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The Success of The Delian League

Same friends as well as enemies…

What is the Delian League and what did this accomplish?
Map athenian empire 431 BC-en

During the Persian wars, after the battle of Salamis victory, Ionian cities, including Athens, came together with a common goal, mutual protection, and a military alliance against any enemy, including Perisian aggression. Their confederation was called the Delian League. They wanted to have the same friends as well as enemies01.

With their mighty naval power, Athenians held the leading position even though the power was decentralized equally by allowing one vote per member. 

While Athens provided naval protection, those who couldn’t offer military support had to pay a monetary tax. Indeed, this monetary tax helped Athens to expand its navy and improve its economy. 

Athens continued to maintain and improve its massive navy, and league members could find protection for less than it would cost to preserve autonomous forces02.

For about ten years, the Delian league was unbeaten in defending themselves from Persian invaders and pirates. The league famously defeated a Persian army at the Battle of Eurymedon in 466 BCE.01 

But were they successful in keeping the peace among themselves? 

The contributions in the form of monetary tax imposed by Athenians in return for military protection helped build an Athenian empire. Eventually, when Athenians moved the league’s treasury stored at the Delos island to their city, the financial and military power centralized into one polis making Athens stronger. However, not every member was content with this power shift. Some members wanted to leave the league. But Athens objected to that and destroyed their forts, making them vulnerable to an attack. 02

The Delian League broke up when Sparta captured Athens in 404. Athens lost her colonies and most of her navy and then submitted to the reign of the Thirty Tyrants.01

Nakhiengchanh, M. (2018, March 18). The Delian League: The Athenian Empire – Ancient History. See U in History
Check the following articles to learn more about The Success of The Delian League:
  1. Gill, N.S. (2020, February 11). Formation of the Delian League. Thoughtco. URL
  2. Lendering, J. (2007, December 01). Livius. URL
  3. Gulati, A. (n.d.). Archaeologies of the Greek Pas: Delian League. Brown University. URL