Initially Athens had – it used the tribute from the anti-Persian League to maintain its naval superiority. However in the latter part of the Peloponnessian War, Persia provided money to build up the Sparta-led side, and by doubling the rates of pay (which Athens couldn’t afford to match at that stage) they attracted some of the best rowers and were able to match the Athenians.

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The Spartan alliance finally defeated the Athenian fleet at Goat Rivers in Gallipoli in 405 BCE, however this was done by a subterfuge, so we really don’t know which was finally the superior navy in a straight battle.

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