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From The Delian League To The Athenian Empire Thomas Ash Introduction

The conditions which led to the second Delian Confederacy were fundamentally different, because the enemy was no longer an oriental power, but Sparta, whose am bitious projects since the fall of Athens had shown that there could be no safety for the smaller states save in combination. As soon as the Athenians began to recover from the victory of Lysander and the government of the Thirty, their thoughts turned to the possibility of recovering their lost empire. The first step in this direction was the recovery of their sea power, which was effected by the victory of Conon at Cnidus (Aug. 394 B.c.). Cities which had formed part of the Athenian empire returned to their alliance with Athens, until Sparta had only Sestos and Abydos of all that she had won by the battle of Aegospotami. No systematic constructive attempt at a renewal of empire was made. Athenian relations were with individual states only, and the terms of alliance were various. The whole position was changed by the successes of Thrasybulus, who set up a democracy in Byzantium and reimposed the old 1 o% duty on goods from the Black Sea. Many of the island towns subsequently came over, and from inscriptions at Clazomenae and Thasos we learn that Thrasybulus was deliberately aiming at a renewal of the empire, though he had no general backing in Athens.

The first ten years of the league's history was a period of steady, successful activity against the few remaining Persian strongholds (see ATHENS; CIMON). In these years the Athenian sailors reached a high pitch of training, while certain of the allies became weary of incessant warfare. Athens supported by the synod (Ebv000s) of the Hellenotamiai, 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 averse to pro longed warfare, and in the prosperity which followed the rout of the Persians a money contribution was held a trifling burden. The result was, however, bad for the allies, whose status in the league became lower in relation to that of Athens, while at the same time their naval resources diminished. Athens became more powerful, and could afford to disregard the authority of the synod. Another new feature appeared in the coercion of cities which desired to secede. The protection of the Aegean would become impossible if some of the islands were liable to be used as piratical strongholds, and it was only right that all should contribute in some way to the security which all enjoyed. In the cases of Naxos and Thasos, the league's resources were em ployed, not against the Persians, but against recalcitrant Greek islands. Shortly after the capture of Naxos (c. 467 B.C.) Cimon proceeded with a fleet of 30o ships (only ion from the allies), to the south-western and southern coasts of Asia Minor, and routed the Persians on land and sea at the mouth of the Eury medon, in Pamphylia. This engagement was the final episode of the struggle between the Greeks and Persia. The very complete ness of the victory raised the question of the continuance of the league now that the danger which had given rise to it was effec tively removed. It remained to be seen whether Athens would permit secession, which she was theoretically unable to prevent. If she did not, her "leadership" would definitely be converted into an empire. The event proved that Athens had no intention of allowing the dissolution of a body which had brought her such an advance in power. The capture of Thasos (463 B.c.), due to trade rivalry on the Strymon, was a first indication of what the "allies" might expect. About the same time Cimon (q.v.), whose philo-Spartan policy was displeasing to the leaders of the new democracy, was successfully overthrown by Ephialtes and Pericles. Af ter his fall the resources of the league were increasingly used in the prosecution of Athens' imperial designs. Between this time and the peace of Callias (449 B.c.) which put an end to the war with Persia (see CIMON) all the allies had commuted their naval service for a money payment, with the exception of Chios, Lesbos and Samos. In 454 B.c. the domination of Athens was crystallized by the transference of the federal treasury from Delos to Athens. In the meantime Athens was busy transforming her sea empire into a land and sea empire. By 448 B.c. she dominated not only her former "allies," but also Megara, Boeotia, Phocis, Locris, Achaea and Troezen. The conception of a league of inde pendent allies was still further violated in 451 B.C. by Pericles' law under which citizenship, with all its advantages, such as the right to sit on paid juries, was restricted to those who could prove themselves the children of an Athenian father and mother. Thus the "allies" saw themselves still further excluded from recogni tion (see PERICLES). The resulting antipathy to Athens, and the centrifugal spirit natural to the Greek in politics, combined for the disruption of a tyranny which had become odious to all alike. The first to secede were the land powers, where the democracies established by Athens as a guarantee of her predominance were overthrown by oligarchies. The reverse of Coroneia (446 B.c.) was followed by the loss of Boeotia, and shortly afterwards by that of Phocis, Locris and Megara. By the "Thirty Years Peace" (445 B.c.) Athens abandoned Nisaea, Pegae, Troezen and Achaea. Her newly acquired land empire was irretrievably lost.

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Ancient History: Athens - An Empire by Numbers

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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 tried to induce the states which recognized the hegemony of Sparta to transfer their allegiance to the Delian league. It seems that the states adopted this policy with the exception of Elis. The policy of Athens was mistaken for two reasons: (I) Sparta was not entirely humiliated, and (2) alliance with the land powers of Pelo ponnese involved Athens in enterprises which could not awaken the enthusiasm of her maritime allies. This new coalition alarmed Sparta, which at once made overtures to Athens on the ground of their common danger from Thebes. The alliance was con cluded in 369 B.C. 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. The old suspicion of the allies was now awakened, and we find Athens making great efforts to con ciliate Mytilene by honorific decrees. This suspicion, due pri marily, no doubt, to the agreement with Sparta, was strengthened by the exchange of compliments with Dionysius I. of Syracuse, who received the Athenian citizenship, and by the Athenian alliance with Alexander of Pherae (368-367). The maritime allies had no desire to be involved in the quarrels of Sicily, Thessaly and the Peloponnese.

During the 6th century B.C. Sparta was regarded as the chief power in Greece, including the islands of the Aegean. The Persian invasions of Darius and Xerxes, with the consequent increase in the importance of maritime strength as compared with military power, caused a loss of prestige which Sparta was un willing to recognize. Moreover, at that time the Spartan leaders were not men of strong character. Pausanias, the victor of Plataea, soon showed himself destitute of the high qualities which the situation demanded. The Ionian allies realized that, had it not been for the Athenians, the battle of Salamis would never have been fought, and Greece would have become a Persian satrapy. The Athenian contingent sent to aid Pausanias in driv ing the Persians out of the Thraceward towns was under the command of Aristeides and Cimon, men of tact and probity. When Pausanias was recalled to Sparta on the charge of treason able overtures to the Persians, the Ionian allies appealed to the Athenians, and when Sparta sent out Dorcis to supersede Pausan ias he found Aristeides in unquestioned command of the allied fleet. The Spartans were relieved, in that it no longer fell to them to organize distant expeditions to Asia Minor. The Spartan system was unable to adapt itself to the spirit of the age. To Aristeides was due the organization of the new league and the adjustment of the contributions of the various allies in ships or in money. His assessment remained popular after the league of autonomous allies had become an Athenian empire. The affairs of the league were managed by a synod which met in the temple of Apollo and Artemis at Delos, sanctified by the common worship of the Ion ians (see AMPHICTYONY). In this synod the allies met under the ' presidency of Athens. Thucydides (i. 97) 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 i zi. axoc (allies). Athens appointed a board called the Hellenotamiai (rapias, steward) to administer the treasury of the league, which was kept at Delos, and to receive the contribu tions (46pos) of the allies who paid in money.

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DELIAN LEAGUE or CONFEDERACY OF DELOS, a confeder ation of Greek states under the leadership of Athens, with its headquarters at Delos, founded in 478 B.C. after the repulse of the expedition of the Persians under Xerxes I. This confederacy, broken up by the capture of Athens by Sparta in 404, was revived in 3 7 7 B.C. as a protection against Spartan aggression, and lasted, until the victory of Philip II. of Macedon at Chaeroneia (338 B.e.). These two confederations are the first examples of a serious attempt at united action on the part of a number of self governing states at a high level of political development. The first league in its later period affords the earliest example in history of imperialism in which the subordinate units enjoyed local autonomy with an organized system, financial, military and judicial.

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