Encyclopedia of Genetics (Vol.4 Q-Z)

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Sample text

But Athens, with its “long walls” to Piraeus and powerful navy, could rely upon food supplies from its Aegean allies and avoid taking on Sparta in open battle. The Thirty Years Peace ended in 431 BC Athens and Corinth fought a naval battle near Corfu and a land battle at Potidaea, a town in the northeast of Greece. These provided Sparta with sufficient pretext to go to war against Athens. The conflict lasted until 404 BC, with a brief period of peace between 421 and 414 BC. A notable change in the conduct of the second and major Peloponnesian War related to strategy.

It took him eight months to capture the city, after which he razed it to the ground and sold the inhabitants into slavery. 50 The Defeat of Persia Alexander crossed the Hellespont in 334 BC and marched into Asia Minor with an army of 40,000 soldiers. The Persian governors of the provinces of Asia Minor attempted to stop him at the Granicus River, but Alexander swiftly took the initiative. Leading his Companion cavalry, he forded the river and overwhelmed the Persian left flank. The main Macedonian phalanx then locked horns with the Persian force (the infantry of which included a large contingent of Greek mercenaries) and defeated it comprehensively.

The Carthaginians had an excellent navy while the Romans had no such tradition, but they recognized their shortcomings and developed new tactics to minimize their weakness as sailors and maximize their superiority in hand-to-hand fighting. The Romans invented a device called the corvus (crow), which consisted of a plank with a spike at the top, positioned at the front of a warship. When an enemy ship came close, the plank was dropped onto it; the spike prevented escape and allowed Roman soldiers to board and take the vessel.

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