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Flashcards in Timespan 2 Deck (18)
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Rebuilding of Athens’ walls - Themistocles (478)

  • Spartans over fear of Athens’ gain of power, urged them to refrain from building their own fortifications.
  • Themistocles tricked the Spartans by playing on their good faith towards him.
  • Instructed the Athenians to build their fortifications high enough to be able to be defended.
  • He delayed the Spartans
  • Once the Spartans had gotten suspicious and suspected fortifications were being built, Themistocles proclaimed that the Athenians had the right to defend themselves.
  • Although they did not show it the Spartans ‘secretly felt aggrieved’.
  • There is archaeological evidence for this - evidence indicates that the city walls were hastily built
  • Themistocles saw that Piraeus itself needed to be fortified and protected - Athenians could always retain access to the sea
  • ‘began laying foundations for their empire’

Pausanias alienates eastern allies (478)

  • Under the leadership of Pausanias, the Hellenic league initially won most of Cyprus.
  • Things then went badly wrong for Pausanias in Byzantium, where he made himself very unpopular among the eastern Greeks (Thuc. - ‘revealing the arrogance of this nature’ 1.95)
  • Also suspected of seeking to collaborate with the Persians, which Thucydides clearly believes.
  • Pausanias was recalled to Sparta, while the eastern Greeks asked Athens to take on the leadership of the Hellenic League instead.
  • The Spartans sent out no more commanders and resolved to allow the Athenians to take the leadership- feared commanders would become corrupt - unusual that they so readily accepted Athenian rule of the Hellenic League .
  • Plutarch also describes Pausanias as meeting the allied commanders with a ‘short temper and rough treatment’ causing the Spartans to ‘willingly’ give up leadership (Life of Aristeides 23)

Formation of the Delian League (477)

  • Each state had to supply either ships or tribute (taxation) to fund ships.
  • The Athenian credited with fairly assessing the amounts that each city should pay was Aristides.
  • Plutarch describes him as ‘fair’, ‘kind and considerate’ - Aristeides 24.1-5
  • In charge of the tribute assessment, deciding how much each state should contributed according to their size and ability to pay
  • It was through this that he gained the reputation of being ‘Aristides the Just’
  • The contributions made were inscribed on the First Stele which dated back to 454/3 (the year in which the treasury was moved from Delos to Athens)
  • The Tribute Quota Lists provided evidence for Aristides being very just and fair as it displays exactly how much each state paid.
  • The object of the Delian League was for the states ‘to compensate themselves for their losses by ravaging the territory of the King of Persia.’
  • Thuc. states that the ‘first tribute that was assessed amounted to 460 talents’

Siege of Eion (c.477)

  • The first action of the Athenians under the Delian league was the siege of Eion (a town on the Strymon occupied by Persians)
  • Siege was all about getting back the northern Aegean for the Greeks
  • Under the command of Cimon, they captured Eion and made slaves of the inhabitants
  • All from Thuc. 1.98 - lack of information from Thuc. on this siege shows his disinterest in Greek and Persia relations - a weakness to his accounts

Debate in Sparta (475)

  • Strange that Sparta seems so willing to allow Athens to take over the leadership of the allies, particularly given their concerns about the Athenian walls.
  • Diodorus- He says that many Spartans wanted to go to war with Athens to stop it from having control of the sea. - - Apparently there was unanimity on this, until one member of the 30-man Gerousia (the Sparta council of elders), Hetoimaridas, spoke convincingly in favour of allowing Athens to have control of the sea.
  • His argument won the day.
  • Suggests the presence of differing views in Sparta about its Athens’ policy - hawks and doves

Naxos leaves the Delian League (c.470)

  • Naxos left the Delian League
  • Athenians declared war on Naxos
  • Naxos was forced back into allegiance after being besieged.
  • Thuc. documents this as ‘the first case when the original constitution of the League was broken and an allied city lost its independence’, he goes on to say that this process was ‘continued’ 1.98
  • Thucydides echoes that the rule of the Athenians in the Delian League became oppressive towards those who wished to leave the alliance

Battle of Eurymedon (early 460s)

  • In both land and sea battles, the Athenians were victorious
  • Under the command of Cimon, they captured or destroyed the entire Persian fleet of 200 tiremes
  • After this, the Persians did not campaign in the Aegean again for many decades
  • Xerxes died soon afterwards in 465 and his successor Artaxerxes seems to have a changed policy towards the Greeks
  • We are unsure of the influence of this battle as Thucydides is very brief
  • 200 ships – massive victory – however Thucydides is very brief as he doesn’t focus on anything that doesn’t involve the relations between Athens and Sparta
  • The fact that the Persians had provided 200 ships ready for action, gives the impression that they had been preparing for another invasion

Revolt of Thasos (465)

  • The people of Thasos (wealthy island) revolted - following Athenian interference in its valuable trade markets and a mine it controlled in nearby Thrace
  • The Athenians sailed to Thasos, declaring war.
  • Thucydides claimed the Thasians appealed to the Spartans for help but the Spartans were unable to give them it as they were diverted by an earthquake at home - says that the Spartans would have helped if this wasn’t the case
  • The Athenians won a naval engagement, besieging the island.

Helot Revolt (464)

  • The helots and some of the perioeci revolted and withdrew to Mount Ithome
  • Helots were mostly made up of Messenians
  • The Spartans declared war and appealed for help to their allies when the war was clearly turning out to not be in their favour as they lacked experience in this type of warfare - Athenians had the reputation of being good at siege operations
  • The Spartans, over fear that the Athenians would sympathise with the helots (Greeks), sent the Athenians home.

Breaking of the Hellenic League (461)

  • Athenians were deeply offended of being sent home by the Spartans at Ithome
  • They denounced the original treaty of alliance which had been made against the Persians in 481BC and allied themselves with Argos, Sparta’s enemy, as well as Thessaly (previously been at war with the Spartans) – ie. left the Hellenic League
  • After 10 years of fighting, the rebels in Ithome came to terms with Sparta.
  • The terms were that they could have a safe conduct to leave the Peloponnese but should never set foot in it again.
  • The Athenians ‘because of the ill feeling against Sparta which had already developed’ received the exiles and settled them in the town of Naupactus – incredibly close to the Peloponnese

Corinth v. Megara (and Athens by association)

(about 461-460)

  • Corinth and Megara (both allies of Sparta) entered into a border war
  • When the Megarians were faced with defeat, they seceded from the Peloponnesian League and allied themselves with Athens, their eastern neighbour
  • Significant coup for Athenians - location of Megara provided them with a buffer against an attack by Peloponnesian land forces
  • New alliance meant that members of the 2 leagues were at war with one another for the first time
  • It also set Athens and Corinth against one another
    Thuc. - ‘it was chiefly because of this that the Corinthians began to conceive such a bitter hatred for Athens’

Campaign in Egypt (460)

  • Inaros, the son of the Libyan king Psammetichus, organised a revolt of nearly the whole of Egypt against the Persian King Artaxerxes.
  • Delian League expanded its operations against Persia by sending troops to Egypt in support of the rebellion.
  • Advantages of conquering Egypt – great trade links, fertile - access to the rich grain supply
  • 454 the Persians sent a military force to confront the rebels.
  • The Athenians lost most of their fleet (250 ships) and withdrew their forces from the region
  • This loss might have been the reason for the moving of the Delian League Treasury from Delos to Athens in 454/3 – afraid of Persian invasion of Delos

Athens vs. Aegina (458/457)

  • Athens and Aegina engaged in a large naval battle, with the support of allies on both sides.
  • Athenians won the battle and besieged Aegina under the command of Leocrates, after previously capturing 70 enemy ships.
  • Peloponnesians, wishing to relieve Aegina, supplied Aegina with 300 hoplites.
  • Eventually Aegina surrendered and was forced to destroy her fortifications, hand over her fleet and to agree to pay tribute in the future.

Battle of Tanagra (457)

  • Athens marched out with some allies to meet a Spartan-led force at Tanagra in Boeotia
  • First battle of the First Peloponnesian War where the Athenians and Spartans fought directly against one-another
  • Although the Spartan-led forces won, the success was short-lived
  • Athenians soon returned to Boeotia and won a comprehensive victory over the local peoples at Oinophyta
  • For the next 10 years or so, Athens controlled a wide area of central Greece: Phocis, Eastern Locris and the whole of Boeotia (except for Thebes)
  • With Aegina also joined in the Delian League, this was the greatest extent of land that the Athenians would ever control

Campaign in Cyrus (451)

  • Athenians and allies made an expedition against Cyprus with 200 ships – 60 of these ships were detached to go to Egypt, with the rest laying siege in Citium
  • Cimon’s death in battle and a shortage of provisions made them leave Citium.
  • Sailed off to Salamis in Cyprus and fought both by land and sea against an army of Persians/Phonecians, Cyprians and Cilicians.
  • They were victorious in both battles

(supposed) Peace of Callias (449)

  • Cessation of hostilities in 449 – supposed peace of Callias
  • Diodorus claims that these Athenians successes forced the Persians into proposing a peace treaty to the Athenians
  • No other 5th century source mentions a peace - perhaps there was a peace?? Unknown - however, there was definitely a cessation of hostilities

Chalkis Decree (most likely 446/445)


Chalcidians are to swear an oath on the following terms: “I will not revolt from the people of the Athenians by any means or device whatsoever, neither in word noor in deed… and I will obey the Athenian people ‘
Archeological evidence - showing the progression of the Delian League from a league to an Athenian empire


Sparta invaded Athens and then retreats (446)

  • Pleistoanax, the Spartan King, commanded a force of Peloponnesians to invade Attica.
  • Quickly withdrew his forces without invading any further than the western part of Attica.
  • Plutarch suggests that the Peloponnesian forces retreated as the Spartan king Pleistoanax accepted a bribe from Pericles and that as a result, Pleistoanax was exiled (Thucydides mentions this)
  • ‘Perikles had ten talents sent annually to Sparta… deferred the war… make preparations quietly’
  • Thucydides doesn’t mention how this bribe was perhaps made by Pericles however.