Second Athenian League

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Second Athenian League


(378/377-355 B.C.), military and political union (symmachia) of a number of ancient Greek city-states under the leadership of Athens. The league was created for the purpose of fighting for domination in the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea straits, as well as for control of the northern markets and sources of raw materials, especially the regions of Thrace and the Black Sea area. These markets and sources of raw materials were of extremely great interest to Athens, Byzantium, and the island city-states of the Aegean Sea (Chios, Rhodes, Mytilene, and others). Another task of the league was opposition to Sparta both in its attempt to eliminate democratic systems in the Greek city-states and its attempts to establish hegemony in Greece. The league was created in spite of the conditions laid down by the Peace of Antalcidas in 387 B.C. By the year 374 the number of members in the Second Athenian League had reached 70. By treaties of 374 and 371 B .c., Sparta was compelled to acknowl-edge the existence of this league after several fierce military encounters with it.

The Second Athenian League was founded on more democratic principles than the Delian League had been. Two bodies with equal rights were placed at the head of the Second Athenian League: the synedrion (council) of allies and the Athenian popular assembly. Moreover, the finances of the league were managed by the synedrion, which set the scale of the voluntary assessment dues to be paid by each member. However, the great-power tendencies of Athens, which became manifest beginning in the 360’s B.C., and the encroachments on the rights of the league members (arbitrariness and force used in collecting membership dues, infringement on the rights of the synedrion, and violations of autonomy) led to an uprising against Athens by a majority of the members. This so-called League War (357-355) resulted in the disintegration of the league. It was officially dissolved by the Macedonian king Philip II after the Battle of Chaeronea (in 338).


“Vtoroi Afinskii morskoi soiuz (377 g. do n. e.).” In Khrestomatiia po istorii drevnei Gretsii. Moscow, 1964. Pages 376-78.


Marshall, F. H. The Second Athenian Confederacy. Cambridge, 1905.
Accame, S. La lega ateniense del secolo IV a. C. Rome, 1941.