Nature of Athenian Imperialism Essay

After the decision of the Iranian Wars ( 492-479BC ) with Athens being the true master. and before the Peloponnesian War. a period of prosperity covered Athens. and they needed to invent new ways to protect themselves and spread out their wealth. and how this would impact their dealingss with Alliess.

‘The Athenians and their Allies’ was an administration led by the Athenians in the fifth century. but is now referred to as the ‘Delian League’ or the ‘Confederacy of Athens. ’

The official purpose of the League was. harmonizing to Thucydides. “to compensate themselves for their losingss [ of the Persian War ] by harrying the district of the King of Persia. ” The long term purpose of the League was to guarantee the freedom of the Greeks and fix them for any future wars to come. This makes the League both a defensive and violative administration.

Athinais was to go the leader of the League. for assorted grounds. including their big naval forcess and success at Salamis. but an implicit in cause was that the Spartan King. Pausanias who “treated his ain Alliess harshly and arrogantly and scattered abuses far and broad with his intrusiveness and absurd pretensions” as written by Plutarch. Deriving leading to the League could be considered a accelerator for Athens’ imperialistic ways in old ages to follow.

Thucydides believes that it was the Ionian Greeks who instigated the transferal of leading from Sparta to Athens. and Athens so said something which would hold been a big cause for the Peloponnesian War which was to follow in 432BC ; “We did non derive this imperium by force. It came to us at a clip when you [ Sparta ] were unwilling to contend on to the terminal against the Persians. ” This would evidently diss the Spartans greatly. as Sparta was a war-loving city state which prided itself in courage and contending to the decease.

Athenian leading of the League shortly became near inevitable. as Sparta was barely experient or capable of keeping a big fleet. and still had many of their ain jobs to cover with.

Athinais needed a big beginning of income if it was to transport out its purposes mentioned above. and it would besides necessitate a big fleet. Some city states would be responsible for supplying money. others for ships.

A system of parts had been devised. and was carried out by Aristides. “ [ he was ] appointed to study the assorted districts and their grosss. and so to repair their parts harmonizing to each member’s worth and ability to pay” as Plutarch recalls.

The League’s existent extent isn’t known. but harmonizing to the book _Ancient Greece Using Evidence_ . in the first twelvemonth of the League its power extended to ‘Byzantium in the Propontis. the Aineum headland in the north-west. Rhodes in the south-west and Siphnos in the south-west. ’

During 478-461BC. the League was under a big influence of Cimon. Cimon entered political relations at the right clip as Plutarch writes “ [ the people ] had had sufficiency of Themistocles and they proceeded to advance Cimon to the highest honours and office in State. ”

Cimon. who was first-class at managing the populace. was besides pro-Spartan. and this would subsequently do problem for him as Athens and Sparta would stop up at war with each other.

During Cimon’s reign over the League. three chief operations took topographic point. They included ‘against the Persians. some against their ain Alliess when they revolted. some against the Peloponnesian powers with whom on assorted occasions they became involved. ’ – Thucydides.

Over the following decennary or so. assorted runs were conducted under the will of the Delian League. They include the gaining control of Byzantium. the gaining control of Eion. conquering of Scyrus. coercion of Carystus. rebellion and subjection of Naxos. the Battle of Eurymedon and the rebellion of Thasos.

During the Revolt of Thasos. the Thasians called to assorted Alliess for aid. the Spartans included. The Spartans answered the call and prepared to assail Attica. of which the Athenians were incognizant of until ulterior. but an temblor and the coincident rebellion of the Helots provided adequate distraction to prorogue the onslaught on Attica.

The besiegement of Thasos revealed Athens’ true motives behind the League and the hereafter plans for her Alliess. Harmonizing to _Ancient Greece Using Sources_ Thasos was one of the largest and richest members of the Delian League. and a struggle broke out between Athinais and Thasos over the gold excavation on the island. Thasos so attempted to retreat from the League. as the Persians were no longer a menace in the Aegean. and Athens was demanding excessively much for excessively small in return.

The League. under the control of Cimon. so besieged Thasos for two old ages. and ‘destroyed their metropolis walls. confiscated their naval forces. closed their batch and annexed their ownerships on the mainland. ’

Harmonizing to Thucydides. the period from the rebellion of Thasos to the banishment of Cimon ( 465-461BC ) was the clip when the chief clash between Sparta and Athens occurred and finally led to their war.

If Sparta truly was willing to assail Athens. an ‘apparent’ ally. so their relationship must hold been weak and forced. Was Sparta covetous of Athens’ wealth and power? Did they feel threatened by the Athenians sudden abrasiveness against their ain ‘allies’ ? Or it could hold been a combination of grounds. Thucydides didn’t aid either when his pro-Athenian feelings got the better of him. ‘this was a clip when Sparta was peculiarly friendly to Athens because of the bravery displayed by Athens against the Persians. ’

Another instance of struggle between Athens and Sparta was when Athens was reconstructing their munitions around their metropolis. The Spartans and other Alliess were frightened by this. and tried to forestall Athens from making so by stating them to “pull down all munitions which still existed in metropoliss outside Peloponnese” so that following clip the Persians came they wouldn’t have a bastioned base. Themistocles so went to Sparta. denied the walls were being built and suggested that envoys be sent to look into for themselves. The minister plenipotentiaries were so held surety until the walls were high plenty. After they were completed Themistocles announced that Athens ‘was capable of doing up its ain head. ’ Though Sparta wasn’t be aftering to halt the Reconstruction. harmonizing to Thucydides they did dislike it.

( Left ) An overview of the great walls that protected Athens. From the image it is easy to reason that it was good built. as it non merely protected the metropolis. but besides the docks and the 10km trip between the two. This allowed continuance of trade and communicating in the event of a besieging. Apart from the wall. you can besides see the steep and high mountains around Athens. supplying an added obstruction for aggressors. It is apprehensible why Sparta wished that the Athenians wouldn’t reconstruct their wall. because it interferes with their hereafter programs to

A proposal was made at the Amphictyonic Council ( spiritual council which dominated Delphi ) that any Greeks who remained impersonal or had helped Persia should be removed from the Council. This proposal was strongly backed by Sparta but Themistocles refuted this thought because so the Argives. Thebans and Thessalians would be expelled and the Council would be dominated by members of the Peloponnesian League.

This bitterness to throw out ‘traitors’ by Themistocles ‘gave peculiar offense to the Spartans. and made them seek to beef up Cimon’s place by demoing him favours and therefore set up him as a political challenger to Themistocles. ’ Plutarch notes.

Soon after ( 472BC ) Themistocles was ostracized. Sparta treated Athens with more kindness than earlier. mostly due to Cimon’s strong political place there and his pro-Spartan policies and feelings. Though he may hold been capable of proroguing a war between to two Grecian world powers. Cimon’s conservative actions would rapidly lose him influence in a extremist democratic province.

If anything was to do the confederation between Sparta and Athens obsolete. it was the humiliation Athens suffered by the direct custodies of the Spartans. After an temblor near Sparta. the serfs of Laconia. along with the aid of a few protagonists. revolted against Sparta. Sparta so appealed to the Alliess of the Hellenic confederation created during the Persian War for aid. Athinais being among them.

Predictably. Cimon was all for it. but he faced resistance from Ephialtes. who was opposed to the Spartans. Cimon nevertheless finally managed to convert the Assembly to assist the Spartans out with a big ground forces of hoplites. This can be interpreted to the decision that a bulk of Athens still saw strong links of commitment between the two provinces.

It was at this point that the Spartans greatly insulted and humiliated the Athenians. Out of all the Alliess who came for aid. ‘only the Athenians were told by Sparta that their aid was no longer needed and that they must return place. ’ Thucydides recalls that the returned Athenians ‘were offended sing this was non the kind of intervention they deserved from Sparta. ’

After this rejection. Cimon was ostracized ( 461BC ) which besides brought an terminal to his calling and his joint-leadership policy of Greece. Athens so broke all confederations with Sparta. and formed new relationships with Argos and Thessaly. Sparta’s enemies.

( Left ) Ostrakon with Cimon’s ( Kimon ) name on it.

Now with Cimon gone. and an inducement to contend against Sparta. the extremist Democrats of Athens reformed ‘their’ Delian League into a more imperial policy. There were 3 major ends with this new ’empire’ Athens was be aftering to construct.

A continuance of the League. with the exclusion of Athens going more ruthless and fulfilling her ain involvements instead than those of the League in general.

Constructing an imperium in cardinal Greece to take advantage of Sparta’s failings.

Sustained aggressiveness to Persia.

( Above )

A map of the Aegean Sea and the Grecian city states and other states around it. It to boot displays the commitments of each Grecian province and the land mass they occupied at the clip of the Peloponnesian War. The Athenian-coloured land mass is besides considered the Athenian Empire.

Though it is difficult to nail the alteration from League to Empire for Athens. it is widely believed that the alteration occurred in 479-470BC. This was a extremist alteration from Athens. and ironically changed them into the cause they were contending against. that being. the Iranian Empire and Athens being the democratic freedom-loving province. This could hold resulted from Athenian control of the League. and recognizing the lusters of power. Athens was diverted from her true way of Grecian freedom. to commanding the universe like so many other imperiums. as Thucydides said. ‘it was the existent class of events which foremost compelled us to increase our power to its present extent: fright of Persia was our main motive…’

This alteration of construction besides affected the dealingss Athens had with many other provinces. The obvious of class being Sparta and her Alliess. there were besides wrangles between Athens and other states/countries during the League period such as Naxos and Thasos that greatly hinted towards the Athenians’ imperialistic hereafter. To fasten their control over ‘their’ new imperium. Athens even placed forts in rebellious metropoliss. ‘… the Council installed by the [ Athenian ] inspectors and fort commanding officer. and in future by the [ surpassing ] council and the fort commanding officer. ’

What started as a endurance and revenge alliance of Grecian provinces known as the Delian League. transformed into the really enemy they were contending. an imperium. Equally much as Athens was pro-democratic. power and wealth still corrupted them. and it would take to their eventual ruin in old ages to come.



Patterson. B. ( ed. ) ( 1989 ) _Ancient Greece Using Evidence_ .

Edward Arnold Pty Ltd. Victoria.

A really utile and luxuriant book which covers fundamentally every inquiry of my subject in great item. Includes a overplus of beginnings. chiefly written. but besides archeological of the clip period of Athenian imperialism. Seems rather dependable as it frequently bases its judgements and statements on the quotation marks used. and most information displayed is similar to other secondary beginnings. Overall improbably utile for my assignment.

World Wide Web

_Athenian Imperialism_

[ Internet ] .

Available from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. emayzine. com/lectures/NotesathenianImp. htm accessed 1/12/06

Very basic in layout and information included. but its point-form agreement makes digestion of information easy. This web site had some utile information sing my subject. but was chiefly used as a cross mention to corroborate dependability of Ancient Greece Using Evidence. It did nevertheless include
many old ages. and as it is in such a simple layout. puting things in chronological order was simplified.

_Ancient Greece Pictures_

[ Internet ] .

Available from hypertext transfer protocol: //ccwf. milliliter. utexas. edu/~kallet/greece/pictures. hypertext markup language accessed 4/12/06

This site was entirely used for the two maps I included in my presentation. Maps seem accurate in comparing with other diagrams. and it proved dependable for my subject as it gives the respondent an overview of the land and H2O environing Greece. which states inhabited those parts. and who they fought for. The other map was a elaborate overview of the Athenian metropolis. its geographical milieus and its wall. Proved to be a utile site in footings of secondary beginnings. It is besides an ‘edu’ site. diminishing the opportunity of taint.

( 2006 ) . _Cimon – Wikipedia_

[ Internet ] .

Available from hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Cimon accessed 4/12/06

Though I am cognizant that Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia of user-based input. therefore diminishing its opportunity of dependability. I have found it rather utile. but of class I’m disbelieving about everything I read at that place. It provides day of the months and quotation marks which appear to be accurate. and checked out with other beginnings I compared it to. Supply me with small information that the book couldn’t spring. but did hold a nice primary beginning of an Ostrakon. which was really besides present in the book.