Greece History: Classical Period (approx. 500–336 BC)

The support of the expelled Hippias by the Persians and the help of Athens for the Ionians in the Ionian uprising led to the conflict with Persia (Persian Wars). In 490 Miltiades was able to defeat a Persian expedition army under Datis and Artaphernes at Marathon. 480 Xerxes I moved with a large army to Greece and destroyed Athens after the attempt to stop him at Thermopylae (Leonidas I) had failed. But the Greeks succeeded with their ships, especially those of Themistocles newly established Athenian fleet to defeat the Persians at Salamis.

479 BC Under the leadership of Pausanias, the Persian army was defeated at Plataiai (Platää) and the Greeks of Asia Minor liberated in the battle of the Mykale foothills (opposite Samos). After Sparta left the Persian War, Aristides initiated the establishment of the 1st  Attic League, at the head of which Athens continued the war alone (about 465 victory at Eurymedon, 459–454 expedition to Egypt and the fall of the Athenian expeditionary army, 449 victory at Salamis on Cyprus). The “Peace of Callias” concluded around 448 (the coming of which is, however, controversial) ended the Persian War and guaranteed the freedom of the Greek cities of Asia Minor.

In the west, meanwhile, the tyrant Gelon had made Syracuse a great power and in 480 defeated the Carthaginians at Himera. His brother and successor Hieron was able to win a great sea victory over the Etruscans at Kyme (Cumae) in 474.

The Persian Wars had far-reaching consequences for Greek history. They brought about a politicization of the Greek national consciousness, influenced the emergence of the Attic tragedy (“Capture of Milets” by Phrynichus, “Persians” by Aeschylus) and Greek historiography (Herodotus), completed the consolidation of the polis in defense of the individualism of individual princely lords (among others. Miltiades, Themistocles, Pausanias), led to the dualism of Sparta and Athens (a first war as early as 458–445) and to the completion of democracy in Athens. In 487 the archonate was converted from an electoral office into a lottery office and the shard court (Ostracism) introduced into politics. 462 entmachtete Ephialtesthe Areopagus.

In 461 Pericles took over the management of the state and carried out further reforms: daily allowances for juries, later also for councilors, lot officials and for visiting the theater (in the 4th century also the popular assembly), admission of the 3rd class to the archonate, restriction of civil rights to children whose parents were both Attic citizens, which increased the number of local foreigners, the Metoks.

The transfer of the Seebundkasse from Delos to Athens (454 BC) made it possible to finance the reforms and an extensive building program in Athens (Acropolis) and Eleusis, while at the same time the other Seebund members became more and more subjects of Athens, who paid a regular fee (Phoros) and had to recognize the jurisdiction of Athens in important cases. The Athenians also enforced a standardization of coin, measure and weight, who guaranteed the security of the seas and trade at the same time through their maritime power. After the fall of Miletus (494 BC) the cultural focus had initially shifted to the west of the Greek world – Xenophanes and Parmenides in Elea, Pythagoras in Kroton (Crotone), Empedocles in Akragas (Agrigento), court of muses of Hieron I in Syracuse – Athens became Athens in the 2nd half of the 5th century BC. BC also became the cultural center of the Greek world (Sophists, Socrates, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Phidias).

According to educationvv, the rise of Athens in the 50 years after 480 (the “Pentecontaetie”) shifted the balance of power to the detriment of Sparta and its allies. Athens’ intervention against Corinth in the conflict with Korkyra and in Potidaia as well as the Attic trade embargo against Megara therefore triggered the Peloponnesian War (431 BC). The war situation led to a radicalization of democracy in Athens (429 death of Pericles from the plague; tannery owner Kleon first non-noble politician).

After the death of Kleon in 421 there was an undecided peace of Nicias. The war against Syracuse undertaken in 415 at the instigation of Alcibiades led to the failed Sicilian expedition in 413, while Sparta succeeded in further weakening Athens’ forces after the resumption of the war by occupying the fortress Dekeleia in Attica and through an alliance with Persia.

After the defeat of Aigospotamoi (405 BC) Athens was finally forced to go to 404 BC. Surrender unconditionally. The sea league was dissolved, the Attic external possessions (clergy, clergy) except for Salamis were lost, and Lysander installed the thirty tyrants in Athens; but democracy was restored as early as 403. The administration in particular was expanded and formalized among wealthy politicians from trade and industry. The process system favored the blossoming of Attic eloquence (Demosthenes, Isocrates, Lysias).

Outside Athens, the unstable conditions in the wake of the Peloponnesian War often led to social unrest, upheavals and expulsions, which made it easier for mercenaries to spread. As early as 401 10,000 Greeks accompanied the Persian governor of Asia Minor, Cyrus the Younger, on the procession against his brother Artaxerxes II. Mnemon (literary testimony “Anabasis” by Xenophon).

As the new Greek supremacy, Sparta resumed the war against Persia, but had to recall its army from Asia Minor after Thebes, Athens, Corinth and Argos had started the Corinthian War with Persian support (394 BC victory of Agesilaos II at Koroneia; Defeat of the Spartan fleet at Knidos), which dragged on until 387/386. At that time the Spartan Antalkidas concluded the “royal peace” with the Persian king Artaxerxes II. Taking advantage of the provisions of this peace, Sparta smashed the Chalcidian federal state (Chalkidike), destroyed Mantineia and occupied the castle of Thebes in 382. In 379, however, Thebes was liberated and in 378 the 2nd Attic League was founded. In 371, the victory of Epameinondas over the Spartans at Leuktra led to the ten-year hegemony of Thebes. The liberation of Messenia and the establishment of an Arcadian federal state limited Sparta to Laconia and put an end to Spartan supremacy forever.

The weakening of the states of the motherland led to attempts to achieve a general peace (Koine Eirene) (congresses of 371 and 362 BC), and increased the importance of the marginal powers of the Greek world. In addition to the Persian king and Euagoras I of Salamis, also attacked Dionysius I (405-367), who raised himself to the tyrant of Syracuse and defended himself against the great Carthaginian invasion of Sicily (409 destruction of Selinunte and Himera, 406 capture of Akragas) his rule had also extended to southern Italy and the Adriatic Sea, entered Greek conditions several times. Since Philip II took office (359 BC) Greece then became more and more dependent on Macedonia. The weakening of Athens by the alliance war (357-355) and the Central Greek states by the 3rd Holy War (Phocian War, 356-346) facilitated Philip’s expansion policy (conquest of Pydna and Amphipolis in 357, destruction of Olynth in 348, rule over Thessaly since 352). Athens had to recognize Philip’s conquests in the peace of 346. At the same time, the power of the Phocians, who had established a hegemony with the treasures of the occupied Delphic temple, was broken. The Phocian mercenaries joined Timoleon’s armyone who freed Sicily from the tyrants in 343-337, pushed the Carthaginians back to the western part of the island and strengthened the Greek element through his settlement policy after Dion’s attempt to realize the Platonic state idea in Syracuse had failed (354 BC). Chr.).

With the conquest of Thrace, Philip again violated the interests of Athens, which in 340 resumed the war against him, but was decisively defeated at Chaeronea with its allies in 338. In 337 the Macedonian hegemony was given its final form in the Corinthian League.

Greece History - Classical Period