Traditional Greece in Ve century
The traditional Time at the 5th century refers to the history of the Greek Monde with. This 5th traditional century is generally regarded as beginner in -500 and being completed in -404, some alternatives being able to be given. This century is primarily studied from an Athenian point of view, Athens being the city which left us the most accounts, plays and works written.
Si one concentrates on Athens, our primary source, one generally considers that this 5th Greek century begins in -510, by the fall of Athenian tyranny and the reforms clisthéniennes with Athens. If one concentrates on the Greek world, the beginning is the Révolte of Ionie in -500, which involves the Persian invasion of -492. Persians (called “Mèdes”) are finally demolished in -490. One second Persian attempt fails of -481 -479. Then organize yourself the Ligue of Délos, under the Athenian hegemony, which is finally the instrument of Athens. Excesses of Athens involve several revolts among the allied cities, revolts which are reduced by the force. But the Athenian dynamism awakes finally Sparte. The Peloponnesian War bursts in -431 and, after the exhaustion of the two camps and a short peace, the war begins again for the benefit of Sparte. Athens is definitively demolished in -404, when Périclès dies, some internal agitations in Athens finishing this 5th Greek century.
Period clisthénienneIn -510, the troops lacédémoniennes help the Athenians to reverse their king, the tyrant Hippias, wire of Pisistrate. Cléomène Ier, king de Sparte, thus places a friendly oligarchy carried out by Isagoras. But Clisthène, its rival, associates the support of the middle-class and manages by the assistance of the democrats to reverse the capacity. Cleomene intervenes in -508 and -506, but nothing made there: the Athenians support Clisthène and the democracy. By the reforms known as of Clisthène they equip the isonomic city of institutions S (all have the same rights) and would have founded the Ostracisme.
The isonomic and isegoric democracy (Iségoria: even right to the word) is expressed initially in the Dème (approximately 130 dèmes) which becomes the basic civic element, 10.000 citizens exert their power by the Parliament (Ékklésia, in Greek) that they compose, framed by the Council of 500 citizens chosen randomly.
The administrative geography of the city is redesigned. The goal being to have mixed political groups, nonfederate by local interests related on the sea, the city, or the agriculture, and whose judgment (declaration of war, etc) would be subjected to their geographical location. Also, the territory of the city is divided into thirty Trittye S in the following way:
- ten trittyes in the “Paralie” coastal;
- ten trittyes in the “Asty”, the urban heart;
- ten trittyes in the “Mésogée” rural.
It is this whole of reforms which will allow finally the emergence of a broader democracy in the years -460/-450.
See also: medic Wars
In -499, the cities of Ionie (Turkish coasts) revolt against the Persian domination. Athens the assistance of sound better, but must quickly give up. In -494, the Greeks lose the Bataille of Ladè: minor Asia turns over to Perses.
In -492, the Persian generals Mardonios and Datis launch a naval attack on the islands of Égée, subject them, then try an unloading with Marathon into 490 to take Athens. But 9.000 Hoplite S Athenians and 1.000 citizens of Platées attack 100.000 Persians when they re-embark their horses, then move immediately towards Athens. When the Persian fleet, which made a long turning, arrives at Athens, it notes the presence of the soldiers and grains simply chemin.
In -483, a siver-bearing seam is discovered in Laurion (small mountains close to Athens), and the hundred money talents extracted are used for construction from 200 trières (warships), in order to fight the hacking of the small city of Égine.
In -480, Xerxès, king of Persians, launches a new attempt at invasion of Greece. 1207 ships according to Hérodote, and approximately 300.000 soldiers according to the recent historians. Two bridges of boats are built on Hellespont, allowing the men, animals, and loadings to pass the strait in continuous flow. The army takes possession of the Thrace then goes down towards the Thessalie and the Béotie while the Persian fleet skirts the coasts and restocks this army. The Greek fleet tries to block the course Artémission while an small group, guided by Léonidas, king sparte, is sacrificed at the time of the Bataille of Thermopyles.
The Persian soldiers arrive on Athens by the terrestrial way, and take the city which the Athenians already gave up. But the Greek fleet keeps bay of Athens. When the Persian fleet arrives, it is attracted in the throttling of Salamine and the Greek ships gain the Bataille of Salamine (-480). The following year, on ground, the Bataille of Foundations is gained, and on sea, the Bataille of the course Mycale completes the Persian navy.
Leagues of Délos: towards Athenian Impérialisme
See also: Athenian Impérialisme, Athenian Democracy
To continue their resistance to the Persian invasions, the Greek cities remain associated in a military alliance, especially maritime, whose Athens assumes “hegemony” (quoted which directs the allied troops) starting from -478. The Cyclades (Samos…) are released, the Thrace is by terrestrial way, then the coast (currently west of Turkey) went up and released. Sestos, in the strait of Hellespont, is released and a capacity favorable to Athens is founded. But quickly, whereas Persians are obviously except state to harm, the army serves the only interests of Hégémon: Athens. Naxos leaves the league in then -470, but is besieged by Athens, is subjected, and must from now on pay its participation in military alliance by a tax (phôros). On the Persian coast vis-a-vis Cyprus, the Battle of Eurymédon (- 466?) destroyed the only Persian fleet of the surroundings. Persians not being able more to sufficient join together boats to invade Greece, Greek military alliance becomes useless. However, thanks to prestige due to the victories over Persians, Athens manages to preserve plain the Ligue of Délos.
In -464, an earthquake upsets the Peloponnese and the Hilotes (Greek people overcome by Sparte and put in slavery since) benefit from the catastrophe and of predicts to revolt. Sparte has evil to restore the order and asks for finally the assistance of Athens. Cimon, the leader of the Athenian aristocrats and admiror of Sparte takes along 4.000 hoplites Athenian to help the Spartans. But Éphialte, leader of the democrats, benefits from the absence of Cimon and its 4.000 companions to make pass from the reforms démocratiques : the civic body is widened, the Aréopage - kind of preserving Senate made up of old magistrates - sees his reduced capacities. It is this event which, according to Hérodote, destabilizes definitively the political balance prevailing in Athens. The people became clearly more powerful than the conservatives and the democracy. The “demagogs” (those which direct the people) there thus gain in importance. Cimon is finally returned by the Spartans frightened by sympathy that the Athenian hoplites seem to grant to the hilotes and returns shamefully to Athens without having could avoid the changes.
Une hazardous intervention of military support in Egypt is voted in -460 and will be demolished in -454.
In -458, the construction of the Long-Walls is launched, in order to be able there to be locked up troops so invaded the Attique (area dominated by Athens). The treasure of the League is transferred from Délos in Athens. This treasure is finally soon confused with the cases of the city and allows the financing of buildings signing the apogee of Athens the such Parthenon.
Some tensions with Sparte and the attack of its port in -455 lead finally to a sworn peace, in -451. The victory of the forwarding of Cyprus, at the time of the Battle of Salamine of Cyprus, -450, allows a kind of gentlemen agreement : Greeks and Persians cease being made the war and respect reciprocally their zones of influence.
There, truly, the League of Délos does not seem any more to have of raison d'être but Athens maintains in good order the tool of its military force. In -447, Thèbes inflicts a heavy defeat in Athens and creates to protect the Confédération Béotienne. Eubée there sees a signal of weakening of Athens and revolts in -446. But the fleet of the league intervenes, subjects the cities, and imposes democratic regimes favorable to Athens to them, as well as tax contributions to alliance (phoros) and even of the legal directives (Chalcis).
The dynamism of Athens increases the tensions with Sparte. After some fixings, a new sparto-Athenian peace is sworn into -446/-445. But the Athenian influence continues to extend: colonies are created in Italy, in Thrace (Amphipolis, -437), in the north of the Black Sea and the islands surrounding the Peloponnese make from now on left the league.
Beginning of the Peloponnesian War
See also: Peloponnesian War
Thucydide, our primary source on the subject, notes that the causes of this war are especially the Athenian dynamism which, by threatening cohesion of the league of the Peloponnese, threatened finally the existence even of Sparte and its domination on Hilotes.
Mais it notes also immediate causes:
- alliance with Corcyre and against Corinth. Athens nibbling the territory of Corinth more, that Ci was either to fight, or to let itself die. Corinth asked for the assistance of Sparte, its allied;
- the seat of Potidée, in revolt since Athens required that they cut down their walls;
- commercial blockade of Mégare, which asked for the assistance of Sparte, its allied.
Le decisive blow is that of the small island of Sphactérie: 120 Homonoioi (citizens full Spartans) and 420 infantrymen lacédémoniens are besieged. Sparte requires peace of Athens but Cléon manages to make captive, without combat, the besieged soldiers, thus ruining the image of invincibility Spartan. Cléon and a good part of the Athenians, conscious of the advantage of having hostages, is to push the military advantage further. Dimensioned Spartan, Brasidas manages to destabilize the Athenian positions in north, in Chalcidique and Thrace. The development is carried out into -422, at the time of the Bataille of Amphipolis: Sparte carries it, but Brasidas and Cléon find both death, opening a way towards peace. The peace of Nicias is finally sworn into -421, especially because of exhaustion of the two cities: five-sixth of the Athenian treasure melted, more than one third of its population died while Sparte leaves discredited and militarily weakened.
Peace of NiciasFor as much, the period from -421 to -413 is not innocent and peaceful. Athens is combined and arms Argos, Élis and Mantinée (northern of the Peloponnese) against Sparte, in order to dissolve the cohesion of the Peloponnese and to occupy Sparte leaving the free field in Thrace and Thessalie. But the bright Spartiate victory of -418 announces that the confederation of the Peloponnese remains solid.
En -415, continuing the strategy of reinforcement and surrounding, Alcibiade proposes to launch the Expédition of Sicily. The Athenian citizens, attracted by the possible easy spoils, vote forwardings massive while the Nicias diplomat encourages rather has to reinforce the assets. Following a business of sacrilege of Hermes, Alcibiade makes defection, joined Sparte and leaves the forwarding which it initiated with the hands of Nicias which did not wish it. Finally, forwarding is a disaster. In 413,90 % of the Athenians sent there die or are made slaves by Syracusains.
War of Ionie, War of DécélieAlso, following the provocations, benefitting from the stagnation of Sicily and the councils of Alcibiade, Sparte starts again the war into -414 by invading the Attic. Sparte seeks this time the assistance of the Persian satrap Tissapherne in order to have a fleet of powerful war and to demolish the maritime “back country” of Athens. Tissapherne and the Persian kingdom gaining there the weakening of Athens and the recovery of the cities of minor Asia (current Turkish coast). In -413, Acted, king de Sparte, takes possession of Décélie, a fortress of the territory of Athens. Consequently, Acted and the troops Spartans ransack the Attic more methodically. In -411, a coup d'etat agitates Athens, an oligarchical mode is restored by the Four Hundreds. The soldiers in station with Samos refuse this mode of the Four Hundreds, which crumbles itself quickly. Sparte manages to seize the straits (Byzance, Eubée into 411), it is the rout close to Éritrie. A naval victory in Hellespont makes it possible to save essence: supplies cereals. Other Athenian victories, local plunderings and the introduction of a toll in the Bosphorus restored the situation so much so that Sparte, tired, asked peace. The Athenians refused.
L' arrived of Lysandre at the head of the fleet Spartan and the assistance of Persia Cyrus the Young person reverse the tendency. The Athenian fleet is demolished under Alcibiade, then under Conon, but the Bataille of Arginuse is a bright victory of the Athenians. Lysandre returns and when Sparte manages to destroy the Athenian fleet with the Bataille of Aigos Potamos, in -405, supply cereals of Athens cut east (- 405).
Athenes goes into -404. Thèbes and Corinthe ask for the destruction of Athens but Sparte prefers finally, with three votes of Euphores against two, to integrate Athens into its alliance.
Immediate consequencesThe immediate consequences are the dislocation of the Athenian maritime empire and the introduction of the tyranny of the Thirty. Lysandre leaves like the strong man but Agis, the king, makes a point of reducing his influence and when Athens becomes again democratic, Agis does not intervene. Then, Sparte becomes heavier and hegemonic, hesitant between rebuilding the Athenian empire with its advantage (Lysandre), or turning over in the Peloponnese (Acted). Corinth, and especially Thèbes, are the new emergent powers.
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