chapter  10
17 Pages

ATHENS AND THE DELIAN LEAGUE, 478/7–446/5

LEAGUE In 478 the Hellenic League, under the command of the Spartan regent Pausanias, set about consolidating its victories of 479 and ensuring the safety of Greece by making expeditions against Cyprus and then against Byzantium (Thucydides 1.94.1-2; AE1 p. 6 – all references in this chapter are to Thucydides, unless otherwise stated). Cyprus, which was controlled by Persia and which would be a powerful base for a Persian naval counter-attack in the southern Aegean, was for the most part conquered by the League forces. For similar reasons Byzantium, the gateway to the north Aegean, was besieged and captured. It was at this moment that the seeds of the Delian League (as it is called by modern historians) were sown. Pausanias, like many a Spartan removed from the strict constraints of Sparta, began to behave in an arrogant and overbearing manner towards the League’s allies, resulting in their discontent with his leadership and consequently that of Sparta. The Ionians and those recently liberated from Persia approached the Athenians and, emphasizing their common Ionian kinship (see Chapter 2), asked them to become their leader (1.95.1; AE1 p. 6). Pausanias was recalled and Dorcis was sent out by Sparta as a replacement commander, but by this time the allies were committed to Athenian leadership and would not accept Dorcis’ command. His return to Sparta marked the end of Sparta’s official active involvement in the offensive war against Persia (1.95.2-7; AE1 p. 6).