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

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The alliance of over 300 urban within the league would eventually be so overcame by Athens that, in effect, it advanced into the Athenian empire. Athens became increasingly much more aggressive in its manage of the alliance and, ~ above occasion, constrained member by armed forces force and also compelled ongoing tribute which remained in the kind of money, pearl or materials. Adhering to Athens" defeat at the hand of Sparta in the Peloponnesian battle in 404 BCE the organization was dissolved.

Membership & Tribute

The name Delian league is a modern one, the ancient sources refer to it as merely "the alliance" (symmachia) or "Athens and also its allies". The name is suitable because the treasury that the alliance was situated on the spiritual island that Delos in the Cyclades. The variety of members the the League changed over time but approximately 330 are tape-recorded in tribute lists; sources which are recognized to it is in incomplete. The bulk of claims were indigenous Ionia and also the islands but most parts of Greece to be represented and 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 intended to give tribute to the treasury which was provided to develop & maintain the marine fleet led by Athens.

Initially members swore to hold the very same enemies and allies by acquisition an oath. It is likely that each city-state had an equal poll in meetings held on Delos. Members were expected to give tribute (phoros) to the treasury which was offered to build and maintain the naval fleet led by Athens. Significantly too, the treasury was managed by Athenian treasurers, the ten Hellenotamiae. The tribute in the at an early stage stages to be 460 talents (raised in 425 BCE come 1,500), a figure decided by Athenian statesman and general Aristides. An different to offering money was to offer ships and/or products (especially timber) and grain.

Successes & Failures

The Delian League enjoyed some notable military victories such as at Eion, the Thracian Chersonese, and most famously, in ~ the fight of Eurymedon in 466 BCE, all against Persian forces. Together a repercussion Persian garrisons were removed from Thrace and Chersonesus. In 450 BCE the organization seemed to have achieved its target if the tranquility of Kallias is to be considered genuine. Below the Persians were minimal in their ar of influence and direct hostilities ended between Greece and also Persia.

Other successes the the organization were no military however economic and also political, making lock more daunting to recognize in your significance and real impact for every members. Piracy was almost eliminated in the Aegean, inter-city trade increased, a usual coinage was introduced (the Athenian silver- tetradrachm), taxation ended up being centralised, democracy as a type of federal government was promoted, the judiciary of Athens was obtainable to member"s citizens, and such tools as measurement standards ended up being uniform throughout the Aegean. The primary beneficiary of all of these was absolutely Athens and also the enormous re-building task of the city, started by Pericles and which consisted of the Parthenon, was partially funded by the league treasury.


The League and also its necessity of tribute was not always to the liking of its members and also some did shot and leave, especially as the hazard from Persia slowly receded and also the calls for tribute increased. A notable instance is Naxos who sought come secede c. 467 BCE. Athens responded in dramatic fashion by attack the island and making that a semi-dependency, albeit with a reduced tribute. Thasos was one more member that disagreed with Athens and wanted to keep regulate of that is mines and also trade centres. Again, the Athenians responded with pressure in 465 BCE and also lay siege come the city for three years. Eventually, Thasos capitulated.

From Alliance to empire to Collapse

Already looking like an Athenian empire, two further episodes readjusted the league forever. In 460 BCE the an initial Peloponnesian War broke out between Athens, Corinth, Sparta, and also their allies. Because that the very first time the league was gift used versus Greek city-states and also Persia was off the agenda. Climate c. 454 BCE Athens provided the forgive of a failed League expedition in Egypt (to help the anti-Persian prince Inarus) to relocate the league treasury to Athens.

The organization became, thenceforth, ever before more an overwhelming to keep in toe. In 446 BCE Athens shed the battle of Koroneia and also had to repress a significant revolt in Euboea. One even an ext serious episode developed when fighting between Samos and also Miletos (both organization members) was escalated through Athens into a war. Again the Athenians" remarkable resources brought them win in 439 BCE. Yet one more revolt damaged out in Poteidaia in 432 BCE which brought Athens and the Delian organization in straight opposition to Sparta"s very own alliance, the Peloponnesian League. This second and much much more damaging Peloponnesian war (432-404 BCE) versus a Persian-backed Sparta would certainly eventually, after 30 years of gruelling and resource-draining conflicts, bring Athens to she knees and ring the death knell because that the Delian League. Such disastrous defeats together the 415 BCE Sicilian Expedition and the brutal execution of every males ~ above rebellious Melos the vault year were indicators of the no hope times. Athens" glory days were gone and with them, for this reason too, the Delian League.

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The benefits of the League had been, certainly, mostly for the Athenians, nevertheless, it is far-ranging that the realistic different – Spartan ascendancy – would not have been and, indigenous 404 BCE, was no any much more popular because that the lesser says of Greece. This is perhaps shown by your willingness come re-join with, albeit a weaker and more militarily passive, Athens in the 2nd Athenian Confederacy native 377 BCE.