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The Classical Age
Guide: Greece at War

This collection of resources explores two defining conflicts in the history of ancient Greece: the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars. First-hand narratives and documents provide an in-depth look at the causes of these wars, as well as their consequences for the Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Geography impacts a civilization's ability to communicate and unify
  • Centralization allows for culture to flourish and disseminate
  • Oral history and tradition perpetuate cultural norms and religion
  • Societal celebrations and norms can glorify and support warfare
  • Political structure influences the economic stratification of a society
  • Democratic systems value the rights and opinions of citizens
  • Internal rivalry leads to competitive rather than collaborative systems
  • Art and architecture depict society's values and histories
  • Philosophy, or the love of wisdom, contributes to the betterment of society through academic research, reasoning, and discovery
  • Strong leadership leads to success of political and military campaigns
  • Cultural diffusion can lead to romanticism of past civilizations and culture

Key Questions

  • How did Greek citizens participate in warfare? Why was it important for the citizens of city-states to provide military service?
  • How did the Greek city-states respond to the Persian invasions? Why is the Greek victory over Persia considered so remarkable?
  • How did the Persian Wars change Athens's status among the other Greek city-states? How might this have contributed to the start of the Peloponnesian War?
  • How did the outcome of the Peloponnesian War affect both Athens and Sparta? What was the long-term effect for the Greek city-states in general?


  1. Overview: Greece at War
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Greek Citizen Soldiers
  6. Lesson: 2-Persian Wars
  7. Lesson: 3-Peloponnesian War
  8. Lesson: Closing
  9. Glossary Terms: phalanx
  10. Reference Articles: Delian League
  11. Reference Articles: Hoplites
  12. Reference Articles: Peloponnesian War
  13. Reference Articles: Persian Wars
  14. Reference Articles: Athens
  15. Cultural Documents: Xenophon: on whether war is ever profitable
  16. Letters & Narratives: Thucydides: Melian Dialogue (ca. 416 BCE)
  17. Speeches: Pericles: Funeral Oration (ca. 430 BCE)

MLA Citation

"Greece at War." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2158361?cid=256. Accessed 21 Jan. 2020.

Entry ID: 2158361

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