14. Atinska imperija, nastavak


Professor Donald Kagan: The Persians were
busy with other things as well as thinking about returning to
Greece because the great king was not willing, and understandably in a way, to accept his
defeat by these few puny Greeks, because of the consequences
that would have for the reputation of Persia, and just as a matter of personal honor these
kings would not have been glad to accept such an outcome.
I won’t drag you through the details of the invasion by the
Persians in 480. After all, we’re making you read Herodotus, and the whole problem about
it. But let me simply talk a bit about the conclusion
to the great invasion, the great Persian Wars,
as we call them, and also to say something about
what their meaning was. The meaning of the defeat
of the Persians in 479 was broader than the meaning of
their defeat at Marathon in 490. For one thing, it involved the entire Greek nation;
of course, it wasn’t a nation, but you know I’m using the word
loosely. Of course it didn’t involve the whole of that nation no matter how loosely
I use it, because if you imagine that there are over
1,000 poleis, there were only 31 who signed
up to resist the Persian invasion of 480. However, they included the most important,
and strongest, and largest of the Greek poleis.
So, it’s not too much of a stretch to speak of it as a
Greek victory. Again, the same issue that had been present at Marathon, the question
of whether the Greeks would continue to live their lives
free in their poleis, developing their own style,
their unique style of life or become another province of the
Persian Empire just like so many others. We can see that in one wonderful contemporary
reference to the meaning of the war–it’s in Aeschylus’
oldest surviving play Persians, in which the central event
is the great sea battle at Salamis in which the
Greeks defeat the Persian fleet, which guarantees that the
Persians will not win a great victory, even though two more
decisive battles in the following year 479 are necessary
to drive the Persians away. But here’s what Aeschylus
describes in his play Persians. He’s having the story told by–I’m trying
to remember, it may well have been a Persian who’s telling
the story, but in any case–probably not. It was one
of the Greeks. Anyway, here’s what he says, “a mighty shout
greeted our ears, on you sons of Hellas, free your homeland,
free your children, your wives, the homes of your
father’s gods, and the tombs of your ancestors.” In other words,
this play was put on something like–about I think it’s about
seven years after the Battle of Salamis. So, it’s almost a contemporary event and you
can see that from the first the Greeks viewed this war as being
about freedom as opposed to many other possible considerations.
In the spring, in the following year in 479, there were two great battles that decided
the outcome of the war finally. On the land,
the battle of Plataea in southern Boeotia, in which a great Greek army, which included
the major cities including especially Sparta and Athens took
on a powerful Persian land army and defeated them on land.
Herodotus says on the very same day–it would be a wonderful
coincidence if it were true. It may be true. A sea battle was fought off the coast of Asia
Minor at Mycale, where again, the Greek fleet once more
destroyed the Persian fleet, and at that point the Persians
had no choice but simply to flee and to try to escape the Greeks,
who were pursuing them and doing their best to kill as many
of them as they could. Now, after Mycale, a very important event took place that cast
a long shadow about the future of what was going to happen
in that part of the world. There was a conference held on
the island of Samos, perhaps one of the most important of the Ionian islands off the coast,
which brought to the Greek council that had been conducting
the war, it brought the island states of Chios, Lesbos, and Samos, these are the three largest,
most important islands that are located off the coast of Asia
Minor. All of them had taken advantage of the presence of the Greek forces in that
region to rebel against the Persians and now they wanted to
be admitted to the league that the Greeks had formed in 481
to resist the Persian invasion. The Greeks referred to
themselves to that league simply as the Hellenes, the Greeks, and it’s convenient to think
about it as the Greek League meant to fight the Persians in
that war. Now, this might seem like a simple thing to do. Why not accept these three
Greek states, all of them potentially powerful and important, who want join the
Greek League. One thing I think we need to understand once
or we won’t comprehend the situation at all, we know that
the Persian wars are over. We know that the Persians just
ran away and weren’t going to come back and challenge this
Greek victory for the longest time, but the Greeks didn’t know it. The Persian
Empire was still intact; it was still an extraordinarily
extensive, rich, and powerful empire. There was no reason why the Greeks should
not believe that the Persians would be coming again,
and if we don’t grasp that, then all of what they do now
makes no sense. Well, Chios, Samos, and Lesbos wanted to be sure that they
would be protected by this Greek League, if and when,
the Persians came back and tried to put them back into the
Persian Empire. So, there is a conference, but there is not a unity of intention.
When the Greeks have to discuss, shall we take these
people into our league, basically the Spartans said no,
and the reasons for that are no so very strange. The Spartans certainly could conclude with
security that there wasn’t very much danger that in the
foreseeable future, the Persians would come marching into Greece
again and present a threat to the Peloponnesus and to
the Spartan predominance in that area, and we all know
by now that the Spartans were most reluctant to be far from
home anyway. They didn’t like to have to cross the sea
to get to a battlefield and didn’t want their army out
there on any permanent basis. Everything in their tradition
said bring the army home, put an end to this activity,
and they didn’t want to take on the responsibility of bringing
these islanders into their league, so that they would have to go and fight for
their freedom. On the other hand, the Athenians took the
opposite view; they were very much in favor of
bringing these states into this thing. Anyway, the Athenians thought differently
and that’s not surprising either, because their situation
was quite different from that of the Spartans.
They were on the sea; they were accustomed to be at
sea. Moreover, as we’ve seen and said several times, they had very important
supply line, lines of communication and
transportation, in order to feed themselves they needed to go out there and have freedom
of the seas, and that meant that they had to see to it
that the Persians were indeed driven from the Aegean Sea and the
Hellespont and the straits in general, and the access to the
Black Sea. So, for those reasons alone, the Athenians
would have had to take seriously this request by the islanders.
But it’s also true that at least some of the islanders,
Samos particularly, were Ionians, as you remember, kinsmen of the Athenians.
The Athenians were recognized as the leader of the Ionian
people. So, there was that sentimental attachment as well. But most strikingly,
I think we have to understand that the Athenians understood
the Persians have to be kept away from the Aegean Sea and the
Athenians also wanted very much, because ever since the
rebellion of 499, the Athenians had wanted to
liberate the Greeks of Asia Minor from the Persian rule.
So, the Athenians won the argument; it was agreed to take these three island states
into the Greek League and that meant that the Greeks
would be committed to protect them should the Persians attack them
again. In accordance with these decisions, the commander
of the Spartan fleet out there, King Leotychidas
sailed home and took his Spartans, and I would imagine
his Peloponnesians with him. On the other hand,
the commander of the Athenian fleet, Xanthippus stayed,
and carried on the war against the Persians in the area.
Let me just give you a small clue. Xanthippus will have a son–sorry he has a
son in the year 479 whose name is Pericles, and we will
be hearing of course a lot about him later on.
The Persians have fled but there are a few places in Europe
that, along the route of their escape, where the Persians still had control of a
town or a city here and there, and one of the most important was
the town of Sestos, located on the European side of
the Dardanelles, and so Xanthippus besieged the
city with the Athenian and the navy, and the rest of the Greeks ships that were
still there, and after awhile, took the city by siege and
cleared the Persians out of there. The result of the war was, of course, first
of all, the vindication, the validation of Greek
freedom. Greeks would indeed continue to be able to live the lives that they had been
accustomed to. But another thing had happened, which was
going to make an enormous impact on Greek life–you perhaps
will remember that before the Persian invasion,
but not long before, I believe it’s in the year 482,
the silver mines in the south of Attica had yielded an unusual
strike. A vein of silver had been discovered that was much more than normal,
so much so that something had to be decided by the Athenian
assembly. What should we do with the silver?
It’s a wonderful insight into the way Greeks thought about
their polis. The first thought, the one that was most popular to begin with,
was well, let’s take the silver and divide it up equally among
the Athenians. That in some sense the polis was a kind of joint stock company and
when there was a nice dividend you just dole it out to the
investors. Themistocles thought otherwise.
Themistocles was–it’ evident–was constantly aware of
the threat from Persia and of the importance of getting ready
to fight the Persians, and he understood I think
before most other Greeks that the navy was going to be really
critical in this operation. So, he made the suggestion that
the silver strike be used to build a whole fleet of new ships
for the Athenians, and they end up with two hundred triremes, which is, the trireme is
the battleship of the ancient Greeks.
So, that is the core of the fleet which is the one that
defeats the Persians at Salamis and defeats them again at
Mycale. The Spartans were given command of the war against Persia, both on land and
sea, but the Spartans didn’t have any great skill
or experience in naval matters, and the Athenians had more
than they, and it was the Athenian portion of the
fleet, which was the largest and the most effective
in fighting those naval battles. And, of course,
the battle of Salamis was fought in Athenian waters and
Themistocles, with his clever devices, had come up with the way of winning victory.
First of all, compelling the Greeks to fight at Salamis and then winning the victory at
Salamis. Now, the point of all this is one of the changes
that has come upon the Greek world as a result of this
Persian invasion, is that there is something new in the Greek
world, a big Athenian navy, and it has proven itself
already to be an extraordinarily capable navy. That is a new power factor, and the whole
idea of naval power, being very decisive in Greek affairs
is a relatively new idea. That’s not to say that there
weren’t states that had navies before and naval battles,
and in some cases that these were very important. But we’re really at another level after the
Athenians have built this fleet and had the success that
they had. Another consequence of the war was of course
the tremendous boom that came in Greek self-confidence.
I can’t emphasize enough what an incredible upset this was.
No one would have imagined that, if the great king got
really serious and sent over an army of a hundred or two hundred
thousand, nobody knows exactly how many–Herodotus’ numbers are, it is widely
agreed, exaggerated, but it’s a very big army and
a very big navy, certainly it outnumbers the
Greeks in both cases. Anybody would have thought it was going to
be an easy victory for the Persians. To defeat that meant an
enormous amount and the Greeks came away feeling that their
general prejudice over their own superiority over everybody else
had been justified by their performance in the Persian Wars;
the Athenians, no less, of course, because of the very central role that they
had played.So, all of these are new things
that are in the hearts and minds of the Greeks and by no means
are trivial. There was a sense that the Greeks had something remarkably glorious,
not to be forgotten, which made them proud and made them, I think
also, rather ambitious to continue in that course.
Finally, one other point that I would want to make and that is,
this is the first great panhellenic activity, really. There had been some sense in
which the Greeks were increasingly aware that there
was something called Hellenes, Greek peoples different from
people who were not Hellenes, and this probably took shape
most fully when they competed in the major athletic contests at
major religious festivals in which they were fundamentally
Greek even though it–well, they were entirely Greek,
really. So that would have fostered this sense of panhellenism, but nothing could
have given it the tremendous boost that it got like this
victory of these thirty-one states that had banded together
to defeat the Persians in that war. So, panhellenism is
now on the horizon. I don’t mean to say that the
Greeks are shaped now into a single people, have retreated from their localism and their
love for their polis; nothing could be further from
the truth, but alongside of their love of autonomy and love
of their polis, there was the idea that panhellenism was a good thing. It had a kind
of a nice ring to it. It’s the sort of the thing that
I feel some familiarity with. Not that I was around right
after the First World War, but reading about it,
you realize that there was some sense after that war that the
victorious peoples had something in common, and that in any case they could work together
to achieve international peace in a way that hadn’t been
thought of much before. But even more strongly,
I think the idea after the Second World War, when this idea took even stronger roots to
the point where you know people have this quasi-religious
feeling, at least some of them do, about the desire
to avoid having parochial national interests,
determined what you’re going to do in international relations.
Everything has to be done somehow as though there were a
world government that really existed and really managed
things, and although everybody knows that’s not true, it’s thought to be bad form
to face that fact. Well, something like that
kind, not as bad as that, but something like that
kind of unreality was in the minds of Greeks,
because you will be hearing over the next century various
thinkers and speakers, who want to make the case that
a thing is good if it’s somehow panhellenic, that’s a fine thing. So it’s an idea that’s
there, not that any state, any more than our nations
have given up any sovereignty or any independence,
or any autonomy. It’s an idea and that’s all that it is. Another consequence of the
war was a division within the Greek world that was in part
based upon the fact that Athens had come on in that war to
become a great power and by anybody’s reckoning had played
one of the leading roles in the victory. Now, the Spartans had too; the Spartans were
the official leaders, and their regent had been the commander
at the great land battle at Plataea and their general was
in charge of the navy, but Athens had become so
important, so big, so successful that there was
now a question–I mean, was Sparta really the leader of
the Greeks? What was the future? Was the future going to be one in which the
Spartans would maintain the unique leadership of the Greeks
or would the Athenians challenge them? It soon became clear
that the Athenians would indeed challenge them,
and so a major theme, maybe the major theme in
international relations for the next fifty years will be the
conflict between Athens and Sparta. A lot of it, I think, could be described
really as a cold war, because there is no fighting
between the two states between 479 and about 460,
or even a little bit later. Actually, they don’t come into
conflict themselves until 457 again, and when that war stops
there is a period once again of peace, and then we come to the great Peloponnesian
War which dominates the last third of the century.
That’s all in the future. But what’s clear now is that
there’s got to be some new arrangement, some new alignment
to face up to the change in the power structure. There was only one great power before the
war; there clearly are two after the war.
Well, the Greeks also had to decide certain questions that
had been created by the war. One of them, who is to be the leader if there is to be
a leader of the Greeks, but beyond that there was some
Greek states that had gone over to the Persians in the course of
the war. The Greeks refer to these people as Medizers. What should be done with
the Medizers? I’m sure there were proposals
from one extreme that would have said just wipe those cities out
to the other extreme which would have said, well, let bygones be bygones. And there were
opinions all along the middle of the way, and so that remained
an issue that had to be settled somehow. Then behind
it all was the question, what shall we look for in the future?
Was Persia going to be a threat once again, which would imply
one whole set of policies, or can we consider the threat
from Persia finished so that we can go back to our normal way
without adjusting to that policy? For the reasons I’ve already indicated the
Spartans and the Peloponnesians were more likely to take the
view that the threat was over. The Athenians,
the islanders, and the Ionians, I should said the Asiatic Greeks,
would take the view that no, there is a very imminent danger
from the Persians, the war isn’t over, we need to continue to fight it.
Now, let me then try to describe the way in which a new
way of dealing with the Persians would come onto the scene.
For that I need to take you back to 481, the year when
Xerxes started his march from the Persian empire against the
Greeks. The Greeks knew this was happening and they met, you will remember,
at Corinth in 481 when those thirty one cities came together
and swore that they would fight together to defeat the Persians.
They appointed Sparta officially as the hegemon, the leader of that league,
which meant that the Spartans would be in command on land and
sea and once the battles commenced they would be in
charge. But, of course, the decisions as to what to do, where to go
to fight, when to fight and so on, were made by the
council of Greeks who were participating. The Spartans
did not attempt to impose their wishes at that point,
So, the league really functions like a league of equals,
but of course, the states are not equal in their power so that there’s much more influence
by the Spartans, but there’s also a lot of influence by the
Athenians, because of the size of their fleet.
That’s the way things were working in the Greek League
against Persia. Even though the Spartans are the hegemon, they do not confuse this league
with the Peloponnesian League. It is something quite different.
I’ve already described the league to you and so you know
that the relationships are different, and the membership is
different. The Greek League has states that are not in the Peloponnesus and have
not previously been allied to Sparta; it also includes Sparta’s
traditional Peloponnesian allies. They swear this common oath; the Greeks are
to fight for the common freedom, to free the Greeks in the
islands in Asia Minor. And it is to be a perpetual league, as we know, because as late as 461,
I guess, when there is a conflict between Athens and Sparta, the Athenians,
in fact, withdraw from their alliance with the Greeks under Spartan rule.
So, that tells us that until then they felt themselves still
to be part of that Greek League. They agreed in 481 to put aside
the quarrels that they may have had at the time,
and to have the same friends and enemies, the famous clause
that means a common foreign policy. But it doesn’t mean, again–just because the
Spartans are hegemons doesn’t mean the Spartans will
determine that policy. The policy will be determined
by the league in its own meetings. It is to be a typical Greek alliance.
The Greek word for that is symmachia; it means an offensive and defensive alliance.
I will fight along your side, not only if you are attacked,
but if you go to war against somebody else at your own
discretion, I still am bound to be your ally; that’s what a symmachia
is. So far as we know, that’s the only kind of international alliance
that the Greeks knew up to that time, offensive and
defensive. Nothing is said about money; there is no provision
for providing funds for the league. I think that
implies very clearly each state would pay for its own forces
when they were engaged in the common cause. There was no
provision for regular meetings; meetings would be held when
they were thought to be necessary. Of course, everything would have to be done
by the common consent. I don’t mean that there was a
need for unanimity, but there certainly would have
to be a general agreement of things for the game to go
forward. This is a new thing. It’s an innovation, and of course it fits
in nicely with what I said a moment ago about the concept
of panhellenism coming forward. This is the first
Pan Hellenic expedition, I suppose since the Trojan War.
Now Sparta, as you’ve seen, when the decision had to be made as to whether
they should commit themselves to defending the islands
with a kind of a permanent force out there to do that,
the Spartans withdrew. Nothing is formal; there’s no change in the arrangements,
but they just decided to go home. Now we see that the Athenians will be pursuing
a different policy — the one that was ultimately adopted
by most of the Greeks, but which allowed the Athenians
to come forward and make the kinds of claims for their
influence that they would. One of the first things the
Athenians wanted to do, and I remind you, that the Persians had marched into Attica,
and done fearful damage to the polis of Athens and had
done great harm to the city of Athens. They had gone up to the Acropolis, destroyed
the temples that existed there, a terrible sacrilege from
the point of view of the Athenians, and they wanted
to do what they could to see this would never happen again.
So, they undertook to build the walls around the Acropolis
stronger than they had been, and also to make the city walls
stronger than they had been. Now, it’s an interesting sign
of the way some of the other Greek states felt that when the
Athenians set about building their walls there were
complaints from some of the Greek allies to the Spartans
that the Athenians were doing this and saying this was a bad
idea. My guess is that the complainants would have included such cities
as Thebes, Megara, probably Corinth; Thebes and Megara
being both neighbors abutting on Attica and old enemies
of the Athenians and the Corinthians being just next door,
so to speak, not quite on their border but also a state that was undoubtedly challenged
by the emergence of Athens as a great naval power
and a great commercial power. Corinth had had one of the
biggest navies, and Corinth, for the longest time, had been a great commercial
power. The archaeological evidence is that it was being challenged in the latter
respect by the Athenians as early as in the sixth century.
So, these are the kind of states that would have been
complaining and thinking that if the Athenians had a walled city
that they could defend, it would make them more
confident and possibly more aggressive and more trouble for
their neighbors. In the war, the Athenians had
shown an astonishing, daring, especially at sea,
which obviously was making some of their old enemies and
neighbors nervous. Well, the Spartans heard about it, and they heeded their friends complaints
enough, so that Themistocles who was–I need to point
out to you, though I’m sure you know it, emerged from
the war as the great hero. He had done so many wonderful
things. He was responsible for the Athenian navy, he was responsible for the
decision to fight at Salamis, he was responsible, people believe, for the victory at Salamis.
We hear as Plutarch tells wonderful stories about in the
Olympic games right after the war, people were watching the games when Themistocles
arrived, they stopped watching the games and they watched
Themistocles, because so great was the admiration and wonder
that he created. I always try to figure out some
analogy now but I can’t. If you imagine if you could
wrap up Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin and make
him one person after Second World War you might have
something like Themistocles did. So, Themistocles goes to
Sparta, and he, of course, is the main champion in Athens of Athens rebuilding its walls as
fast as possible, and Athens taking the most forward position
possible in the navy at sea and in international relations
in general. He does this little trick that Thucydides
describes. He says, he will go to Sparta, but the Spartans
are to send some people to Athens too, and then he tells
the Athenians to hold those Spartans there until he gets
home. The next thing he says is, let me know when
the walls have been built high enough to defend.
So, he goes to talk to the Spartans, the Spartans says we
hear you guys are building walls around there. You know, I know it’s your own business but
we don’t think that’s a good idea, because if the Persians
come again they could use your walled city as a
base against us. Now, if you can follow that kind of reasoning
you’re sharper than I am, but anyway that’s the story they
told. Themistocles says where did you hear that
nonsense; we’re building walls? What a lot of baloney;
forget about it. I’m sorry. I haven’t told the story quite right.
He says, look don’t take my word for it, you send an embassy
to Athens and take a look; that’s when he told his friends
keep those guys there until I get home. So one day, a messenger from Athens comes
to Themistocles and tells him, okay the walls can now be defended,
whereupon Themistocles says to the Spartans, you know those walls you were complaining
about, you were right; we do have them and they’re
now big enough that we can defend ourselves against
them, and what are you going to do about it?
Then he delivers a speech, which is a kind of a
declaration, not so much of independence as of equivalence
to the Spartans. His message was, we don’t take orders from you; keep your advice
to yourself, we’ll take care of ourselves, you take care
of yourselves. You are not our superiors. We are your equals
was the essence of what he said. Thereafter, Themistocles
was not so popular in Sparta as he used to be.
Indeed, for the rest of his life the Spartans will be trying
to do him harm and remove him from the scene, but he certainly achieves what he wants.
The Athenians are a walled city, and they have declared
that whatever their formal, technical relationship with
Sparta might be under the Hellenic League, the fact is they are independent players and
they’re going to do things as they see fit.
Thucydides says the Spartans accepted this, but secretly they were embittered.
I think that’s the first clue we have to what will become a
continuing situation in Sparta for the rest of the time we pay
attention to them. That there will be a factional division among Spartans, at least, this much
is true. I’m sure it’s much more complicated than we
know, but in the simplest way there were some Spartans
who were content to withdraw back to the Peloponnesus
to have nothing to do with the world outside the Peloponnesus,
much less with the world of the Aegean Sea and beyond,
and try to return to their traditional ways, a peace faction if you will, a conservative
faction perhaps. But that there is also starting now as a result
of the victory in the war, a faction of Spartans that would
like to exert Spartan power and influence more broadly,
at least to include the rest of the Greek states of the
mainland, but also a number of them surely felt that they
wanted to exert power everywhere, including overseas as well. But that faction,
that second faction doesn’t win the argument. They have to be secretly embittered, because
the official policy of Sparta is to accept the Athenian
situation, and we’ll see in a moment that events move
them in the same direction. The commander of the Spartan
forces at Plataea, who emerges as the leading figure immediately after the war,
is Pausanias, who was the regent, but effectively one of the two kings of Sparta.
He goes out to the Aegean Sea–remember the previous king
and commander had retired, but now Pausanias takes the
fleet and he goes out there, and he proceeds to make the
Greeks–first of all, he proceeds to be very effective against the Persians. He does some
fighting, particularly in the Hellespont, and the straits
in general. Byzantium is a very important city there,
what later becomes Constantinople and then Istanbul, and the
little town across the way. So, they control the straits,
he defeats the Persians and so on, but in the process he makes
enemies among the Greeks. Part of the reason is
because he treats the Greeks as inferiors, as if they were
underlings of the Spartans. In general, it appears to have
been a common Spartan problem that when they went out of
Sparta and had commanding positions over other Greeks,
they regularly treated them in that way–different degrees,
of course. Pausanias must have been particularly annoying, but there were main
complaints about how they were treated by his Greek allies.
In addition, he became very much caught up in the great wealth and luxury that the Persians
demonstrated. Most Greeks were, at least theoretically,
very appalled at the morals or the lack of morals of the
Persians from their perspective. But the Persians were,
first of all, very rich and the Greeks were not, and they used their wealth for various
purposes all of which were seen to be ungreek and unattractive.
Pausanias fell for it and he began behaving as though he
were a Persian satrap at the very least. All of these things, as I say, irritated their
fellow Greeks who began to bring charges against him.
He was charged in Sparta with, first of all, tyranny and then second of all treason.
He was alleged to have cut some kind of a deal with the Persian
ruler and his satraps against the common cause. This was effective enough to have him recalled
and put on trial. He was acquitted.
On the other hand, he was not sent out again to be
the commander; he was put on the side. Later on further charges would be brought
against him and he would indeed be put to death. Okay, but the
main point is that the Spartans have withdrawn their commander,
pretty much in disgrace with the rest of the Greeks.
They send out a replacement. A man called Dorcis.
The allies don’t accept him, and they say no we’re not
taking any Spartan commanders these days and send him back
home. That is an extremely important step. The allies, and that means now,
the people in the Aegean Sea and on its borders, the people who are in what will be first the
Athenian sphere of influence and then the Athenian Empire,
these are the states that don’t want Spartan rule.
I think the main reason is–well, there’s a couple of
reasons. One is the behavior of Pausanias has discredited the Spartans, but
the other I think is this. Look, how much evidence do you
need that the Spartans really don’t like this kind of thing?
Remember, they had voted against taking those three
islands into the league even back there in 479.
And the other thing is that, here are the Athenians,
the guys who really won the war at sea, which is the one you’re concerned about and
who are apparently ready and waiting to continue to
do that. And it was I think that choice that was in
the minds of the allies when they sent Dorcis home and said,
please no more, and the Spartans did not send a
replacement for Dorcis. They, in other words, accepted that they would not participate in
the future campaigns against Persia, which would be obviously
aggressive campaigns in Asia, since the Persians had been
driven out of Europe and out of the Aegean Sea.
Thucydides says this about the Spartan decision. They also wanted to be rid of the Persian
War, and believed that the Athenians were competent
to lead, and were at the present time, well disposed
to the Spartans. Why not, they said. We don’t want to fight
this war; we don’t really care about those things,
and everything will be okay, because the Athenians can do it
and they’re our friends. But surely that was not all
what all the Spartans thought, that was the opinion of the
faction that won the argument, which was the conservative
faction, the one that was the peace party and let’s stay in
the Peloponnesus party–it was still the predominant force,
and I suspect their position had been strengthened by the
disgrace brought upon Sparta by the behavior of Pausanias,
and no doubt by the rejection of the Spartan replacement by
the other Greeks. Why should we force ourselves? We are making ourselves unpopular.
It used to be the Greeks came to us and begged us to fight and
protect them, when they’re in trouble and now
they’re rejecting our leadership. That’s because we shouldn’t be out there.
This is not our kind of a campaign. Well, one can go on and imagine the arguments
that were used. Now, did this mean that there would be no
continuing campaign against Persia? Certainly not;
that is not what the allies meant. They turned to Athens and asked the Athenians
to take the lead in the war that was going to come.
Herodotus has a line in which he says, the Athenians offered
the hubris of Pausanias as a pretext for taking over the
leadership of the Greeks out there. That suggests that the Athenians were planning
to do just that, that they very much wanted too
and that they were engaged in maneuvers to bring it about;
that it was their idea that they took the initiative.
But I think that’s not right. Let me back up a step;
it’s only partly right. What is certainly clear is that
the Athenians were ready and willing to do what they were
asked, but the idea that they either used their power and influence, or their wiles
to bring the allies to take that decision, when they would
not have otherwise done so, I think that is wrong.
I’m going to start doing something that you may get tired
of after awhile; I want to use an analogy that I
find very illuminating anyway. The analogy of the formation of
NATO after the Second World War and the formation of the Delian
League, which is ultimately turned into the Athenian Empire after the Persian Wars.
In the case of the Delian League, I think a Norwegian or a
Swedish scholar has described the process whereby NATO was
invented as the establishment of hegemony by invitation.
That is, if you look at the situation in 1945,1946, 1947,1948, and 1949 the Europeans states that
ultimately became part of NATO desperately wanted the
Americans to join with them, not to repeat what they had
done after the First World War, which was to retreat back into
North America, to have no connections of a political military kind with Europe, which
terrified the European states that were sort of knocked
down so hard by the Second World War and who were afraid that
the Soviet Union was going to take them over and they desperately
wanted the Americans to take the lead. Now, the Americans were
glad to do it. I don’t mean all the Americans, as always, there were factions and differences
of opinions and the American President and his government
had to fight hard to convince Americans to do it, but by and large
they did and those who won the argument were of the opinion
that American interests, first of all,
in restoring Europe to its previous condition, and secondly, to resisting communist
takeover, Soviet takeover of Europe, meant that it was in America’s interest to
see that such a situation developed. Both sides, I would argue,
were equally glad to see what happened because it was in the
interest of both sides. So I think it was in 478-7
when the formation of the Delian League took place.
Obviously, the states that were bordering on the Persian Empire
and in the seas next to Asia Minor were absolutely at risk,
if the Persians came back. Supposing the Athenians had
said, we’re not interested and had gone home, just as the Persians had–there was no Greek
force except for the poor Asiatic Greeks themselves to resist
a Persian return and they couldn’t possibly resist that.
So for them, it was a life and death matter, at least it was a matter of freedom versus
slavery that they should persuade the Athenians to take the
lead. But for the Athenians, who won the argument,
it was obvious they felt our needs, for instance access to the Black Sea, our
feelings, friendship for the Greeks of Asia Minor,
and our fear, fear of what the Persians might do if they got rolling–all point to the same
outcome, and so I think both sides were equally glad
to undertake this new path. I think we would be deeply
mistaken, if we imagine that anybody imposed his will on
anybody else in this matter. In fact, the Athenians, according to Plutarch’s
story, needed persuasion. Plutarch tells the tale
of Aristides, who was in command of the Athenian
fleet there off Asia Minor at the time. When the Samians,
particularly took the lead and came to the Athenians and to
Aristides and said, won’t you please be our leaders? Aristides said,
before we do that, you show us that you are really
committed to us, and that you will not simply use us. I’m putting in stuff that’s not
in Plutarch now. Don’t use us as a kind of a way
of convincing the Spartans to stay and then leave us in the
lurch. So Uliades, the commander of the Samian navy, turned, took his ship,
sailed it against the flagship of Pausanias, this is at the time when Pausanias is still
around, and rams that ship.Well, that ought to take
care of any possibility of playing footsy with the Spartans,
at which point, the Athenians accept the leadership and then move forward with the
plan for doing that. So in the winter of 478-7, there is a meeting
of the Greeks who are interested, at the Island of
Delos. Delos is right smack in the middle of the
Aegean Sea, and as I’ve told you, it is the birthplace
of Apollo and Artemis, and Apollo, of course,
has got a special fondness for the Ionians, and so it’s the
natural place for this to happen, and they come up with what amount–it is essentially
a constitutional convention. They come up with
a constitution that will describe how the league
is to work. The aims of the league are that the members
of the league will fight against the Persians, first of
all, to avenge what the Persians did to the Greeks,
and secondly, to collect booty from the Persians to pay for the damage that the Persians
did. So, that is a part of the story. I think,
of course, implicit, it didn’t have to be said, that
the primary motive must be to maintain, establish I would guess,
and maintain the freedom of the Greeks from Persian rule.
Thucydides doesn’t mention that and some scholars have been
misled into thinking that somehow that wasn’t part of the
story. Well, how could they do the rest of it, if they didn’t do that?
These states were obviously in danger of being taken by the
Persians, so the maintenance of their freedom had to be step
number one, and surely that was clear in their minds. They agreed,
as it was typical, in Greek alliances to have the
same friends and enemies, common foreign policy. To carry this forward, they all swore oaths;
that’s their form of signing treaties. They don’t sign treaties they swear oaths.
Then they dropped chunks of iron into the sea,
as a symbol that the treaty was to be perpetual. That is to say, it would last until the iron
came up and floated on the surface. They knew that wasn’t going to happen.
So, they are a standard kind of an alliance with a perpetual–I
need to make the point that most Greek alliances that we hear of
in this period are not perpetual. The Athenians and the Spartans in 445 make
a thirty-years peace. In 421, they make a fifty-years
peace; on another occasion they make a five-years peace; that’s the way they do things
normally. This is different. This is like the Greek League; this is a perpetual
alliance. The membership of the league, as best we can
figure it out–this is not a hundred percent accurate
but it’s not bad. It includes–First of all it,
uniformally, at this point–divides the league up into zones. One is the islands of
the Aegean Sea, and we have knowledge of twenty
towns that are members from the islands. Ionia, that
is on the coast of Asia Minor itself, thirty six, towns along
the Hellespont route into the Black Sea,
thirty five, Caria which is the southern coast of Asia Minor has twenty four.
Thrace, which is the northern shore of the Aegean Sea in Greek
territory is thirty three; comes to a total of a hundred
forty eight. If you imagine you’re talking about a hundred and fifty towns, you’ve got
the general idea right. So, that’s quite an amazing
thing. Peloponnesian League certainly didn’t have anything like that in
terms of numbers of states. But don’t be too carried away,
because lots of these places are just tiny little spots,
especially when you’re talking about islands. Some of the island states in the Aegean and
they apparently were just about all members, are very small
indeed. Still, it includes some very important states
like those big islands I mentioned already Samos,
Chios, and Lesbos, and others that were not quite
as big, and some states on the Asian side that were old,
and big, and important cities, Miletus being one example of
it. So, there it is, notice what I have not included.
No Peloponnesians. This is not in any shape, manner, or form connected with the Peloponnesian
League. I’m going to play my analogy game in a moment
too, but what I want to say is you need to–it
would be easiest I think for you to grasp what’s going on here,
if you think of three separate organizations; first, there’s the Greek League against Persia
that was formed in 481 which includes Peloponnesian states
and non-Peloponnesian states. Then keep in mind,
the oldest of these, I should have mentioned first,
the Peloponnesian League, which is older than the Greek
League, which includes for our purposes essentially only
Peloponnesian states. There are a couple of exceptions, but none are across the sea in
any way. Then there’s this new league which we should
call the Delian League, although the Greeks referred to it
as the Greeks, just as they had the earlier league.
But it’s easier to think of it as the Delian League to separate
it from that league. Okay, here’s the analogy that I suggest. The Greek League against
Persia, we might think of as being like the United Nations
Organization, because it includes states from both sides, from all of these places and I
think if we think of the Peloponnesian League as one of the
subordinate leagues, and the Delian League as the other, in other
words, like NATO on the one hand and the Warsaw Pact
on the other, that will be a helpful analogy, because, first
of all, both of them are members of the Greek League
too, and as the United Nations Organization Charter
permits regional associations, so NATO and the Warsaw
Pact were regional associations, so too without
their being any formality about it, it clearly didn’t mean
to abolish the Peloponnesian League.
Therefore, there was no reason why there shouldn’t be a
different regional alliance like that of the Delian
League.That, I think, is the structure of the international system in Greece as we move
past the Persian wars. Now, let’s say a little more
about that Delian League; there are more things you need
to know about it. It is a hegemonial league, just like the Peloponnesian League.
That is, there is a designated leader. Athens is the designated hegemon of the league,
and there is also something quite different, something new, since this is a naval league,
it cost money in a way that a military league made up of
hoplite citizens doesn’t. So it was clear there had to be
some league money, a league treasury. For this purpose, they declared the collection
of something they called a phoros.
It just simply means, in the most neutral sense,
contribution. As time passed, this contribution was seen to be something
imposed upon unwilling payers and in English we use the
word to describe it as tribute. But let’s think now,
for the moment, only about the beginning of the
league and what was intended at first. So there is this contribution which becomes
the league treasury. The assessor was an Athenian
general, Aristides. Aristides the just, as he was known, told each state how much
it would be required to contribute. This took
the form in the beginning, in some cases, of ships and crews
to row them, and in other states from the very beginning,
money. Now, I think we should imagine that the earlier you are in the league, the
more there are allied ships and crews, and as you get later
and later, until finally you’re into the Peloponnesian
War, just about every state doesn’t have a fleet
of its own, doesn’t supply crews, but just pays money.
Again though, I urge you to think about the beginning and not worry about the end just
now. So the Athenian assesses that, there is also
an Athenian citizen who will be chosen for the job of
treasurer of this new league, hellenotamias is the
Greek word and he will see to the collection and the security
of that money; an Athenian does that too. Also, any military or naval campaigns conducted
on behalf of the Delian League will have an Athenian general
in charge. Now you know, looking at it backwards,
you can say, well, this is Athenian imperialism and the Athenians are imposing
their power; no, the allies would have been the first to
want to do this because what they were afraid of,
just as I think as the Europeans were afraid in the
forties, was not that the Athenians would have lorded over
them, they were afraid that the Athenians would run away and leave them to
their fate. They wanted to tie the Athenians into this
new organization. Now, this Delian League is
unsurpassed among the few international organizations there are in the Greek world. It was enormously
efficient because you had a leader who was designated
and interested, and deeply involved. You had an organ for
making decisions; I haven’t mentioned it,
but there was what they called this synod of the league.
It’s the council of league in which there are representatives
from every state and it can make all the decisions that have to
be made in that one place. Unlike these other places it
has its own money, and its own forces, which are assigned to it by the constitution.
All of these things make that a much more effective league,
able to do what it has to do without any great difficulty in
the decision making process, and to make that a little
clearer I need to tell you another thing. In the synod, the arrangement was one state,
one vote. So, Athens was one member of that synod. Athens, which had the lion’s
share of the power, had only one vote. So, how could the Athenians have their way,
you may ask. But the way it really worked was, because Athens had all of this prestige
and all of this power, it meant all of the very small
powerless states huddled under the wings of the Athenians,
and could be counted on to deliver the right sort of vote,
to do what the Athenians told them, whereas, supposing they had used something
like proportional representation, given the Athenians “x” number
of votes, a lot of votes, but they would have had to give
Thasos and Samos, Chios, Lesbos, all these big towns and islands, numerous
votes as well. They would certainly have been more votes
than the Athenians had. They could have outvoted them,
the Athenians, if they got together. Under this one state, one vote rule,
that’s impossible. We never, never hear of any
trouble passing whatever the Athenians want in the assembly.
There’s just no check on their doing what they want in a
constitutional way. Now, so long as everybody’s playing by the
original rules this doesn’t really present any serious problems,
but as time passes and there are differences of opinion,
and as for various reasons, as I will explain, the Athenians begin to assert their power
and begin to change the situation, it’s at that point that the
question of autonomy will arise, and the Athenians will in fact
interfere with the autonomy of the other states, and turn the league ultimately into what the
Greeks called an arche, which we rightly translate as
an empire, but once again, I don’t want you to think about
that when you’re thinking about the situation in 477.
It’s in the future, and that’s not what people are
expecting or wanting. There is a common interest, and it’s very strong in 477, to deal with
the threat of the Persia and to get revenge and payment from
the Persians for what has happened. The problem only emerges
or problems emerge when the challenge from Persia
recedes, and as we shall see, that’s of course was
the same problem that NATO suffered from and suffers
from today, which is to the degree that they don’t feel
threatened by anything, the states that are allied to the
United States, don’t feel they have to do what the Americans
want, and that’s the way it was when the situation
developed in Greece. Okay, that’s the original
situation of the Delian League and I want to turn next to the
story of how that turns into the Athenian Empire.
The first thing I want to indicate to you is that the
success of the Delian League from the outset was
extraordinary. One little town that was still in Persian hands in 477 was the town of Eion
located at the mouth of the Strymon River up in Thrace.
The Athenian commander took a league fleet to Eion and drove
the Persians out. Soon thereafter–by the way,
the dates that we have for this are very insecure. They are mostly derived from the story that
Thucydides tells us, the details are very few and he doesn’t
give us very many good dates, if any. So, there’s a certain
amount of estimation. It doesn’t really matter from
your point of view, but I will give you dates that
are commonly accepted, but you mustn’t imagine that
they’re firmly fixed. Anyway, some years, not too many after the establishment of the
league, the league under the great Athenian commander,
who will play a larger and larger role in league affairs
and also in Athenian political affairs, Cimon takes this force against the Island
of Skyros in the Aegean. Skiros was attacked,
because it was not inhabited by Greeks. It was inhabited by non-Greek peoples who
made their living out of piracy. Well clearly,
all the states of the league had a lot to lose from allowing
pirates to roam freely in their waters, and so Cimon crushed the Skirian pirates and
he drove them from the island, and he made sure that
the island would be secure by putting in an Athenian
cleruchy. Remember that cleruchy the Athenians put in near Chalkis.
This is the same kind of arrangement; Athenians of military age who permanently
settle in Skiros, but retain their Athenian citizenship;
they are a garrison in effect to protect the island of Skyros
from falling into bad hands in the future. It was widely believed, and justifiably,
that Cimon and that force had liberated the Aegean Sea.
We never hear about piracy anymore; piracy was a problem that the states in the
Mediterranean in general suffered from a lot and at different
times very, very seriously. One thing that this new league,
even when it’s the Delian League and one becomes the
Athenian Empire, there is no piracy in the region where that league exists. Then they
turn to the city of Carystos, which is at the southern end of
the Island of Euboea. The Carystians you remember
had, under the greatest military pressure, actually surrendered
to the Persians, given earth and water, and so technically they were Medizers and
there was no mercy shown to them. They were compelled,
they didn’t wish to do this, but they were compelled to join
the Delian League, and to pay a cash contribution, not to be allowed to provide their own ships.
Thus, almost from the very beginning, there is one instance
of a state, which doesn’t fit the general picture I’ve been
painting. A state that is a subject state and is compelled to be a member, but it’s
just this one case of a Medizing state. Then possibly in the year
470, another development. We hear that the island
of Naxos–this seems to be an island full of
trouble. Every time we hear of Naxos, it’s getting
into difficulty of some kind or another, but they decided that
there wasn’t any great threat from Persia, that
the Persians weren’t coming back and so they said we’re
quitting the league. Well, I’m sure somebody said, don’t you remember,
you swore this oath. You threw some iron lumps into
the sea. Do you see any iron floating around here in the Aegean Sea? You’re not
quitting. They rebelled. The league sent a fleet,
and they put down the Naxian rebellion, and Naxos was now
reduced from the category of a free ally, making the kinds of contributions the other
allies did to another subject state, which paid money.
Their walls were taken down, their fleet was taken away,
and that’s the pattern that we shall see. States who don’t carry out their responsibilities,
states that particularly try to rebel will be treated this way,
and their number will increase as time passes. By the way, we do not hear of anybody in the
league objecting to these decisions and these actions, nor
should we expect to that there would be. The allies still believed
they needed this league and they weren’t about
to let people get a free ride such as Carystos would,
whether they paid or not, the Persians weren’t going to
attack them so they ought to pay, or states like Naxos who decided, well,
we feel safe enough so we quit. That wasn’t going to be
permitted. So in a sense, what you can really see from this is that
the league was working, as it was supposed to, to be able
to do the job that it had too. Then if the dates are right,
in the next year 469, comes a very important turning
point in the history of the league. The Persians have a fleet in the–well, you
can’t really call it the Aegean, it’s around the corner on the
southern coast of Asia Minor, the Eurymedon river flows out
there and they had a fleet and an army inland. The league forces went there to the Eurymedon
under the command of Cimon, defeated and crushed the Persian
fleet at sea, landed and defeated the Persian army on the
land, and that was a terrible blow to the Persian
position in the eastern Mediterranean. The evidence is apparently
that the Persians had to pull back from that entire
area and it would not have been at all unreasonable for
people to think well, the Persian threat really is
over. This is beyond what happened in 479; it’s not just that we’ve driven
them out of Europe, we’ve driven them away from the
Mediterranean Sea. You could imagine that that’s
just the end of the Persian threat. That was not the view taken by the Athenians,
or I guess, by most of the allies, but we can imagine that there were some of
the allies, who were restless in their need to continue
to make contributions to the league when they didn’t
feel that there was any purpose to the league anymore.
I gave a hint to this earlier. I don’t remember whether
General Grunther was the second commander of NATO,
but he was an earlier commander of NATO, obviously a West Point man, educated, he knew
all about Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War and so
he made the analogy–the first time I’m aware that anybody
did, between NATO and the Delian League, and he
was doing so as commander of NATO at a period when he felt
that the American allies in Europe were more and more reluctant
to make the kinds of contributions that he thought they should
make and was bewailing his situation, which was every time
the Russians looked like they were going to behave,
then the allies decided they didn’t want to make any
contributions, and then when the Russians looked scary, everybody came running and
said, sure we’ll contribute and he suggested that’s the way it
was in the Delian League too. So keep in the back of your mind that there
are real questions out there in the league as to whether
it should persist, and we’ll carry this story
forward next time.

, ,

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *