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The end of the war

The aggressive Spartan commander Lysander1 ultimately doomed Athenian hopes in the war by using Persian money to rebuild the Spartan fleet and by ensuring that it was well led. When in 406 he inflicted a defeat on an Athenian fleet at Notion2, near Ephesus on the Anatolian coast, Alcibiades, who had not been present but was held to have been reponsible for the safety of the Athenian forces,3 was forced into exile for the last time. The Athenian fleet nevertheless won a victory off the islands of Arginusai4, south of the island of Lesbos, later in 406, but a storm prevented the rescue of the crews of wrecked ships. The Athenian commanders were condemned to death for alleged negligence in a mass trial at Athens that contradicted the normal guarantee of individual trials. Once again the assembly rejected a Spartan offer of peace on the basis of the status quo. Lysander thereupon secured more Persian funds, strengthened the Spartan naval forces still further, and decisively eliminated the Athenian fleet in 405 in a battle at Aegospotami,5 near Lampsacus on the coast of Anatolia. He subsequently blockaded Athens and finally compelled Athens to surrender in 404 B.C.6 After twenty-seven years of near-continuous war, the Athenians were at the mercy of their enemies.

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Notium (1)

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