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Delian League, Athenian democracy


... and it was shown to be futile to expect friendship from the jealous Spartans. ... He marginalizes myth, poetry, and the Trojan War; distrusts hearsay. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Delian League, Athenian democracy

Delian League, Athenian democracy
  • Precursor to Empire in the Aegean

After the Persian Wars
  • When Platea and Mycale were won, no one knew for
    sure that the Persian threat was over.
  • Spartans returned to defense of the Peloponnesus,
    but Athens continued to press the Persians by sea
    for all Greece.
  • The Greeks who opposed Persia found a new sense
    of cultural identity.
  • Athenians led a new alliance devoted to prevent
    further Persian incursions.
  • As most powerful and populous of Greek poleis,
    Athens coffers would fill with tribute money
    from other cities to provide leadership against
    the Persians.

Formation of Delian League
  • 477 saw the first meeting of reps of Greek cities
    at the island of Delos (hence Delian).
  • Oaths were sworn, binding their cities to defense
    of all Greece.
  • Policy was formed by all poleis in assembly, but
    Athenian generals were to enforce those policies.
  • At first the money collected was deposited on
    Delos, but was clearly controlled by the
  • Some poleis paid tribute in the forms of ships
    rather than cash.
  • Sparta was conspicuously absent they were

Athens as top dog
  • Leadership in the Delian league benefited Athens
  • Most agree that Athens used this windfall to
    build a model democracy.
  • For many, government became a career when money
    came available to remunerate for public service.
  • Lower-class rowers on Greek triremes had saved
    Athens, now they would be given more of a voice
    as citizens.
  • Athens would incur resentment from other Greeks
    when they would come to depend on this higher
    standard of living, and insist upon the Leagues
    perpetuation Empire.

Preserving an empire
  • Cities were threatened with reprisal if they left
    the league, and new cities were forced to join.
  • Part of the agreement was preservation of the
    integrity of each city, but Athens made judgments
    as to what was necessary in view of the foreign
  • Athens was demanding protection money and was
    essentially forming an empire. Until his
    ostracism, Themistocles encouraged imperial
    designs and competition with Sparta.
  • This direction was almost avoided by the brief
    ascendency of Cimon, son of Miltiades.

Cimon the strategos
  • Cimon was an Athenian general who distinguished
    himself cleaning up the Aegean for the Delian
  • He drove Persians from Eion at the mouth of the
    Strymon, most important remaining stronghold of
    the Persians west of Hellespont.
  • He drove pirates from the island of Scyrus and
    Athens annexed it.
  • Most sensational, on Scyrus Cimon won unfading
    glory by discovering the bones of Theseus and
    returned them to Athens.
  • In 468 he won decisive land and sea battles over
    the Persians in southern Asia Minor destroying
    hundreds of ships at Eurymedon.

Cimons political career
  • After Themistocles was ostracized, Cimon was the
    leader Athenians turned to.
  • He symbolized the success of the Delian League
    and was an aristocrat.
  • Somewhat bland but dignified, Cimon led
    idealogues who favored alliance with Sparta.
  • He was opposed by anti-Spartan and democrat
    Ephialtes and his associate Pericles, son of

Earthquake in Sparta fate takes a hand
  • In 464 an earthquake leveled the five villages of
  • Cause was attributed to massacre of helots who
    had sought sanctuary at temple of Poseidon.
  • Helots in Messenia choose that moment to revolt
    and win an early victory over the Spartans, and
    pressed the revolt for four years.
  • The Spartans, who had been threatening Athens
    with war over her imperial designs now asked for
    help in quelling the rebellion.

Helot rebellion
Mt. Ithome
Athens sends help
  • Athenians split over sending help. Cimon
    overcomes democratic opposition and leads 4000
    hoplites to help put down the Helots.
  • At stake was the issue of Spartan alliance and
    democracy in Athens, and thus the leadership and
    integrity of Cimon, then at his zenith of power.
  • The Athenians joined other Greek states in
    helping Sparta besiege the fortress of Ithome in
    SW Messenia.
  • But they were surprised that the Helots were not
    sub-men, but reasonable Greeks.

Fall of a Laconiaphile
  • The Athenians were unable to take the fortress.
  • The Spartans then dismissed the Athenians,
    supposedly fearing their adventurous and
    revolutionary spirit.
  • Cimon was disgraced and it was shown to be futile
    to expect friendship from the jealous Spartans.
  • Now labeled a laconiaphile, Cimon was ostracized
    and exiled for ten years.
  • The Athenians now gave sanctuary to Helot rebels
    at Naupactus, thus thumbing their noses at Sparta.

Areopagus and assassination
  • Ephialtes had capitalized on Cimons absence in
    Messenia by pushing through reforms that diminish
    the power of the Areopagus, stripping them of all
    politically-significant powers.
  • Council of Areopagus was reduced to jurisdiction
    in murder cases, care of the sacred olive trees,
    and minor religious duties.
  • Soon after Cimons ostracism in 461, Ephialtes is
  • Pericles emerges as the most powerful leader of
    the democracy-minded Athenians.

Periclean foreign policy
  • Pericles dominated Athenian politics for thirty
  • The foreign policy of Athens now changed, leaving
    alliances with Sparta and her allies and allying
    with Argos and Thessaly. The enemies of Sparta.
  • These policies ran afoul of Corinth and Aegina,
    which eventually joined forces against Athens.
  • It started when Megara defected to the Athenian
    side in 459, giving Athens an effective control
    of the eastern Corinthian gulf.

A hot war between Greeks
  • Corinth felt threatened by Athens, economically
    and militarily, skirmishes ensue.
  • In 458, a Peloponnesian fleet engages the
    Athenians off the Argive coast and loses.
    Alarmed, the Aeginians enter the war.
  • Athens wins naval and land engagements, besieges
  • Aeginans surrender in 456 and join the Delian
    league as a subject state.

Athenians overextend themselves
  • The Lybian rebel Inaros asked the Delian forces
    to support his invasion of Persian-held Egypt.
  • The time looked ripe following Xerxes
    assassination and troubles at the Persian court.
  • The fleet is transferred from Cyprus to Egypt and
    helps in the capture of Memphis in 459.
  • In 456, high and dry, the Greeks lose Memphis,
    hundreds of ships and perhaps as many as 40,000
  • Despite the losses, Pericles retains his power.

Possibility of Peace?
  • War places a tremendous strain on resources and
    Athens began to long for relief.
  • In 452 Cimon was recalled from exile and settled
    a five-year truce with Sparta, while the Argives
    signed a thirty year peace treaty with Sparta.
  • Athens and allies used the truce to resume
    warfare against Persia.
  • In 449 Cimon dies besieging the Persians at
    Cyprus, and his death motivated Pericles to
    conclude a peace with the Persians in 448.
  • Cyprus comes to be dominated by Phoenician allies
    of Persia.

Antebellum Athens
  • Eve of the Peloponnesian War

445 partial collapse of empire
  • 445 was a crucial year for Athens.
  • Aristocracies recover many poleis governments.
  • Various parts of the Athenian empire began to
    chafe Euboea and Megara revolted at the same
  • Pericles fights on two fronts until Spartans
    threaten Attica from the south. Pericles unites
    armies in the south.
  • King Pleistoanax withdraws but Megara realigns
    with Sparta, Boeotians form own league.
  • Athenians forced to sign a peace with the

The Thirty Years Peace
  • The Thirty Years Peace only lasted fourteen
  • Athens was humiliated out of fear of Spartan
  • Surrendered Megarian ports.
  • No ally could switch sides.
  • Neither side could interfere with the others
    allies, but each could deal with its own allies
    without interference.
  • The peace would end with the beginning of what we
    call the (second) Peloponnesian War that began in

Positioning of Democracy
  • Under Pericles Athens became an imperial power
    and a democracy.
  • As Strategos and leader of democratic ideologues,
    Pericles instituted liturgies as a taxation
    system for the wealthy.
  • Liturgies were a system of patronage of arts and
    military in service of Athens.
  • Strategoi became the most powerful politicians
    due to trust and esteem.
  • But power in Athens was diluted by the lot and
    the diffusion of power among many voluntary
    public servants.

Periclean Antebellum Athens
  • Imperial tribute and liturgies made Athens a
    dominant cultural center.
  • The Acropolis was remade with its Parthenon,
    Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erektheion of
  • Athenians expand trade and form true colonies to
    exchange wares.
  • Metics, foreign traders and artisans, flock to
    Athens, attracted by democracy and the
    by-products of Empire.

Greek Architecture
  • Though they lived in wooden houses, Greeks built
    permanent structures in stone for religious
  • These were the earthly dwellings of gods,
    containing their image and accoutrements.
  • Three types of temples that emerged corresponded
    to three types of architecture Ionic, Doric, and
    Corinthian, the latter not emerging fully until
    the fourth century.

Architecture of Athens
  • From the time of Pericles

The Acropolis
  • For the first time in history, architects, not
    priests, directed these building projects.
  • The Parthenon in Athens, was built in 447-438 BC
    by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates.
  • During the Classical period (450-330 B.C.) three
    important temples were erected on the ruins of
    earlier ones the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and
    the Temple of Nike.
  • The Propylaea was the monumental entrance to the
    sacred area.

The Parthenon
  • The Parthenon is the largest building on top of
    the Acropolis. It was dedicated to Athena
  • It was completely made out of marble and
    surrounded by free-standing columns.
  • Two pediments east, above building's main
    entrance, shows birth of Athena west, fight
    between Athena and Poseidon to name city of

The Parthenon
  • This structure reflects the Doric style that
    emerged on the Western Aegean shore. This style
    was used in mainland Greece and the colonies in
    southern Italy and Sicily.
  • The Doric style is stout and uncomplicated. The
    Doric column has a dish-shaped top, or capital,
    and no base.
  • This building contained the treasury of Athens
    and later that of the Delian league.

Parthenon Detail
  • The entablatures (lintels), spanning the columns
    are also distinct, the Doric having a row of 3
    vertical grooves, or triglyphs, between sculpted
    metopes (square spaces) and mutules under the
  • The pediments contained scenes like Heracles.

The Erectheion 421-406
  • The temple of Erechteus, or Erechtheum, was the
    last the most complex, and the most richly
    embellished building.
  • It was dedicated to the worship of the two
    principal gods of Attica, Athena and Poseidon
  • It is an example of Ionic, or east shore style.
  • The Ionic style is thinner and more elegant. Its
    capital is decorated with a scroll-like design (a
  • Ionic has paired volutes at its capital and
    carved rings at its base.

The Erectheion
  • The Erechtheum is best known for its caryatid
  • The present caryatids are copies, the originals
    having been moved in order to preserve them.
  • The inner chamber of Athena was on the east side
    and was perpetually illuminated.
  • Lamp only filled once a year!

The Agora
  • Large flat area at the base of the Acropolis.
  • Market and focal point of Athenian life.
  • Doric temple either to Hephaestus or Theseus.
  • Stoa bordered the Agora and held shops.

A time of cultural development
  • Orchestra of the Dionysian theatre where dramas
    were performed below the Acropolis.
  • The Temple of Athena Nike was an Ionic building
    built in 420 by Kallikrates on the Ionic order.
  • But more than architecture and drama were
    developingso was historical narrative.

History as a discipline
  • History as a rational discipline is founded in
    this era.
  • Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484-428) traveled
    widely conducting interviews and lecturing.
  • He is known for his book History that covered up
    through the Persian Wars.
  • His history depended on two criteria eyewitness
    accounts and hearsay.
  • His purpose was to tell the stories of the
    struggle between East and West.
  • History had an explainable pattern combined with
    smaller lessons.

  • Herodotus has been called the father of
    historical practice (Juan Luis Vive preferred,
    father of lies).
  • His younger contemporary was Thucydides
  • An Athenian general, he was exiled and finally
  • His work is a history of the first twenty years
    of the Peloponnesian War.
  • He marginalizes myth, poetry, and the Trojan War
    distrusts hearsay.
  • History is explained by human ideas,
    deliberation, and decision rather than accident,
    fate, or the gods.