The Peloponnesian War was actually a series of conflicts loosely ranging from 434 to 404 BCE, with two major groups fighting for control of ancient Greece.
Contemporary Greece was a hot, bubbling cauldron of nascent civilization.
Athens was a placid but deeply intellectual democracy where an assembly of male citizens could vote on civil procedures.
Sparta, however, had the world's toughest army. Its male citizens were groomed for the military from birth and did little but train and fight.
Trouble started when Athens aligned itself with Corcyra, a Corinthian colony that was controlled by Sparta.
Sparta accused Athens of aggressive imperialism. Aggressive imperialism!
Then in the spring of 431, a Spartan ally, Thebes, attacked an Athenian ally, Plataea. The war was ON.
Next, things got a little complicated.
The war raged on. Pericles, the Athenian commander, was ultimately thrown off by one fatal blunder...
Even with a limping Athens, there was more fighting back and forth. The Spartans attacked Athenian bases and Lesbos, and Athens hammered back at Syracuse and Mytilene.
Yet, Athens was proving to be a weak match for Sparta's impeccably trained and brutal army.