The Attic Sea League (also Delish-Attic or Attic-Delish Sea League) was an alliance system between Athens and numerous poleis in Asia Minor and the offshore islands. The original name of the naval league was “The Athenians and their Allies” (ancient Greek οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ οἱ σύμμαχοι). It was created as a result of the Persian Wars, which had been pre-decided in 480 BC by the victory of the allied Greeks led by Athens in the naval battle of Salamis.
The foundation in 47877 BC served the goal of keeping the Persians away from the Aegean Sea with its Greek-populated islands and peripheral zones in the future and protecting important sea trade routes. From the outset, the Athenians had a certain leading role in military and organizational terms, which they developed into an overwhelming supremacy in the course of their internal democratic transformation.
While the Persian threat seemed largely averted by mid-century, the Athenian-dominated maritime empire became a growing challenge to the Greek land power Sparta and to its affiliated Peloponnesian League during the 5th century BC. The rivalry between the two great Greek powers eventually culminated in the Peloponnesian War, which brought both the harshest manifestation of Athenian rule over the maritime alliance members subject to it and – because of Athens” defeat by Sparta – the dissolution of the First Attic League.
The reestablishment of an Attic Sea League in 37978 B.C. indicates that the protective functions associated with it continued to be valued, especially among smaller confederate poleis. However, Athens” leadership role was now also significantly reduced, reflecting its overall weakened position. The rise of Macedonia as a major Greek power also diminished Athens” influence in the Aegean and encouraged the defection of confederates. The defeat of Athens and its allies at the Battle of Chaironeia in 338 B.C. by the Macedonians marked the end of the Second Attic League.
After the Persian defeat at the Battle of Plataiai in 479 BC and the Persian retreat from mainland Greece, a Greek federal fleet led by the Spartan Pausanias pursued in the northeastern Aegean and conquered Byzantium the following year. Pausanias” high-riding style of leadership and his unwillingness to ensure the protective interests of the Greek poleis of Asia Minor were used by the Athenians to now have themselves put in charge of the fleet, while the Spartans withdrew their formations.
A defensive alliance against Persia
The League of the Seas did not replace the Hellenic League, which had been founded to defend against the Persians and continued to exist. However, the newly founded league now took on the task of permanently protecting the Greek cities freed from Persian rule. Sparta was not interested in extending the war into Asia Minor and wanted to limit itself to defending the Greek heartland. Thus, the task of consolidating the freedom of the Ionian cities in Asia Minor now fell to Athens and its confederates. The interest of the Greeks, most of whom had settled on the coasts of Asia Minor in the course of Greek colonization, in permanent protection from the Persian superpower was a stable factor in the formation of the League, since the quarrels that had preceded the Persian Wars had also started in the Ionian poleis of Asia Minor and, with Athens siding with them, had triggered the Persian advances into Greece. For the island Greeks in the Aegean and especially for Athens, which was partly dependent on food imports, it was also important to secure the sea routes in the Aegean region against encroachment so that trade could remain undisturbed and develop.
This required the construction and maintenance of large naval units, which mainly Athens was capable of doing. The silver reserves in the mines of Laurion played an important financial role: “Extensive mining provided the resources for the economic and thus also for the political and military rise of Athens in the 5th century.” The mining specialists needed for silver extraction were recruited from the silver mines in northern Greece, which had already been in operation for some time.That the Athenians would have to bear the main military burden of the confederation and that command was theirs was consequently beyond dispute. The confederates, for their part, would pay tribute to the confederation with financial contributions or by providing ships, thus relieving the Athenians.
Nothing has come down to us of an elaborate set of treaties for the founding of the alliance. The contemporary name for this alliance was: “The Athenians and their allies. Contractual ties probably existed essentially between Athens and the individual confederate poleis and were concluded for an unlimited period in connection with oaths. Metal lumps symbolically sunk into the sea guaranteed the sustainability of the covenant: As long as they did not appear, it was to continue.
Initial organizational structures
The confederation comprised a number of poleis on the Greek mainland, in western Asia Minor and in Thrace, as well as numerous Aegean islands. For almost a quarter of a century, the center and meeting place of the League was not Athens, but the Cycladic island of Delos. There, at least once a year, the federal assembly (Synhedrion) met, and in the temple of Apollo there the common financial means of the federation were kept. The god to whom the maritime alliance originally subordinated itself was thus the Delian Apollo.
In the Federal Assembly, nominal equality prevailed from the largest to the smallest member polis: Each had only one vote in the decision-making process. However, Athens was generally able to find majorities for its own proposals among the allies in the Synhedrion. The power to impose sanctions in the event of the defection of confederates and the control function with regard to the legitimate assessment of tribute by the members of the naval alliance probably lay within the competence of the federal assembly.
The total amount of the annual contributions was originally set at 460 talents. This was still less than the sum that had previously been paid to the Persians by the Greek cities of Asia Minor alone. The islands of Thasos, Naxos, Lesbos, Chios and Samos provided their own ships to be charged with the tribute obligation. The smaller poleis, which were not in a position to do so because of the costs incurred for shipbuilding and the salaries of the crews, were obligated to make proportional payments according to their capacity. Such a long-term organization was an innovation for Greece; in the Peloponnesian League, payments were made only on an ad hoc basis.
Athens” leadership role
From the very beginning, the Athenians, who were appointed to the military leadership of the League, not only had the weight of their own large fleet of ships and the operational leadership at sea by Athenian strategists on their side, but they also provided Aristides, who was often praised as just, as the person responsible for the original tribute assessment. Moreover, all ten administrators (Hellenotamiai) of the Delic federal treasury formed with the financial contribution burdens (φόροι) of the members came from Attica, without this having caused any recognizable offence.
The military leadership was joined by the organizational leadership of Athens, combined with the corresponding political authority, which was also reflected in the federal assembly. Among the allied poleis, many were so small that they would hardly have been able to assert themselves independently in their environment anyway; thus, the care of the distant Athens might seem advantageous to them. On the one hand, Athens was equal among equals, and on the other hand, it was the hegemon of the Attic League from the very beginning, the undisputed leading power.
Between 469 and 466 B.C., the Sea League won decisive victories over the fleet and army of the Persian Great King at Eurymedon, which seemed to have averted the Persian danger and called into question the necessity of the League from the point of view of the tributaries. The apostasy from Thasos, which the Athenians answered with the siege of the island in 465-463 B.C., also promoted the unpopularity of the Athenians among the confederates along with the repression, and in various ways increased the resentment of being tied to the hegemonic power.
By the middle of the 5th century, the threat to naval alliance members from the great power Persia had receded, especially after the Callias Peace of 449 B.C. (the historicity of this peace agreement is disputed, however). This exacerbated the problem for the Athenians of keeping together the confederation, to which they had increasingly oriented their own sociopolitical and economic structures.
Concentration of power versus breakaway efforts
Under Athenian hegemony, the remaining naval allies lost the possibility of independent foreign policy and warfare and were increasingly at the mercy of Attic initiative. The number of allies that had their own ships continued to decline, and the assessment of contributions in money became almost the rule. If, as in Naxos and Thasos, individual poleis broke away from the alliance, they were isolated from the powerful Athenian fleet, to which they eventually had to surrender with the consequence of harsh punitive measures. The coastal cities were often without fortifications facing the sea. Cities suspected of plotting to break away from the naval alliance were forced to tear down existing fortifications. Even in peacetime, Athens had sixty ships cruising between the mainland and islands on months-long training and surveillance cruises. In addition, there was a signaling and intelligence system. In this way, Athens dominated the entire Aegean Sea.
Among the punitive measures imposed by Athens on renegade Graubünden was the surrender of the fleet that still existed at the time of the apostasy. Henceforth, even such cities had to fulfill their tribute obligation by paying money. Only Athens and a handful of other poleis consequently still had their own naval force (e.g. Samos, later only Chios and Lesbos). Samos, which took military action on its own authority against Miletus, which was under Athenian protection, was conquered after vigorous resistance, its fleet destroyed, its capital destroyed and its inhabitants sold into slavery.
The fight against the Persians led the Athenians as far as Egypt, where they supported an anti-Persian uprising for about six years, finally succumbing to a Persian force in 454 BC and losing several thousand men in addition to 80-100 fighters. This shock resulted in the transfer of the League”s treasury from Delos to Athens, which now also became the representative center of the League, because of an allegedly threatening Persian seizure of it.
454 B.C., the year of the transfer of the covenant treasury to Athens, was also the year of the Great Panathenaic Festival, an event that took place every four years and at which the relationship between the colony foundations and the mother city was always particularly cultivated and reaffirmed. The allies used to prove their loyalty to the covenant by bringing small offerings such as a cow and a suit of armor to the feast. Then they were allowed to take part in the great procession to the Athena sanctuary on the Acropolis. From now on, this applied to all Athenian confederates: a dubious honor, however, which was not very gratefully accepted, since the contributions had to be paid further.
Athens as the center of the federation
The transfer of the Seebund treasury to Athens was the impetus for further far-reaching changes in the organization of the federation. The Federal Assembly as the decision-making body of the Confederation was abolished; the Synhedrion was replaced by the Athenian People”s Assembly (Ekklesia), which now also decided on all Confederation matters by virtue of its own authority. The fictitious colony status of all the Bündner served as the basis of legitimation for this. The kinship of Athenians and Ionians was now emphasized and it was pretended that the Ionian cities of Asia Minor had all been founded by Athens; however, the status of an Athenian apoikia was also extended to all other confederates.
From then on, legal supervision of the tribute system and the individual regulation of tribute obligations was also in the hands of the Athenians alone, who now also divided the maritime union territory into different tribute districts. According to Kagan, they increasingly undermined the autonomy of the members of the League:
Both the naval levies of the Bündner and their trade with Athens were, through Athens” coinage legislation, completely geared to the interests of the leading power. Athens was now almost the only market in the area of the Sea Alliance for shipbuilding timber, iron, copper, flax and wax; “it was the most important and indispensable transhipment point for the goods of the whole world of that time, partly even outside Greece, so that the cities were forced to orient their trade more and more towards Athens. In addition, there were also Athenian trading posts, Emporia, in the maritime area, to which Athens also knew how to direct trade.”
The reorientation associated with the shift of the naval league”s center from Delos to Athens also affected its religious orientation to a not insignificant degree. Instead of the panhellenic Apollo, the city goddess of the leading power, Athena, became the central cult object of the alliance. The temple treasury of Athena received one sixtieth of the respective tribute, and this part, the Aparché, was of particular importance to the Athenians; for it was this part that they recorded separately in writing on stone tablets. In negotiations with the Athenians, the contributions of individual Bündner might occasionally be reduced or waived for certain reasons: The Aparché, the dedication to the goddess Athena, was essential even in such cases. And the presence of all sea league members at the Panathenaic festival was used to reassess the obligatory tributes for the following four-year period.
The confederates: manifold subjects
The coercive character of Attic supremacy in the naval alliance became particularly clear whenever individual confederates fell away from Athens. For then not only the military defeat, the grinding of fortifications and if necessary the delivery of the own fleet were threatened. Enslavement and exemplary harsh punishment of parts of the population as well as the settlement of Athenian colonists, as it were as a control crew, were also among the consequential sanctions, sometimes in connection with an overthrow of the political system.
If the Athenian strategists had ensured the military defeat, archons succeeded them as officials with a military ruling function to stabilize the situation. Phrourarchs were responsible for controlling political conditions in the event of occupation; and Athenian officials, the episkopoi, also acted as temporary heads of the judiciary and administration.
The Athenians purposefully and in the sense of a principle of domination pursued the isolation of the confederates by always taking them on individually, both in the collection of tribute and in legal disputes. Existing fiscal or governmental associations of some poleis were dissolved or broken up by them for this purpose.
A follower of Athens” pre-democratic social structures describes as humiliating the appearance of a confederate cited before the Attic courts, where he is forced to “pretend nicely in the knowledge that he must come to Athens to give and take penance ; and he is compelled to throw himself on his knees in the courts, and, as soon as one enters, to seize him by the hand. Therefore, therefore, the Graubians stand rather as servants of the people of Athens.”
If the apostasy and military defeat of a Graubünden polity came to the extreme, the arrangements associated with the subsequent subjugation were both drastic and humiliating, as the following example of an oath of allegiance extorted from the citizens of Colophon after an uprising shows:
The confederation, founded by the free decision of the participants and under the sign of equality, had become the tightly organized rule of Athens, the Attic maritime empire.
When Mytilene (along with almost all of the rest of Lesbos) fell away from Athens, the envoys justified the apostasy to the Spartans as follows:
The Role of Democracy in the Expansion of Rule
Athens” development of power as a hegemon in the maritime alliance and as a great Greek power was coupled with the political-social transformation to a developed Attic democracy. The reforms of Ephialtes in 461 B.C. paved the way for democracy and thus also for the political participation of a propertyless class of citizens, the Thetes, who earned their living as wage laborers in agriculture and trade or – increasingly since the beginning of Athenian naval armament – as rowers on the triremes. They therefore had a strong common interest in an unassailable and extensive Athenian naval dominion as their own livelihood. Therefore, the naval alliance was not only militarily useful for Attica and not only beneficial for economy and trade; it also had in the Thetes a social basis increasingly politicized by the democratic development, which drove its expansion into a pure instrument of Athenian rule.
Attic democracy thus significantly influenced the organizational structure of the naval alliance. But the Athenians also used the export of their form of government as a means of rule. The democratic constitution was often imposed on seceding allies-as in the case of Colophon-in the course of follow-up sanctions as the political order that would apply from then on. The ground for this was prepared on the one hand by the drastic punitive measure of a selective decimation of the rebellious polis citizenry, and on the other hand by the establishment of Athenian officials for a transitional period and the settlement of Attic thetes, who then anchored the Athenian model of democracy in a new environment. The elimination of oligarchies and the establishment of democracies served quite successfully to create common interests between the broad popular strata of the Bündner Poleis and the Athenian popular assembly, even if Attic domination otherwise met with little favor. Schuller uses the example of Samos to prove the connection between constitutional type and Bündni loyalty:
Climax in the Peloponnesian War
From the middle of the 5th century B.C. until the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles, who was elected annually to the office of strategist for a long time, was an important co-shaper and leading representative of Attic democracy as well as a decisive advocate of Athens” maritime interests. His work was associated with the much-praised building program on the Athenian Acropolis, which was to make Athens – visible and attractive from afar – the center of Greece in artistic and cultural terms as well. Pericles was also the one who advised his fellow citizens not to avoid the emerging confrontation with the rival great power Sparta, because he considered it inevitable, and who set the course for it with his own war plan.
According to the testimony of his Athenian contemporary, the historian Thucydides, Pericles, by virtue of his personal authority and oratory skills, was also the one who knew how to curb his fellow citizens” excessive desire for power and warned against an overstretching of forces with regard to the expansion of the maritime empire. After his death in 429 B.C., such concerns were thrown overboard in view of the increasing brutalization of warfare. People became accustomed to mass executions and the disregard of religious rules similar to international law, which had still been taken into account in earlier acts of war. A similar trend was now emerging in the way Athens treated recalcitrant confederates.
Thucydides” detailed account of the events that determined the apostasy of Mytilenes, the most important polis on Lesbos, and the Athenian reaction to it, shows this impressively. The inhabitants of Lesbos, largely weary of Athenian domination, the last alliance besides Chios to still support the Attic fleet in the naval alliance with its own ships, took advantage of Sparta”s annual incursion into Attica in 427 B.C., since the beginning of the Archidamian War, to break away from the naval alliance. Despite their own distress, the Athenians already answered Mytilenes” preparations to break away by sending a siege fleet to force the Lesbians into submission. In return, however, Mytilenian envoys at Olympia secured the admission of their polis into the Peloponnesian League and the promise that a Lacedaemonian fleet would attack the Athenian besiegers of Lesbos. Even before the 40 Peloponnesian ships arrived, however, Mytilene had fallen into the hands of the Athenian strategist Paches, because the common Mytilenian citizens, meanwhile armed with weapons by the leaders of the revolt against Athens, did not want to fight the Athenians and instead forced the surrender and delivery of the city to Paches. More than 1000 main operators of the Mytilenian apostasy from the Sea League had Paches brought to Athens for sentencing by the People”s Assembly.
Under the influence of Kleon, for Thucydides the most violent man in the city, the ecclesia decided not only to execute all the insurgents delivered by Paches, but to kill the entire male citizenry of Mytilenes and enslave all the women and children. A triere was sent to summon Paches on Lesbos to carry out this decision. However, this decision left many no peace, and they obtained a reconsideration of the matter the following day. Kleon renewed his plea for maximum harshness: What polis would still shrink from treason if freedom beckoned in the event of success and nothing fundamental threatened in the event of failure? As a deterrent, one must kill:
In his counter-speech before the people”s assembly, Diodotos emphasized that even harsher punishments could not eliminate the willingness to do wrong out of poverty or greed for power. Moreover, it violated Athens” own interests to deprive apostate allies of any hope and the chance of redress, if they were actually willing to surrender – out of insight into the hopelessness of their rebellion. Their resistance would only become more relentless, but Athens would bear the damage: increased military effort in defeating the renegades, then completely destroyed cities and long-term loss of contributions to the naval supremacy. Instead of unduly chastising a free people after apostasy, Diodotos recommended keeping a sharp eye on them beforehand and preventing a breakaway movement, adding:
With a narrow majority, the people”s assembly then changed the decision of the previous day. The main culprits of the uprising against Athens, who had been transferred by Paches, were killed at Cleon”s request, Mytilenes” fortifications were razed and its ships were taken over by the Athenians. However, the already scheduled action of mass execution and enslavement of the entire population of Mytilenes was still prevented: A second triere reached Lesbos just in time and was able to transmit the amended decision. The rowers had been spurred on to maximum performance with special incentives in order to reduce the gap to the first trier.
However, this did not result in a lasting course correction in favor of a more restrained Athenian power policy. About a decade later, an Athenian assault on the inhabitants of Melos, which until then had maintained a neutral position in the Peloponnesian War as a small island in the middle of the Aegean, also thoroughly recorded by Thucydides, took place. In a dispute that has become famous as a lesson in cynical power politics, the Melian Dialogue by Thucydides, the Athenians ultimatively demanded that the Melians join the Attic Naval League. Legal considerations were only of importance if the opponents had the same balance of power; otherwise, the right of the strongest to the greatest possible domination over the weaker applied. The hatred of the subjugated underlines the strength of the superior power. On the other hand, it would be interpreted as weakness for Athens if Melos, with its location within the Aegean Sea ruled by the League, were to retain its independence. Despite their neutrality in realpolitik, the Melians tended to favor Sparta. Like the Spartans, they saw themselves as Dorians and had a founding myth that said Melos had been settled from Sparta.
The Melians could not withstand the Athenian siege, especially since the hoped-for support from Sparta failed to materialize. After surrendering to the superior force, they suffered just the fate that the citizens of Mytilenes had been spared at the last moment. Christian Meier sums up:
Until the final phase of the Peloponnesian War, Athens maintained its rule over the maritime alliance with a firm hand, even after massive defections by the confederates and tendencies toward dissolution occurred in 412 and 411 B.C.E., coinciding with an oligarchic overthrow in Athens. It was not until 405404 BC that the Athenian situation became hopeless, when the Spartans succeeded in ending Athenian naval domination. Athens was now itself a besieged city and cut off from sea supplies. This increased the Athenians” fear that they might face something similar to what they had done to the Melians.
However, the Spartans still needed the weakened Athens as a counterweight to the strengthened Thebes, and they also remembered Athens” merits in the Persian Wars. Thus, the Athenians got off lightly with the peace terms that were finally negotiated: they had to permanently renounce their naval power, and were only allowed to keep twelve ships. The Long Walls and the fortifications of the Piraeus were to be demolished. Athens – with an oligarchic constitution – was forced to become a member of the Peloponnesian League under the leadership of Sparta.
For a good quarter of a century, the Athenians had to send themselves into Spartan supremacy, but then seized the opportunity to reestablish a naval alliance when the Lacedaemonians were militarily tied up elsewhere and weakened.
Motives and organizational structures
When, in 379 B.C., Theban democrats succeeded in shaking off the Spartan occupation of the city and subsequently ensured the state unification of the whole of Boeotia under democratic conditions, Athens also had the opportunity to free itself from the confines of Sparta and to establish the Second Attic League in 378377 B.C., just 100 years after its initial founding. The decisive motive this time was the elimination of the Spartan supremacy, while with regard to Persia the emphasis was on a balance of interests.
At the height of its development, the Second Attic League, with about 70 members, was still considerably smaller than its predecessor. The new synhedrion, meeting in Athens, again provided for one vote each for the confederates. A decision of this representation, however, required the approval of the Athenian people”s assembly in order to be valid; instead of the succession of both institutions as decision-making bodies, as had existed in the times of the First Attic League, there was now a coexistence and cooperation.
The contributions of the confederates, previously called phoroi, were now called syntáxeis and were to be paid in money. The Athenian people”s assembly could decide to reduce contributions for the individual confederates without the participation of the Synhedrion, because the loss of contributions fell only on the Athenians and did not affect the other confederates. Only the founding member Thebes was exempt from contributions because of its involvement in the land war against the Lacedaemonians.
The changing role of Athens
The call for accession of the Athenian People”s Assembly of 377 BC indicated that Athens was striving to make the ruling system of the second half of the 5th century forgotten: the confederates were assured full autonomy, free choice of constitution, and freedom from occupation and Athenian supervisors. There was to be no more land ownership by Athenians on the territory of the confederates.
The confederate poleis were not prevented from maintaining their own fleets within their means, but did not commit themselves to any assistance in the military operations carried out by the Athenians in affairs of the confederation. The transfer of monetary contributions to the confederation to Athens was usually the responsibility of the confederates themselves. In case of arrears, Athens may have sent out special money collectors. “It was also not uncommon for Athenian strategists leading a campaign to be assigned the contributions of individual poleis for collection and immediate use.” Unlike in the case of tribute payments at the time of the Attic maritime empire in the 5th century, contributions to the Second Attic Maritime League are difficult to determine from sources. However, since the confederates financed their own warships in addition to these tributes, these syntáxeis granted by the synhedrion probably did not represent an excessive burden.
The fact that the military operations were carried out without any participation of ships of the confederates had the advantage for Athens” strategists of simplified organization and unified command. In return, however, all risks of a military and financial nature remained with Athens alone. The obligations on the wealthy citizens to pay for the construction and deployment costs of the triremes (the leadurgies associated with the trierarchy) could become unpleasantly oppressive in this organizational framework, especially when the costs of war increased in times of heightened tension or open confrontation. For the confederate contributions were a fixed sum; nothing is known of special apportionments to the allies or of increased syntáxeis.
New power expansion
With a victory over the Peloponnesian fleet in the sound between Paros and Naxos, the Athenians once again succeeded in gaining naval supremacy in the Aegean. In 375 B.C. a peace congress was held in Sparta, jointly sought by Lacedaimonians and Athenians, at which a panhellenic peace, albeit short-lived, was concluded. Renewed again in 371 B.C. after intervening tensions, it quickly lapsed because of the warlike confrontation of Thebes under Epameinondas with Sparta. In the Battle of Leuktra, the Spartan army suffered heavy losses that brought about Sparta”s end as a major military power in Greece and gave Thebes supremacy for the following decade.
Athens now again sought to expand its naval dominance in the Aegean, especially in the north and east. In 387 BC, Samos had fallen to Persia. This was corrected in 365 BC under the strategist Timotheos in a manner reminiscent of practices at the height of the Attic maritime empire: Not only the Persian occupation of the island, but also the Samians themselves were expelled and several thousand Attic clerics were gradually settled in their place. The Second Attic Naval League faced a realignment:
Weakening in the Confederate War
Under the impression of the mutual weakening of Sparta and Thebes, Athens might have harbored renewed great power ambitions with the League of the Sea. However, this goal was opposed by the rise of Macedonia under Philip II in 359 BC. The resulting weakening of Athens” position in the northern Aegean encouraged the stronger members of the League to break away from the Attic League: Chios, Rhodes, Byzantium and Kos formed a separate confederation against Athens. In the so-called confederate war, the Athenians were unable to reverse the secession, so that they had to accept a considerable loss of power with the conclusion of peace in 355 BC.
The end under the sign of Macedonian power development
After Lesbos and Kerkyra also left the naval alliance, Athens still remained the protective and pre-eminent power of a large number of allies; however, the alliance no longer represented an instrument designed to increase power. Rather, under the influence of the Macedonian expansion of power, it lost even more members without, however, becoming completely irrelevant. The shrunken income from the confederation contributions remained an important item for Athens” financial budget. And in external relations, Athens” naval power, based on the League, was still a significant factor of influence in the Aegean for Philip II as late as 340 BC.
In central Greece, a Macedonian occupying force had already gained a foothold on Phocian soil since 346 BC. Philip II further expanded this strategic position by also gaining a seat and influence in the Delphic amphictyony. While Demosthenes propagated resistance to Philip II in Athens in the 1940s, there was an opponent in Isocrates who sought to unite the Greeks behind the Macedonian ruler in the spirit of an anti-Persian mission. Until the decisive battle of Chaironeia in 338 B.C., Demosthenes retained the upper hand in Athens with his anti-Macedonian agitation. Due to the defeat of the coalition, also forged by Demosthenes, which, in addition to Athenians and Boeotians, also brought parts of the Peloponnesians into position against Philip II, Athens lost its independence and was forced into an alliance with Macedonia for the following period. At the same time, the Second Attic League was dissolved in 338 BC.