Athen's Rise To Power 478 445 Bc

2137 words - 9 pages

"The Athenian Empire grew because no one really wanted to stop it."The Athenian Empire became the dominant power in Greece and the Aegean between 478 and 445 BC because the states who could have defeated her saw more reason to ally themselves with Athens than to oppose her. This period of Athenian supremacy was between the Persian War and the Peloponnesian War, when Athens grew in strength as leader of the Delian League and used that position to slowly take control of all the states allied with her through domestic and military force. Athens was too powerful for smaller states in the League to fight successfully, although as allies though they became so integrated into the Athenian system they lost all independence and eventually became subject states completely under Athenian rule. No one wanted to stop Athens growing because they could not oppose such a strong force with so many allies, it was far easier and safer to submit to Athens an enjoy the security offered through certain defence in light of possible foreign attack, for example another Persian invasion.The Delian League, previously the Hellenic League, was led by Athens and was referred to then as "The Athenians and their allies". The League was created specifically to build a defensive alliance against the Persian invaders, using military and financial support from each of the member states. Sparta was not willing to take on the responsibility of leading the League because they were facing a helot revolt and slowly becoming more isolationist in their attitude. In contrast Athens was gradually gaining respect after the battle of Salamis and had a large and experienced navy. In the decade following it's establishment the Delian League fought the Persians, retaking Byzantium and clearing southern Asia Minor of Persian forces. The Battle of Eurymedon in 468 saw the Greeks crush the Persians in a costly and ambitious campaign that proved to be the Athenian leader, Cimon's, greatest victory.As Athens emerged as the dominant power in the League, the other members gradually stopped paying tribute in the form of ships and men to the League and began to give money instead. This was easier but resulted in the decline of their navies. Athens' navy grew stronger with the financial support of other states, and the navies of other member states lost the ability to defend their coasts and harbours. No one could possibly compete with a navy the size of Athens. Carystus in southern Euboea was unwilling to join the League, but in 477 the League coerced it to joining, fearing that Carystus might side with Persia in future conflict. This could have disastrous effects since Carystus was in the position to dominate the strategic waterway between Andros and Euboea and close to Athens. To most Greeks this was an outrage, Carystus had desired to remain neutral and had been forced to join the League, and the Persian threat was the only justification the League could give. Naxos, one of the largest islands in the...

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