I HAVE already recounted, in the preceding chapter, how the Asiatic Greeks, breaking loose from the Spartan Pausanias, entreated Athens to organize a new confederacy, and to act as presiding city, and how this confederacy, framed not only for common and pressing objects, but also on principles of equal rights and constant control on the part of the members, attracted soon the spontaneous adhesion of a large proportion of Greeks, insular or maritime, near the Ægean sea.
Thukydidês marks precisely, as far as general words can go, the character of the new confederacy during the first years after its commencement. But unhappily he gives us scarcely any particular facts; and in the absence of such controlling evidence, a habit has grown up of describing loosely the entire period between 477 B.C. and 405 B.C. (the latter date is that of the battle of Ægospotami) as constituting 'the Athenian empire'. This word denotes correctly enough the last part, perhaps the last forty years, of the seventy-two years indicated; but it is misleading when applied to the first part, nor indeed can any single word be found which faithfully characterizes as well the one part as the other. A great and serious change had taken place, and we disguise the fact of that change if we talk of the Athenian hegemony or headship as a portion of the Athenian empire. Thukydidês carefully distinguishes the two, speaking of the Spartans as having lost, and of the Athenians as having acquired, not empire, but headship or hegemony. 1
1 Thukyd., i. 94.- i.e., under the Spartan hegemony, before the Athenians were invited to assume the hegemony: compare i. 77, and Herodot., viii. 2, 3. Next we have (i. 95) (the Ionians, etc.) Again, when the Spartans send out Dorkis in place of Pausanias, the allies Then, as to the ensuing proceedings of the Athenians (i. 96) - etc.: compare i. 75 - and vi. 76.