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The Battle of Amphipolis was a battle of the Peloponnesian War, fought between Sparta and Athens at Amphipolis, Makedonia in 422 BCE.

Capture of Amphipolis

In the winter of 424 BCE, the Spartan commander Brasidas approached Amphipolis, an Athenian colony in Thrace on the Strymon river. He appealed to the residents unhappy under Athenian rule, for cooperation and was able to capture the colony without any bloodshed.[1] By the time the Athenians received news of Amphipolis' capture and sent Thucydides to defend it, it was already too late. In the time it took for Thucydides to arrive, Brasidas had gathered allies from nearby poleis to repel the Athenian "tyranny". The Athenians were then unable to retake Amphipolis. For the loss of Amphipolis, Athens held Thucydides responsible and exiled him.[2]

Armistice of 423 BCE

Despite Brasidas' victory, Sparta would not send him reinforcements. So Brasidas was forced to enter a truce with Athens to hold the ground he'd gained.[2] The Athenian politician Nicias and Sparta wished to come to a peaceful resolution. However the Athenian statesmen and general Kleon wished to continue fighting. The indecisiveness lasted until 422 BCE, when Kleon was elected as one of Athens' strategists. He then had the city fight for Amphipolis, and the truce ended.[3]

Second Battle of Amphipolis

Kleon had sent for reinforcements from Thrace and Makedonia.[3] Ready to fight, the Athenian soldiers soon began to waver at Kleon's hesitance to attack, calling him soft and incompetent, unlike their Spartan opponent Brasidas. Kleon soon grew impatient and started the attack without waiting for his reinforcements to arrive. Scouting forward, Kleon was surprised to find the city completely defenseless. However, this perceived lack of protection was only an illusion.[4]

Brasidas positioned his men in a nearby wooden area to have a view of the Athenian camp. He had planned on performing a two pronged attack, due to the Athenians' numerical superiority. In the meantime they also reoccupied Amphipolis. However, before his plan could be set into motion, the Athenian's retreated back to Eion Port. Kleon's cowardly display assured Brasidas that their victory was inevitable.[5]

Meanwhile Kleon, seeing the Spartans reoccupy Amphipolis, had retreated to wait for his reinforcements again. But his men, confused at his contradictory orders, were in disarray. Taking advantage of the confusion, Brasidas began his attack.[6]

During the battle, Brasidas was killed by Deimos, an agent of the Cult of Kosmos who was supporting Kleon's Delian League. Shortly thereafter, Kleon himself was killed by Kassandra, after he shot an arrow in Deimos' back.[7]

Aftermath

After the battle, hostility between Sparta and Athens was diminished. The Athenian army returned to Piraeus, while Sparta recalled the reinforcements they had sent for Brasidas. The deaths of two of their great leaders encouraged the two poleis to push for peace. A treaty for peace was brought forth by Nicias, and soon after Sparta and Athens put aside their differences. However, the peace was not permanent. Although the treaty called for fifty years of peace, the treaty was broken within a decade.[8]

Trivia

  • Historically Kleon was killed by a Thracian soldier, while Brasidas survived his mortal wound long enough to be taken back to Amphipolis and informed of their victory.[9]

Appearances

References

  1. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – The Triumph of Brasidas
  2. 2.0 2.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – The Shame of Thucydides
  3. 3.0 3.1 Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – Eion Port
  4. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – Kleon's Strategy
  5. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – Brasidas' Defense
  6. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – Kleon's Retreat
  7. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyWe Will Rise
  8. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – The Fifty-Year Peace
  9. Discovery Tour: Ancient Greece – "Battle of Amphipolis" – Unexpected Attack

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