Attic League

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The Delian-Attic League (yellow), shortly before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War

The Attic League (also Delisch-Attischer or Attisch-Delischer Seebund ) was an alliance system between Athens and numerous poleis in Asia Minor and on the offshore islands. The original name of the League was: "The Athenians and their allies" ( ancient Greek οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ οἱ σύμμαχοι ). It was created as a result of the Persian Wars that began in 480 BC. By the victory of the allied Greeks led by Athens in the sea ​​battle at Salamis .

The foundation in 478/77 BC The aim was to keep the Persians away from the Aegean Sea with its Greek-settled islands and fringes and to protect important sea trade routes. From the outset, the Athenians had a certain leadership role in military and organizational terms, which they expanded into an overwhelming position of supremacy in the course of their internal democratic transformation.

While the Persian threat seemed largely averted by the middle of the century, the maritime realm ruled by Athens was repressed during the 5th century BC. BC to a growing challenge for the Greek land power Sparta and for the Peloponnesian League affiliated with it . The rivalry between the two great Greek powers finally culminated in the Peloponnesian War , which brought both the hardest form of Athenian rule over the League members subject to it and - because of Athens' defeat against Sparta - the dissolution of the First Attic League.

The re-establishment of an Attic League in 379/78 BC B.C. shows that the associated protective functions continued to be valued, especially by the smaller ally Poleis. However, Athens' leading role was now significantly reduced and corresponded to its overall weakened position. The rise of Macedonia to a great Greek power also reduced Athens' influence in the Aegean Sea and favored the apostasy of allies. The defeat of Athens and its allies in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. BC against the Macedonians meant the end of the Second Attic League.

The formation of the First Attic League

After the Persian defeat at the Battle of Plataiai in 479 BC. After the retreat of the Persians from the Greek mainland, a Greek federal fleet led by the Spartan Pausanias followed in the northeastern Aegean region and conquered Byzantium the following year . Pausanias' high-flying style of leadership and his unwillingness to guarantee the protective interests of the Greek Poleis in Asia Minor were used by the Athenians to apply for command of the fleet while the Spartans withdrew their units.

A defensive alliance against Persia

The Sea League did not replace the Hellenic League founded to defend against the Persians , it continued to exist. However, the newly founded alliance now took on the task of permanently protecting the Greek cities liberated from Persia. Sparta was not interested in extending the war to Asia Minor and wanted to limit itself to defending the Greek heartland. Thus the task of consolidating the freedom of the Ionian cities in Asia Minor now fell to Athens and its allies. The interest of the Greeks, who were mostly settled on the coasts of Asia Minor in the course of the Greek colonization , in permanent protection from the encroachment of the Persian great power was a stable factor in the establishment of the League, as the quarrels that preceded the Persian Wars also had their origins in the Ionian Pole of Asia Minor - and with Athens taking sides by their side, the Persian advances into Greece were triggered. For the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea and especially for the z. Athens, partly dependent on food imports, was also concerned with securing the sea routes in the Aegean region against encroachment so that trade remained undisturbed and could be developed.

This required the building and maintenance of large naval formations, something which Athens was mainly capable of. The silver reserves in the mines of Laurion played an important financial role : "The extensive mining provided the resources for the economic and thus also for the political and military rise of Athens in the 5th century." The mining specialists required for silver production were recruited from the long-running silver mines in northern Greece. It was therefore undisputed that the Athenians would have to bear the main military burden of the federal government and that they were entitled to command. The allies, for their part, would pay their tribute to the Confederation with financial contributions or by placing ships and relieve the Athenians.

Nothing has been handed down from a drafted treaty for the establishment of the federal government. The contemporary name for this alliance was: "The Athenians and their allies". Contractual ties existed essentially between Athens and the individual Poleis allies and were concluded for an unlimited period in connection with oaths. Lumps of metal sunk symbolically into the sea vouched for the sustainability of the federal government: as long as they did not appear, it should continue to exist.

Initial organizational structures

As a symmachy, the union comprised a multitude of poleis on the Greek mainland, in western Asia Minor and in Thrace, as well as numerous Aegean islands. For almost a quarter of a century the center and meeting place of the League was not Athens, but the Cycladic island of Delos . The Federal Assembly ( Synhedrion ) met there at least once a year , and the common federal funds were kept in the Temple of Apollo there. The god to whom the League originally submitted was the Delian Apollo .

In the Federal Assembly, from the largest to the smallest member poles, nominal equality prevailed: each had only one vote in the decision-making process. But in the Synhedrion Athens usually managed to find majorities for its own proposals from the Graubünden. Both the authority of the Federal Assembly to impose sanctions in the case of apostasy from allies and the control function with regard to the legal tribute assessment of the Seebund members should have been within the competence of the Federal Assembly.

The total of the annual contributions was originally set at 460 talents . This was still less than the sum that had previously been paid to the Persians from the Greek cities of Asia Minor alone. The islands of Thasos , Naxos , Lesbos , Chios and Samos provided their own ships to be offset against the tribute obligation . The smaller poleis, which were unable to do so because of the costs incurred for shipbuilding and the salaries of the crews, were obliged to pay proportionally according to their capabilities. Such long-term organization was a novelty for Greek standards; in the Peloponnesian Federation there were only ad hoc payments.

Athens leadership

The Athenians appointed to the military leadership of the League not only had the weight of their own large fleet of ships and the command of operations at sea by Athenian strategists on their side, but they also provided Aristides , who was often praised as just, responsible for the original tribute assessment. In addition, all ten administrators (Hellenotamiai) of the Delian federal treasury, which was formed with the financial contribution burdens (φόροι) of the members, came from Attica without any noticeable offense.

In addition to the military, the organizational leadership of Athens, combined with corresponding political authority, which also had an impact in the Federal Assembly. Many of the allied poleis were so small that they would hardly have been able to assert themselves independently in their environment anyway; so the care of the more distant Athens might seem advantageous to them. On the one hand, Athens was the hegemon of the Attic League, the undisputed leading power, from the very beginning .

Between 469 and 466 BC The League of Seas at Eurymedon achieved decisive victories over the fleet and army of the Persian Great King, which seemed to banish the Persian danger and question the necessity of the League from the point of view of those liable to pay tribute. The descent from Thasos, which the Athenians 465–463 BC. BC with the siege of the island, the repression also promoted the unpopularity of the Athenians among the allies and variously increased displeasure about the ties to the hegemonic power.

Conversion to the Attic Sea Empire

By the middle of the 5th century, the threat to seal members from the great power Persia decreased, especially after the Peace of Callias of 449 BC. BC (the historicity of this peace agreement is, however, controversial). This exacerbated the problem of keeping the federation together for the Athenians, to which they had increasingly oriented their own social and economic structures.

Concentration of power against attempts to break away

Under Athenian hegemony, the other members of the League lost the possibility of independent foreign policy and warfare and were increasingly at the mercy of the Attic initiative for better or for worse. The number of alliance partners who had their own ships continued to decline, and the assessment of contributions in cash almost became the rule. If, as in Naxos and Thasos, individual poleis fell from the Confederation, these stood in isolation from the mighty Athenian fleet, to which they ultimately had to surrender with severe punitive measures. The coastal cities were often without fortifications facing the sea. Cities suspected of plotting to secede from the League were forced to tear down existing fortifications. Even in times of peace, Athens allowed sixty ships to cross between the mainland and the islands on months of exercise and surveillance. There was also a signal and message system. Athens thus ruled the entire Aegean Sea.

The punitive measures imposed by Athens on renegade Grisons also included the delivery of the fleet that was still in existence at the time of the waste. From then on, such cities also had to meet their obligation to pay tribute through monetary payments. As a result, only Athens and a handful of other Poleis still had their own naval force (e.g. Samos , later only Chios and Lesbos ). Samos, which took military action against the Miletus , which was under the protection of Athens , was conquered after strong resistance, its fleet destroyed, its capital destroyed and its inhabitants sold into slavery .

The struggle against the Persians took the Athenians as far as Egypt , where they supported an anti- Persian uprising for about six years, 454 BC. Finally succumbed to a Persian armed force and lost several thousand men along with 80-100 triremes . This shock had the consequence that the Seebundkasse was transferred from Delos to Athens because of an allegedly threatened Persian access to it, which now also became the center of the Seebund in a representative way.

454 BC BC, the year of the transfer of the federal treasury to Athens, was also the year of the event for the four-year cycle of the Great Panathenaic Festival , an event in which the relationship between the founding of the colony and the mother city was always particularly cultivated and affirmed. The allies used to prove their loyalty to the federal government by bringing smaller offerings such as a cow and armor to the festival. Then they were allowed to take part in the great procession to the Athena sanctuary on the Acropolis. From now on, this applied to all of Athens' allies: a dubious honor that was not gratefully accepted, however, since the contribution payments had to continue to be made.

Athens as the center of the federal government

The transfer of the Seebundkasse to Athens was the impetus for further profound changes in the organization of the Federation. The Federal Assembly, as the decision-making body of the Federation, no longer existed; The Athens People's Assembly (Ekklesia) took the place of the Synhedrion and decided on all federal affairs by virtue of its own full power. The fake colony status of all Graubünden residents served as the basis of legitimation for this . The kinship of the Athenians and the Ionians was now emphasized and it was pretended that the Ionian cities of Asia Minor were all founded by Athens; the status of an Athenian apoikia was also extended to all other allies.

The legal supervision of the tribute system and the individual case-related regulation of the tribute obligation was henceforth also in the hands of the Athenians, who now also divided the Seebund area into different tribute districts. After Kagan , they increasingly undermined the autonomy of the League members:

“They forced their allies to adopt Athenian weights, measures and coins and, by closing their local coins, deprived them of a manifest symbol of their sovereignty and independence. They tightened the regulation for the collection and delivery of tribute payments and set Athens as the place of jurisdiction in the event of a claim for violation of the regulations. "

Both the confederation taxes of the Graubünden and their trade with Athens were completely geared to the interests of the leading power through Athens' coin legislation. Athens was now almost the only market in the Seebund sector for shipbuilding timber, iron, copper, flax and wax; “It was the most important and indispensable transshipment point for all of the goods at that time, e. Sometimes even outside the Greek world, so that the cities were forced to orient their trade more and more towards Athens. In addition, there were also Athenian trading posts, Emporia, in the Maritime Confederation area, to which Athens also knew how to direct trade. "

The reorientation associated with the relocation of the League center from Delos to Athens also affected the religious orientation to a significant extent. Instead of the Panhellenic Apollon, the city goddess of the leading power, Athene , became the central cult object of the union. One sixtieth of the respective tribute went to the temple treasury of Athena, and this part, the aparché, was particularly important to the Athenians; for it was he whom they recorded separately in writing on stone tablets. If the contributions of individual Graubünden residents in negotiations with the Athenians were occasionally reduced or waived for certain reasons: The aparché, the dedication to the goddess Athena, was also essential in such cases. And the presence of all Seebund members at the Panathenaic Festival was used to reassess the mandatory attributes for the following four-year period.

The allies: subject in many ways

The compulsory character of Attic supremacy in the League was always particularly evident when individual allies of Athens fell away. Because then not only threatened military overthrow, the razing of fortifications and possibly the surrender of their own fleet. The enslavement and exemplary harsh punishment of parts of the population as well as the settlement of Athenian colonists as a control occupation were among the subsequent sanctions, partly in connection with an overthrow of the political system.

If the Athenian strategists had taken care of the military overthrow, archons moved up as officials with a military function of rule to stabilize the situation. Phrourarchs were responsible for controlling the political situation in the event of occupation; and Athenian officials, the Episkopoi, also served as temporary heads of the judiciary and administration.

The Athenians pursued the isolation of their allies in a targeted manner and in line with a principle of rule by always solving them individually both in collecting tributes and in litigation. Existing tax or state associations of some Poleis were dissolved or broken up by them for this purpose.

A supporter of the pre-democratic social structures of Athens describes the appearance of an ally, who was summoned to the Attic courts, as humiliating, who was forced there to “do nicely in the knowledge that he must come to Athens to repent and take […]; and he is compelled to throw himself on his knees in the courts of justice and, as soon as one enters, to take his hand. That is why the Graubünden people are more like servants of the people of Athens. "

If it came to extremes with the defection and the military overthrow of a Bündner polis, the precautions associated with the subsequent submission were both drastic and humiliating, as the following example of an oath of loyalty pressed from the citizens of Kolophons after an uprising shows:

“I will do and say and plan as much good as I can in relation to the people of Athens and their allies, and I will not apostate from the people of Athens in words or deeds, not of my own accord and also not at the behest of others. And I will love the Athenian people and not forsake them. And I will not destroy the democracy in Kolophon, neither on my own initiative nor at the behest of someone else, not by making schemes there. I will do all of this according to my oath ... "

The union, which was founded in the free decision of those involved and under the sign of equal rights, had become the tightly organized rule of Athens, the Attic maritime empire.

“The reasons for the apostasy were various, mainly backward contributions and ships, in some cases also refusal to follow the army; for the Athenians collected the sums strictly, and with severity they used every force against the cities, which had neither the habit nor the will to arduous service. Otherwise the Athenians were no longer as popular as rulers; they were no longer comrades-in-arms of the same rank and had it easy to bring back the renegades - that was the allies' fault: for, in their aversion to field service, most of them, in order not to have to be away from home, had the appropriate ship instead of ships In this way they enlarged the Athenians' fleet by combining the costs for it, and they themselves, whenever they fell away, began the war unarmed and inexperienced. "

When Mytilene (along with almost all of the rest of Lesbos) fell away from Athens, the ambassadors justified the defection from the Spartans as follows:

“Our alliance with Athens began when you withdrew from the Persian War and they held out in the field to do what was left to be done. But we did not enter into this alliance to subdue the Hellenes under Athens, but rather to liberate Hellas from the Persians. And so long as they were our guides on an equal footing, we followed in good faith; but when we saw them give up the fight with Persia and instead pursue the servitude of their allies, we began to be afraid. Defenseless in their diversity, one by one the allies became subjects of Athens, with the exception of us and Chios: only we rendered our weapon aid completely independently and freely, according to our name. "

The role of democracy in building power

Athens' development of power as a hegemon in the League of Seas and as a great Greek power was coupled with the political and social change to a developed Attic democracy . The reforms of the Ephialtes of 461 BC Chr. Paved the way for democracy and with it also for the political participation of a dispossessed class of citizens, the Thets , who earned their living as wage laborers in agriculture and trade or - increasingly since the beginning of the Athenian armament - as rowers on the triremes. They therefore had a strong common interest in incontestable and extensive Athenian maritime domination as their own livelihood. Therefore the League was not only of military use to Attica and not only beneficial for economy and trade; in the thets he also had a societal base that was increasingly politicized by democratic development, which drove its expansion into a pure instrument of rule of Athens.

The Attic democracy thus significantly influenced the organizational structure of the Seebund. But the Athenians also made the export of their form of government a means of rule. As in the case of Colophons, the democratic constitution was often imposed on apostate Graubünden as part of the follow-up sanctions as the political order that would apply from now on. The ground for this was prepared on the one hand by the drastic punitive measure of a selective decimation of the insurgent citizenship of the polis, on the other hand by the establishment of Athenian officials for a transitional period and the settlement of Attic thetes, who then anchored the Athens model of democracy in a new environment. The elimination of oligarchies and the establishment of democracies served quite successfully to create common interests between the broad strata of the Graubünden Poleis and the Athens People's Assembly, even if the Attic supremacy otherwise met with little approval. Using the example of Samos, Schuller demonstrates the connection between constitutional type and loyalty to the alliance:

“During the difficult times when the Egyptian expedition failed, democratic Samos was a faithful ally of Athens; after the oligarchical overthrow in 453 it opposed itself more and more until it fell away. It goes without saying that Pericles' immediate action after the reconquest was the restoration of democracy [...] After the oligarchical exiles succeeded in taking power again around 412 , apparently due to the Sicilian catastrophe , a democratic uprising was set in motion against them with Athenian help, because of which the democratic Samos proved to be the most loyal federal member even in the darkest days and was therefore rewarded in 405 with the granting of Athenian citizenship. "

Escalation in the Peloponnesian War

From the middle of the 5th century BC he was an important co-designer and leading representative of the Attic democracy as well as the authoritative guardian of the interests of Athens. Until the beginning of the Peloponnesian War , Perikles was elected to the office of strategists every year for a long time . The famous building program on the Athens Acropolis was connected with his work , which was to make Athens - visible from afar and attractive - the center of Greece in artistic and cultural terms. In the end, it was Pericles who advised his fellow citizens not to circumvent the impending conflict with the rival great power Sparta, because he considered it to be inevitable, and who set the course for it with his own war plan.

According to the testimony of his contemporary in Athens, the historian Thucydides , Pericles was, by virtue of his personal authority and speaking talent, also the one who knew how to curb the excessive desires for power of his fellow citizens and who warned of an overstrain in relation to the expansion of the maritime realm. After his death in 429 BC Such concerns were thrown overboard in the face of the increasing brutality of the war. People got used to mass executions and the disregard for religious rules similar to international law that had been taken into account in earlier acts of war. Something similar was now looming in the way Athens treated opposed allies.

The failed uprising on Lesbos

Thucydides' detailed account of the events that determined the defection of Mytilenes , the most important polis on Lesbos , and the reaction of the Athenians to it, shows this impressively. The inhabitants of Lesvos, largely tired of Athenian supremacy, the last Graubünden next to Chios , who still supported the Attic fleet in the League with his own ships, took advantage of Sparta's annual incursion into Attica in 427 BC since the beginning of the Archidamian War . To break away from the Seebund. Despite their own distress, the Athenians responded to Mytilenes' preparations for apostasy by sending out a siege fleet to force the Lesbians into submission. In return, however, Mytilenian ambassadors in Olympia achieved the admission of their polis into the Peloponnesian League and the promise that a Lacedaemonian fleet would attack the Athenian besiegers of Lesbos. Before the 40 Peloponnesian ships even arrived, Mytilene had fallen into the hands of the Athenian strategist Paches because the ordinary Mytilene citizens, who were meanwhile armed with weapons by the leaders of the revolt movement against Athens, did not want to fight the Athenians and instead wanted to surrender and surrender the city forced on paches. Paches had more than 1,000 main operators of the Mytilenian rubbish from the League of Lakes brought to Athens for judgment by the people's assembly.

Under the influence of Cleon , for Thucydides the most violent man in town, the Ekklesia decided not only to execute all the insurgents sent by Paches, but also to kill the entire male citizenry of Mytilenes and the enslavement of all women and children. A trireme was sent to urge Paches on Lesbos to carry out this resolution. However, this decision did not leave many people in peace, and they managed to have the matter discussed again the following day. Kleon renewed his plea for maximum severity: Which polis will shy away from betrayal if, if successful, freedom beckons and if it fails, nothing fundamentally threatened? To deter you have to kill:

“So punish them as they deserve and set a clear example for the other allies that apostasy is death. When they notice this, you can better devote yourself to your enemies instead of fighting with your own allies. "

In his counter-speech to the people's assembly, Diodotos emphasized that even harsher punishments could not eradicate the willingness to do injustice out of poverty or lust for power. It also hurts Athens' own interests to deprive apostate Grisons of all hope and the chance of reparation if they are actually ready to surrender - given that their uprising is hopeless. Their resistance will only become more relentless, but Athens will suffer the damage: increased military expenditure in the overthrow of the renegades, then completely destroyed cities and long-term loss of contributions for the Seebund supremacy. Instead of unduly chastising a free people after apostasy, Diodotos recommended that they be watched closely beforehand and that they be prevented from withdrawing, and added:

"You have to consider one more thing, why it would be so wrong to follow Kleon: now the people are for you in all cities and either do not participate when the nobles fall away, or it is the instigators of the descent if they force it, enemy from the start; if you go to war, you will have the mass as your ally in every opposing city. But if you destroy the people of Mytilene, who had absolutely no part in the apostasy and, as soon as they got weapons in their hand, willingly surrendered the city to you, firstly this murder of your friends would be an outrage, secondly with this example you would become the wealthy do the greatest favor in the whole world. Because as often as they turn a city away from you, they will soon have the people on their side: you have shown that the same punishment threatens the fallible as the innocent. "

The people's assembly then changed the previous day's decision with a narrow majority. It is true that the slightly more than 1000 main culprits of the revolt against Athens, who were transferred by Paches, were killed at Kleon's request, Mytilenes fortifications razed and his ships taken over by the Athenians. The already scheduled action for the mass execution and enslavement of the entire population of Mytilenes could still be prevented: A second trireme reached Lesbos just in time and was able to transmit the changed decision. The rowers were encouraged to perform at their best with special incentives in order to reduce the gap to the first trireme.

The Forced Incorporation of Melos

A sustained course correction in favor of a more cautious power politics Athens was not connected with this. About a decade later, Thucydides also thoroughly recorded an attack by Athens on the inhabitants of Melos, which until then had maintained a neutral position as a small island in the Aegean Sea during the Peloponnesian War. In a dispute that became famous as a lesson in cynical power politics, the Melier Dialogue of Thucydides, the Athenians ultimately demanded the Melians join the Attic League. Legal considerations are only of importance if the counterparties have the same balance of power; otherwise the right of the strong to the greatest possible rule over the weaker applies. The hatred of the subjugated underlines the strength of the supremacy. On the other hand, Athens would be interpreted as a weakness if Melos, with its location within the Aegean ruled by the League, left its independence. In spite of their political neutrality, the Melians tended towards Sparta. Like the Spartans, they saw themselves as Dorians and had a founding myth that said Melos was settled from Sparta.

The Melians could not withstand the Athenian siege, especially since the hoped-for support from Sparta failed to materialize. After surrendering to overwhelming odds, they suffered the fate that the citizens of Mytilenes had been spared at the last moment. Christian Meier sums up:

“The great power struck for no other reason than because it wanted to. She felt strong, just not strong enough to endure the neutrality of the small island, 161 square kilometers and with a population of perhaps 1,500 men. She considered the hatred that Pericles had once regretfully accepted as necessary and desirable. "

The end of the great power of Athens

Until the final phase of the Peloponnesian War, Athens maintained its rule over the League with a hard hand, even after it did so in 412 and 411 BC. BC - at the same time as an oligarchical overthrow in Athens - there was massive apostasy among allies and tendencies towards dissolution. It was not until 405/404 BC. The situation of the Athenians became hopeless when the Spartans succeeded in ending the Athenian naval rule. Athens was now a besieged city itself and cut off from supplies by sea. This increased the Athenians' fear that something similar to what they had done to the Melians was about to happen.

The Spartans, however, still needed the weakened Athens as a counterbalance to the strengthened Thebes , and the merits of Athens in the Persian Wars were remembered. So the Athenians got off lightly with the peace conditions that were finally negotiated: They had to renounce their sea power permanently, they were only allowed to keep twelve ships. The long walls and fortifications of Piraeus had to be razed. Athens - with an oligarchical constitution - was forced to become a member of the Peloponnesian League under the leadership of Sparta.

The Second Attic League

For a good quarter of a century, the Athenians had to submit to Spartan supremacy, but then seized the opportunity to found a new alliance when the Lacedaemonians were otherwise militarily bound and weakened.

Motives and organizational structures

Greece at the time of the hegemony of Thebes, 371–362 BC Chr.

When it was 379 BC Theban democrats managed to shake off the Spartan occupation of the city and subsequently to ensure the state unification of all Boeotia under democratic conditions. Athens also had the opportunity to free itself from the constriction by Sparta and 378/377 BC. BC, just 100 years after the first founding of the Second Attic Sea Confederation. So this time the main motive was the elimination of the Spartan supremacy, while with regard to Persia emphasis was placed on a balance of interests.

“The common claim that Athens was able to agree on with its allies did not have exactly the same meaning for all members of the league. The great power Athens, the recognized hegemon of the league, strove with the help of its allies to achieve a position of power at least equal to that of the Spartan, in particular by regaining naval rule. [...] Because of their much lower power potential, Athens' allies had to limit themselves to the goal of preserving their autonomy with the help of Athens, first and foremost against Spartan attacks. But Athens only achieved a greater influx of the newly founded League of Nations after it - in the appeal written by Aristotle - added guarantees of freedom and autonomy for the allies to the anti-spartan propaganda. "

At the height of its development, the Second Attic League, with around 70 members, was still considerably behind its predecessor. The new Synhedrion, meeting in Athens, provided for one vote for each of the allies. A resolution of this representation, however, required the approval of the Athenian people's assembly to be valid; instead of the successive two institutions as decision-making bodies, as was the case during the First Attic League, there was now a coexistence and togetherness.

The Bündner contributions, previously known as Phoroi, were now called Syntáxeis and were to be made in cash throughout. The Athenian People's Assembly was able to resolve contribution reductions for individual allies without the participation of the Synhedrion, because the loss of contributions was only a burden to the Athenians and did not affect the other Graubünden. Only the founding member Thebes was exempt from fees because of its involvement in the land war against the Lacedaemonians.

The changed role of Athens

The appeal for membership of the Athenian people's assembly from 377 BC BC showed that Athens tried to make the system of rule of the second half of the 5th century forgotten: the allies were assured full autonomy, free choice of the constitution and freedom of occupation and Athenian supervisory officials. Athenians no longer owned land on the territory of the Grisons.

The Bündner Poleis were not prevented from maintaining their own fleets as far as they could, but they did not undertake to provide any assistance in the military operations carried out by the Athenians in federal affairs. The transfer of the monetary contributions for the Federation to Athens was usually the responsibility of the allies themselves. Athens may have sent special money collectors in the event of arrears. "Not infrequently, the Athenian strategists who led a campaign were assigned the contributions of individual poleis for confiscation and immediate use." In contrast to the case of the tribute payments at the time of the Attic Sea Empire in the 5th century, the contributions to the Second Attic League are based on Sources can hardly be determined. Since the allies also financed their own warships in addition to these taxes, these syntáxeis approved by the Synhedrion should not have been an excessive burden.

The fact that the military operations were carried out without any involvement by ships of the allies had the advantage of simplified organization and uniform command for Athens strategists. In return, however, all risks of a military and financial nature remained with Athens alone. The burdensome obligations of wealthy citizens to pay for the construction and operating costs of the trieres (the Leiturgies associated with the trierarchy ) could become uncomfortably oppressive in this organizational framework, especially when the war costs rose in times of heightened tension or open confrontation. Because the ally contributions were a fixed amount; Nothing is known of special levies on the allies or of increased syntáxeis.

New power expansion

With a victory over the Peloponnesian fleet in the sound between Paros and Naxos , the Athenians once again succeeded in gaining naval supremacy in the Aegean Sea. 375 BC In Sparta a peace congress was held in Sparta, which the Lacedaemonians and Athenians jointly strived for, at which a Panhellenic peace, albeit short-lived, was concluded. After interim tensions in 371 BC. Renewed once more in BC, but it was quickly obsolete because of the armed conflict between Thebes under Epameinondas and Sparta. In the Battle of Leuktra , the Spartan army suffered heavy losses, which brought about Sparta's end as a major military power in Greece and gave Thebes supremacy for the following decade.

Athens now sought again to expand its maritime domination in the Aegean, especially in the north and east. 387 BC BC Samos fell to Persia. This was done in 365 BC. Corrected under the strategist Timotheus in a way that was reminiscent of the practices at the height of the Attic maritime empire: Not only the Persian occupation of the island, but also the Samians themselves were expelled and several thousand Attic clergy were gradually settled in their place . The Second Attic League was facing a realignment:

“Athens had long since left the road of federal politics; It dreamed of a new Attic maritime empire, the rise of which seemed to be favored by the chaotic conditions in Greece and, above all, by the paralysis of the Persian initiative. "

Weakening in the alliance war

Under the impression of the mutual weakening of Sparta and Thebes, Athens might again harbor great power ambitions with the League of Nations. However, this goal has been met since 359 BC. Against the rise of Macedonia under Philip II . The weakened position of Athens in the northern Aegean Sea encouraged the stronger League members to break away from the Attic League: Chios, Rhodes , Byzantium and Kos formed a separate confederation against Athens. In the so-called alliance war , the Athenians did not succeed in reversing the secession, so that with the peace treaty in 355 BC they did not succeed. Chr. Had to accept a considerable loss of power.

The end under the sign of Macedonian power development

After Lesvos and Kerkyra had also left the League, Athens continued to be the protector and supremacy of a large number of Graubünden members; the federation was no longer an instrument aimed at increasing power. Rather, under the influence of the Macedonian expansion of power, it lost even more members, without, however, becoming completely insignificant. The shrinking income from the Bündner contributions remained an important item for Athens' financial budget. And in relation to the outside world, the maritime power of Athens, founded on the federal government, was still 340 BC BC also for Philip II an important influencing factor in the Aegean Sea.

In central Greece, on Phocian soil, had already existed since 346 BC. A Macedonian occupying power gained a foothold. Philip II expanded this strategic position by also gaining a seat and influence in the Delphic Amphictyony . While Demosthenes propagated resistance against Philip II in Athens in the 1940s, there was an opponent in Isocrates who sought to unite the Greeks behind the Macedonian ruler in the sense of an anti-Persian mission. Until the decisive battle of Chaironeia in 338 BC BC Demosthenes got the upper hand with his anti-Macedonian agitation in Athens. Due to the defeat of the coalition also forged by Demosthenes, which in addition to Athenians and Boeotians etc. a. also brought parts of the Peloponnesians into position against Philip II, Athens lost its independence and was forced into an alliance with Macedonia for the subsequent period. At the same time, the Second Attic Sea League also fell into disrepair in 338 BC. The dissolution from outside.

See also


  • Certificate of the 2nd Attic League . Athens 377 BC Chr. In: Gerhard Pfohl (ed.): Greek inscriptions as evidence of private and public life. Greek-German . Heimeran, Tübingen, 2nd edition 1980, ISBN 3-7765-2032-9 .


  • Jack Martin Balcer (Ed.): Studies on the Attic League . Univ.-Verl., Konstanz 1984, ISBN 3-87940-222-1 . ( Xenia . 8), ISSN  0936-8663
  • J. Cargill: The Second Athenian League. Empire or free alliance? . University of California Press, Berkeley et al. 1981, ISBN 0-520-04069-4 .
  • GL Cawkwell: The foundation of the Second Athenian Confederacy . In: Classical Quarterly . NS 23 = 67, 1973, ISSN  0009-8388 pp. 47-60.
  • Martin Dreher : Hegemon and Symmachoi. Investigations on the Second Athenian League . de Gruyter, Berlin - New York 1995. ISBN 3-11-014444-1 , ( Studies on ancient literature and history. 46) (Zugl .: Konstanz, Univ., Habil.-Schr., 1991/92).
  • Christian Meier : Athens. A new beginning in world history . Paperback edition reviewed and expanded by the author. Goldmann, Munich 1995. ISBN 3-442-12852-8 , ( Goldmann. 12852. A settler book from Goldmann ).
  • Russell Meiggs: The Athenian empire . Repr., With corr. Clarendon Press, Oxford et al. a. 1979, ISBN 0-19-814843-7 . (detailed representation of the Attic sea empire).
  • Wolfgang Schuller : The rule of the Athenians in the First Attic League . de Gruyter, Berlin - New York 1974. ISBN 3-11-004725-X . (At the same time: Berlin, Freie Univ., Habil.-Schr. 1971).

Web links


  1. Christian Meier described this battle as the eye of the needle, "through which world history had to go if instead of large, monarchically ruled empires that peculiar, exotic-looking people from the East were to play a decisive role, which in nothing but small independent cities, lived almost everywhere without a monarch and in many cases with extensive political participation by broad political layers. "(Meier, Athens (1995) p. 33)
  2. Detlef Lotze , Greek History. From the beginning to Hellenism. Revised u. extended 7th edition, Munich 2007, p. 56.
  3. Kagan points out that the grain imports shipped from today's Ukraine across the Black Sea to Athens, which contributed significantly to the supply of the Athenians, were already fatal by the Persians through a limited campaign that brought the Bosporus and Dardanelles into their hands Consequences for Athens could be interrupted. ( Donald Kagan : Perikles. The Birth of Democracy . Stuttgart 1992, p. 132)
  4. Ulrich Sinn, “Athens. History and Archeology. ” Munich 2004, p. 35, who also notes that the use of natural resources aimed at the superficial beneficial effect took revenge in the 4th century when not only the mining income dried up, but also extensive slag heaps with lead fractions the environment polluted and impaired the health of local residents. "The enormous demand for firewood for the smelting furnaces also led to radical deforestation and thus to the desertification of large areas." (Ibid.)
  5. Schuller, p. 141.
  6. Literally: "The Athenians and their comrades-in-arms" Greek : hoi Athenaíoi kai hoi sýmmachoi
  7. ^ Meier, Athens (1995) p. 297.
  8. Schuller, p. 147, with reference to Thucydides 3, 10, 5.
  9. Schuller, p. 146.
  10. Thucydides 1:96.
  11. Meier, pp. 297–298, which clarifies the equivalent of the 460 talents in relation to League matters as follows: “The pay for a rower was set at half a drachma. With a crew of around 200, the wages per ship and day cost around 100 drachmas, 3,000 per month, that was half a talent. So a fleet of a hundred ships, if they were in service for six months, had wages of 300 talents. ”(P. 298)
  12. Detlef Lotze, Greek History. From the beginning to Hellenism. Revised u. extended 7th edition, Munich 2007, p. 56.
  13. Wolfgang Schuller : The rule of the Athenians in the First Attic League . de Gruyter, Berlin - New York 1974, p. 146: Schuller refers to land ownership and income as rational criteria for the assessment of tribute.
  14. Donald Kagan : Pericles. The birth of democracy . Stuttgart 1992, p. 133; Meier, Athens (1995) p. 297.
  15. ^ Meier, Athens (1995) p. 418.
  16. ^ Meier, Athens (1995) p. 394.
  17. Donald Kagan: Pericles. The birth of democracy . Stuttgart 1992, p. 145.
  18. Schuller, p. 113.
  19. Donald Kagan: Pericles. The birth of democracy . Stuttgart 1992, p. 135.
  20. a b Schuller, p. 72f.
  21. Schuller, p. 118, according to which the members of the League were also subject to a mandatory special regulation issued by the Athenians with regard to the Eleusinian Mysteries .
  22. Detlef Lotze , Greek History. From the beginning to Hellenism. Revised u. extended 7th edition, Munich 2007, p. 65.
  23. Schuller, pp. 40ff.
  24. Quoted from Donald Kagan: Perikles. The birth of democracy . Stuttgart 1992, p. 142.
  25. Quoted from Donald Kagan: Perikles. The birth of democracy . Stuttgart 1992, p. 136. Kagan points out in a footnote that the text is an incomplete reconstruction of an inscription fragment.
  26. Thukydides 1, 99. Translation after Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War. Edited and translated by Georg Peter Landmann, dtv, Munich 1973, ISBN 3-423-06019-0 , pp. 82–83.
  27. Thucydides 2:10 .
  28. Meier, Athens (1995) pp. 336, 353; Schuller, p. 183ff., Shows u. a. pointed out that building and maintaining the fleet opened up further branches of business and income opportunities for the Thets. “This necessarily resulted in an interest of those benefiting from this development in the maintenance and expansion of this state of affairs, and since the process could of course not be reversed, an objective driving force in the economic field for the emergence of Athenian rule can be determined. "(P. 185)
  29. Schuller, pp. 88ff.
  30. Schuller, p. 92.
  31. Thucydides 2. 65
  32. Bruno Bleckmann, The Peloponnesian War , Munich 2007, p. 59.
  33. Thucydides 3, 2-18 and 3, 26-50.
  34. Thucydides 3, 40. According to his own admission, Thucydides did not reproduce the speeches quoted in his work verbatim, but as true to the original as possible.
  35. Thucydides 3:47.
  36. ^ Meier, Athens (1995) p. 612.
  37. Bruno Bleckmann: The Peloponnesian War. Munich 2007, p. 106.
  38. Detlef Lotze, Greek History. From the beginning to Hellenism. Revised u. extended 7th edition, Munich 2007, p. 81f.
  39. The following quote is from Dreher, p. 276.
  40. ^ Hermann Bengtson , Greek History. From the beginning to the Roman Empire. Special edition of the 5th edition, Munich 1979, p. 247f.
  41. Dreher, p. 88.
  42. Detlef Lotze , Greek History. From the beginning to Hellenism. Revised u. extended 7th edition, Munich 2007, p. 82.
  43. Dreher, p. 35ff .: "Since Athens only had to deal with one strong enemy, in the seventies with Sparta, in the following decade with Thebes, which was not able to equip a particularly significant fleet itself, the Athenian fleet capacity was sufficient In addition to securing the grain route and combating piracy to a certain extent, also to fight the great naval battles essentially alone. […] Not least the aspect of effectiveness, which played an important role for the Athenian democracy also in the organization of its own political institutions, may have induced Athens not to assemble an alliance fleet from contingents of individual states, but to conduct naval warfare entirely in its own hands to concentrate. Such a uniform, hierarchically structured command was already given, no time was lost by the consolidation of the individual naval units and, above all, the recruiting of mercenaries could be carried out centrally with the money concentrated near Athens. "
  44. Dreher, p. 88.
  45. a b Dreher, p. 280.
  46. ^ Hermann Bengtson, Greek History. From the beginning to the Roman Empire. Special edition of the 5th edition, Munich 1979, pp. 251f.
  47. Detlef Lotze, Greek History. From the beginning to Hellenism. Revised u. extended 7th edition, Munich 2007, p. 83.
  48. ^ Hermann Bengtson, Greek History. From the beginning to the Roman Empire. Special edition of the 5th edition, Munich 1979, p. 258.
  49. Dreher, p. 35: "Only the opposition of the defected own, also strong at sea allies like Chios, Rhodes and Byzantion seriously questioned the Athenian superiority."
  50. Dreher, p. 291.
  51. ^ Hermann Bengtson, Greek History. From the beginning to the Roman Empire. Special edition of the 5th edition, Munich 1979, p. 292f.