Second Athenian League

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The left lateral face of the Aristoteles Decree stele (IG II2 43), the most important epigraphic source for the Second Athenian League, presents numerous problems of interpretation.
1) is our principal epigraphic evidence for the Second Athenian League, and since its discovery and initial publication more than 150 years ago it has shed a great deal of light on the affairs of Athens and Greece during the first half of the 4th century B.C.
Xenophon's phrase [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] is less specific than Diodoros's [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] it is well known that Xenophon had no interest in recording the expansion of the Second Athenian League, and he has proven to be susceptible to errors in other respects.
In 1936 James Oliver published a fragmentary inscription found on the southern slope of the Acropolis that contains the end of an Athenian decree and the beginning of a decree of the council (synedrion) of the allies of the Second Athenian League, both of which concern a foreign state.
This inscription represents the only extant document of the synedrion of the Second Athenian League. Dreher argues that this lack of evidence results from the League's not publishing its decrees on stone, rather than from accidents of preservation.
Full-length treatments of the Second Athenian League include Cargill 1981, Accame 1941, Marshall 1905, and Busolt 1874.
(20.) Near the end of his article on the Second Athenian League, Fabricius (1891, p.
Bradeen remeasured the stele and noted the impossibility of the restoration.(3) Though these scholars thereby corrected a sustained error in the historical record, they consequently cast into the realm of conjecture an established parallel between the literary tradition and the epigraphical remains of the Second Athenian League. If it is not possible to restore Kerkyra to the extant stele, should scholars deny Kerkyraian membership in the League?
All extant evidence supports the position that Kerkyra was a member of the Second Athenian League.
After its revolt from the second Athenian League (357), it was independent and became an ally of Rome at the time of the Third Macedonian War.