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An Overview Of What Modern Historian Hammond Wrote About The Peloponnesian League

1155 words - 5 pages

HAMMOND:In the 200-300 years before the C5th BC, Gk interstate relationships became more complicated and sophisticated. Initially, these were governed mainly by religious considerations - oracles, shrines, festivals, pilgrimages and Amphictyones were universally recognised and guarantee against attack.( 166). Commecially, interstate contacts increased. Eg, at Naucratis, the Hellenium founded by 9 states and the market was controlled by their trade representatives.After the Second Messian War ( c. 640-620), Sparta reached her artistic and commercial peak (166). Her conservative constitution was confirmed; she deposed the last tyrant at Corinth (c 582) and helped, probably, Elis gain control ...view middle of the document...

In 555, Sicyon, and possibly Philius and Megara were liberated from tyrants. Modern scholars have called it, rather misleadingly, 'the Peloponnesian League'. The ancient name, 'the Lacedaemonians and their Allies', was literally and substantially correct, and we shall, therefore, refer to it as the Spartan Alliance.The Alliance was based upon separate defensive alliances between Sparta and the individual states, thus the Alliance depended solely upon Sparta for leadership. Although it was by contract a purely military alliance, which came into operation only in time of war, its existence had a marked political effect. In the process of deposing tyrants and by generating steady influence in the states, Sparta gradually an arrangement where pro-Spartan oligarchies came into power. In the Dorian states, these oligarchies lasted long and gave stable goernment. They fostered Sparta's interests in general, and they kept the Messenians out of the Peloponnese, apart from Argolis. By her system of alliance, Sparta insulated her own territories against outside interference and created a military cordon in the Peloponnese.In the late C6th, Sparta's opposition to tyranny and Persia coincided, and perhaps helped make Cambyses stop Persian expansion westwards. Sparta allied herself with enemies of Persia, like Croesus and the Scythians .As Persia supported tyrants in the Greek states under her control, Sparta's hostility to tyrants coincided with her hostility to Persia. The aims of Sparta were to arrest the expansion of Persia and to stregthen her Alliance in Greece. She made an unsuccessful attack on the pro-Persian tyrant, Polycrates of Samos in a. 524; overthrew the tryants of Naxos and Thasos; Shortlived though this activity was, it may have influenced Cambyses in his decision not to advance to the West. Sparta made 2 expeditons to overthrow the pro-Persian Peisistratids in 511/510 and, later, in 508 and 506, tried to depose Cleisthenes , there when he was negotiating with Persia. By 510, her Alliance probably included Boeotia, Phocis, Athens, and perhaps Chalcis and her influence at Delphi was at its height. And, with the Peloponnese, too, the Spartan Alliance was dominant until the last decade of the century.Sparta's actions in 506 caused a rift in the Alliance, because Sparta probably invoked her defensive alliance...

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