History of ancient Greece

Note : except contrary precision, the dates of this page all are implied "before Jesus-Christ".

, one of chief-of?uvre of ancient Greece

History of ancient Greece is composed of several parts, whose principal ones are the period (VIIE front century. J.- C. and VIE front century. J.- C.), the period (of VE front century. J.- C. with died of in ) and the period . Under name "antiquated Greece", one gathers various civilizations Aegean, and mycénienne (either of with ). The period transitional between the fall from civilization mycénienne and the antiquated time, characterized by a stagnation even a cultural regression - and thus called " "by certain historians - extends thus from XIIIE front century. J.- C. with XIE front century. J.- C..



The traditional time emerges from the political and social executives of the antiquated time. One connait this period only partially through the various sources. One finds the poets first of all, with and and , which constitutes our only source on IIE millenium. One finds too , which is more recent than Homère, and which passes to have put in order the myths and divine personalities with its poems of which work and days.

We have then the writers of the traditional time, of the historians like and . Hérodote is the man of the anecdote. It has a will to present all its knowledge. The principal object of sound?uvre is the account of , of the wars which oppose Greek cities united againstWorsen Persian. To explain this conflict, it goes up at the time antiquated. Thucydide, as for him, written in reaction to the history of Hérodote. It wants to present a history whose facts are checked. The central object of sound?uvre is .

Hérodote and Thucydide do not have the same origins. Hérodote was born in Decay, at the beginning of VE century, and travelled much. It passes the major part of its life to . Thucydide, is to him an Athenian aristocrat. It is a man who has a particular design, very intellectual, of humanity. For him, humanity is summarized with a succession of calculations. It is able to him to refer at the time antiquated, in particular in the first book. , that one allots to , written in the years , starts with a political history of Athens.

We have finally the archaeological sources, which insist more on the ruptures than on continuities. They are interested in the rich sites, such as the urban sanctuaries and the necropoles, more than with the poor sites, such as the rural sanctuaries.

It is starting from these sources that have it can draw up an assessment of the antiquated time.

The development of the Greek world

Birth of the Greek city

All the Greeks did not live in . The Greeks living in north did not integrate the concept of city immediately. On the question of the date of the appearance of the concept of city, there are two tendencies. First of all, there are those which think that that appears at the time antiquated and then, those which lean for an appearance in the current of the second millenium, withtime mycénienne, with an idea of continuity with the continuation.

There is few sources on the birth of the city. The oldest testimony which one has is a law dating from VIIIE century, found in indicating: "Here are what the city (polishes) decided". In , one does not speak about city, but about a world structured by oikos, whose chief is an aristocrat. In , one speaks about something which resembles a city. The word even of city appears to indicate the population and the buildings (agglomeration). One also speaks about a place of gathering: . The Odyssey is contemporary birth of the cities, while dating from VIIIE century.

How to explain this birth? After the "obscure centuries", one sees appearing a new organization of space with a greater place made to the gods in the space of the city or around the city. With VIIIE century, there is a change in the mode of burial with earthenware jars which are used as tomb. A certain number of factors played in the birth of the cities. There is first of all the demographic factor. With VIIIE century, the relative population would have been multiplied by seven, but nothing proves it. It is especially it VIIE century which is marked by a demographic explosion. From that, the phenomenon rises from colonization.

Come then the religious factors. The worships play an important part at the time antiquated. They are used to mark the existence of a community. There is the example of the sanctuary ofHéraion, most important of the city of, which is not in the agglomeration but with the borders of the territory, near close and concurrent cities, such as of which it is a large rival. It is with eight kilometers of the city of Argos.

The other broad topic which appears at the time antiquated, it is that of the hero founder. The cities decide to choose a clean, minor divinity for the Greek rest of the world, but which they regard as their "father". There is the example of the city of , located between and it , which was chosen Alcathoos as hero founder. This last rendered services to the city by killing a wild beast which terrorized the city. Moreover, it delimited and pacified the space of the city. Actually, it is not a hero founder but a benefactor.

One finds finally the factor military. The birth of the Greek city is done at the same time as the developments in the military technologies. One finds at , in Iliade, the traditional shape of the combat which consists of a "aristocratic duel". At the time antiquated, one sees appearing a new manner of fighting which aims at opposing two regiments of heavy infantry one against the other, which is rather summary on the tactical level. These regiments are them hoplitic. This phalange played a part in the emergence of the city. It changed the social reports/ratios. In this configuration, the number counts much. The more numerous one is and the more one is likely to gain. It is necessary to take into account the others and to agree to give up the glorious aristocratic combat to be based in the mass. The goal of, is to remain in its line and to advance with the others. There is a new discipline and a new ethics. It is necessary that each one plays the game. The shield, it, plays an essential part. Each hoplite is equipped with its shield which is supported by the left front armlever. Thus, it protects, but also protects the right side from its neighbor. The least failure can involve the fall of the phalange.

This new formation prohibits the individual behaviors and requires that a greater number of men take part in the combat. It subjects them to the same law, that of Isonomy. That pushes with the formation of a community.

The phenomenon of city was gradually set up.

Initial localization of the Greek cities

In the beginning, it acts of the world Aegean, which combines the sea and the mountain. The sea is always very close. Indeed, no point is with more than one hundred kilometers of the sea. The Greeks remain basically a seafaring nation (voyages and trade). Medium mountains is important and there is little high mountain. Average altitude is 1500 meters. A certain number of cities settled there.

The plains are rare in the Aegean basin. Medium mountains allows the terrace cultivation and drives out. Men can live there and thrive there. The cities are not important size at the time traditional. One finds some in continental Greece. Initially in , with , which constitutes one League béotienne around it. In , with the cities of and of, and in , with , and , the latter having been a large commercial city at the time antiquated.

One also finds other cities in the Aegean archipelagoes, for example the city of , on the island éponyme of 14 square kilometres, celebrates for its sanctuary of, cities of Peak, island that the traditional time tends to put in margin of the Greek world.

One finds finally all the cities which settled on the long coast of minor Asia. Thus, there are the cities of, with which was looked like a large Greek city. It attracts the covetousness of Lydians and of . Lastly, there are the cities of , an area which plays a great part with IVE front century. J.- C..

Colonization and trade

Agrigente, a Greek city of Sicily; temple of

Colonization is not the fact that of the VIIIE and VIIE centuries. One calls by there the fact that the shape of the city is diffused in the whole of the Eastern and Western basin of The Mediterranean (Massilia, the current one ; Nikaia, the current one ). This phenomenon stops at the end of the VIIE century.

Initially, these cities appear in the Eastern Mediterranean on the coast of current, with and two counters in , that of Naucratis being most important. In VIIe century, much of foundations take place in or , like , founded in . In the Occident, the Greek cities are found especially in , particularly hellenized, in of the South or towards the extreme Occident (Massalia).

The geography had its role and certain cities were colonized than of others. was populated by colonists of and of . Coasts of was colonized by the city of which founded there close to the 75 cities, of which that of Théra. One knows by the poet Archiloque that this colonization was not done peacefully, but with engagements: , inhabitants of Thasos, had to fight the natives to impose itself. The choice of a site is done according to the trade and these cities are often established for the trade.

To found a colony, the process is always the same one. In a city which does not manage any more to nourish its population, one assembles a forwarding. One requests his opinion from the oracle of and one leave on the advised road, under the command of that which required oracle. Thus, the colony of was founded by that of Théra. collected the two versions, which it is necessary to supplement with an inscription, "the oath of the founders". It was a very difficult foundation which succeeded only after several attempts to find the way of Africa. Under the direction ofoïkist Battos, people of Théra left "between men", and found the women on the spot. Oath of the founders show that the things were done in the pain. One draws lots for the departure a colonist as well as a son in any family having more than two male heirs, with formal prohibition to return under penalty of lapidation. The city of became very rich thanks to cereals, with the horses, the wool and the b?ufs.

These foundations have several consequences. First of all, that involves prosperity thanks to the trade. Par exemple, la cité d'Égine, qui n'a pas fondé de colonie, devient très puissante en commerçant avec les colonies d'occident et de la mer Noire.

Les Grecs ont pris l'habitude de fonder des cités. Ils estiment avoir toute la place disponible et utilisent la géographie pour la cadastration (on en a retrouvé des traces en Sicile). Ces fondations se font dans un cadre hostile. Cela entraîne une nécessaire solidarité et les citoyens ont du faire preuve de cohésion les uns avec les autres. Les effets dérivés de la colonisation, sont la mise en contact des colons avec des populations dites barbares qui peuvent être plus avancées qu'eux sur certains points.

Another consequence of colonization, it is the acquisition of. In paragraph 58 of the book V, reports that the alphabet comes from and that the Greeks adopted it. The inscription the oldest date of and is on a cut with drinking, with Ischia, in bay of . This writing was of start used within a secular framework and exclusively not crowned.

That has several consequences. One sees appearing written poetry, of the treaties of reflexion and the possibility of transcribing the laws. With , in , makes transcribe a code of law, used thereafter by the Athenians. Lastly, the texts can be forwarded of one generation to the other.

A Greek city of : Sélinonte, founded by Mégara Hyblaea

Lastly, the last consequence of colonization is the acquisition of the currency, which is not a Greek invention, but a barbarian invention of king de Lydie , which was narrowly in contact with the Greek cities with the Life century. It is overcome in by king Perse . Each Greek city seized this concept to strike its own currency, in order to mark their existence. At the time antiquated, cities Greek striking currency in an irregular way according to their needs, soldiers for example, when mercenaries should be paid. Each city affixes a distinguishing mark on the currency which it strikes, itepicene, which makes it possible to recognize it. For Athens, it is an owl. The concept of currency is interesting. It is used as standard of value. To adopt the currency, it is to propose a solution with the crisis of the values of VIIIe and VIIe century. That explains the fortune of this institution in all the Greek history.

These cities are crossed by conflicts. The heritage of the antiquated time, it is the invention of the policy.

The invention of the policy

Social problems of the Greek cities

These cities are crossed by serious internal conflicts. This world is in crisis for a simple reason. In VIIe and VIIe centuries, there are too many mouths to nourish, there are too many men. This is a factor of political problems and civil war.

With that is added an agrarian crisis. The grounds are concentrated in the hands of some great aristocratic families. A part of the population is in a state close to the constraint, due to debts for example. Two claims are born. One claims the abolition of the debts and the levelling division of the grounds. But these two claims are inadmissible for the aristocratic families which control the cities. This is known to us by Constitution of the Athenians : "Before the legislations of and dominated the great aristocratic families ".

That meets the concept of, which consists of the political equality.


The Athenian legislators are known goods. There is first of all , which proposes a very hard legal code, from where the term of Draconian, which joint with large fines the massive use of the death penalty. is another essential legislator. It was archonte in . With IVE front century. J.- C., the Athenian speakers quote . Late sources (like ) transcribes the poetic?uvres which are allotted to him. Its?uvre is considerable. These laws have values of constitution and they were reproduced for a long time on wood panels laid out on. One still uses them at the time traditional.

Its laws tackle the question of the responsibility for the man in the problems of the city. For , the man controls his destiny. When that is badly, a man is responsible. It shows the rich and avid men of being able. The reforms of Solon are called Seisachteia, which means "the rejection of the burden". There was not of land reform, nor of suppression of the debts because the currency does not exist, but the possibility was given to the peasants of recovering grounds with the aristocrats. It sees all that under the angle of the policy. For him, the citizen is worthy to take part in the capacity. This capacity should not be related to the membership to an aristocratic family.

It proposes classes censitaires. There are them Pentacosiomédimnes. They are richest, i.e. the Athenians enjoying an annual income higher than 500 measurements. Then, there are them Hippeis, whose annual income lies between 300 and 500 measurements. Then they are found Zeugites, whose annual income lies between 200 and 300 measurements. Lastly, there are them Thètes, whose annual land income is lower than 200 médimnes. It is scorned. This classification remained into force throughout the traditional time. It is understood that for Solon and the its successors, only richest can reach highest loads the. Thus, nine is at least Pentacosiomédimnes, just as the treasurers. The election of the archontes takes place by drawing of lots among the candidates. Another important reform is the creation of a council of 400 members (100 by tribes).

There are also certain numbers legal innovations. For example, no matter who can intervene in favour of a person whom it considers injured. In the same way, one can make call of the decision of a magistrate in front of a court and a popular magistrate. One can consider a magistrate aristocratic with the people joined together as a Parliament. Solon enacted a code of very precise law. This legislation played a considerable part, but at the beginning, it was a complete failure. Indeed, enters and , it was one period of anarchy during which one had no possibility to name the archontes. Several factions appear, that of the coast, that of the plain and that of the mountain, the latter being directed by .

After the test of the legislation, the Athenians choose the option of tyranny. It has very bad reputation. draws up the blackest portrait of a tyrant in the book V of Policy in the paragraph 1310b. Thus, the tyrant always seizes the capacity in a nonconstitutional way and occupies it illegally: he is an outlaw. It is always a popular chief who protects the people against the old leading class. It results often from this same leading class. Its capacity is essentially transitory. It stops as soon as the tyrant does not have any more the favour of the people and as soon as its interests and those of its partisans do not agree any more.

A good example is that of the tyrant . It had evil to impose its capacity. It needed three attempts. One in , one in and a last in . Pisistrate controls enters and . Its sons succeed to him until 510. The political history of this period is badly known, but Pisistrate enjoyed a good reputation, thanks to the popular shape of government composed magistrates chosen by the tyrant. It takes a certain number of measurements. Thus, it institutes itinerant judges and a tax on the agricultural productions and alcohol, in order to provide loans to the small farmers. On the religious level, it contributed to create them . It is the first to be been interested in the architectural development of and it is the first Athenian to try to put the hand on the island of and sanctuary of, a sanctuary attended by the whole of the Ionian ones.

This tyranny is completed brutally in the years . Pisistrate had succeeded in maintaining a balance between its partisans and its detractors (between him and the aristocrats). But its two sons, and did not have its talents of negotiator. In , two young aristocrats foment a plot to kill the tyrant. But instead of killing it they kill his/her Hipparque brother. In spite of this failure they enter the legend under the name of ("assassins of tyrant"). In , the Athenians, helped by the Spartans succeed in driving out the tyrant.

Tyrannies are basically a political solution of VIE century. But at the time traditional, tyranny changes direction. One finds some in the cities of. These tyrants control against the approval of the population. They are named by the Persian sovereign. Tyranny did not adapt to the evolution of the city.

Medic Wars

See the detailed article:

Medic wars oppose a coalition of Greek cities to the Persian empire. They occupy the first third of Ve century before J.- C. They mark the beginning of the traditional period and the Athenian imperialism on the Greek world. They will legitimate the power of the Athenian city at the time traditional.

Athenian imperialism

See detailed article Athenian imperialism

Following its victories over during Athens becomes the dominant power of during all it VE front century. J.- C. Indeed the League of Délos, military alliance initially creates to push back the Persian enemy, evolves of a coordination of the forces armed under the aegis of the Athenians to one confederation official supporting militarily, financially, and culturally Athens. The bonds which this city with the other members maintains alliance are thus starting from the middle of the century of the reports/ratios of mother in vassal cities. Thus in the treasure of is transferred to . In revolts against this new domination, the Athenians retort by a massive sending of troops and seize the power. Will follow until in many other revolts, all repressed in blood. The union enters the news and its provinces passed from mutually agreed to maintained by the force. This new configuration results in a broad diffusion of the Athenian model, with inter alia - the obligation for the allies to use the currencies and units of weight and Athenian measurements, as well as a centralization of the capacity, which consists in particular of a transfer of the legal authority towards Athens, the historians speaks consequently about Athenian empire.

The Peloponnesian War

See the detailed article:

Peloponnesian War is the first war on a worldwide scale. It opposed in a fatal conflict the cities of Athens and Sparte, each one with the head of a camp, gathering several other cities. It results in a total conflict or neutrality was impossible and had primarily political consequences.

Hegemony, freedom and autonomy of the Greek cities

The Peloponnesian War constitutes a radical turning in the Greek world. Front , the things were clear. Thus, there was and its allies, which state a zone of domination and stability, with a certain number of insular cities which profited from the maritime protection of Athens. The sources denounce this supremacy of Athens quasi crushing and which had disadvantages.

Afterwards , the things become more complicated. One sees a certain number quoted to try their chance and to try a hegemony which wants to extend on other cities, but these hegemonies are not durable.

The first of these reversals is that operated by Athens as of , which enables him to become again an important power without catching up with its last splendour.


We have , which is essential, which continued the?uvre in its Hellenic, which has as an interest to deliver an account followed and almost continuous of the Greek history until in . However, it has defects. It lived, amongst other things, near the king of Agésilas. Sparte was an important city at the beginning of IVE century.

We also have . It is a Philistine and in its Life of Pélopidas it gives a version thébaine what occurred at the beginning from IVE century. One can also find the narration of .

Lastly, it is also the time when the epigraphy develops. It is a source of first order for the study of IVE century and not only for Athens, but for a certain number of city of continental Greece which enact decrees.

Hegemony Spartan: an impossible empire

This hegemony was strong but short. In , the Spartans are Masters of all: allies of Athens, Athens even and their capacity is without division. Thereafter, the Spartans any more but do not think of defending their own city.

To found an empire Spartan?

On this subject, there was a debate between the citizens full Spartans. For , the Spartans must rebuild the Athenian empire with their profit. However, laws of prohibits any noble metal possession. The transactions take place by iron ingots. The noble metals that the city obtains become the property of the city. The Spartans move back in front of the innovations of Lysandre. They even move back in front of Lysandre. It drew too much from profit of its victory. For example, with , is organized of Lysandreia in the honor of this last. It is recalled to Sparte and from there, does not take care of any function of first order.

One refuses in Sparte to see Lysandre or one of his successors to dominate. The Spartans refuse the tribute and the empire with the Athenian one. They decide afterwards not to support the directives which had been installation. The Spartans do not want hegemony. In fact the other cities wish a Spartiate hegemony.

Agésilas arrive at the capacity at the whole beginning of IVe century. It is a man who was not to reign and who arrives by accident at the royalty. It underwent, contrary to other kings de Sparte, Spartiate education, which gives him ascending on these fellow-citizens. Les Spartiates découvrent une conspiration contre les lois de la cité menée par Cinadon. À l'issu de cette conjuration, ils se rendent compte qu'il y a trop d'éléments dangereux et trop de monde.

Agésilasfollow a dynamic policy which exploits the Panhellénique feeling. It launches a campaign against the empire Perse, a campaign marked by successes. But the Perse empire reacts. King Perse has recourse to Persian gold. Instead of supporting the Spartans, it changes allied and supports the Athenians, who, with these subsidies, reconstitute their fleet and gain a certain number of victories, in particular that of Cnide. They can also rebuild their walls destroyed in .

In , the authorities of Sparte decide to make return Agésilas to continental Greece. During six years, a war opposes the Spartans to the Corinthians, helped partially by the Athenians. It is a war which is held with blow of guerrilla.

The Spartans realize that they cannot fight on two grounds. They thus make the choice of Perse alliance.

The peace of Antalcidas (or peace of the King) and interventionism Spartan

It acts of an edict promulgated by king Perse. By him, it preserves the Greek cities of Asia Mineure and . The Greek cities of Sea Égée must preserve their independence, except Lymnos, Imbros and , left with . It obliges the dissolution of the systems of alliances and of the confederal systems existing and the formation of news prohibits some. It is an ultimatum which makes the deals of Athens, because the city preserves three islands. It is also a good bargain for Sparte because it is selected like guarantor of this peace of the King.

On the other hand, this peace has unexpected consequences. Indeed, in accordance with its contents, confederation béotienne is dissolved in . This confederation was dominated by , a city which was hostile with the domination Spartan. carries out operations of great scales and carries out peripheral interventions in and in the north of Greece what shows the catch of the fortress of Thèbes, Cadmée thébaine, after a forwarding in Chalcidique and the catch ofOlynthe. It is a politician Thébain who proposes with Phoibidas, a military chief Spartan to seize Thèbes. This last thus seizes Cadmée. This act was highly condemned. However, the Spartans hastened to ratify this individual initiative.

In , Sphodrias, a Spartan chief, tries a blow of hand against Pirée, whose doors are not strengthened yet. It fails ten kilometers. It is discharged by the Spartiate court. An alliance is concluded between Athens and Thèbes.

The confrontation with Thèbes

Sparte will have to fight against two allied cities. with being raised of the disaster of . The thébains endeavour to reconstitute the old confederation béotienne with .

In the years , is in fight with . becomes being wary vis-a-vis with the Thébaine power which develops. In , the Athenians are marked by the fact that the thébains destroy basic in roof the city of .

The Athenians change alliance and one with the Spartans against Thèbes negotiates some in . In , Sparte undergone a bloody defeat which costs him a good part of its army. There is no more Spartiate hegemony afterwards .

The solution of replacement is then Athénienne hegemony

Athenian hegemony: a more reasonable hegemony

The return to the empire of the 5th century?

The Athenians prohibit any return to the position of Ve century. In the decree ofAristotélès, the marked goal is that to make opposite course with Spartiate hegemony. The latter are clearly denounced there like "warmonger". It is not any more one centralized system but an alliance where the allies have their word to say. The Athenians do not sit in the council of combined and this last is not directed by an Athenian. It meets in a regular way and it is used of against - political and military weight for . This new league is very moderate and is moreover one very loose organization.

Financing of the league

It is necessary to erase the bad memories of the old league. This old formula is not adapted. In the new system of financing, there is no tribute. It acts of an irregular financing and which must be used for employment of the troops sent punctually by Athens and its allies. This payment is called Syntaxeis.

These contributions are not versed in Athens but are perceived by the Athenian strategists themselves. With the difference of the league of Ve century, there is no federal case. The contributions have a precise goal and are made quickly to be spent.

The Athenians must contribute their own share, itEisphora. The latter reform the mode of payment of this tax and created a system in advance, Proseiphora, in which richest must make the advance of the amount of the tax and to be made refund by the other taxpayers. The system is quickly assimilated to a liturgy. This league meets a true need.

The failure of Athenian hegemony

On the ground, the things did not change much compared to Ve century. The great complaint of the allies is that it is like front. does what they want, i.e. they can devote to extortion of moneies. The allies express their dissatisfaction. Alliance with Athens is not also any more gravitational.

There are first of all structural reasons. What made the value of this alliance, it is the fear of , but after the fall of Sparte in , it is manifest that this hegemony loses one of its reasons to be. The Athenians do not have any more the means of their ambitions. They have evil to finance their clean marine. So they do not manage any more to defend their allies correctly. Thus, the tyrant of destroys a certain number of cities without being continued. From , Athens loses its value of invincibility. A certain number of allies decide to make secession. It is the case of and of in .

In , the revolt extends and enters and , must face war of the allies. The exit of this war is marked by a decisive intervention of king Perse who submits an ultimatum to the Athenians. It requires that the latter recognize the independence of its allies, under penalty of what it sends 200 trières against Athens.

The Athenians must give up continuing the war and letting the confederation weaken more and more. The Athenians lost on all the plans and were unable to propose a durable alliance.

Hegemony Thébaine, an attempt without a future

Thébains are not with their first first attempt. is the important city of . confederation béotienne existed already in and it reproduce from .

The confederation béotienne at the 5th century ()

It is well-known to us thanks to a papyrus which makes known to us the essence of the confederation béotienne. It acts of the Anonymity of Oxyrhynchos. there occupies a dominating position and sets up a system where the loads are distributed between the various cities of the confederation. The citizenship is defined there according to the richness. 11000 active citizens are counted.

It is divided into eleven districts, each one providing a federal magistrate, one Béotarque. They provide moreover one certain number of advisers. On the military level, they provide 1 000 hoplites and 100 riders. As of Ve century, the philistines constitute a powerful infantry of 11 000 men. There is also a crack corps and a light infantry; one counts 10 000 soldiers philistines armed with the light one. Their power comes from the cavalry, which counts 1 100 riders directed by a federal magistrate that it is necessary to distinguish from the local commanders. They have a small fleet which played its part by providing 25 trières to the Spartans for . At the end of this conflict, their fleet counts 50 trières and is directed by one Avarque.

All that constituted an important force. This is why the Spartans were very happy to dissolve this confederation béotienne at the time of peace of the king. This dissolution was transitory. In the years , the thébains did not have of cease to reform this confederation. In , they lose Cadmée thébaine.

The re-establishment thébain

and equips of democratic institutions rather close to those to. Thébains take again on this occasion the title lost since the peace of the king of Béotarque. Pélopidas and Épaminondas post their will to reconstitute confederation béotienne . This objective is accomplished with battle of Leuctres. They can dissolve the Spartiate power. Épaminondas disencumbers the Peloponnese of oligarchies pro Spartiates and y puts partisans of . It makes build or rebuild a certain number of city put at evil by the Spartans. It also pushes with the rebuilding of the city of Messene thanks to an invasion of which enables him to release the hilotes, to reconstitute and to give him Messène like capital.

It finally decides to constitute a little everywhere in the Peloponnese of the confederations. Thus, it constitutes one Arcadienne confederation.

peace of the king of puts at evil the confederation Arcadienne and the Spartans leave in Messène his autonomy.

The confrontation between Athens and Thèbes

That explains the problems encountered by the Athenians with their allies of the second league. succeeded in convincing its fellow-citizens to build a fleet of 100 trières and Athénienne alliance to join the maritime league béotienne pushes cities to leave.

Very stops in with resulting from , battles which results from the difficulty of Thébains of setting up confederations.

Sparte remains an important power and cities continue to turn to it. The confederal framework is artificial because the same confederation gathers cities which never could get along. It is the case of the cities of and of which is found together in Arcadienne confederation. Mantinéens receive the support of the Athenians and Tégéates receives that of Thébains. Thébains triumph, but it is a triumph without a future bus Épaminondas disappears during the combat. It will say besides: « I leave in Thèbes two girls, the victory of Leuctres and that of Mantinée ».

Thereafter, Thébains give up intervening in the Peloponnese. Moreover, stops its history of the Greek world in .


Confusion is larger after front. It is an acknowledgement of failure. According to , the history of the Greek world is not understandable any more.

Concept ofhegemony disappears. From , it has there no more city which can postulate with the hegemonic row of city. The Spartans are very reduced. The Athenians are not in a position to make function their fleet and afterwards they do not have any more allies.

Thèbes exert a transitory hegemony. could overcome and but it does not have the means of giving a great force in Asia Mineure.

Other forces intervene, like the Persian sovereign who is installed like referee by the Greek cities they same. This situation reinforces the conflicts. There is a multiplication of the civil wars. The confederal framework appears and is a permanent factor of war. The wars multiply and can start anywhere. In , a war occurs in full winter, the invasion of , what constitutes a first. The conflicts lengthen and are increasingly fatal.

This world of the cities will find its Master: the king of Macedonia.

Philippe II and the emergence of the power Macedonian

The geographical framework relates to Macedonia. This country had fluctuating borders. What one called Macedonia corresponds to the Kingdom of Macedonia which was formed and which corresponds to 95% of the current borders. The country is closed in the south by, in the east by Pinde, in North by mountains. The c?ur of Macedonia is formed by plain of Bottiée and that of Piery, of the marshy but fertile plains. In the east, high made mountains of mountainous plates are, with kingdoms annexed little by little at the time traditional.

In a general way, for the Greeks who live in city, Macedonia is an exotic country, with the eternal snow of the Mount Olympe, a wet country with perennial sources of water. For them, these is also a country which knows the breeding of the cows and the buffaloes, which does not know the olive-tree. Macedonia is, moreover, rich person of its forests of oaks, Beeches and Birches. The sovereigns Macedonians often drove out there.

It is a ground which requires work. One of this great work was to drain the large littoral plains. The country is rich in copper, iron, gold and money. From the very start of Ve century, Macedonia is rich gold which it extracts. The population Macedonian is a enigma for the Greeks of the south. The Athenians consider the Macedonians as a barbarian population which would not be Greek. In addition, the Macedonians do not know the life in city. They are peasants who were established late.

Were the Macedonians Greeks? On this subject, the sources diverge. For some yes because there is a community of language, and for others not. The question is settled by inscriptions which show an intermediate Greek dialect where the deaf consonants and the sound consonants were distinguished badly. did not hesitate to be expressed in this dialect.

This kingdom of Macedonia makes it possible to raise questions. In Ve century and the beginning of IVème century, there is not large-thing to say on Macedonia, this area and the sovereign. Thanks to Xénophon, on entend parler de la Macédoine au début du IVe siècle mais il dit qu'à cette époque la Macédoine est « l'homme malade » du monde Grec. À l'issue de la bataille de Chéronée (338), the kingdom of Macedonia is the only power of the Greek world and this as of .

A kingdom marked by a strong instability

Original political institutions

See also the articles , , .

These institutions are original but badly known. One finds in the sources some allusions about and of Alexandre.

The political originality is marked by a central institution: the king, with the family which reigns by succession by the males since 650 and until in , and which claims to go down from, of the family of Téménides and by there of .

Téménides are not a Macedonian family. They were always claimed of origin . No other family can assert such a relationship. This family is révérée by the Macedonians and is invested religious functions. It is not cut of its people.

The king is elected by acclamation by the assembly of the men-at-arms. The first role of the sovereigns is to provide several successors. It is polygamous, which disturbs the Greeks of the south somewhat. It chooses itself its wives. There is a court Macedonian where there are no slaves but pages, i.e. young Macedonians sent in formation to the court on request of the king and who constitute the entourage of the king. A certain number of kings were assassinated by pages following plots. The king of Macedonia resides in a capital: .

The sovereign has several functions. It has religious functions first of all and it must honour the favour with the gods. It must exert the sacrifices with the traditional gods and the gods whom it chose. Philippe II had chosen the Olympiens gods. He is the chief of and convenes with its discretion its advisers. Its orders are carried out with the letter and it reigns a strong discipline. It can exert military justice except the cases of high treason. Many kings died in the combat and they have many wounds.

The king is owner of his territory and his resources. In times of war, the sovereign can take the skins of the enemy king without having to divide. After their death, the sovereigns had right to imposing funeral and were buried in tumulus. One found some on the contemporary site of .

The king is not alone to control. It has a council, it , composed of the advisers whom it chooses itself among the members of the great families. Alexandre joins together it in particular in the cases of mutiny, but in a more general way for all the important decision-makings. These advisers are used to the sovereign of companions. They drive out with him and drink with him at the time of the feasts.

There is also it. These is a body politic which, on proposal of the council, chooses and can deposit a king, who judges the cases of high treasons. It is always convened by the king and all have the same right to the word as their sovereign. The verdict is expressed by acclamation. Proxenes Macedonians are found. Macedonia is marked by the war. Indeed, they are in permanent war against their cruel neighbors. The royal person is preeminent there, as well as the war and hunting. The large gods are there Zeus, Master of Olympe and Héraclès.

Clashes and misfortunes of Argéades

The sovereigns of Macedonia dealt with Ve century with the Perse supervision. The sovereign of the time has to lend allegiance to the Persians to preserve his kingdom. Alexandre Ier follows the army of . says that to Foundation Alexandre would have given the plans of Xerxès to the Greeks.

Macedonia extends are territory towards the east by continuing the Persians in their rout. As they extend, they meeting in the east the populations Thraces, in north, Péoniens and in the west Illyriens. They have always to fight. During Ve century, the Corsican problem with the arrival of the Athenians. Ces derniers veulent la and runs up against the Macedonians who have also sights on these littoral cities. The wood of Macedonia is appreciated for the construction of the trières.

Macedonia benefits from the Peloponnesian War to eliminate Athens from the city from and calls to fight against Athens. On the whole, the sovereigns Macedonians draw well from and gets rid of the Athénienne presence. In , arrives Archélaos and this last does not have to fight any more against Athens and it concluded a commercial treaty with the Athenians. It seeks to modernize its kingdom, to reinforce its political and military organization. It intervenes in the businesses of and subjects princes in High Macedonia. takes refuge at the court of Archélaos. This last is killed at the time of a plot. Enter and , settles one period of instability.

Amyntas III reign of with . It spends its time fighting against the cruel populations close to its kingdom. It overcomes the Illyrienne invasion first of all. It fights then against Greek cities of Chalcidique, which were formed in confederations aroundOlynthe. Olynthiens, after having negotiated with the sovereign Macedonian, seek to seize a good part of the kingdom of Macedonia. Amyntas III owes its safety only with the arrival of Sparte which intervenes against Olynthe and request the dissolution of the confederation. Amyntas III seeks to approach the Athenians and Thébains at the end of its reign. With its death in it succeeded in preserving its healthy kingdom and except but could not hold account of military innovations. A new period of instability opens with transitory sovereigns. In , a new invasion is orchestrated by Illyriens. In , the kingdom is at the edge of the disaster when arrives .

The arrival with the capacity of Philippe II

It was born in and was hostage during three years with enters and . It then could observe one of best armed with the moment. In , it is named regent and judicious to occupy the throne for one of its nephew. Very quickly it is victorious and the army, which merges with the assembly of the citizens, the selected one as king. With its arrival with the capacity, it must fight against Illyriens which occupies the north of the kingdom, them Thraces, Athenians and Péoniens.

It plays mainly on the diplomatic ground. It shows its competences by saving time with Péoniens. During this time, it tackles the Athenians. In , it concludes a peace with which leaves him the free hands. It is attacked then in Illyriens and carries it by combining infantry and cavalry on the battle field. It close in one period of lowering. The Macedonians have then accounts to regulate. First of all with Thébains, then with Thraces, Olynthiens and finally with the Athenians. Philippe II gives himself means and reforms his military instrument.

Reforms of the army

See also the article .

It is thanks to them that Macedonia becomes the dominant power. One knows few things about the army of . One knows that in , it could pick up 10 000 infantrymen. From , it organizes the cavalry and the infantry.


It increased its cavalry. In , it could mobilize 600 riders. Towards , it can mobilize 800 of them. In , can mobilize some more than 2000.

The cavalry was progressively increased with the extension of the kingdom. It is organized in the form of squadrons, with a crack corps formed by the companions of the king. The equipment is not original. The light cavalry Macedonian is equipped with a long lance, Sarisse. It is not a Greek weapon but a weapon borrowed from Balkan populations. It makes it possible to fight effectively against the heavy infantry. Philippe II fact of adopting a triangular formation which increases the effectiveness of the cavalry vis-a-vis at the heavy infantry.

The phalange

It makes its reform on the Thébains model, which has phalanges on 10 to 12 lines. It gives him in more one depth ever reached with 16 lines. In addition, this phalange lacked force because it lacked weapon. Each hoplite was to treat to its own panoply. Philippe realizes that its men could not treat to it and it provides them the panoply. It is a true innovation compared to what is done in the Greek world.

The weapons of the hoplite Macedonian are not same as those of the others hoplites Greek. Philippe realized that the fundamental problem is that of mobility. This is why its hoplites has a helmet and a shield but not of armour. Moreover, it equips them with one sarisse.

The light infantry plays a decisive part. It can call upon allied troops or mercenaries, but it needs some less and they never constituted a great part of the army Macedonian, except in , where Philippe dispatches 10 000 mercenaries in Asia whereas he wanted to tackle the Perse empire.

The war of seat

Philippe prepares his army with the war of seat. It used its weapons of seat at the time of that of in . It is known to have been useful of the catapult accompanied by a force by involved elite comprising by the carpenters, the engineers and the gunners. It is a body of small size, effective, but that it employs little because it carries out few seats, and even in front of Byzance it negotiates. Alexandre inherited it.

On the whole, one should not over-estimate these reforms even if the sources insist on this point. It fills a technical delay and does not bring large-thing moreover separately sarisse it.

The expansion Macedonian

In Thessalie and Thrace

is one of the agricultural areas richest of the Greek world. Thessalienne confederation always unstable and was torn. It is thus a field privileged for the intrigues of the ones and others. The Macedonians tried, without reaching that point, to play a decisive part in this league. succeeded in intervening in Thessalie thanks to the call of the city of , what enables him to take again the combat against .

It changes theatre of operation and starts operations in Thrace, then, in the years , it tackles the Greek cities close to its kingdom. It promises to the Athenians that it will leave if they do not intervene. However, it keeps the city. It seizes littoral city, such as for example in the city of Mothonée while does not intervene. From starts the third withinamphictionie Pyléo Delphique, which relates to Phocidiens. Philippe II decides to intervene with the thessaliens and to enter in fight against Phocidiens. From , it intervenes with the head of Thessaliens since it was named archonte with life of the confederation thessalienne.

It succeeded in boring as far as continental Greece. It is moreover in measurement, as a chief of Thessalienne confederation to mix with the businesses with and of the amphictionie. A certain number of chiefs, like , worries about this new power but they decide anything to make, on the one hand because Phocidiens are their allies and on the other hand, they changed policy while renonçant with hegemony. Thus, under Eubule, they are devoted to the economic development of the city. The Athenians let Philippe thus thrive. This last enriched in Thessalie, seizing the two sources of income of Thessalie with the taxes of the cities and the tribute raised by Thessaliens on the close cities.

This acquired situation makes it possible to Philippe to be turned over towards Olynthiens.

The catch of Olynthe

At the beginning of Chalcidienne confederation, Olynthe had took all the territory Macedonian. In the beginning, Olynthe was allied of Philippe and enemy of Athens. What occurred in Thessalie and the repeated interventions of Philippe pushes Olynthiens to be approached the Athenians in . In reprisals, Philippe decides to plunder the Chalcidien territory. That is without a future. At the summer , it decides to be turned over against Olynthiens and requires that those deliver a certain number of hostages and refugees Macedonians to him. Olynthiens refuse. The open war is then committed. Olynthiens then decide to call upon the Athenians and deploys all its talents of eloquence to make send a task force. But the Athenians are not ready and acted Philippe and is finally able to seize Olynthe. During this time, the Athenians arrive and return account that the city was shaven. The city was taken quickly because it was taken by treason. Of Olynthiens were partisans of Philippe. Thus, it is the body of cavalry which delivered the entry of the city. One notes here the bond between war and civil war. Philipe decides to destroy Olynthe but it could have saved it and impose a war indemnity to him. It wants to terrify and wants to make of Olynthe an example. That the met in good position with respect to the Athenians. It negotiates with them because it wants to continue to act as Thrace. At this time there, the Athenians have the choice between two policies. Either alliance, or the Panhellénique league counters the Macedonians.

Ambiguities of the peace of

Philippe was victorious and can intervene in Thrace but Athens wants to keep the control of the straits. Philippe wants a peace with because it wants to extend in Thrace.

In , les Athéniens envoient dix ambassadeurs pour négocier avec Philippe, mais ce dernier propose une paix précise avec des conditions spécifiques. Ainsi, chaque parti doit reconnaître pour définitif les gains de l'autre (telle que la cité d'Amphipolis). Philippe requires an alliance without limitation in time. It also requires a defensive alliance negotiated between power. Peace will have to bind the allies of the two parties. Lastly, there will be a clause concerning the safety of the seas.

It is a proposal which binds the Athenians to the Macedonians and who would force them to accept all the losses undergone since . The Athenian ambassadors are tried by this peace but they do not have the capacity to decide, and the text must be ratified by the assembly of the people.

It acts of a delicate peace. The Athenians must separate from Phocidiens, who are at the origin of third crowned war. In , they seized the sanctuary what caused ten year old war, a war concludes in thanks to a victory of Philippe.

Philocrat, an Athénien ambassador proposes to accept peace and to leave Phocidiens with their fate. The Athenians accept the peace proposals of Philippe. They lend oath as well as the allies, excluded Phocidiens which are excluded from it. Philippe is never at the good place at the good time and it lends itself oath only at the time of its passage in central Greece with its army.

ruins this peace. Philippe then decides to be combined in Thébains and to tackle Phocidiens. By this victory, it obtains the two seats which occupied Phocidiens within the amphictionie. After these inversions of alliances, Philippe succeeded in with going where no sovereign Macedonian had gone, i.e. central Greece. Moreover, it obtains two seats with the amphictionie.


Enter and , Macedonia was raised and become a power of the Greek world. The large cities became exhausted. Philippe with an army clean and levelling. Its success is justified by the fact that it directs a kingdom, which is a different entity and more gérable that the city. It makes a war on all the theatres of operations. It passes from Thessalie to Thrace without problem. It employs the diplomacy. It is a skilful tactician and a skilful diplomat. It has of supports and complicities among the enemies whom it attacks. A certain number of people think that safety comes from Philippe. Thus, it found supports in Thessalie. Indeed, in , it did not seizeOlynthe by the force but by a treason of the riders of the city. For some, Philippe could link the Greeks in the fight against the Persians.

and the other politicians are disarmed. Their reaction is slow and late. In , Démosthène can apply its political program. Thus, it finds a certain number of allied and ties an alliance with Thébains. But its political successes are not enough and the Athenians are beaten in one of the rare battles hoplitic of IVe century, that of in . However, the Athenians were not considered in full decline. Athens is concerned Chéronée very well.

Lycurgue is with the head of the city enters and . It directs in the place of . It is occupied of the finance public and under this direction, the Athenians show a renewal of energy. Chéronée stimulated the energy of the Athenians. Lycurgue is known because it left speeches. One of them relates to the financial restoration of the city. One learns there that the annual income from the city east of 1 200 talents. This income is justified by the opening of new mines. Moreover, it realizes savings amongst other things by removing the case of theorikôn, i.e. the case intended for the allowances of spectacle.

In addition, it made restore the enclosing walls of the city and it Pirée. It was occupied of the fleet of war and increased this fleet. He is the inspirer of a reorganization of an institution: , which becomes something again, namely two years a military service when the Athenians learn how to know the territory of the city and the handling of the hoplitic weapons, the arcs and the weapons of seats. One counts 1 000 citizens by éphébie. That represents an expenditure of 40 talents for the city in remuneration. The city to them provided their military equipment. The citizens thus profit from a better formation to the war.

It makes build a stage in Athens in and makes restore the sanctuary of with and that ofAmphiaraios with which was yielded to the Athenians in . Lastly, it proceeds to a moral restoration of the city with a series of lawsuits which concern the bad citizens. Thus, it wrote and pronounced a plea Against Léocrate. It was a lawsuit brought by him counters Leocrat, under treason. Leocrat, with the advertisement of the defeat of Chéronée, A flees with woman and children and took refuge with , there spreads false news and finally settles with . After a few years, in , it decides to return to Athens and to be done discrete there. It is located and translated into justice. The exit of the lawsuit is unknown for us.

remains a power of first order in the new world organized by .

Alexandre the Large one

See the detailed article:

The reign of Alexandre the Large one marks the end of the traditional period and the transition about the hellenistic period. That is characterized by a dilation of the Greek world, which is spread out from now on between , continental Greece, it and it.

See the detailed article History of the hellenistic time

See too

Hellenopedia Gate - Reach the articles of Wikipédia concerning ancient Greece.

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