Royal peace

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The King's Peace (also called Peace of Antalkidas after the Spartan negotiator ) was established in 387/386 BC. Closed between Sparta and his opponents to end the Corinthian War . The Persian Empire under the great king Artaxerxes II acted as a guarantee. The agreement is considered to be the earliest example of a koiné eiréne , a general peace .

The initiative came from the Spartan side, after Sparta had for years been involved in battles with both the Persians and some Greek Poleis (and especially with Athens, which slowly regained strength after the Peloponnesian War ). It was about the idea of ​​a general peace that should put an end to the eternal struggles in the motherland. Above all, Sparta wanted to end the fighting, which threatened to exhaust it more and more. Antalkidas finally took in the winter of 388/387 BC. The negotiations with the Persian great king Artaxerxes II started, which soon led to the desired success. Artaxerxes II, however, saw a chance to create order according to his wishes and to get a free hand to fight the Greeks in his sphere of influence. A Spartan-Persian fleet closed the Hellespont and blocked the port of Piraeus , so that Athens was also forced to accept the agreements.

It finally came in 387 BC. In Sardis for the proclamation of the so-called royal peace by the Persian satrap Tiribazos :

“Great King Artaxerxes considers it fair that the cities in Asia Minor should belong to him and of the islands of Klazomenai and Cyprus . The other Greek cities, however, large and small, are said to be autonomous, with the exception of Lemnos , Imbros and Skyros , which, as in ancient times, are said to belong to the Athenians ( cleruchies ). But whoever does not accept this peace, I will wage war against him together with those who want the same, on land and at sea, with ships and with money (...) "

- Xenophon : Hellenika , 5,1,31

This peace came the following year, 386 BC. Summoned in Sparta. It also meant the dissolution of the of Thebes led Boeotian League , further lifting the synoecism between Corinth and Sparta arch rival Argos . In addition, the abandonment of Asia Minor and Cyprus, including the Greeks living there, can be stated as a result. Sparta rose to be the arbiter of this treaty dictated by Persia, but the limits of Spartan power soon became apparent.

The Spartans were seriously reproached for this intervention and the related abandonment of the Greeks in Asia Minor to the Persians: They had given up the principle of autonomy for which they had once fought in the Peloponnesian War against Athens and its League . In fact, the peace would have been a possibility of compensation, which however could not be realized. Philip II of Macedonia was later to pursue his policy of expansion with reference to a general peace.


  • Karl-Wilhelm Welwei : Classical Athens. Democracy and Power Politics in the 5th and 4th Centuries. Primus-Verlag, Darmstadt 1999, ISBN 3-89678-117-0 , pp. 274ff.
  • Karl-Wilhelm Welwei: Greek history. From the beginnings to the beginning of Hellenism. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 2011, ISBN 978-3-506-77306-7 , p. 343ff.

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