A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 B.C

By George Grote; J. M. Mitchell et al. | Go to book overview

17 [XLVII]

FROM THE THIRTY YEARS' TRUCE, FOURTEEN YEARS BEFORE THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR, DOWN TO THE BLOCKADE OF POTIDÆA, IN THE YEAR BEFORE THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR

THE judicial alterations effected at Athens by Periklês and Ephialtês, described in the preceding chapter, gave to a large proportion of the citizens direct jury functions and an active interest in the constitution, such as they had never before enjoyed, the change being at once a mark of previous growth of democratical sentiment during the past, and a cause of its farther development during the future. The Athenian people were at this time ready for personal exertion in all directions. Military service on land or sea was not less conformable to their dispositions than attendance in the ekklesia or in the dikastery at home. The naval service especially was prosecuted with a degree of assiduity which brought about continual improvement in skill and efficiency; while the poorer citizens, of whom it chiefly consisted, were more exact in obedience and discipline than any of the more opulent persons from whom the infantry or the cavalry were drawn. 1 The maritime multitude, in addition to self-confidence and courage, acquired by this laborious training an increased skill, which placed the Athenian navy every year more and more above the rest of Greece. And the perfection of this force became the more indispensable as the Athenian empire was now again confined to the sea and seaport towns.

The maritime confederacy - originally commenced at Delos under the headship of Athens, but with a common synod and deliberative voice on the part of each member - had now become transformed into a confirmed empire on the part of Athens, over the remaining states as foreign dependencies, all of them rendering tribute except Chios, Samos, and Lesbos. These three still remained on their original footing of autonomous allies, retaining their armed

1 Xenophon, Memorab., iii. 5, 18.

-414-

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