53: Debut of the Delian League

Debut of the Delian League

The Delian league had now been established with the majority of its members coming from regions throughout the Aegean. In its inception they had all turned to a Greek city state on the mainland, that of Athens who headed the league. In 477 BC the league would now find itself in a position to begin campaigning for the first time, they would set out under the leadership of a relative new comer to the scene of Athenian politics, Cimon.

Thucydides would give us a picture of how the league would evolve over its first decade in operation, as well as highlighting how Athens’s power would grow. The league would first direct itself against Persian controlled regions on the Thracian coast, aligned with the objectives it had been created under.

Though, it wouldn’t be only the Persians that the Delian league would focus its attentions against. Other Greeks would find themselves becoming the target of the league’s activities in the Aegean. These actions would be justified for a number of reasons, from eliminating piracy in the Aegean, to protecting the common strategic security through cohesion.

As the years passed new challenges within the league would arise. With very little Persian activity in the Aegean league members would have been starting to wonder if the finical costs of supporting the league were in their interests anymore. One member Naxos would act on this and attempt to leave, but this risked seeing the league fall apart. Athens would see that they would remain a member through force. This was an ominous sign of the direction the league was heading in, though the Persian threat had not disappeared just yet.

By Map_athenian_empire_431_BC-fr.svg: Marsyasderivative work: Once in a Blue Moon (talk) - Map_athenian_empire_431_BC-fr.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7885794

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