The Landmark Thucydides 2.47 To 2.103

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The Landmark Thucydides Quizzes & Trivia

A 12-question quiz on The History of the Peloponnesian War, based on The Landmark Thucydides and covering the second and third years of the war.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    What event significantly weakened Athens during the summer of the war's second year?

    • A.

      The Spartans sunk half the Athenian navy.

    • B.

      The Spartans invaded Attica with two-thirds of their forces

    • C.

      A plague ravaged the city.

    • D.

      A great fire burned down almost half of the city.

    Correct Answer
    C. A plague ravaged the city.
    Explanation
    During the summer of the war's second year, Athens was significantly weakened by a plague that ravaged the city. This plague caused a high death toll among the Athenian population, including many soldiers, which weakened their military strength. It also led to a decline in morale and disrupted the city's infrastructure and resources. As a result, Athens faced significant challenges in continuing the war effort and maintaining its position of power.

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  • 2. 

    How did the people of Athens respond to the plague?

    • A.

      They turned to the goddess Athena in the hopes of ending the plague and became intensely religious.

    • B.

      They sought pleasure with no respect for honor, law, or the gods.

    • C.

      They developed advanced medical technologies that gave them a military advantage.

    • D.

      They fled the city for the countryside.

    Correct Answer
    B. They sought pleasure with no respect for honor, law, or the gods.
    Explanation
    During the plague in Athens, the people responded by seeking pleasure without regard for honor, law, or the gods. This suggests that in the face of a devastating epidemic, the Athenians abandoned their usual moral and religious values and instead indulged in hedonistic behaviors as a coping mechanism. This response reflects a sense of despair and desperation among the people, as they turned to immediate gratification and disregarded societal norms and beliefs.

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  • 3. 

    What did Athens do after the second invasion of Attica by the Peloponnesians?

    • A.

      They sent ambassadors to Sparta in order to seek a peace settlement.

    • B.

      They sent out one hundred ships carrying 4,000 hoplites to assault Corinth and Sparta.

    • C.

      They sent out a large infantry force to pursue the Peloponnesian army.

    • D.

      They increased the tribute demanded from their allies.

    Correct Answer
    A. They sent ambassadors to Sparta in order to seek a peace settlement.
    Explanation
    A large naval force was sent out by Pericles, but it attacked Epidaurus, Troezen, Halieis, Mermione, and Prasiae, all cities on the eastern coast of the Peloponnesus. Sparta was not vulnerable to naval attack and Corinth was on the other side of the isthmus.

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  • 4. 

    After the setbacks in the early part of the war, who did Athenians blame as the cause of their misfortunes?

    • A.

      Athena

    • B.

      Themistocles

    • C.

      The oracle at Delphi

    • D.

      Pericles.

    Correct Answer
    D. Pericles.
    Explanation
    After facing setbacks in the early part of the war, Athenians blamed Pericles as the cause of their misfortunes. Pericles was a prominent statesman and general who led Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Despite his strategic and diplomatic skills, his aggressive tactics and ambitious plans, such as the construction of the Parthenon and the Long Walls, strained Athens' resources and provoked the Spartans. The Athenians believed that Pericles' decisions and policies were responsible for their hardships and the eventual defeat in the war.

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  • 5. 

    According to Thucydides, what was Pericles's advice to Athens about the best way to fight the war?

    • A.

      Wait out the Spartans, attempt no new conquests and avoid exposing the city to hazards.

    • B.

      Attack the Peloponnesians by sea while avoiding battle on land.

    • C.

      Purchase infantry and cavalry from the king of Persia.

    • D.

      Use the superior mobility of their sea power to launch a series of amphibious assaults to weaken the Peloponnesian alliance.

    Correct Answer
    A. Wait out the Spartans, attempt no new conquests and avoid exposing the city to hazards.
    Explanation
    Pericles's advice to Athens about the best way to fight the war, according to Thucydides, was to wait out the Spartans, attempt no new conquests, and avoid exposing the city to hazards. This strategy suggests that Pericles believed in a defensive approach, focusing on preserving Athens' strength and resources rather than engaging in risky offensive actions. By avoiding unnecessary battles and conquests, Pericles aimed to maintain the city's stability and wait for an opportunity to gain an advantage over the Spartans.

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  • 6. 

    How much did the successful siege of Potidaea cost Athens?

    • A.

      300 silver talents.

    • B.

      750 silver talents.

    • C.

      1000 silver talents.

    • D.

      2000 silver talents.

    Correct Answer
    D. 2000 silver talents.
    Explanation
    The two-year siege cost more than three times the annual tribute contributed to Athens by its allies. The amount of silver spent on the siege is worth $30 million today.

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  • 7. 

    What did the Spartan King Archidamus require of the Plataeans in order to call off the invasion of Plataea in the third year of the war?

    • A.

      Unconditional surrender.

    • B.

      Neutrality.

    • C.

      Joining the Peloponnesian League.

    • D.

      The use of their ships against Athens.

    Correct Answer
    B. Neutrality.
    Explanation
    The Spartan King Archidamus required the Plataeans to remain neutral in order to call off the invasion of Plataea. This means that the Plataeans were not to take sides or support either Sparta or Athens in the war. By remaining neutral, the Plataeans would not pose a threat or provide assistance to either side, thus satisfying Archidamus' condition for ending the invasion.

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  • 8. 

    Why did the Peloponnesians have such a hard time accepting their defeat in the naval battle off Patrae?

    • A.

      Their ships were new and better.

    • B.

      They had excellent and experienced commanders.

    • C.

      They had more than twice as many ships.

    • D.

      They did not expect a Corinthian betrayal.

    Correct Answer
    C. They had more than twice as many ships.
    Explanation
    The Peloponnesians had a hard time accepting their defeat in the naval battle off Patrae because they had more than twice as many ships. This suggests that they had a significant advantage in terms of numbers, which would have made them confident of victory. Therefore, their defeat would have been unexpected and difficult to accept.

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  • 9. 

    What classic military mistake did the Peloponnesians make at the naval battle of Naupactus?

    • A.

      They stopped too soon and didn't finish off the Athenian forces.

    • B.

      They pursued too aggressively and left themselves open to a counterattack.

    • C.

      They attacked too late in the day and allowed the Athenians to escape under cover of darkness.

    • D.

      They failed to keep a reserve force.

    Correct Answer
    B. They pursued too aggressively and left themselves open to a counterattack.
    Explanation
    The Peloponnesians made the classic military mistake of pursuing too aggressively and leaving themselves open to a counterattack at the naval battle of Naupactus. By being overly aggressive in their pursuit of the Athenian forces, they exposed themselves to vulnerabilities and allowed the Athenians to launch a successful counterattack. This mistake ultimately cost them the battle as they were unable to secure a decisive victory.

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  • 10. 

    What was the brilliant Megarian strategy that could have brought the war to an early end?

    • A.

      They talked the Peloponnesian naval commanders into marching their sailors overland and taking the port of Athens in a surprise attack.

    • B.

      They pretended to join the Delian League in order to get their troops inside Athens.

    • C.

      They convinced the Lesbians and Corcyrans to rebel against Athens.

    • D.

      They burned the fields that supplied Athens with its food.

    Correct Answer
    A. They talked the Peloponnesian naval commanders into marching their sailors overland and taking the port of Athens in a surprise attack.
    Explanation
    The Megarians successfully persuaded the Peloponnesian naval commanders to lead their sailors overland and launch a surprise attack on the port of Athens. This strategy could have potentially ended the war early by capturing Athens and cutting off its main access point for supplies and reinforcements.

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  • 11. 

    Why did the surprise Peloponnesian attack on the Piraeus fail?

    • A.

      An Athenian squadron returning from Cyprus intercepted the Peloponnesians.

    • B.

      The Athenian harbor guns sunk five ships and forced the Peloponnesians to withdraw.

    • C.

      When the Peloponnesian forces arrived in Nisaea, the 40 ships that were supposed be there were missing.

    • D.

      The Peloponnesians lost their nerve and attacked Salamis instead.

    Correct Answer
    D. The Peloponnesians lost their nerve and attacked Salamis instead.
    Explanation
    The surprise Peloponnesian attack on the Piraeus failed because the Peloponnesians lost their nerve and decided to attack Salamis instead. This suggests that they were intimidated or scared by the situation and made a hasty decision to change their target.

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  • 12. 

    Why did the Athenian admiral Phormio lead an expedition to Acarnania in the winter?

    • A.

      To set up a northern base from which he could easily raid the western Peloponnese coast.

    • B.

      To ensure the region's loyalties remained with Athens.

    • C.

      To exact revenge for the Acarnanians siding with Sparta.

    • D.

      To retreat from the superior Peloponnese force that had beaten him at Naupactus.

    Correct Answer
    B. To ensure the region's loyalties remained with Athens.
    Explanation
    Phormio led the expedition to Acarnania in the winter to ensure the region's loyalties remained with Athens. By establishing a base in the northern region, Athens could maintain control over Acarnania and prevent them from aligning with Sparta. This strategic move would secure Athens' influence and power in the area, strengthening their position in the ongoing conflict with Sparta and the Peloponnesian League.

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