The Delian organization (or Athenian League) to be an alliance the Greek city-states led by Athens. The organization was formed in 478 BCE come liberate eastern Greek cities from Persian rule and also as a defence to feasible revenge assaults from Persia adhering to the Greek victories in ~ Marathon, Salamis, and also Plataea in the early fifth century BCE.

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The alliance of end 300 urban within the organization would at some point be so dominated by Athens that, in effect, it progressed into the Athenian empire. Athens came to be increasingly an ext aggressive in its manage of the alliance and, ~ above occasion, constrained member by military force and also compelled ongoing tribute which was in the kind of money, ships or materials. Adhering to Athens" loss at the hand of Sparta in the Peloponnesian war in 404 BCE the league was dissolved.

Membership & Tribute

The surname Delian league is a modern-day one, the old sources describe it as merely "the alliance" (symmachia) or "Athens and also its allies". The name is appropriate because the treasury of the alliance was situated on the spiritual island that Delos in the Cyclades. The variety of members that the League adjusted over time but about 330 are recorded in tribute lists; sources which are recognized to be incomplete. The bulk of claims were from Ionia and the islands yet most components of Greece were represented and also later there were even some non-Greek members such together the Carian city-states. Prominent members included:


and many other cities across the Aegean, in Ionia, the Hellespont, and also Propontis.

Members were meant to provide tribute to the treasury i m sorry was supplied to build & preserve the marine fleet led by Athens.

Initially members swore to hold the exact same enemies and also allies by taking an oath. It is most likely that each city-state had an equal vote in meetings organized on Delos. Members were expected to provide tribute (phoros) to the treasury i beg your pardon was offered to build and maintain the navy fleet led by Athens. Considerably too, the treasury was controlled by Athenian treasurers, the ten Hellenotamiae. The tribute in the at an early stage stages was 460 talents (raised in 425 BCE come 1,500), a figure decided by Athenian statesman and general Aristides. An alternate to providing money to be to give ships and/or materials (especially timber) and also grain.

Successes & Failures

The Delian League appreciated some notable military victories such as at Eion, the Thracian Chersonese, and also most famously, in ~ the fight of Eurymedon in 466 BCE, all versus Persian forces. Together a repercussion Persian garrisons were removed from Thrace and also Chersonesus. In 450 BCE the organization seemed to have accomplished its target if the tranquility of Kallias is to be taken into consideration genuine. Right here the Persians were restricted in their field of influence and direct hostilities ended in between Greece and Persia.

Other successes that the organization were no military yet economic and political, making them more complicated to identify in your significance and real effect for all members. Piracy was nearly eliminated in the Aegean, inter-city trade increased, a usual coinage was introduced (the Athenian silver- tetradrachm), taxation came to be centralised, democracy together a form of federal government was promoted, the judiciary of Athens was available to member"s citizens, and also such tools as measurement standards ended up being uniform throughout the Aegean. The main beneficiary of every one of these was certainly Athens and also the enormous re-building project of the city, begun by Pericles and which consisted of the Parthenon, was partially funded by the league treasury.


The League and also its requirement of tribute to be not constantly to the liking of its members and some did try and leave, especially as the threat from Persia slowly receded and the calls for tribute increased. A notable instance is Naxos that sought to secede c. 467 BCE. Athens responded in dramatic fashion by attacking the island and making the a semi-dependency, albeit v a lower tribute. Thasos was another member who disagreed with Athens and also wanted come keep control of its mines and also trade centres. Again, the Athenians responded with pressure in 465 BCE and also lay siege to the city for three years. Eventually, Thasos capitulated.

From Alliance to realm to Collapse

Already looking choose an Athenian empire, two more episodes readjusted the organization forever. In 460 BCE the very first Peloponnesian War broke out in between Athens, Corinth, Sparta, and also their allies. For the very first time the organization was being used versus Greek city-states and also Persia to be off the agenda. Then c. 454 BCE Athens used the forgive of a failure League exploration in Egypt (to assist the anti-Persian prince Inarus) to relocate the organization treasury come Athens.

The organization became, thenceforth, ever before more complicated to save in toe. In 446 BCE Athens shed the fight of Koroneia and also had come repress a major revolt in Euboea. One even an ext serious episode emerged when fighting in between Samos and Miletos (both organization members) was escalated by Athens into a war. Again the Athenians" exceptional resources lugged them win in 439 BCE. Yet another revolt broke out in Poteidaia in 432 BCE which brought Athens and the Delian organization in straight opposition come Sparta"s very own alliance, the Peloponnesian League. This second and much much more damaging Peloponnesian battle (432-404 BCE) versus a Persian-backed Sparta would eventually, after 30 years of gruelling and resource-draining conflicts, lug Athens to she knees and ring the death knell because that the Delian League. Such disastrous defeats as the 415 BCE Sicilian Expedition and the brutal execution of all males on rebellious Melos the ahead year were indications of the no hope times. Athens" glory days to be gone and also with them, for this reason too, the Delian League.

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The benefits of the League had been, certainly, greatly for the Athenians, nevertheless, the is far-reaching that the realistic alternative – Spartan dominance – would not have actually been and, indigenous 404 BCE, was not any an ext popular because that the lesser says of Greece. This is perhaps shown by your willingness to re-join with, albeit a weaker and an ext militarily passive, Athens in the second Athenian Confederacy indigenous 377 BCE.