The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of Thebes, Athens, Corinth and Argos, backed by the Achaemenid Empire. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which Thebes and Sparta intervened. The deeper cause was hostility towards Sparta, provoked by that city's "expansionism in Asia Minor, central and northern Greece and even the west". The Corinthian War followed the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), in which Sparta had achieved hegemony over Athens and its allies.
|Part of the Spartan hegemony|
Athenian cavalryman Dexileos fighting a Peloponnesian hoplite in heroic nudity, in the Corinthian War. Dexileos was killed in action near Corinth in the summer of 394 BC, probably in the Battle of Nemea, or in a proximate engagement. Grave Stele of Dexileos, 394–393 BC.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Agesilaus and pro-Sparta Peloponnesian leaders||
Pro-Athens Greek leaders|
Artaxerxes II (Persia)
The war was fought on two fronts, on land near Corinth (hence the name) and Thebes and at sea in the Aegean. On land, the Spartans achieved several early successes in major battles, but were unable to capitalize on their advantage, and the fighting soon became stalemated. At sea, the Spartan fleet was decisively defeated early in the war by an Achaemenid fleet allied with Athens, an event that effectively ended Sparta's attempts to become a naval power. Taking advantage of this fact, Athens launched several naval campaigns in the later years of the war, recapturing a number of islands that had been part of the original Delian League during the 5th century BC.
Alarmed by these Athenian successes towards the end of the conflict, the Persians stopped backing the allies and began supporting Sparta. This defection forced the allies to seek peace. The King's Peace, also known as the Peace of Antalcidas, was signed in 387 BC, ending the war. This treaty declared that Persia would control all of Ionia, and proclaimed that all other Greek cities would be "autonomous" (αὐτονόμους), in effect prohibiting Greek cities from forming leagues, alliances or coalitions. Sparta was to be the guardian of the peace, with the power to enforce its clauses. The effects of the war, therefore, were to establish Persia's ability to interfere successfully in Greek politics, to atomize and isolate from one another Greek city states, and to affirm Sparta's hegemonic position in the Greek political system.