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Delian League, before the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC

The so-called Delian League was an association of approximately 150[1] 5th-century BC Greek city-states under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Greco–Persian Wars. Founded in 478 BC, the League's modern[2] name derives from its official meeting place, the island of Delos, where congresses were held in the temple and where the treasury stood until Pericles moved it to Athens in 454 BC.[3] Shortly after its inception Athens began to exploit the League's navy for its own benefit. This behavior would frequently lead to conflict between Athens and the less powerful members of the League. By 431 BC Athens' heavy-handed control of the Delian League would prompt the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War; the League was dissolved upon the war's conclusion in 404 BC.



The Greco-Persian Wars had their roots in the conquest of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, and particular Ionia, by the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great shortly after 550 BC. The Persians found the Ionians difficult to rule, eventually settling for sponsoring a tyrant in each Ionian city.[4] While Greek states had in the past often been ruled by tyrants, this was a form of government on the decline.[5] By 500 BC, Ionia appears to have been ripe for rebellion against these Persian place-men. The simmering tension finally broke into open revolt due to the actions of the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras. Attempting to save himself after a disastrous Persian-sponsored expedition in 499 BC, Aristagoras chose to declare Miletus a democracy.[6] This triggered similar revolutions across Ionia, and indeed Doris and Aeolis, beginning the Ionian Revolt. [7]

The Greek states of Athens and Eretria allowed themselves to be drawn into this conflict by Aristagoras, and during their only campaigning season (498 BC) they contributed to the capture and burning of the Persian regional capital of Sardis.[8] After this, the Ionian Revolt carried on (without further outside aid) for a further five years, until it was finally completely crushed by the Persians. However, in a decision of great historic significance, the Persian king Darius the Great decided that, despite successfully subduing the revolt, there remained the unfinished business of exacting punishment on Athens and Eretria for supporting the revolt.[9] The Ionian Revolt had severely threatened the stability of Darius's empire, and the states of mainland Greece would continue to threaten that stability unless dealt with. Darius thus began to contemplate the complete conquest of Greece, beginning with the destruction of Athens and Eretria.[9]

In the next two decades there would be two Persian invasions of Greece, including some of the most famous battles in history. During the first invasion, Thrace, Macedon and the Aegean Islands were added to the Persian Empire, and Eretria was duly destroyed.[10] However, the invasion ended in 490 BC with the decisive Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon.[11] Between the two invasions, Darius died, and responsibility for the war passed to his son Xerxes I.[12] Xerxes then lead the second invasion personally in 480 BC, taking an enormous (although oft-exaggerated) army and navy to Greece.[13] Those Greeks who chose to resist (the 'Allies') were defeated in the twin battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium on land and at sea respectively.[14] All of Greece except the Peloponnesus thus fell into Persian hands, but then seeking to finally destroy the Allied navy, the Persians suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Salamis.[15] The following year, 479 BC, the Allies assembled the largest Greek army yet seen and defeated the Persian invasion force at the Battle of Plataea, ending the invasion and the threat to Greece.[16]

According to tradition, on the same day as Plataea, the Allied fleet defeated the demoralized remnants of the Persian fleet in the Battle of Mycale.[17] This action marks the end of the Persian invasion, and the beginning of the next phase in the Greco-Persian wars, the Greek counterattack.[18] After Mycale, the Greek cities of Asia Minor again revolted, with the Persians now powerless to stop them.[19] The Allied fleet then sailed to the Chersonesos, still held by the Persians, and besieged and captured the town of Sestos.[20] The following year, 478 BC, the Allies sent a force to capture the city of Byzantium (modern day Istanbul). The siege was successful, but the behaviour of the Spartan general Pausanias alienated many of the Allies, and resulted in Pausanias's recall.[21]

Formation of the League

After Byzantium, Sparta was eager to end her involvement in the war. The Spartans were of the view that, with the liberation of mainland Greece, and the Greek cities of Asia Minor, the war's purpose had already been reached. There was also perhaps a feeling that securing long-term security for the Asian Greeks would prove impossible.[22] In the aftermath of Mycale, the Spartan king Leotychides had proposed transplanting all the Greeks from Asia Minor to Europe as the only method of permanently freeing them from Persian dominion. Xanthippus, the Athenian commander at Mycale, had furiously rejected this; the Ionian cities were originally Athenian colonies, and the Athenians, if no-one else, would protect the Ionians.[22] This marked the point at which the leadership of the Greek Alliance effectively passed to the Athenians.[22] With the Spartan withdrawal after Byzantium, the leadership of the Athenians became explicit.

The loose alliance of city states which had fought against Xerxes's invasion had been dominated by Sparta and the Peloponnesian league. With the withdrawal of these states, a congress was called on the holy island of Delos to institute a new alliance to continue the fight against the Persians; hence the modern designation "Delian League". According to Thucydides, the official aim of the League was to "avenge the wrongs they suffered by ravaging the territory of the king."[23] In reality, this goal was divided into three main efforts - to prepare for future invasion, to seek revenge against Persia, and to organize a means of dividing spoils of war. The members were given a choice of either offering armed forces or paying a tax to the joint treasury; most states chose the tax.[23] League members swore to have the same friends and enemies, and dropped ingots of iron into the sea to symbolize the permanence of their alliance. The Athenian politician Aristides would spend the rest of his life occupied in the affairs of the alliance, dying (according to Plutarch) a few years later in Pontus, whilst determining what the tax of new members was to be.[24]


Composition and expansion

The Athenian Empire at its height, ca. 450 BC

In the first ten years of the league's existence, Cimon (also spelled Kimon) had forced Karystos in Euboea to join the league, conquered the island of Skyros and sent Athenian colonists there.[25]

Over time, especially with the suppression of rebellions, Athens entered into a hegemonic position over the rest of the league. Thucydides describes how Athens's control over the League grew:

Of all the causes of defection, that connected with arrears of tribute and vessels, and with failure of service, was the chief; for the Athenians were very severe and exacting, and made themselves offensive by applying the screw of necessity to men who were not used to and in fact not disposed for any continuous labor. In some other respects the Athenians were not the old popular rulers they had been at first; and if they had more than their fair share of service, it was correspondingly easy for them to reduce any that tried to leave the confederacy. The Athenians also arranged for the other members of the league to pay its share of the expense in money instead of in ships and men, and for this the subject city-states had themselves to blame, their wish to get out of giving service making most leave their homes. Thus while Athens was increasing her navy with the funds they contributed, a revolt always found itself without enough resources or experienced leaders for war.[26]


The island of Naxos attempted to secede in 471 BC, but was defeated. Naxos is believed to have been forced to tear down its walls, lose its fleet and its vote in the League.

In 465 BC Athens founded the colony of Amphipolis in the Strymon river. Thasos (also spelled Thassos), a member of the League, saw her interests in the mines of Mt. Paggaion threatened and defected from the League to Persia. She called to Sparta for assistance but was denied, as Sparta was facing the largest helot revolution in its history (see the Messenian Wars).[27] An aftermath of the war was that Cimon was ostracised and the relations between Athens and Sparta turned into hostility. After a three year siege, Thasos was recaptured and forced back into the League. The siege of Thasos marks the transformation of the Delian league from an alliance into, in the words of Thucydides, a hegemony.[28] After two years Thasos surrendered to the Athenian leader Cimon. In result, the fortification walls of Thasos were torn down, their land and naval ships were confiscated by Athens. The mines of Thasos were also turned over to Athens and they had to pay yearly tribute and fines.

Policies of the League

In 461 BC, Cimon was ostracized, and was succeeded in his influence by democrats such as Ephialtes and Pericles. This signaled a complete change in Athenian foreign policy, neglecting the alliance with the Spartans and instead allying with her enemies, Argos and Thessaly. Megara deserted the Spartan-led Peloponnesian League and allied herself with Athens, allowing construction of a double line of walls across the isthmus of Corinth, protecting Athens from attack from that quarter. Around the same time, due to encouragement from influential speaker Themistocles, they also constructed the Long Walls connecting their city to the Piraeus, its port, making it effectively invulnerable to attack by land.

In 454 BC the Athenian general Pericles moved the Delian League's treasury from Delos to Athens, allegedly to keep it safe from Persia. However, Plutarch indicates that many of Pericles' rivals viewed the transfer to Athens as usurping monetary resources to fund elaborate building projects. Athens also switched from accepting ships, men and weapons as dues from league members, to only accepting money. The new treasury established in Athens was used for many purposes, not all relating to the defense of members of the league. It was from tribute paid to the league that Pericles sent to build the Parthenon in the Acropolis, replacing an older wooden temple, as well as many other non-defense related expenditures. The Delian League was turning from an alliance into an empire.

Wars against Persia

War with the Persians continued, however. In 460 BC, Egypt had revolted under Inarus and Amyrtaeus, who requested aid from Athens. Pericles led 250 ships, originally intended to attack Cyprus, to their aid because it would hurt Persia. Persia's image had already been hurt when it failed to conquer the Greeks and Pericles wanted to further this. After four years, however, the rebellion was defeated by general Megabyzus, who captured the greater part of the Athenian forces. In fact, according to Isocrates, the Athenians and their allies lost some 20,000 men in the expedition. The remainder escaped to Cyrene and thence returned home.

This was Athenians' main (public) reason for moving the treasury of the League from Delos to Athens, further consolidating their control over the League. The Persians followed up their victory by sending a fleet to re-establish their control over Cyprus, and 200 ships were sent out to counter them under Cimon, who returned from ostracism in 451 BC. He died during the blockade of Citium, though the fleet won a double victory by land and sea over the Persians off Salamis.

This battle was the last major one fought against the Persians. Many writers report that a formal peace treaty, known as the Peace of Callias, was formalized in 450 BC, but some writers believe that the treaty was a myth created later to inflate the stature of Athens. However, an understanding was definitely reached, enabling the Athenians to focus their attention on events in Greece proper.

Wars in Greece

Soon war with the Peloponnesians broke out. In 458 BC, the Athenians blockaded the island of Aegina, and simultaneously defended Megara from the Corinthians by sending out an army composed of those too young or old for regular military service. The next year Sparta sent an army into Boeotia, reviving the power of Thebes to help hold the Athenians in check. Their return was blocked, and they resolved to march on Athens, where the Long Walls were not yet completed, winning a victory at the Battle of Tanagra. All this accomplished, however, was to allow them to return home via the Megarid. Two months later, the Athenians under Myronides invaded Boeotia, and winning the Battle of Oenophyta gained control of the whole country except Thebes.

The peace with Persia in 449 BC was followed by some reverses. The Battle of Coronea, in 447 BC, led to the abandonment of Boeotia. Euboea and Megara both revolted, and while the former was restored to its status as a tributary ally, the latter was a permanent loss. The Delian and Peloponnesian Leagues signed a peace treaty, which was set to endure for thirty years. It only lasted until 431 BC, when the Peloponnesian War broke out.

Those who revolted unsuccessfully during the war saw the example made of the Mytilenians, the principal people on Lesbos. After an unsuccessful revolt, the Athenians ordered the death of the entire male population. After some thought, they rescinded this order, and only put to death the leading 1000 ringleaders of the revolt, and redistributed the land of the entire island to Athenian shareholders, who were sent out to reside on Lesbos.

This type of treatment was not reserved solely for those who revolted. Thucydides documents the example of Melos, a small island, neutral in the war, though originally founded by Spartans. The Melians were offered a choice to join the Athenians, or be conquered. Choosing to resist, their town was besieged and conquered; the males were put to death and the women sold into slavery (see Melian dialogue).

The Athenian Empire (454–404 BC)

By 454 the Delian League could be fairly characterized as an Athenian Empire; at the start of the Peloponnesian War, only Chios and Lesbos were left to contribute ships, and these states were by now far too weak to secede without support. Lesbos tried to revolt first, and failed completely. Chios, the greatest and most powerful of the original members of the Delian League save Athens, was the last to revolt, and in the aftermath of the Syracusan Expedition enjoyed a success of several years, inspiring all of Ionia to revolt. Athens was, however, still able to eventually suppress these revolts.

To further strengthen Athens' grip on its empire, Pericles in 450 began a policy of establishing cleruchies -- quasi-colonies that remained tied to Athens, and which served as garrisons to maintain control of the League's vast territory. Furthermore, Pericles employed a number of offices to maintain Athens' empire: proxenoi, who fostered good relations between Athens and League members; episkopoi and archontes, who oversaw the collection of tribute; and Hellenotamiae, who received the tribute on Athens' behalf.

Athens's empire was not very stable, and only 27 years of war with the Spartans, aided by the Persians and internal strife, were able to defeat it. However, it did not remain defeated long. The Second Athenian Empire, a maritime self-defense league, was founded in 377 BC and was led by Athens; but Athens would never recover the full extent of her power, and her enemies were now far stronger and more varied.

See also


  1. ^ Martin, Thomas (2001-08-11). Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300084931.  
  2. ^ A history of the classical Greek world: 478-323 BC By Peter John Rhodes Page 18 ISBN 1405192860 (2006)
  3. ^ Thucydides, I, 96.
  4. ^ Holland, 147–151
  5. ^ Fine, pp269–277
  6. ^ Herodotus V, 35
  7. ^ Holland, pp155–157
  8. ^ Holland, p160–162
  9. ^ a b Holland, pp175–177
  10. ^ Holland, pp183–186
  11. ^ Holland, pp187–194
  12. ^ Holland, pp202–203
  13. ^ Holland, pp240–244
  14. ^ Holland, pp276–281
  15. ^ Holland, pp320–326
  16. ^ Holland, pp342–355
  17. ^ Holland, pp357–358
  18. ^ Lazenby, p247
  19. ^ Thucydides I, 89
  20. ^ Herodotus IX, 114
  21. ^ Thucydides I, 95
  22. ^ a b c Holland, p362
  23. ^ a b Thucydides I, 96
  24. ^ Plutarch, Aristeides 26
  25. ^ Thucydides I.98
  26. ^ Thucydides i. 99
  27. ^ Thucydides I,100
  28. ^ Thucydides 101

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DELIAN LEAGUE, or Confederacy Of Delos, the name given to a confederation of Greek states under the leadership of Athens, with its headquarters at Delos, founded in 478 B.C. shortly after the final repulse of the expedition of the Persians under Xerxes I. This confederacy, which after many modifications and vicissitudes was finally broken up by the capture of Athens by Sparta in 404, was revived in 378-7 (the "Second Athenian Confederacy") as a protection against Spartan aggression, and lasted, at least formally, until the victory of Philip II. of Macedon at Chaeronea. These two confederations have an interest quite out of proportion to the significance of the detailed events which form their history. (See Greece: Ancient History.) They are the first two examples of which we have detailed knowledge of a serious attempt at united action on the part of a large number of selfgoverning states at a relatively high level of conscious political development. The first league, moreover, in its later period affords the first example in recorded history of self-conscious imperialism in which the subordinate units enjoyed a specified local autonomy with an organized system, financial, military and judicial. The second league is further interesting as the precursor of the Achaean and Aetolian Leagues.

Table of contents


Several causes contributed to the formation of the first Confederacy of Delos. During the 6th century B.C. Sparta had come to be regarded as the chief power, not only in the Peloponnese, but also in Greece as a whole, including the islands of the Aegean. The Persian invasions of Darius and Xerxes, with the consequent importance of maritime strength and the capacity for distant enterprise, as compared with that of purely military superiority in the Greek peninsula, caused a considerable loss of prestige which Sparta was unwilling to recognize. Moreover, it chanced that at the time the Spartan leaders were not men of strong character or general ability. Pausanias, the victor of Plataea, soon showed himself destitute of the high qualities which the situation demanded. Personal cupidity, discourtesy to the allies, and a tendency to adopt the style and manners of oriental princes, combined to alienate from him the sympathies of the Ionian allies, who realized that, had it not been for the Athenians, the battle of Salamis would never have been even fought, and Greece would probably have become a Persian satrapy. The Athenian contingent which was sent to aid Pausanias in the task of driving the Persians finally out of the Thraceward towns was under the command of the Athenians, Aristides and Cimon, men of tact and probity. It is not, therefore, surprising that when Pausanias was recalled to Sparta on the charge of treasonable overtures to the Persians, the Ionian allies appealed to the Athenians on the grounds of kinship and urgent necessity, and that when Sparta sent out Dorcis to supersede Pausanias he found Aristides in unquestioned command of the allied fleet. To some extent the Spartans were undoubtedly relieved, in that it no longer fell to them to organize distant expeditions to Asia Minor, and this feeling was strengthened about the same time by the treacherous conduct of their king Leotychides in Thessaly. In any case the inelastic quality of the Spartan system was unable to adapt itself to the spirit of the new age. To Aristides was mainly due the organization of the new league and the adjustment of the contributions of the various allies in ships or in money. His assessment, of the details of which we know nothing, was so fair that it remained popular long after the league of autonomous allies had become an Athenian empire. The general affairs of the league were managed by a synod which met periodically in the temple of Apollo and Artemis at Delos, the ancient centre sanctified by the common worship of the Ionians. In this synod the allies met on an equality under the presidency of Athens. Among its first subjects of deliberation must have been the ratification of Aristides' assessment. Thucydides lays emphasis on the fact that in these meetings Athens as head of the league had no more than presidential authority, and the other members were called 614cµaxot (allies), a word, however, of ambiguous meaning and capable of including both free and subject allies. The only other fact preserved by Thucydides is that Athens appointed a board called the Hellenotamiae (ra,aias, steward) to watch over and administer the treasury of the league, which for some twenty years was kept at Delos, and to receive the contributions (06pos) of the allies who paid in money.

The league was, therefore, specifically a free confederation of autonomous Ionian cities founded as a protection against the common danger which threatened the Aegean basin, and led by Athens in virtue of her predominant naval power as exhibited in the war against Xerxes. Its organization, adopted by the common synod, was the product of the new democratic ideal embodied in the Cleisthenic reforms, as interpreted by a just and moderate exponent. It is one of the few examples of free corporate action on the part of the ancient Greek cities, whose centrifugal yearning for independence so often proved fatal to the Hellenic world. It is, therefore, a profound mistake to regard the history of the league during the first twenty years of its existence as that of an Athenian empire. Thucydides expressly describes the predominance of Athens as riyEgovia (leadership, headship), not as apyi 7 (empire), and the attempts made by Athenian orators during the second period of the Peloponnesian War to prove that the attitude of Athens had not altered since the time of Aristides are manifestly unsuccessful.

Of the first ten years of the league's history we know practically nothing, save that it was a period of steady, successful activity against the few remaining Persian strongholds in Thrace and the Aegean (Herod. i. 106-107, see Athens, CIl ON). In these years the Athenian sailors reached a high pitch of training, and by their successes strengthened that corporate pride which had been born at Salamis. On the other hand, it naturally came to pass that certain of the allies became weary of incessant warfare and looked for a period of commercial prosperity. Athens, as the chosen leader, and supported no doubt by the synod, enforced the contributions of ships and money according to the assessment. Gradually the allies began to weary of personal service and persuaded the synod to accept a money commutation. The Ionians were naturally averse from prolonged warfare, and in the prosperity which must have followed the final rout of the Persians and the freeing of the Aegean from the pirates (a very important feature in the league's policy) a money contribution was only a trifling burden. The result was, however, extremely bad for the allies, whose status in the league necessarily became lower in relation to that of Athens, while at the same time their military and naval resources correspondingly diminished. Athens became more and more powerful, and could afford to disregard the authority of the synod. Another new feature appeared in the employment of coercion against cities which desired to secede. Athens might fairly insist that the protection of the Aegean would become impossible if some of the chief islands were liable to be used as piratical strongholds, and further that it was only right that all should contribute in some way to the security which all enjoyed. The result was that, in the cases of Naxos and Thasos, for instance, the league's resources were employed not against the Persians but against recalcitrant Greek islands, and that the Greek ideal of separate autonomy was outraged. Shortly after the capture of Naxos (c. 467 B.C.) Cimon proceeded with a fleet of 300 ships (only loo from the allies) to the southwestern and southern coasts of Asia Minor. Having driven the Persians out of Greek towns in Lycia and Caria, he met and routed the Persians on land and sea at the mouth of the Eurymedon in Pamphylia. In 463 after a siege of more than two years the Athenians captured Thasos, with which they had quarrelled over mining rights in the Strymon valley. It is said (Thuc. i. Ioi) that Thasos had appealed for aid to Sparta, and that the latter was prevented from responding only by earthquake and the Helot revolt. But this is both unproved and improbable. Sparta had so far no quarrel with Athens. Athens thus became mistress of the Aegean, while the synod at Delos had become practically, if not theoretically, powerless. It was at this time that Cimon, who had striven to maintain a balance between Sparta, the chief military, and Athens, the chief naval power, was successfully attacked by Ephialtes and Pericles. During the ensuing years, apart from a brief return to the Cimonian policy, the resources of the league, or, as it has now become, the Athenian empire, were directed not so much against Persia as against Sparta, Corinth, Aegina and Boeotia. (See Athens; Sparta, &c.) A few points only need be dealt with here. The first years of the land war brought the Athenian empire to its zenith. Apart from Thessaly, it included all Greece outside the Peloponnese. At the same time, however, the Athenian expedition against the Persians in Egypt ended in a disastrous defeat, and for a time the Athenians returned to a philo-Laconian policy, perhaps under the direction of Cimon (see Cimon and Pericles). Peace was made with Sparta, and, if we are to believe 4thcentury orators, a treaty, the Peace of Callias or of Cimon, was concluded between the Great King and Athens in 449 after the death of Cimon before the walls of Citium in Cyprus. The meaning of this so-called Peace of Callias is doubtful. Owing to the silence of Thucydides and other reasons, many scholars regard it as merely a cessation of hostilities (see Cimon and Callias, where authorities are quoted). At all events, it is significant of the success of the main object of the Delian League, the Athenians resigning Cyprus and Egypt, while Persia recognized the freedom of the maritime Greeks of Asia Minor.

During this period the power of Athens over her allies had increased, though we do not know anything of the process by which this was brought about. Chios, Lesbos and Samos alone furnished ships; all the rest had commuted for a money payment. This meant that the synod was quite powerless. Moreover in 454 (probably) the changed relations were crystallized by the transference (proposed by the Samians) of the treasury to Athens (Corp. Inscr. Attic. i. 260). Thus in 4 4 8 B.C. Athens was not only mistress of a maritime empire, but ruled over Megara, Boeotia, Phocis, Locris, Achaea and Troezen, i.e. over so-called allies who were strangers to the old pan-Ionian assembly and to the policy of the league, and was practically equal to Sparta on land. An important event must be referred probably to the year 451, - the law of Pericles, by which citizenship (including the right to vote in the Ecclesia and to sit on paid juries) was restricted to those who could prove themselves the children of an Athenian father and mother (E d,u001v avroiv). This measure must have had a detrimental effect on the allies, who thus saw themselves excluded still further from recognition as equal partners in a league (see Pericles). The natural result of all these causes was that a feeling of antipathy rose against Athens in the minds of those to whom autonomy was the breath of life, and the fundamental tendency of the Greeks to disruption was soon to prove more powerful than the forces at the disposal of Athens. The first to secede were the land powers of Greece proper, whose subordination Athens had endeavoured to guarantee by supporting the democratic parties in the various states. Gradually the exiled oligarchs combined; with the defeat of Tolmides at Coroneia, Boeotia was finally lost to the empire, and the loss of Phocis, Locris and Megara was the immediate sequel. Against these losses the retention of Euboea, Nisaea and Pegae was no compensation; the land empire was irretrievably lost.

The next important event is the revolt of Samos, which had quarrelled with Miletus over the city of Priene. The Samians refused the arbitration of Athens. The island was conquered with great difficulty by the whole force of the league, and from the fact that the tribute of the Thracian cities and those in Hellespontine district was increased between 439 and 436 we must probably infer that Athens had to deal with a widespread feeling of discontent about this period. It is, however, equally noticeable on the one hand that the main body of the allies was not affected, and on the other that the Peloponnesian League on the advice of Corinth officially recognized the right of Athens to deal with her rebellious subject allies, and refused to give help to the Samians.

The succeeding events which led to the Peloponnesian War and the final disruption of the league are discussed in other articles. (See Athens: History, and Peloponnesian War.) Two important events alone call for special notice. The first is the raising of the allies' tribute in 425 B.C. by a certain Thudippus, presumably a henchman of Cleon. The fact, though not mentioned by Thucydides, was inferred from Aristophanes. (Wasps, 660), Andocides (de Pace, § 9), Plutarch (Aristides,, c. 24), and pseudo-Andocides (Alcibiad. 1 1); it was proved by the discovery of the assessment list of 425-4 (Hicks and Hill, Inscrip. 64). The second event belongs to 411, after the failure of the Sicilian expedition. In that year the tribute of the allies was commuted for a 5% tax on all imports and exports by sea. This tax, which must have tended to equalize the Athenian merchants with those of the allied cities, probably came into force gradually, for beside the new collectors called 7ropcvrai we still. find Hellenotamiae (C.I.A. iv. [i.] p. 34).

The Tribute

Only a few problems can be discussed of the many which are raised by the insufficient and conflicting evidence at our disposal. In the first place there is the question of the tribute. Thucydides is almost certainly wrong in saying that the amount of the original tribute was 460 talents (about £106,000); this figure cannot have been reached for at least twelve, probably twenty years, when new members had been enrolled (Lycia, Caria, Eion, Lampsacus). Similarly he is probably wrong, or at all events includes items of which the tribute lists take no account, when he says that it amounted to 600 talents at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. The moderation of the assessment is shown not only by the fact that it was paid so long without objection, but also by the individual items. Even in 425 Naxos and Andros paid only 15 talents, while Athens had just raised an eisphora (income tax) from her own citizens of 200 talents. Moreover it would seem that a tribute which yielded less than the 5% tax of 411 could not have been unreasonable.

The number of tributaries is given by Aristophanes as 1000, but this is greatly in excess of those named in the tribute lists. Some authorities give 200; others put it as high as 290. The difficulty is increased by the fact that in some cases several towns were grouped together in one payment (o vv-rcXEZr). These were grouped into five main geographical divisions (from 443 to 436; afterwards four, Caria being merged in Ionia). Each division was represented by two elective assessment commissioners (ra?crai), who assisted the Boule at Athens in the quadrennial division of the tribute. Each city sent in its own assessment before the raicraL, who presented it to the Boule. If there was any difference of opinion the matter was referred to the Ecclesia for settlement. In the Ecclesia a private citizen might propose another assessment, or the case might be referred to the law courts. The records of the tribute are preserved in the so-called quota lists, which give the names of the cities and the proportion, one-sixtieth, of their several tributes, which was paid to Athena. No tribute was paid by members of a cleruchy, as we find from the fact that the tribute of a city always decreased when a cleruchy was planted in it. This highly organized financial system must have been gradually evolved, and no doubt reached its perfection only after the treasury was transferred to Athens.

Government and Jurisdiction

There is much difference of opinion among scholars regarding the attitude of imperial Athens towards her allies. Grote maintained that on the whole the allies had little ground for complaint; but in so doing he rather seems to leave out of account the Greek's dislike of external discipline. The very fact that the hegemony had become an empire was enough to make the new system highly offensive to the allies. No very strong argument can be based on the paucity of actual revolts. The indolent Ionians had seen the result of secession at Naxos and rebellion at Thasos; the Athenian fleet was perpetually on guard in the Aegean. On the other hand among the mainland cities revolt was frequent; they were ready to rebel Kai irapa SGvaµiv. Therefore, even though Athenian domination may have been highly salutary in its effects, there can be no doubt that the allies did not regard it with affection.

To judge only by the negative evidence of the decree of Aristoteles which records the terms of alliance of the second confederacy (below), we gather that in the later period at least of the first league's history the Athenians had interfered with the local autonomy of the allies in various ways - an inference which is confirmed by the terms of "alliance" which Athens imposed on Erythrae, Chalcis and Miletus. Though it appears that Athens made individual agreements with various states, and therefore that we cannot regard as general rules the terms laid down in those which we possess, it is undeniable that the Athenians planted garrisons under permanent Athenian officers (¢poi papxoc) in some cities. Moreover the practice among Athenian settlers of acquiring land in the allied districts must have been vexatious to the allies, the more so as all important cases between Athenians and citizens of allied cities were brought to Athens. Even on the assumption that the Athenian dicasteries were scrupulously fair in their awards, it must have been peculiarly galling to the self-respect of the allies and inconvenient to individuals to be compelled to carry cases to Athens and Athenian juries. Furthermore we gather from the Aristoteles inscription and from the 4th-century orators that Athens imposed democratic constitutions on her allies; indeed Isocrates (Paneg., 106) takes credit for Athens on this ground, and the charter of Erythrae confirms the view (cf. Arist. Polit., viii., vi. 9 1307 b 20; Thuc. viii. 21, 48, 64, 65). Even though we admit that Chios, Lesbos and Samos (up to 440) retained their oligarchic governments and that Selymbria, at a time (409 B.C.) when the empire was in extremis, was permitted to choose its own constitution, there can be no doubt that, from whatever motive and with whatever result, Athens did exercise over many of her allies an authority which extended to the most intimate concerns of local administration.

Thus the great attempt on the part of Athens to lead a harmonious league of free Greek states for the good of Hellas degenerated into an empire which proved intolerable to the autonomous states of Greece. Her failure was due partly to the commercial jealousy of Corinth working on the dull antipathy of Sparta, partly to the hatred of compromise and discipline which was fatally characteristic of Greece and especially of Ionian Greece, and partly also to the lack of tact and restraint shown by Athens and her representatives in her relations with the allies.

The Second League

The conditions which led to the second Athenian or Delian Confederacy were fundamentally different, not only in virtue of the fact that the allies had learned from experience the dangers to which such a league was liable, but because the enemy was no longer an oriental power of whose future action there could be no certain anticipation, but Sparta, whose ambitious projects since the fall of Athens had shown that there could be no safety for the smaller states save in combination.

There can be no reasonable doubt that as soon as the Athenians began to recover from the paralysing effect of the victory of Lysander and the internal troubles in which they were involved by the government of the Thirty, their thoughts turned to the possibility of recovering their lost empire. The first step in the direction was the recovery of their sea-power, which was effected by the victory of Conon at Cnidus (August 394 B.C.). Gradually individual cities which had formed part of the Athenian empire returned to their alliance with Athens, until the Spartans had lost Rhodes, Cos, Nisyrus, Teos, Chios, Mytilene, Ephesus, Erythrae, Lemnos, Imbros, Scyros, Eretria, Melos, Cythera, Carpathus and Delos. Sparta had only Sestos and Abydos of all that she had won by the battle of Aegospotami. At the same time no systematic constructive attempt at a renewal of empire can as yet be detected. Athenian relations were with individual states only, and the terms of alliance were various. Moreover, whereas Persia had been for several years aiding Athens against Sparta, the revolt of the Athenian ally Evagoras of Cyprus set them at enmity, and with the secession of Ephesus, Cnidus and Samos in 391 and the civil war in Rhodes, the star of Sparta seemed again to be in the ascendant. But the whole position was changed by the successes of Thrasybulus, who brought over the Odrysian king Medocus and Seuthes of the Propontis to the Athenian alliance, set up a democracy in Byzantium and reimposed the old io % duty on goods from the Black Sea. Many of the island towns subsequently came over, and from inscriptions at Clazomenae (C.I.A. ii. 14b) and Thasos (C.I.A. iv. iib) we learn that Thrasybulus evidently was deliberately aiming at a renewal of the empire, though the circumstances leading to his death at Aspendus when seeking to raise money suggest that he had no general backing in Athens.

The peace of Antalcidas or the King's Peace (see ANTALcIDAS; Sparta) in 386 was a blow to Athens in the interests of Persia and Sparta. Antalcidas compelled the Athenians to give their assent to it only by making himself master of the Hellespont by stratagem with the aid of Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse. By this peace all the Greek cities on the mainland of Asia with the islands of Cyprus and Clazomenae were recognized as Persian, all other cities except Imbros, Lemnos and Scyros as autonomous. Directly, this arrangement prevented an Athenian empire; indirectly, it caused the sacrificed cities and their kinsmen on the islands to look upon Athens as their protector. The gross selfishness of the Spartans, herein exemplified, was emphasized by their capture of the Theban citadel, and, after their expulsion, by the raid upon Attica in time of peace by the Spartan Sphodrias, and his immunity from punishment at Sparta (summer of 378 B.C.). The Athenians at once invited their allies to a conference, and the Second Athenian Confederacy was formed in the archonship of Nausinicus on the basis of the famous decree of Aristoteles. Those who attended the conference were probably Athens, Chios, Mytilene, Methymna, Rhodes, Byzantium, Thebes, the latter of which joined Athens soon after the Sphodrias raid. In the spring of 377 invitations were sent out to the maritime cities. Some time in that year Tenedos, Chios, Chalcis in Euboea, and probably the Euboean cities Eretria, Carystus and Arethusa gave in their adherence, followed by Perinthus, Peparethus, Sciathus and other maritime cities.

At this point Sparta was roused to a sense of the significance of the new confederacy, and the Athenian corn supply was threatened by a Spartan fleet of sixty triremes. The Athenians immediately fitted out a fleet under Chabrias, who gained a decisive victory over the Spartans between Naxos and Paros (battle of Naxos 376 B.C.), both of which were added to the league. Proceeding northwards in 375 Chabrias brought over a large number of the Thraceward towns, including Abdera, Thasos and Samothrace. It is interesting to notice that a garrison was placed in Abdera in direct contravention of the terms of the new confederacy (Meyer, Gesch. d. Alt., v.394). About the same time the successes of Timotheus in the west resulted in the addition to the league of Corcyra and the cities of Cephallenia, and his moderation induced the Acarnanians and Alcetas, the Molossian king, to follow their example. Once again Sparta sent out a fleet, but Timotheus in spite of financial embarrassment held his ground. By this time, however, the alliance between Thebes and Athens was growing weaker, and Athens, being short of money, concluded a peace with Sparta (probably in July 374), by which the peace of Antalcidas was confirmed and the two states recognized each other as mistress of sea and land respectively. Trouble, however, soon arose over Zacynthus, and the Spartans not only sent help to the Zacynthian oligarchs but even besieged Corcyra (373) Timotheus was sent to relieve the island, but shortness of money compelled him to search for new allies, and he spent the summer of 373 in persuading Jason of Pherae (if he had not already joined), and certain towns in Thrace, the Chersonese, the Propontis and the Aegean to enrol themselves. This delay in sending help to Corcyra was rightly or wrongly condemned by the Athenians, who dismissed Timotheus in favour of Iphicrates. The expedition which followed produced negative successes, but the absence of any positive success and the pressure of financial difficulty, coupled with the defection of Jason (probably before 37 1), and the high-handed action of Thebes in destroying Plataea (373), induced Athens to renew the peace with Sparta which Timotheus had broken. With the support of Persia an agreement was made by a congress at Sparta on the basis of the autonomy of the cities, Amphipolis and the Chersonese being granted to Athens. The Thebans at first accepted the terms, but on the day after, realizing that they were thus balked of their pan-Boeotian ambition, withdrew and finally severed themselves from the league.

The peace of 371 may be regarded as the conclusion of the first distinct period in the league's existence. The original purpose of the league - the protection of the allies from the ambitions of Sparta - was achieved. Athens was recognized as mistress of the sea; Sparta as the chief land power. The inherent weakness of the coalition had, however, become apparent. The enthusiasm of the allies (numbering about seventy) waned rapidly before the financial exigencies of successive campaigns, and it is abundantly clear that Thebes had no interest save the extension of her power in Boeotia. Though her secession, therefore, meant very little loss of strength, there were not wanting signs that the league was not destined to remain a power in the land.

The remaining history may be broken up into two periods, the first from 371 to 357, the second from 357 to 338. Throughout these two periods, which saw the decline and final dissolution of the alliance, there is very little specific evidence for its existence. The events seem to belong to the histories of the several cities, and examples of corporate action are few and uncertain. None the less the known facts justify a large number of inferences as to the significance of events which are on the surface merely a part of the individual foreign policy of Athens.

Period 371-357

The first event in this period was the battle of Leuctra (July 371), in which, no doubt to the surprise of Athens, Thebes temporarily asserted itself as the chief land power in Greece. To counterbalance the new power Athens very rashly plunged into Peloponnesian politics with the ulterior object of inducing the states which had formerly recognized the hegemony of Sparta to transfer their allegiance to the Delian League. It seems that all the states adopted this policy with the exception of Sparta (probably) and Elis. The policy of Athens was mistaken for two reasons: (I) Sparta was not entirely humiliated, and (2) alliance with the land powers of Peloponnese was incalculably dangerous, inasmuch as it involved Athens in enterprises which could not awake the enthusiasm of her maritime allies. This new coalition naturally alarmed Sparta, which at once made overtures to Athens on the ground of their common danger from Thebes. The alliance was concluded in 369. About the same time Iphicrates was sent to take possession of Amphipolis according to the treaty of 371. Some success in Macedonia roused the hostility of Thebes, and the subsequent attempts on Amphipolis caused the Chalcidians to declare against the league. It would appear that the old suspicion of the allies was now thoroughly awakened, and we find Athens making great efforts to conciliate Mytilene by honorific decrees (Hicks and Hill, 109). This suspicion, which was due primarily, no doubt, to the agreement with Sparta, would find confirmation in the subsequent exchange of compliments with Dionysius I. of Syracuse, Sparta's ally, who with his sons received the Athenian citizenship. It is not clear that the allies officially approved this new friendship; it is certain that it was actually distasteful to them. The same dislike would be roused by the Athenian alliance with Alexander of Pherae (368-367). The maritime allies naturally had no desire to be involved in the quarrels of Sicily, Thessaly and the Peloponnese.

In 367 Athens and Thebes sent rival ambassadors to Persia, with the result that Athens was actually ordered to abandon her claim to Amphipolis, and to remove her navy from the high seas. The claim to Amphipolis was subsequently affirmed, but the Greek states declined to obey the order of Persia. In 366 Athens lost Oropus, a blow which she endeavoured to repair by forming an alliance with Arcadia and by an attack on Corinth. At the same time certain of the Peloponnesian states made peace with Thebes, and some hold that Athens joined this peace (Meyer, Gesch. d. AU. v. 449). Timotheus was sent in 366-365 to make a demonstration against Persia. Finding Samos in the hands of Cyprothemis, a servant of the satrap Tigranes, he laid siege to it, captured it after a ten months' siege and established a cleruchy. Though Samos was not apparently one of the allies, this latter action could not but remind the allies of the very dangers which the second confederacy had set out to avoid.

The next important event was the serious attempt on the part of Epaminondas to challenge the Athenian naval supremacy. Though Timotheus held his ground the confederacy was undoubtedly weakened. In 362 Athens joined in the opposition to the Theban expedition which ended in the battle of Mantineia (July). In the next year the Athenian generals failed in the north in their attempt to control the Hellespont. In Thessaly Alexander of Pherae became hostile and after several successes even attacked the Peiraeus. Chares was ordered to make reprisals, but instead sailed to Corcyra, where he made the mistake of siding with the oligarchs. The last event of the period was a success, the recovery of Euboea (357), which was once more added to the league.

During these fourteen years the policy of Athens towards her maritime allies was, as we have seen, shortsighted and inconsistent. Alliances with various land powers, and an inability to understand the true relations which alone could unite the league, combined to alienate the allies, who could discover no reason for the expenditure of their contributions on protecting Sparta or Corinth against Thebes. The /uvEoptov of the league is found taking action in several instances, but there is evidence (cf. the expedition of Epaminondas in 363) that there was ground for suspecting disloyalty in many quarters. On the other hand, though the Athenian fleet became stronger and several cities were captured, the league itself did not gain any important voluntary adherents. The generals were compelled to support their forces by plunder or out of their private resources, and, frequently failing, diverted their efforts from the pressing needs of the allies to purely Athenian objects.

Period 357-338

The latent discontent of the allies was soon fanned into hostility by the intrigues of Mausolus, prince of Cardia, who was anxious to extend his kingdom. Chios, Rhodes, Cos, Byzantium, Erythrae and probably other cities were in revolt by the spring of 356, and their attacks on loyal members of the confederacy compelled Athens to take the offensive. Chabrias had already been killed in an attack on Chios in the previous autumn, and the fleet was under the command of Timotheus, Iphicrates and Chares, who sailed against Byzantium. The enemy sailed north from Samos and in a battle off Embata (between Erythrae and Chios) defeated Chares, who, without the consent of his colleagues, had ventured to engage them in a storm. The more cautious generals were accused of corruption in not supporting Chares. Iphicrates was acquitted and Timotheus condemned. Chares sought to replenish his resources by aiding the Phrygian satrap Artabazus against Artaxerxes Ochus, but a threat from the Persian court caused the Athenians to recall him, and peace was made by which Athens recognized the independence of the revolted towns. The league was further weakened by the secession of Corcyra, and by 355 was reduced to Athens, Euboea and a few islands. By this time, moreover, Philip II. of Macedon had begun his career of conquest, and had shattered an embryonic alliance between the league and certain princes of Thrace (Cetriporis), Paeonia (Lyppeius) and Illyria (Grabus). In 355 his advance temporarily ceased, but, as we learn from Isocrates and Xenophon, the financial exhaustion of the league was such that its destruction was only a matter of time. Resuming operations in 354, Philip, in spite of temporary checks at the hands of Chares, and the spasmodic opposition of a VII. 31 few barbarian chiefs, took from the league all its Thracian and Macedonian cities (Abdera, Maronea, Neapolis, Methone.) In 35 2 -35 1 Philip actually received help from former members of the confederacy. In 351 Charidemus, Chares and Phocion were sent to oppose him, and we find that the contributions of the Lesbian cities were assigned to them for supplies, but no successes were gained. In 349 Euboea and Olynthus were lost to the league, of which indeed nothing remained but an empty form, in spite of the facts that the expelled Olynthians appealed to it in 348 and that Mytilene rejoined in 347. In 346 the peace of Philocrates was made between the league and Philip on terms which were accepted by the Athenian Boule. It is very remarkable that, in spite of the powerlessness of the confederacy, the last recorded event in its history is the steady loyalty of Tenedos, which gave money to Athens about 340 (Hicks and Hill, 146). The victory of Philip at Chaeronea in 338 finally destroyed the league.

In spite of the precautions taken by the allies to prevent the domination of Athens at their expense, the policy of the league was almost throughout directed rather in the interests of Athens. Founded with the specific object of thwarting the ambitious designs of Sparta, it was plunged by Athens into enterprises of an entirely different character which exhausted the resources of the allies without benefiting them in any respect. There is no doubt that, with very few exceptions, the cities were held to their allegiance solely by the superior force of the Athenian navy. The few instances of its action show that the /vvESFcov was practically only a tool in the hands of Athens.


- The First League. - The general histories of Greece, especially those of A. Holm (Eng. trans., London, 1894), G. Busolt (2nd ed., Gotha, 1893), J. Beloch (Strassburg, 1893 foil.), and G. Grote (the one-vol. ed. of 1907 has some further notes on later evidence). E. Meyer's Gesch. des Altertums (Stuttgart, 1892 foll.) and Forschungen (Halle, 1892 foll.) are of the greatest value. For inscriptions, G. F. Hill, Sources of Greek History, 478-431 (2nd ed., 1907) E. L. Hicks and G. F. Hill, Greek Hist. Inscr. (Oxford, 1901). On the tribute see also U. Kohler in Abhandlungen d. Berliner Akademie (1869) and U. Pedroli, "I Tributi degli alleati d'Atene" in Beloch's Studi di storia antica. See also articles Aristides; Themistocles; Pericles; Cimon, &C., and Greece: History, with works quoted. For the last years of the league see also Peloponnesian War.

The Second League

The chief modern works are G. Busolt, "Der zweite athenische Bund" in Neue Jahrbiicher fir classische Philologie (supp. vol. vii., 1873-1875, pp. 641-866), and F. H. Marshall, The Second Athenian Confederacy (1905), one of the Cambridge Historical Essays (No. xiii.). The latter is based on Busolt's monograph and includes subsequent epigraphic evidence, with a full list of authorities. For inscriptions see Hicks and Hill, op. cit., and the Inscriptiones Atticae, vol. ii. pt. 5. The meagre data given by ancient writers are collected by Busolt and Marshall. (J. M. M.)

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