megara returned to the Peloponnesian League and Aegina became a tribute-paying but autonomous member of the Delian League. The war between the two leagues restarted in 431 BC, leading to the Second Peloponnesian War. It ended with a conclusive Spartan victory, where, in 404 BC, Athens was occupied by Sparta.

Fortifications of Derbent

The Fortifications of Derbent are one of the fortified defense lines built by the Sasanian Empire to protect the eastern passage of the Caucasus Mountains (the "Caspian Gates") against the attacks of the nomadic peoples of the Pontic–Caspian steppe. Built in the 6th century and maintained by various later regimes, the fortifications comprise three distinct elements: the citadel of Naryn-Kala at Derbent, the twin long walls connecting it with the Caspian Sea in the east, and the "mountain wall" of Dagh-Bary, running from Derbent to the Caucasus foothills in the west. The fortification complex was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

Hippocrates of Athens

Hippocrates of Athens (Greek: Ἱπποκράτης, Hippokrátēs; c. 459 – 424 BC), the son of Ariphron, was a strategos of the Athenians in 424 BC, serving alongside Demosthenes.

Hippocrates and Demosthenes set out from Athens to seize the long walls of Megara (which connected the city with its port Nisaea). They were unable to gain entrance into the city but they were successful after a short siege. When the Spartan general Brasidas arrived, they were compelled to withdraw, but then invaded Boeotia in a three-pronged attack. Hippocrates was given command of the land force that was to take Delium and he succeeded in doing so and fortifying a garrison there.

While marching back towards Athens with his soldiers, the Boeotians arrived. A battle, known as the Battle of Delium, took place between the Athenians and the Boeotians, between Delium and Oropus. The Athenians were clearly defeated. Hippocrates died near the beginning of the battle and nearly a thousand Athenians were slain alongside him. Only nightfall prevented further losses. After a siege of seventeen days, Delium fell to the Boeotians and at that point the bodies of Hippocrates and the other men were returned to the Athenians.


Lechaeum or Lechaion (Ancient Greek: τὸ Λεχαῖον), also called Lecheae and Lecheum, was the port in ancient Corinthia on the Corinthian Gulf connected with the city of Corinth by means of the Long Walls, 12 stadia in length. The Long Walls ran nearly due north, so that the wall on the right hand was called the eastern, and the one on the left hand the western or Sicyonian. The space between them must have been considerable; since there was sufficient space for an army to be drawn up for battle. Indeed, the area was the scene of battles between Sparta and Athens in 391 BCE, leaving Spartans in command of Lechaeum, which they garrisoned with their troops (see Battle of Lechaeum).The flat country between Corinth and Lechaeum is composed only of the sand washed up by the sea; and the port must have been originally artificial, though it was no doubt rendered both spacious and convenient by the wealthy Corinthians. Lechaeum was the chief station of the Corinthian ships of war; and during the occupation of Corinth by the Macedonians, it was one of the stations of the royal fleet. It was also the emporium of the traffic with the western parts of Greece, and with Italy and Sicily. The proximity of Lechaeum to Corinth prevented it from becoming an important town like Piraeus. The only public buildings in the place mentioned by Pausanias, who visited in the 2nd century, was a temple of Poseidon, who is hence called Lechaeus by Callimachus. The temple of the Olympian Zeus was probably situated upon the low ground between Corinth and the shore of Lechaeum.Its site is located near the modern village of Lechaio.

List of aqueducts in the Roman Empire

This is a list of aqueducts in the Roman Empire. For a more complete list of known and possible Roman aqueducts and their bridges see List of Roman bridges.

Long Wall

Long walls were ancient Greek defensive structures between cities and ports, especially the Long Walls linking Athens to Piraeus and Phalerum.

Long Wall may also refer to:

Anastasian Wall

Long Wall (Thracian Chersonese)

Long Wall of China, officially known as the Great Wall

Long Wall of Vietnam

Long Wall of Korea, built by Goryeo

Longwall mining, an underground mining technique

Andram, meaning 'long wall', a line of hills in J. R. R. Tolkien's stories of Middle-earth

Mani stone

Mani stones are stone plates, rocks and/or pebbles, inscribed with the six syllabled mantra of Avalokiteshvara (Om mani padme hum, hence the name "Mani stone"), as a form of prayer in Tibetan Buddhism. The term Mani stone may also be used in a loose sense to refer to stones on which any mantra or devotional designs (such as ashtamangala) are inscribed. Mani stones are intentionally placed along the roadsides and rivers or placed together to form mounds or cairns or sometimes long walls, as an offering to spirits of place or genius loci. Creating and carving mani stones as devotional or intentional process art is a traditional sadhana of piety to yidam. Mani stones are a form of devotional cintamani.


Nisaea or Nisaia (Ancient Greek: Νίσαια or Νισαία) was the main port of ancient Megara; the port was sheltered by a natural island called Minoa. According to Thucydides, the distance of the port from Megara itself was about eight Greek stadia. On the road between Megara and Nisaea was a temple of Demeter Malophorus.

In one of the foundation myths of Megara, which was preserved by the Boeotians and adopted by the rest of Greece, Nisaea's prior name was Nisa, which name was also applied to Megara itself. In the reign of Pylas, Pandion II being expelled from Athens by the Metionidae, fled to Megara, married the daughter of Pylas, and succeeded his father-in-law in the kingdom. The Metionidae were in their turn driven out of Athens; and when the dominions of Pandion were divided among his four sons, Nisus, the youngest, obtained Megaris. The city was called after him Nisa, and the same name was given to the port-town which he built. When Minos attacked Nisus, Megareus, son of Poseidon, came from Onchestus in Boeotia to assist the latter, and was buried in the city, which was called after him Megara. The name of Nisa, subsequently Nisaea, was henceforth confined to the port-town. But even the inhabitants of Megara were sometimes called Nisaei, to distinguish them from the Megarians of Sicily, their colonists.The Athenians were allies of Megara beginning c. 459 BCE, and built two long walls connecting Megara with Nisaea. But ten years afterwards the Megarians revolted from Athens, and having obtained the assistance of some Peloponnesian troops, they slew the Athenian garrison, with the exception of those who escaped into Nisaea. The Athenians continued to hold Nisaea, but also surrendered it in the thirty years' truce made in the same year (445 BCE) with Sparta and her allies. In the first year of the Peloponnesian War (431 BCE), the Athenians invaded Megaris with a very large force, and laid waste the whole territory up to the city walls. At the same time the Athenian fleet blockaded the harbour of Nisaea. In the fifth year of the war (427 BCE), the Athenians under Nicias took possession of the island of Minoa thereby more effectively blockading Nisaea. In the eighth year of the war (424 BCE), the long walls were breached and Nisaea fell to the Athenians after a siege of two days. The walls were rebuilt in the fourth century BCE by Phocion and were still extant in Strabo's time.

The site of Nisaea is located near modern Pachi.


In the culture of ancient Greece, the term paideia (also spelled paedeia) (; Greek: παιδεία, paideía) referred to the rearing and education of the ideal member of the polis. It incorporated both practical, subject-based schooling and a focus upon the socialization of individuals within the aristocratic order of the polis. The practical aspects of this education included subjects subsumed under the modern designation of the liberal arts (rhetoric, grammar, and philosophy are examples), as well as scientific disciplines like arithmetic and medicine. An ideal and successful member of the polis would possess intellectual, moral and physical refinement, so training in gymnastics and wrestling was valued for its effect on the body alongside the moral education which the Greeks believed was imparted by the study of music, poetry, and philosophy. This approach to the rearing of a well-rounded Greek male was common to the Greek-speaking world, with the exception of Sparta where a rigid and militaristic form of education known as the agoge was practiced.

Pharnabazus II

Pharnabazus II (ruled 413-374 BC) was a Persian soldier and statesman, and Satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia. He was the son of Pharnaces II of Phrygia and grandson of Pharnabazus I, and great-grandson of Artabazus I. He and his male ancestors, forming the Pharnacid dynasty, had governed the satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia from its headquarters at Dascylium since 478 BC. He married Apama, daughter of Artaxerxes II of Persia, and their son Artabazus was likewise a satrap of Phrygia. His grand-daughter Barsine married Alexander the Great.According to research by Theodor Nöldeke, he was descended from Otanes, one of the associates of Darius in the murder of Smerdis.


Piraeus (; Greek: Πειραιάς Respire [pireˈas], Ancient Greek: Πειραιεύς, Prairies, pronounced [peːrai̯eús]) is a port city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens urban area, 12 kilometres (7 miles) southwest from its city centre (municipality of Athens), and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf.

According to the 2011 census, Piraeus had a population of 163,688 people within its administrative limits, making it the fourth largest municipality in Greece and the second largest within the urban area of the Greek capital, following the municipality of Athens. The municipality of Piraeus and several other suburban municipalities within the regional unit of Piraeus form the greater Piraeus area, with a total population of 448,997.

Piraeus has a long recorded history, dating to ancient Greece. The city was founded in the early 5th century BC, when this area was selected to become the new port of classical Athens and was built as a prototype harbor, concentrating all the import and transit trade of Athens. During the Golden Age of Athens the Long Walls were constructed to fortify Athens and its port (Piraeus). Consequently, it became the chief harbor of ancient Greece, but declined gradually after the 4th century AD, growing once more in the 19th century, after Athens' declaration as the capital of Greece. In the modern era, Piraeus is a large city, bustling with activity and an integral part of Athens, acting as home to the country's biggest harbor and bearing all the characteristics of a huge marine and commercial-industrial center.

The port of Piraeus is the chief port in Greece, the largest passenger port in Europe and the second largest in the world, servicing about 20 million passengers annually. With a throughput of 1.4 million TEUs, Piraeus is placed among the top ten ports in container traffic in Europe and the top container port in the Eastern Mediterranean. The city hosted events in both the 1896 and 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens. The University of Piraeus is one of the largest universities in Greece.

Major landmarks of Athens

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