The DELIAN LEAGUE, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek
city-states , members numbering between 150, 173, to 330 under the
leadership of Athens , whose purpose was to continue fighting the
Shortly after its inception, Athens began to use the League's navy
for its own purposes – which led to its naming by historians as the
ATHENIAN EMPIRE. This behavior frequently led to conflict between
Athens and the less powerful members of the League. By 431 BC, Athens'
heavy-handed control of the
* 1 Background * 2 Formation * 3 Members * 4 Composition and expansion
* 5 Rebellion
* 5.1 Naxos * 5.2 Thasos
* 6 Policies of the League
* 7 Wars against Persia
* 8 Wars in Greece
* 9 The Athenian
Main article: Greco-Persian Wars
Greco-Persian Wars had their roots in the conquest of the Greek
The Greek states of Athens and
In the next two decades there would be two Persian invasions of
Greece, occasioning, thanks to Greek historians, some of the most
famous battles in history. During the first invasion ,
Xerxes then personally led a second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC, taking an enormous (although oft-exaggerated) army and navy to Greece. Those Greeks who chose to resist (the 'Allies') were defeated in the twin simultaneous battles of Thermopylae on land and Artemisium at sea. All of Greece except the Peloponnesus thus having fallen into Persian hands, the Persians then seeking to destroy the Allied navy once and for all, suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Salamis . 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.
The Allied fleet defeated the remnants of the Persian fleet in the
Battle of Mycale
Xanthippus, the Athenian commander at Mycale, had furiously rejected this; the Ionian cities had been Athenian colonies, and the Athenians, if no-one else, would protect the Ionians. This marked the point at which the leadership of the Greek alliance effectively passed to the Athenians. With the Spartan withdrawal after Byzantion, the leadership of the Athenians became explicit.
The loose alliance of city states which had fought against Xerxes's
invasion had been dominated by
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. 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.
Main article: Members of the Delian League
COMPOSITION AND EXPANSION
Over time, especially with the suppression of rebellions, Athens exercised hegemony 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.
The first member of the league to attempt to secede was the island of Naxos in c. 471 BC. After being defeated, Naxos is believed (based on similar, later revolts) to have been forced to tear down its walls, and lost its fleet and its vote in the League.
Main article: Thasian rebellion
In 465 BC, Athens founded the colony of
An aftermath of the war was that
Cimon was ostracised , and the
relations between Athens and
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,
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 defence of members of the league. It was from
tribute paid to the league that
Pericles set to building the Parthenon
on the Acropolis , replacing an older temple, as well as many other
non-defense related expenditures. The
WARS AGAINST PERSIA
Main article: Wars of the Delian League
War with the Persians continued. In 460 BC,
This was the 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
This battle was the last major one fought against the Persians. Many writers report that a 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
Reverses followed peace with Persia in 449 BC. The Battle of Coronea
, in 447 BC, led to the abandonment of Boeotia.
Those who revolted unsuccessfully during the war saw the example made
of the Mytilenians , the principal people on
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 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
To further strengthen Athens' grip on its empire, Pericles in 450 BC began a policy of establishing _kleruchiai _—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 _hellenotamiai _, who received the tribute on Athens' behalf.
Athens' empire was not very stable and after only 27 years of war,
the Spartans, aided by the Persians and internal strife, were able to
defeat it. However, it did not remain defeated long. The Second
* Ancient Greece portal
* ^ Martin, Thomas (2001-08-11). _Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times_. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-08493-1 .
* ^ The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ancient Greece By Eric D. Nelson, Susan K. Allard-Nelson, Susan K. Allard-Nelson. p. 197. * ^ Streams of Civilization: Earliest Times to the Discovery of the New World By Mary Stanton, Albert Hyma. p. 125 * ^ http://www.ancient.eu/Delian_League/ * ^ A history of the classical Greek world: 478-323 BC By Peter John Rhodes p. 18 ISBN 1-4051-9286-0 (2006) In ancient sources, there is no special designation for the league and its members as a group are simply referred to with phrases along the lines of "the Athenians and their allies". See Artz, James. 2008. The Effect of Natural Resources on Fifth Century Athenian Foreign Policy and the Development of the Athenian Empire. Saarbrücken, VDM Verlag. p. 2 * ^ Eva C. Keuls, _The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens_ (Berkeley: University of California Press) 1985:18. * ^ Thucydides, I, 96. * ^ Holland, Tom. _Persian Fire_. 2006. 147–51 * ^ Fine, pp. 269–77 * ^ Herodotus V, 35 * ^ Holland, pp. 155–57 * ^ Holland, pp. 160–62 * ^ _A_ _B_ Holland, pp. 175–77 * ^ Holland, pp. 183–86 * ^ Holland, pp. 187–94 * ^ Holland, pp. 202–03 * ^ Holland, pp. 240–44 * ^ Holland, pp. 276–81 * ^ Holland, pp. 320–26 * ^ Holland, pp. 342–55 * ^ Holland, pp. 357–58 * ^ Lazenby, p. 247 * ^ Thucydides I, 89 * ^ Herodotus IX, 114 * ^ Thucydides I, 95 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Holland, p. 362 * ^ _A_ _B_ Thucydides I, 96 * ^ Plutarch, Aristeides 26 * ^ Thucydides I.98 * ^ Thucydides i. 99 * ^ Brand, Peter J. _Athens & Sparta: Democracy vs. Dictatorship_. * ^ Thucydides I, 100 * ^ Thucydides 101
* Jack Martin Balcer (ed.): _Studien zum Attischen Seebund_. Konstanz 1984. * Ryan Balot: _The Freedom to Rule: Athenian Imperialism and Democratic Masculinity_. In: David Edward Tabachnick – Toivo Koivukoski (eds.): _Enduring Empire. Ancient Lessons for Global Politics_. London 2009, pp. 54–68. * Christian Meier : _Athen. Ein Neubeginn der Weltgeschichte_. Munich 1995. * Russell Meiggs: _The Athenian empire_. Repr., with corr. Oxford 1979. * P. J. Rhodes : _The Athenian Empire_. Oxford 1985. * Wolfgang Schuller: _Die Herrschaft der Athener im Ersten Attischen Seebund_. Berlin – New York 1974.
* _ "Delian League".