Introduction to Ancient Greek History

This is an introductory course in Greek history tracing the development of Greek civilization as manifested in political, intellectual, and creative achievements from the Bronze Age to the end of the classical period. Students read original sources in translation as well as the works of modern scholars.

Evidence Found of Parthenon Coloring

The iconic pure white of ancient Greek sculptures makes it difficult to picture them in any other way, but new evidence suggests that the Parthenon temple' s statues and friezes were originally colored.

Researchers at the British Museum say they have detected tiny traces of blue paint on the building's statues and friezes.

Although only a few hints of a pigment called Egyptian blue have been detected so far, experts believe the original coloring would have included red, along with highlights of gold.

At the same time, the original marble still showed through white in places.

At the museum, an imaging technique called photo-induced luminescence was used to detect microscopic specks of pigment.

When red light is shone onto the molecules of Egyptian blue, they absorb it and emit infrared light. Seen through a camera sensitive to infrared, any parts of the marble that were once blue appear to glow.

So far, the blue has been found in a few places, such as the belt of the messenger goddess Iris from the temple's west pediment.

Originally Posted @ Archaeology News

Virtual tour of the Parthenon Frieze

The Parthenon Frieze is presented in a new website which utilizes new technologies to present and elevate cultural content online. This new application, which was carried out by The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with the National Documentation Centre (EKT), is valuable for specialists and the general public alike.

The Parthenon Frieze, a unique work of art, is presented in a new website ( which utilizes new technologies to present and elevate cultural content online. This new application, which was carried out by The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism (YSMA-Acropolis Restoration Service, Department of Information and Education) in collaboration with the National Documentation Centre (EKT), is valuable for specialists and the general public alike.

The application provides the possibility of immediate access to the frieze, both as a database for scholars and, as digital games for schools and their pupils. This virtual representation of the Parthenon Frieze presents, in an articulate and transparent way, in both Greek and English, a comprehensive overview of a masterpiece of significant archeological value. At the same time it is characterized by scientific documentation, becoming thus an essential tool for the archeologist/researcher, as well as for the teacher, who can use it as an educational implement for online universities and regular colleges.

The National Documentation Centre, always in the front line of developing Greek cultural content, has collaborated on this application, bringing in new Information Technologies for open access to knowledge. The designing of the application was developed in accordance with contemporary ways of presenting and displaying cultural subjects on the Internet, making use of new technologies and the new educational programmes that have been developed by YSMA and have to do with the description and deepening of knowledge about the Parthenon Frieze.

The application in its new form enhances and upgrades the first digital version that was presented in 2003 in CD-ROM form. Since that version entered the Web, on the EKT website, it has been consistently in first place out of 50,000 postings in the list of world-wide searches conducted through Google.

What is the Parthenon Frieze

The Parthenon frieze, which runs on a continuous line around the exterior wall of the inner chamber of the temple, is 1 meter high and 160 meters long. It represents the Panathenaic procession that was a central celebration in Athens during Classical times, dedicated to the goddess Athena. The frieze consists of 115 blocks where some 378 human figures and deities and more than 200 animals, mainly horses, are represented.

Groups of horses and chariots occupy most of the space on the frieze. The sacrificial procession follows next, with animals and groups of men and women carrying ceremonial vessels and offerings. The procession concludes with the offering of the peplos, the gift of the Athenian people to the cult statue of the Goddess, a xoanon (ancient wooden statue). To the left and right of the peplos scene sit the twelve gods of Mount Olympos.

From the entire frieze that survives today, 50 meters are in the Acropolis Museum, 80 meters in the British Museum, one block in the Louvre, whilst other fragments are scattered in the museums of Palermo, the Vatican, Würzburg, Vienna, Munich and Copenhagen.

The units of virtual Parthenon Frieze

The contents have been organised into three units, entitled "The Parthenon", "Know the Frieze" and "Play with the Frieze".

The unit "The Parthenon" includes a text and illustrations that show the architecture and sculptural decoration of the temple. The sculpture comprises the statue of Athena Parthenos, the pediments, the metopes and the frieze. The frieze is analysed under the following units: the Theme, the Panathenaia, Interpretive Theories, Designing and Construction, History, Conservation, Bibliography. The contents are presented through three-dimensional cards that include the relevant texts and accompanying pictures.

The unit "Know the Frieze" is based on a three-dimensional model of the Parthenon, on which the four sides are distinguished. The user has two possibilities in this unit. The first possibility is to know the frieze according to the side. If you choose the north side, for example, the three-dimensional model revolves and on the screen appear the preserved blocks of that side filled in by the drawings of Carrey. If you select a specific block from that side, it is enlarged and it moves into centre-screen. The user can see it from close-up and can read a text that describes the scene on the block in detail. With the navigation buttons the user can move to the next block.

The second possible choice of "Know the Frieze" unit is entitled "thematic tours". Here the user can approach the frieze through its various themes: preparation, horsemen, chariots, sacrificial procession, gods/goddesses and the handing over of the peplos. Placing the pointer on the titles emphasises the corresponding areas of the three-dimensional model of the frieze. By selecting, for example, the unit "gods/goddesses", the corresponding area of the East Frieze is enlarged on the screen and the tour begins. The relevant text appears at the top of the screen and depending on the content of each phrase, the corresponding areas of the frieze are highlighted.

Play with the Frieze

The third level of the application is entitled "Play with the Frieze" and it is intended for children. It begins with an introduction where the user, whatever his age, can understand very quickly what the frieze was, where it was, what it represented, and he can see a number of statistical facts as well as the games contained in the application. After this, a yellow box appears. This is the museum kit of the frieze: it appears, it opens and out come the games.

The games "Acquaintance with the Figures in the Procession", "The Procession to the Altar", and "Observing the Horses" are games of memory and they are designed to attract children to closer observation of the details of the frieze. In this same category of games, in which the children are asked to exercise their powers of observation, there are two puzzles entitled "The Hidden Chariot" and "A Gift for the Goddess Athena". The children choose a representation and are asked to put together the corresponding puzzle.

The game entitled "Colouring a Block of the Frieze" is intended to enliven the relief scenes of the frieze and to help the children to imagine their colours. The next game is entitled "Be a Conservator". In the game "I Compose the West Frieze", the children try to find the correct position of the 16 blocks of the West Frieze that represent the preparation for the procession of horsemen in the Great Panathenaia. Likewise in the games entitled "Olympian Puzzles: find the gods/goddesses" and "Contests that Remained...on the Vases", the children have to match text with picture.

The unit "Play with the Frieze" has also been enriched by an animation entitled "And Suddenly my Horse became Marble". Here, one of the riders of the frieze has come "alive" and, galloping, tries to find his place in the procession. The moment he finds his place, he turns into marble.

While the museum kit has been used by a total of some 35,000 pupils and has been given to 120 institutions in Greece and 90 abroad, the new application provides the possibility of open access to virtually all who are interested.

The application was developed in the framework of the project "National Information System, Phase III Open Access Electronic Repositories and Journals". The project is being implemented by the National Documentation Centre and is co-funded by the European Union - European Regional Development Fund (80%) and by the Hellenic State (20%) through the Operational Programme Information Society (3rd CSF 2000-2006).

Originally Posted @ Archaeology News

Elgin Marble Argument in a New Light

Not long before the new Acropolis Museum opened last weekend, the writer Christopher Hitchens hailed in this newspaper what he called the death of an argument.

Britain used to say that Athens had no adequate place to put the Elgin Marbles, the more than half of the Parthenon frieze, metopes and pediments that Lord Elgin spirited off when he was ambassador to the Ottoman Empire two centuries ago. Since 1816 they have been prizes of the British Museum. Meanwhile, Greeks had to make do with the leftovers, housed in a ramshackle museum built in 1874.

So the new museum that Bernard Tschumi, the Swiss-born architect, has devised near the base of the Acropolis is a $200 million, 226,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art rebuttal to Britain' s argument.

From certain angles it has all the charm and discretion of the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan. Neighbors have been complaining all the way to the bank, housing values having shot up because of it.

Inside, however, it is light and airy, and the collection is a miracle. Weathered originals from the Parthenon frieze, the ones Elgin left behind, are combined with plaster casts of what' s in London to fill the sun-drenched top floor of the museum, angled to mirror the Parthenon, which gleams through wraparound windows. The clash between originals and copies makes a not-subtle pitch for the return of the marbles. Greece' s culture minister, Antonis Samaras, on the occasion of the opening last week, said what Greek officials have been saying for decades: that the Parthenon sculptures, broken up, are like a family portrait with loved ones missing. Mr. Samaras' s boss, Greece' s president, Karolos Papoulias, spoke less metaphorically: It' s time to heal the wounds of the monument with the return of the marbles which belong to it.

Don' t bet the British will agree.

Inside the museum visitors ascend as if up the slope of the Acropolis via a glass ramp that reveals, underfoot, ancient remains excavated during the building' s construction. (They will eventually be opened to the public.) It' s a nice touch. On the second floor archaic and early classical statues mill about a big gallery like a crowd in an agora, a curatorial and architectural whimsy that risks visitors missing works like the Kritios Boy, which nearly hides to one side.

As for the caryatids from the Erechtheion and the sculptural remains of the Temple of Athena Nike, including the sexy Sandal Binder, works of textbook import, they look a bit stranded on a balcony and in a passageway because the museum, save for the Parthenon floor, doesn' t have regular spaces. Free circulation puts everything on equal footing (this is the birthplace of democracy, after all), but the flip side of this layout is the failure to make priorities clear, which art museums exist to do.

That said, Athens needs new modern landmarks. The city is choked by slapdash buildings thrown up after the junta fell during the early 1970s. Public monuments ape ancient palaces, badly. Nikos Dimou, a prominent writer here, recalled that when a show of the British modern sculptor Henry Moore arrived years ago: People complained about bringing monstrous forms to the land of beauty. Ninety percent of cultured Greeks even today live with this classical sensibility.

A generation or two of well-traveled, environmentally conscious, globally wired Greeks has since come of age, and the Elgin Marbles debate now represents a kind of luxury that Greece has earned. It began with the actress Melina Mercouri during the 1980s, her publicity campaign coinciding with the rise of a populist leader, Andreas Papandreou, whose slogan was Greece for the Greeks. It has evolved into a less glamorous tangle of diplomatic and legal maneuverings, with Greece lately recovering some 25 antiquities from various countries, including some additional stray fragments from the Parthenon.

This issue unifies us, Dimitris Pandermalis, the Acropolis Museum' s director, said the other day, never mind that surveys show how few of them actually bother to visit the Acropolis past grade school.

As to whether Elgin had legal authority to remove the marbles, the Ottomans being the ruling power, as the British maintain, Mr. Pandermalis paused. The problem is not legal, he decided. It' s ethical and cultural. George Voulgarakis, a former culture minister, wasn' t so circumspect when asked the same question. He said, It' s like saying the Nazis were justified in plundering priceless works of art during the Second World War.

I understand what museums fear, Mr. Voulgarakis added. They think everything will have to go back if the marbles do. But the Acropolis is special.

That' s what the Greeks have insisted for years when arguing why the marbles belong to Greece, but they also say the marbles belong to the world when pointing out why they don' t belong to the British. The marbles in fact belonged to the Parthenon, a building here and nowhere else, the best argument for repatriation, except the idea now is not to reattach them where they came from but to move them from one museum to another, from the British Museum to the new Acropolis Museum, albeit next door - a different matter, if not to the Greeks.

It' s the fault of a German, Mr. Dimou said about Greek pride in this cause. He was referring to Johann Winckelmann, the 18th-century German art historian whose vision of an ancient Greece populated by beautiful, tall, blond, wise people, representing perfection, as Mr. Dimou put it, was in a sense imposed on the country to shape modern Greek identity.

We used to speak Albanian and call ourselves Romans, but then Winckelmann, Goethe, Victor Hugo, Delacroix, they all told us, No, you are Hellenes, direct descendants of Plato and Socrates,' and that did it. If a small, poor nation has such a burden put on its shoulders, it will never recover.

This myth required excavators on the Acropolis during the 19th century to erase Ottoman traces and purify the site as the crucible of classicism. The Erechtheion had been a harem, the Parthenon a mosque. But Greek archaeology has always been a kind of fantasy, Antonis Liakos, a leading Greek historian, noted the other day. The repatriation argument, relying on claims of historical integrity, itself distorts history.

For their part, the British also point out that the marbles' presence in London across two centuries now has its own perch on history, having influenced neo-Classicism and Philhellenism around the globe. That' s true, and it' s not incidental that the best editions of ancient Greek texts are published by British, French, Americans and Germans, not Greeks. But imperialism isn' t an endearing argument.

So both sides, in different ways, stand on shaky ground. Ownership remains the main stumbling block. When Britain offered a three-month loan of the marbles to the Acropolis Museum last week on condition that Greece recognizes Britain' s ownership, Mr. Samaras swiftly countered that Britain could borrow any masterpiece it wished from Greece if it relinquished ownership of the Parthenon sculptures. But a loan was out.

Pity. Asked whether the two sides might ever negotiate a way to share the marbles, Mr. Samaras shook his head. No Greek can sign up for that, he said.

Elsewhere, museums have begun collaborating, pooling resources, bending old rules. The British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre and other great public collectors of antiquity have good reason to fear a slippery slope if the marbles ever do go back, never mind what the Greeks say.

At the same time the Acropolis Museum plays straight to the heart, sailing past ownership issues into the foggy ether of a different kind of truth. It' s the nobler, easier route.

Looting antiquities obviously can' t be tolerated. Elgin operated centuries ago in a different climate. The whole conversation needs to be reframed. As Mr. Dimou asked, If they were returned, would Greeks be wiser, better? Other objects of incredible importance are scattered around Greece and no one visits them. Mr. Liakos put it another way: It' s very Greek to ask the question. Who owns history? It' s part of our nationalist argument. The Acropolis is our trademark. But the energy spent on antiquity drains from modern creativity.

The new museum finally casts Melina Mercouri' s old argument in concrete.

The opportunity is there.

Originally Posted @ Archaeology News

A New Way to See Ancient Athens

Fresh demands for the return of the Elgin Marbles are accompanying the launch next month of the £115 million Acropolis Museum, which has a reserved space for the world's most famous piece of classical statuary.

The 270,000 sq ft museum is being established as a home for the 160-metre long strip of marble that adorned the Parthenon until 1801. The museum, which stands just 400 metres from the Parthenon, opens in June three decades after the building was first proposed.

Antonis Samaras, the minister for culture and tthletics said: "The opening of the Acropolis Museum is a major world event. June 20th will be a day of celebration for all civilised people, not for Greeks alone. I want the Britons especially to consider the Acropolis Museum as the most hospitable place for them."

Greeks hopes have been emboldened by the return to Athens from Germany and Sweden of a host of treasures, including some taken from the Acropolis itself. The frieze adorned the Parthenon until 1801 when Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed it, along with a host of other treasures when Athens was under enemy occupation.

They were sold by Lord Elgin to the British Museum for £35,000 after Parliament voted in 1816 to acquire them for the nation and were vested "in perpetuity" in the trustees of the British Museum. The Greek Government disagrees.

Mr Samaras is the successor to the late Melina Mercouri, whose strident claims for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles made headlines more than 20 years ago.

The language today is more restrained, yet more confident. "I, along with every other Greek, wants the marbles reunited, just as Melina did," he said. "The argument against was that there was no deserving museum in Greece to house them. Now, this argument is off the table it cannot stand anymore. The Acropolis Museum was Melina's dream, and now we see it standing."

Greece retains 36 of the 115 panels in the Parthenon frieze. With the reproduction in its glass-walled upper gallery of the exact dimensions of the Parthenon temple, the building allows the marbles to be represented in their original configuration and context, in a way that could never be done in the British Museum.

The Greeks have also taken heart from polls that have shown that the majority of Britons support the return of the Marbles.

The fight for the return of the Marbles has led to committees being set up in 14 countries to lobby for their return.

The gallery offers a simultaneous view of the Parthenon itself, the extraordinary temple to the goddess Athena and, in the view of many, the greatest classical building in the world.

Constructing a vast new museum in one of the world's most ancient cities was not easy. When archaeologists began work they uncovered a 5th century BC settlement. The response of the architectural team of Bernard Tschumi from New York and Michael Photiadis from Greece was to build the elegant modern structure above the archaeological diggings. The site, which is still being excavated, can be seen by visitors through the museum's glass floor.

Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, has rejected overtures from Athens and said that it is the museum's duty to "preserve the universality of the marbles, and to protect them from being appropriated as a nationalistic political symbol".

If the British Museum, which says it is barred by its constitution from handing back its treasures, were obliged to return the marbles, the floodgates might open on other restitution claims. Nigeria, for instance, wants the return of the Benin bronzes, looted by Britain in 1897. The 270,000 sq ft museum is being established as a home for the 160-metre long strip of marble that adorned the Parthenon until 1801. The museum, which stands just 400 metres from the Parthenon, opens in June three decades after the building was first proposed.

Greeks hopes have been emboldened by the return to Athens from Germany and Sweden of a host of treasures, including some taken from the Acropolis itself. The frieze adorned the Parthenon until 1801 when Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, removed it, along with a host of other treasures when Athens was under enemy occupation.

They were sold by Lord Elgin to the British Museum for £35,000 after Parliament voted in 1816 to acquire them for the nation and were vested "in perpetuity" in the trustees of the British Museum. The Greek Government disagrees.

Mr Samaras is the successor to the late Melina Mercouri, whose strident claims for the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles made headlines more than 20 years ago.

The language today is more restrained, yet more confident. "I, along with every other Greek, wants the marbles reunited, just as Melina did," he said. "The argument against was that there was no deserving museum in Greece to house them. Now, this argument is off the table it cannot stand anymore. The Acropolis Museum was Melina's dream, and now we see it standing."

Greece retains 36 of the 115 panels in the Parthenon frieze. With the reproduction in its glass-walled upper gallery of the exact dimensions of the Parthenon temple, the building allows the marbles to be represented in their original configuration and context, in a way that could never be done in the British Museum.

The Greeks have also taken heart from polls that have shown that the majority of Britons support the return of the Marbles.

The fight for the return of the Marbles has led to committees being set up in 14 countries to lobby for their return.

The gallery offers a simultaneous view of the Parthenon itself, the extraordinary temple to the goddess Athena and, in the view of many, the greatest classical building in the world.

Constructing a vast new museum in one of the world's most ancient cities was not easy. When archaeologists began work they uncovered a 5th century BC settlement. The response of the architectural team of Bernard Tschumi from New York and Michael Photiadis from Greece was to build the elegant modern structure above the archaeological diggings. The site, which is still being excavated, can be seen by visitors through the museum's glass floor.

Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, has rejected overtures from Athens and said that it is the museum's duty to "preserve the universality of the marbles, and to protect them from being appropriated as a nationalistic political symbol".

If the British Museum, which says it is barred by its constitution from handing back its treasures, were obliged to return the marbles, the floodgates might open on other restitution claims. Nigeria, for instance, wants the return of the Benin bronzes, looted by Britain in 1897.

Originally Posted @ Archaeology News

A gleaming new showcase for the Acropolis

Athens finally has a place to display the hotly contested Elgin Marbles, plus statues, friezes and other artifacts from the ancient Greek site.

Reporting from Athens - For advocates of the repatriation of marble sculptures removed from the Parthenon in the early 19th century and long housed at the British Museum in London, the new Acropolis Museum is proof -- at last -- that Greece has a safe place to display the hotly contested artworks.

For Athenians who live and work near the Acropolis, the looming modern structure at the southeastern base of the hill is a mixed blessing. The $200-million, 226,000-square-foot museum has transformed the area of Makrygianni, boosting property values while dwarfing other buildings in the neighborhood.

Dimitrios Pandermalis, a classical archaeologist who presided over the building's construction and is now president of the museum, is acutely aware of all this. But for him, the gleaming edifice is a dream come true or at least partly so.

With 150,000 square feet of exhibition space, 10 times that of its predecessor, the museum presents layer upon layer of Acropolis history, from about 1000 BC to AD 700. Opened in June, it welcomed its millionth visitor in late October and continues to pack in about 10,000 people a day.

"What we miss in many museums with pieces from different origins is that we don't know precisely where many of them came from," Pandermalis says. "It's not enough to say that something is from Greece. We need to know if it's from northern or southern Greece or from Athens and which side of Athens. Here, all the exhibits are related to the Acropolis. Inscriptions on the bases of the statues help us connect the pieces to great personalities of politics and leading artists of the time."

A soft-spoken, grandfatherly scholar, Pandermalis wears an apricot-colored tie sprinkled with whimsical giraffes and elephants. But he works in an austere, high-ceilinged room on the second floor of a museum-adjacent neoclassical building, a former military hospital that houses Ministry of Culture offices. On his desk, a replica head of a classical sculpture jauntily crowned by a white hard hat speaks of construction challenges.

"I've had a turbulent life," says Pandermalis, part of the Greek Parliament in 2000, when he agreed to head the building commission. Professor emeritus of classical archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, he has ended a long teaching career but still directs the university's archaeological excavation at the foot of Mt. Olympus.

"The idea of a new Acropolis Museum started more than 30 years ago," he says. "The first architectural competition was held in 1976. I got involved in 2000 and started the fourth competition. A major problem was the site. Should it be around the Acropolis or at a distance from it or hidden underground? Another difficulty is that the site around the Acropolis is full of antiquities.

"It wasn't easy to hope for a new museum," he says. "But it was really necessary. The old museum on the hill was not appropriate for the finds. We have masterpieces, very precious pieces, and we did not have space to present them."

War, earthquakes and ravages of time, weather and pollution have seriously damaged the historic structures on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon. Today, cranes and scaffolding are part of the landscape in an ongoing effort to stabilize and restore crumblings buildings..

Earlier layers

The new showcase, designed by Bernard Tschumi Architects of New York and Paris, stands on concrete pylons above an excavation of an urban settlement dating from archaic to early Christian Athens. Discovered during construction, the site is expected to open to the public this year. For now, parts of it are visible in open pits and see-through panels in walkways. Inside the building, visitors see the excavation through the glass floor of a central ramp as they ascend to a vast, airy gallery of sculpture from the 7th to the early 5th century BC.

Depictions of violent struggles among animals, gods and demons in the Archaic Gallery once adorned triangular pediments under temple roofs. Many free-standing objects mingling with a forest of columns were made as votive offerings, dedicated to the gods as tokens of piety, thanks for blessings or emblems of achievement and status. Towering marble statues of young women bearing gifts were donated to a temple by wealthy citizens.

On the top floor is the Parthenon Gallery, a jaw-dropping, glass-encased rectangular space that has been shifted 23 degrees from the lower part of the building to align it with the ancient temple. Visitors have a direct view of the Parthenon itself while perusing its decorative scheme of carved marble reconstructed in the gallery. The sculptures are attributed to Phidias, who collaborated with his pupils Agorakritos, Alkamenes and other artists.

The pediments depict the birth of Athena and her victory over Poseidon. A bas-relief frieze that wrapped around the building portrays a 12-day festival populated by 360 figures and more than 250 animals. Ninety-two high relief panels, called metopes, illustrate battle scenes. About half the components are original marbles that have remained in Greece. Some pieces were lost in a 1687 explosion. The rest are plaster casts, mostly of pieces at the British Museum.

"I like very much that the physical environment is involved in the presentation of the exhibits," Pandermalis says. "People need to be conscious of cultural and historical layers to arrive at their sources. We have the sources. We are very proud of that."

Debate on marbles

But it's no accident that the Parthenon Gallery has heated up the long-simmering debate about the rightful home of the marbles taken to London by a Scottish diplomat known as Lord Elgin during a period of Ottoman Turkish rule and purchased by the British government in 1816 for 35,000 pounds sterling (more than $3 million today).

"The new museum explains the problem to the public," Pandermalis says. "It's a new base for the discussion. A full interpretation of the whole architecture is necessary to get an idea about the size, richness and quality of the sculpture. It was the glory of Athens in the classical period.

"We do not demand the return of every antiquity to the country of origin. For this one monument that is so important for the cultural history of the world, we have to find the solution to reunify all the original fragments. When you have the head of a statue and the body is 4,000 kilometers away, it's a problem."

The British show no sign of relinquishing the marbles in their possession. But instead of belaboring the point, Pandermalis shares "special views" at the museum, such as a quiet spot overlooking the Archaic Gallery, where visitors come face to face with an astonishing array of statues made thousands of years ago, some with traces of bright pigment. Another favorite place provides a vantage point above a group of female statues known as caryatids made to support a porch roof on the Erechtheion, a temple built in the early 5th century BC.

"Look at that, how people move," he says. "There's an overlay of space and movement, also of time. History becomes power, moving power."

Originally Posted @ Archaeology News

Ancient Greek History - Twilight of the Polis (cont.) and Conclusion

Professor Donald Kagan: I have a title for today's talk. I call it, "Philip, Demosthenes and the Fall of the Polis," and I read that to you because it's always useful to remember that while we look back on these events and know their outcome and can assign to them a special significance, let's never forget they didn't know that they were on the brink of the end of the independent polis. In fact, I'm sure if you came along in 362 after that battle it would never have occurred to you that that whole fundamental arrangement of the world that had been sort of in place, to some degree, perhaps as far back as the eighth century was going to change its character very sharply, and that although there would still be poleis that would be going on, it might seem in the same old way, even after the Macedonian conquest, the fact was that none of them ever again really was autonomous in the sense of to be fully in control of its own fate both in terms of the internal constitution and also, more importantly or at least the one that was most in danger, the capacity to engage in international relations freely and to be free to make their own foreign policy.

So, as I say, it's going to be a very major change but it's something that they don't know they're in the middle of watching. Well, in 359 a man called Philip became King of Macedon. We know the Macedonians were fundamentally Greeks. That is to say, they were Greek speakers and ethnically, if there is such a thing, they were Greek. But they were so far out of the mainstream of the development of the Greek poleis that we have been examining this semester that many, many Greeks, perhaps most of them, didn't think of them as being Greek. When Greeks thought about what it was to be a Greek they thought about more than the fact that they spoke the Greek language, they thought fundamentally--if you get to Aristotle you see how thoroughly true this is, it had to do with a culture, a way of life and that way of life was based upon the independent polis.

Well, Macedon did not have such a structure. The Greeks called the Macedonians an ethnos, a tribal group is what that sort of means. We use the word "nation" somehow to translate ethnos and that's okay. The word "nation" itself, you remember, comes from the Latin word which means to be born; people who are born of the same stock. But for the Greeks it had a different meaning; it was people who participated in the culture that they designated as Hellenic and they thought the Macedonians fell outside of that. There were no poleis in the Macedonian kingdom. It was something that we might call feudal. That is to say, yes there was a monarch, but there were powerful noblemen who were practically independent and who owed only a limited allegiance to the king and who were really the dominant figures in the state for most of the history prior to the appearance of Philip.

On the other hand, the king was an important and powerful character so that you have--this was true of European feudal states at certain periods in their development. On the one hand, the fundamental society was based upon great lords, great noblemen, barons, but there was a king and he was not inconsequential. That's the situation that pertained in Macedon. In a certain sense, if a Greek had looked at Macedonian society prior to Philip, he might have described it as Homeric, and you'll be familiar with that. Sure, there were guys called basileus, but they were not really the rulers over the barons, these great noblemen in their kingdom. They thought of it as uncivilized in the technical sense.

If you don't live in a polis, a city, as they understood it, then you are not civilized; you are part of an ethnos and that's the term they used of the tribal societies all around them, Illyrians, Scythians, they were all from an ethnos. The Macedonians, on the other hand, claimed very proudly and powerfully, and insistently that they were Greeks; they were Hellenes, and they probably invented a myth of their descent. Indeed, not merely from Greeks but from the real Greeks, that is to say the Argives, who were the leading people in the time of Homer's poetry and they claimed direct descent from Agamemnon and the other Argive kings. We hear about various Macedonian monarchs of some importance prior to Philip, back at the time of the Persian War, Alexander the first played an interesting and shady role between the Greeks and the Persians. During the Peloponnesian War we hear of a King Perdiccas, who also played a role shifting between the Spartans and the Athenians.

This business of shifting between sides is not just because they're shifty people. It's that their status is such that they're always vulnerable and not powerful enough to defend themselves and so they have to make the best deal they can with whoever has the power at any moment. One other Macedonian king has left a name that we know something about, Archelaus, who followed Perdiccas, one of the things about him was that he kept a kind of a cultural court at his capital, and for instance Euripides, for reasons that we do not know, left Athens at some point in the Peloponnesian War and came to Macedon where he joined a collection of artists and scholars, and whatever that Archelaus was gathering in his kingdom.

Well, Philip becomes king in 359 and the Macedonian kings were very much like Homeric kings as we have described them here. That is, yes you had to have a dynastic claim, you had to be a member of the royal family to be king, but that wasn't good enough. You had to also have--remember, to rule as I said about the Homeric kings, iphi, by force, by power, you had to have the actual capacity to command and sometimes you had to demonstrate that by fighting it out among various potential successors with having the winner coming out as the king. Something like that is what Philip did. He was not the most direct descendant of the previous king. He was left as a kind of a regent over the under-aged young king of just a boy and he was actually Philip's nephew and Philip's ward, and Philip took care of him in more senses than one, finally killing him and replacing him on the throne.

That was not a unique event in Macedonian history. So, Philip is now on the throne and, of course, with this disputed descent, this disputed right to the throne, you can imagine that he is not in the most secure position when he takes over this job, and so I think some part of his actions, certainly at the early part of his career, and perhaps all the way through, was meant to demonstrate his own greatness, his own capacity to be king so as to put down all resistance internally and for that purpose what could be better than spreading the boundaries, increasing the power, and in making the greatness of Macedon more than it had been before and that's what he undertook. It looks as though, I think we have enough evidence to believe, that he certainly, of course, meant to rule Macedon and to do whatever was necessary, however harsh to make that secure. But it is pretty clear that he had it in mind to conquer Greece, to make himself the master of Greece. That was certainly one of his objectives.

As a matter of fact, an interesting part of his biography was that as a young man--probably I should say as a boy, probably in his teens, he was sent to Thebes as a hostage as a result of a war between the Thebans and the Macedonians, but he was treated as a member of the royal family. He was treated very decently and with respect, and he spent his time in the house of Epaminondas. Can you imagine a better place for a young king with his military ambitions to be brought up than in the house of the man who is surely the foremost general in the Greece of his time and perhaps of any time, and I think we should imagine that he must have learned a great deal about military affairs there.

There remains the question, did Philip already have in his mind the plan of conquering the Persian Empire, which was, of course, the job that was completed by his son, because whatever Philip's intentions may have been he died before he could carry them out. I don't think we can be certain about that, but it was an idea that he didn't have to do a lot to dream up. I've mentioned to you how many an orator, Isocrates, most famously, had been calling on various Greek states and individuals to conquer the Persian Empire, to solve Greece's problems, and he wrote such a letter to Philip once Philip became the most powerful figure in that world. So, he certainly could have had the idea; I mean, he certainly did have the idea--whether he was planning to do that or not we don't know.

Now, his first--sort of the instrument that permitted him and Macedon to become as great as they did was the army that he created. I mean, it is very he who is the revolutionary, the military genius who creates the weapon which will allow him to conquer Greece, and it's the same military force that enables Alexander the Great, who had brought to it brilliant military talents, but he had an instrument shaped for him that was already far and away the best army in the Greek world, the best army of the Greek world had ever seen, perhaps as good an army as there ever existed in the ancient world.

This is the great achievement of Philip, or at least that was a basis of it. He was not merely a hoplite battle leader in the old style. One thing about Philip that was very important was his temperament, his mind, his approach to warfare. He simply didn't accept the notion of defeat. He didn't accept the notion of making some kind of a deal except on his terms when he found it necessary to do so. He's famous for having said after a temporary setback against one of his opponents, Philip has said, "I have not fled, but I have retired as rams do in order that I might make a stronger attack the next time." He really lived that principle. Nobody ever defeated him permanently. If he had to accept a temporary setback he immediately went to work to repair it through a variety of means, military, diplomatic and whatever else he had available.

But as I'm saying at the moment, he crafted this great grand new army, supplied, led, and organized quite differently from what I have described to you in the past as the standard Greek practice, which was essentially the hoplite phalanx, and as you know, in the course of the Peloponnesian War in the fourth century new gimmicks were added to that and different devices were contributed to it but still that was true. Now, Philip absorbed all the things that had been going on before his time, but he also made fundamental changes in the way that things worked. To his phalanx, and I was going to say, of grim professional soldiers--now, that I think is in itself an enormously important thing. We have something new on the Greek scene, an army which is a national army. That is to say, it is made up of Macedonians serving Macedon, under a Macedonian king, but they are not the citizen soldiers that we have examined in the case of the polis and its phalanx. They are hoplites in that phalanx.

They were professional soldiers so that their full time job was being an army; they did not spend their spare time back on farms. That means Philip had to pay them a salary for them to perform. At the same time, they were not a mercenary army in the traditional sense. They were not people gathered anywhere who fought for whoever hired them; they were very much Macedonian soldiers. Something we can understand in the United States today--an unusual thing in American history beginning only a couple of decades ago. We have that sort of an army. We have a professional national army, and I think this is an objective statement, it has become the best army in the world. There are many reasons for that, but I would argue one reason is that if you can have the sociological background to permit that kind of an army, you are in very good shape indeed. That's what Philip was able to create.

The kind of loyalty, the kind of commitment, the kind of association with the cause that only a citizen or a subject of a king can have, along with the skill, and the practice, and the conditioning that is part of being a professional soldier. So, he has this phalanx made up of these professionals that I'm talking about, but he added to that a group of people called the foot companions, pezetairoi is the Greek word, who were the biggest and the strongest of all the Macedonians and to that group he added the companion cavalry, the hetairoi themselves, the companions of the king, and of course these were the noblemen and they became personally attached to Philip in a special way and were the most effective, the most reliable forces that he had, an elite core, and here again is something different.

The cavalry will play a much more important role in fighting than it ever has in the Greek fighting of the past. One of the great geniuses of Philip would be to create a combined force that could use cavalry and infantry and some other subordinate forces I'll tell you about in a minute, jointly together, to carry out a rather complex military plan. These, of course, are these hetairoi, our aristocratic horsemen, heavily armored on strong horses. That's very important as well, because if you're going to use them as shock troops, which he did on many an occasion, all of that has to be in place. Then there was another contingent of infantry with probably less body armor than his phalanx had, who were called the shield bearers, hypaspists, and they occupied the center of the Macedonian line next to the phalanx.

These fellows were usually the first infantry forces to follow behind a cavalry charge if that's the way Philip fought the battle, charging a cavalry at the enemy, and as the enemy provided opportunities, these shield bearers, these lighter armed infantrymen would find their way and expand the holes, opening the way for the major blow to be struck by the phalanx. I'm describing one kind of battle that could be fought. The thing about having this kind of varied military force is that you could have different tactics for different battles and Philip does things differently on different occasions. This group of hypaspists, lighter infantry, provide a crucial link between the first mounted attack and the follow up by the phalanx proper.

On top of all of this, you have a professional core; again, they're all Macedonians remember, made up of really light infantry. That is to say, slingers, archers, javelin men in the traditional mode that the old Greek armies had, but didn't make too much use of typically and so that rounds out the composite army group made up of these different kinds of forces, and these missile men I guess you could call them, supplied both preliminary bombardment with the things they did to help harass the enemy phalanx, but also they provide a kind of crucial reserve support. If you need to throw some forces into a suddenly important piece of the battle these guys were very mobile and you could order them into that place to support whatever was going on there. You can see how infinitely more complex this was than the kind of fighting we've talked about before.

Now, these Macedonian contingents I've been describing do not represent a fragmentation of forces as might possibly be thought, but rather a diversification and a sophistication of arms, as one historian puts it, a symphony not a cacophony of professionally equipped men. Philip's contribution to the history of western warfare, therefore, is not so much tactical as it is organizational, creating this complex organization that could have a variety of tactical uses. Now at first, the equipment and the tactics of this Macedonian phalanx for itself did not differ considerably from the traditional hoplite columns of the Greeks, but he then subsequently made a very important change.

Now, he does keep the spear, the pike that was the fundamental weapon of the old phalanx. But it was lengthened from being let's say roughly eight feet long to fourteen feet or so. Now, you cannot hold a fourteen-foot pike with one hand. This is a two-handed weapon; if you're going to control and use it effectively that's what you have to do. Well, if you're going to have two hands on this thing you can't have that hoplite shield that was the characteristic of the old hoplite phalanx. So, the shield shrank and became unimportant. You realize that once you do this to your hoplite phalanx, it can only function successfully as an aggressive force, if you see what I mean. You can't just take blows; you have to be delivering blows all the time.

The greaves and the breastplates, and the heavy head gear were replaced either with leather which was lighter, or various composite materials, or else abandoned altogether. So, you can see these hoplites don't look anything like the hoplites we're accustomed to. The central idea, however, of a fighting mass of infantrymen remained predominant. In fact, integrated with and protected by such diverse forces, Philip's phalanx of true pikemen, their lances now allowed the first five, not merely the first three ranks to strike at the enemy, was both more lethal and more versatile than the traditional hoplite columns. The historian Polybius, who wrote in the second century B.C., but you have to realize he was a contemporary of Macedonian soldiers, who were still fighting fundamentally in the same way that Philip had created, so he knew what he was saying.

He, for instance, he describes the great battles between the Romans and the Macedonians that occurred late in the third and into the second century. So, he even saw or certainly knew about the new phalanx, the Macedonian phalanx, tackling the Roman Legion and fighting it practically to a standstill. Polybius says that infantry, who faced such a storm of spears, as he puts it, might have as many as ten iron points concentrated on each man. Nothing Polybius concluded can stand up to the phalanx. The Roman, by himself with his sword, can neither slash down nor break through the ten spears that all at once press against him. Well, he has to face the fact that the Roman Legion did defeat one of these phalanxes in the course of the third century, but I think if you look at the details you realize that there was nothing inevitable about that defeat.

Circumstances in battle allowed the Romans to win, because it put a premium on the great advantage that the legion had over the phalanx; namely, that it was divided up into smaller fighting units that could adjust and move about the field much more freely than the fighters in the phalanx of the Macedonians. That was certainly an edge that the legion had, but there never was a time when a legion fighting a good Macedonian phalanx could predict that it would win, much less that it would be any kind of a walk over. Of course, against the kind of forces that Philip faced, it was all the more likely to produce a Macedonian victory, because those were not Roman legions that they had to face.

Now, if you're going to have a national mercenary army, a national army made up of professionals, that means it costs money in a way that the old phalanx system did not require the expenditure of funds very much. So, Philip, early in his career, had to gain control of sources of money and he did so. Early as king he immediately had to put down his opponents from within Macedonia, but he also did what I suppose Macedonian kings always had to do on their accession, they were surrounded by what the Greeks called barbarian peoples and these barbarian peoples were always fighting against the Macedonians and trying to push back their frontiers and so on. So Philip turned against these, the Illyrians and various other peoples, and did an excellent job of defeating them, driving them back, establishing the boundaries where he wanted them.

In the process, accomplishing two very important things. One was to establish his credentials as a great general and leader for internal purposes and for military purposes is in a sense of winning the confidence of his soldiers, but also it meant that his own stature in general and the reputation that he gained both among enemies and friends grew, and finally the last point, this kind of fighting allowed him to train his army and to create this army, and to make it as excellent as it became before he had to face more formidable forces than these. So, now he has won the loyalty of his nobility to a degree that no predecessor ever had. He now has these barons who are so independent, happily, gladly serving him and being rather in awe of him, and the army in general was devoted to him in a way that was unprecedented for the Macedonians.

Now, with this weapon largely forged he was able to begin serious expansion in the Greek world. A critical step rather early in his monarchy was his attack on Amphipolis, and you will remember Amphipolis was this Athenian colony that was such a big deal for the Athenians that they were prepared to do almost anything to get it back, but they never had thoroughly been able to get it back until recently. So, now he took Amphipolis--what was more important than anything for him was that who held Amphipolis was likely to hold Mt. Pangaean which is right near Amphipolis, which contained gold and silver mines that were producing wealth as they had been for centuries now, and now that wealth was going into Philip's pocket and he used it for the purpose that was most important, chiefly for paying for that army that I have been talking about.

We are told that this produced about 1,000 talents a year for Philip's use, and that's about the same amount that the Athenians got out of their empire. So, you are talking about lots and lots of money and this explains the economic capacity that gave Philip the chance to use the kind of army he had. But he was extraordinarily skillful at the game of diplomacy. I say game, because he treated it in that way. Diplomacy, I think, for him was an extension of military forces by peaceful means. It's kind of a standing Clausewitz's definition of war on its head. Who was it? Sir John Fortescue, I think, it was in the fifteenth century defined a diplomat as a man sent to lie abroad for his country. I think the spirit behind that pun was certainly right for Philip, that for him diplomacy was a way for advancing his country's interests by whatever means that he possibly could; he was very good.

One of his very great skills was precisely to lie in a very convincing manner and, of course, it's much easier to get people to believe what you say if you have got the strongest army anywhere in sight in case you should be so impolite as to say "you're a liar." I think that must have assisted him. But what I mean is Philip would come into conflict with some polis or some poleis over some territory that was in dispute or whatever, and they would say Philip what are you trying to do, you seem to be trying to conquer this territory. Oh no, no Philip said, I have absolutely no interest in this territory, I've got other things to do that are much more important. Those Paeonians in my background require my attention and when the other guys would calm down he would calmly take the place that he had left alone.

I'm reminded, and I guess after the Second World War, in fact even before, there were some scholars who made the analogy between Hitler and Philip, and Demosthenes and Churchill, it's not the worst one. It's very imperfect, but it's not the worst analogy possible, but I remember Hitler kept saying before his strength was great enough simply to launch a major war he would say, if you give me this that's all I'm interested in, that is absolutely my last territorial demand in Europe, and then in a few months he would then seize Austria or something like that. So, Philip reminds me of that, because he did such things from time to time. It's just too much to tell in terms of the detail of his career, but let me just hit a few highlights and give you the direction in which it was going.

The first business that he had to do after he gained Amphipolis and the wealth of the mines was to gain control of the shoreline of the northern Aegean Sea, and that meant of course his own Macedonia, which he had, but also eastward into the region of Thrace. He began precisely to gain control of those places. It was in 357 that he took Amphipolis and that meant that he had to clash with Athens, because as I say, Athens had never given up its claim to Amphipolis and kept trying to get it back, because of its value to the Athenians. What we will see is war between Philip and Athens on and off until the final victory of Macedonia. It's a period of quite a stretch of time in here in which that's going on.

On the other hand, it's never a full scale war with Philip trying to conquer Athens. How could he? He's still outside from a territorial point of view, outside the entire old Greek world. But he can cause all the havoc he wants to in the northern Aegean and the Athenians will be unhappy about it; they will send forces up into that part of the world to contest Philip's expansion and that's where the fighting goes on. But the Athenians are not ready to take him on and really try to stop him from going where he seems to be going. What they do is they respond when he does something that annoys them or that they're worried about. Sometimes they go out and fight him, but usually they don't, or sometimes they do and they do so too little and too late. That's the story of the relationship between these two powers throughout this whole stretch of time.

With the expansion of Philip in a variety of directions, he increases his revenues wherever he conquers. He gets down into Thessaly, now we're talking about territory that the Greeks consider to be Greece and Philip is now gaining more and more control of that area. The revenues grow and he even builds a navy and begins to challenge Athens and others at sea. He attacks Athenian commerce when he is quarreling with the Athenians. The Athenian position in general is badly weakened in the years between 357 and 355 in what the traditional historians call the Social War. That doesn't mean that they fought over teacups or anything like that, "social" derives from the Latin word socii, which means allies.

It was a rebellion against the allies of Athens in the Athenian Confederation, which really frightened the Athenians, and kept them busy putting it down for a couple of years. There is some debate among scholars today as to how oppressive or not was the Athenian rule of its empire. The more recent scholarship has suggested that the Athenians were not really very oppressive, which leaves for, I think, for them an uncomfortable question, if that's true why was there this rebellion in the years 357 to 355? We just don't know enough to talk details about this, but I think there can be no mistake; the Athenians abused their position of power and leadership in the empire. They didn't do so as thoroughly and completely as they did in the great Athenian Empire of the fifth century but that was largely because they couldn't. They never had the power, they never had the financial strength to be able to impose their will as the earlier empire had, but they did what they could and they did enough to annoy their allies into such a rebellion.

Athens recovers, they win, they put down the allied rebellion, but they are weakened in the process. In 356, there breaks out on the mainland of Greece, what they would call the Sacred War. It's the old business of who controls the Delphic Oracle. The neighbors, Phocis, Locris, frequently take advantage of opportunities to gain control of the oracle and to deprive the priests of their control of the region. The priests then call on other Greeks traditionally led by Sparta but not always to beat up the people who have taken over the oracle's place and drive them out and restore it to the priest. Well, this is another in that theory, in that series of events. Thebes and Phocis are involved in a war over Delphi. The Phocian general is the only time he crops us in this story, Onomarchus apparently was an outstanding military leader and defeated the Thebans and even pushed into Thessaly, and that brings Philip into the picture, because Philip has been expanding Macedonian power into Thessaly from the north coming south.

So, Philip takes his forces and he pushes the Phocians back, defeats Onomarchus, sends them off. Now, here's the question. Is this good or bad for the Greeks? On the one hand the one thought would be well, sure he's just put down this fellow who has arrogantly seized the Delphic Oracle, but now who is there, who is sitting in Thessaly, this great big new army. Is he going to be a menace to the Greeks in general? Well, we who have had a chance to know how it came out and know that it did. But at the time people were divided, some say oh my heavens this is a thoroughly aggressive man at the head of an army that looks incredibly strong and he has terrific ambitions, what are we going to do, against those who said, no it's okay, he's okay now, he's happy, he doesn't want to do anymore than that.

Let's take a look at Athens, which will necessarily be the leading figure in the opposition to Philip such as it is. Thebes, last time we looked at Thebes, Thebes had reached a position of power perhaps greater than that of Athens, but you remember the deaths of Pelopidas and Epaminondas simply did not allow Thebes to continue to have that vitality and power that it had before. It's still a very strong state. Its hoplite phalanx is still formidable; they still have great ambitions and so on, but it turns out they don't really have the capacity to take the lead in such a business. The Athenians do and they are very much concerned about what's happening. But it's not the same Athens that we saw in the height of its power in the fifth century. Relatively speaking, it is a very poor place indeed. It is, however, still the number one naval power in the Greek world and therefore very important.

Let's take a look at the internal life of Athens a little bit and notice some changes they will have some significance in terms of what decisions the Athenians make. There is something that was introduced -- we don't know just when -- it might have been late in the Peloponnesian War it, might have been afterwards. It is called the theoric fund, and it gets its name apparently because there was a payment to the Athenian citizens of the price necessary to pay for the ticket to see the great theatrical festivals that went on twice a year in Athens, which had apparently degenerated pretty much into a dole, into a kind of a welfare fund for the very poor. It did not amount to a stunning amount of money, but given the poverty of Athens in general, any fund of money could be very significant at critical moments, especially on issues of national defense.

But there was a lot of argument, a sort of a democratic party, the party of the underprivileged or whatever, always insistent that everybody's supposed to keep hands off the theoric fund which should only be used for its welfare state--I'm embarrassed to use such a term because of course there was nothing like that in the ancient world. Just for that portion of the national income that was used to alleviate the worst poverty they wanted that untouched, but when the state was under siege, it was under threat, it was--had to go to war, so it seemed to some politicians, they needed money to do it and say let's take the theoric fund for now while we have this necessity and there would be a fight about that. You remember the Athenian Empire in the fifth century? Never had a money--not never, but could generally handle its money problem because it had this great income from the empire, say roughly 1,000 talents a year coming in.

That was not true. So, that if Athens wanted to send an expedition anywhere, they had to levy a direct war tax; it was called the eisphora. They had done so two or three times during the Peloponnesian War. As far as we know they had never done it before that time. We have stressed how unnatural direct taxation was in the Greek world, but here that's what they really had. They had to pay this eisphora, if they were going to conduct a military and naval campaigns that they felt were necessary. In fact, it used to be true that individual Greeks back in the fifth century could pay their share, what was assigned to them for the eisphora, individually, but now they were so few people who could do that they organized groups of taxpayers whom they called symmories who would share the burden. It makes me think that it probably sank further down the--sort of the wealth class of Athens. More people I guess were now paying taxes than before.

In the fifth century the only people who paid taxes were the very wealthy and now that I think was attenuated as people who were not so wealthy had to pay something as well. Another thing is that we find the Athenians using, as a regular thing in these campaigns that they will have to fight, mercenary soldiers. I don't mean mercenaries of the Macedonian kind, the kind that Philip was using. I mean hiring a band of mercenaries who might come from anyplace in Greece. That was because the Athenians were reluctant themselves to go out on expeditions. Nothing could be more different I think from the way the Athenians behaved in the fifth century when they were all over the joint, as you remember, in 457 that inscription that talked about those died from one tribe all over the battle. They were proud of it and they never ran short of soldiers willing to do this kind of thing. The assembly voted it and the people win. Not now.

The Athenians are reluctant to engage in these activities. Our main source for complaint about this is Demosthenes, who much of the time is pleading with the Athenians to recognize the danger presented by Philip and for them to take the necessary steps to check Philip before it was too late. What he asked them to do repeatedly was to first of all vote the money that was necessary to support the expedition and then not to hire mercenaries but to serve themselves in the fighting, and he did not win those arguments very often. There were in Athens throughout this period people that we would call in our own jargon hawks and doves; people who were ready to fight for these purposes and people who were very reluctant to do so. The people who seemed to be the most reluctant to do this were the upper classes, of course, because war meant taxation and they were going to do the bulk of the paying of the taxes.

It may well be--I don't want to make too much of this, Philip, wherever he could would install oligarchic governments in places that he ruled. He was not interested in democracy; he was not a friend of democracy. There were some Athenians who had never given up their hope that an oligarchy could be placed into Athens, instead of a democracy. They would have been doves and more. I mean, there is a pretty clear indication that Philip did in Athens what he did in other states as well. He bribed important Athenians to be champions of his cause and the people it's easiest to get this to work with are people who agree with your approach, who on your side of the argument. So, there was some of that. I mean, there was a real difference of opinion as there always is.

We should be very aware of it and in recent years this is the kind of thing you see. Some people in society seeing a great danger out there that must be prepared for and confronted, others thinking that that is overblown, that that is too pessimistic, that there is no such great danger or that it can best be dealt with by negotiation and conversation, and anything but fighting, and that was the situation in Athens. If you were hostile, if you were a member of the hawk faction, you would say your opponents were deluding themselves about the degree of the danger and that Philip was a very special kind of a menace. If you were a dove you would accuse your opponents of being alarmists, excessively afraid and worse. Of course, both sides accused each other of much worse things having to do with their characters and so on, as people always do.

The first statement we have of Demosthenes, who will emerge as the dominant hawk for most of the time that he is doing business in Athens is in 351, when he delivers the speech that we call the First Philippic. He delivered a series of speeches attacking Philip and warning the Athenians of the danger presented by Philip. To this day, philippic is a word in English which means a strong attacking piece of rhetoric against some individual or some nation. He charged the Athenians with having created the great danger that they faced by making Philip into a great man through neglect by their refusal to stop him when it was relatively easy to do so. They should send, he thought, a fleet, a good-sized fleet to serve in the northern Aegean Sea and to stop Philip's expansion and to stop Philip period. He urged them, and he will do this over and over again. Don't hire mercenaries, enlist for service yourself, vote for war tax, and those of you who should pay it should do so. He lost the argument.

The Athenians did not take that action that he recommended. Philip, pretty soon after that, attacked the Olynthians; you remember Olynthus is an important state on the Chalcidic Peninsula; it has been a very significant state back in this century you remember when the Spartans went up there to defeat the Olynthians who had constructed a league of their. Well, they weren't out of business yet. So, Philip went after them and, again, Demosthenes urges the Athenians to get involved and to prevent Philip from taking Olynthus an the Chalcidic states and gaining control of the northern Aegean Sea and all the danger that that presented to Athenian interests. Again, he loses the argument. He delivers three Olynthiac speeches which have the same character as the one I've described, but the Athenians do not do it.

In the year 348 Olynthus falls. That city and the other cities of the region were destroyed. You remember this is not a typical way in which the Greeks dealt with defeated states, although heaven knows the Peloponnesian War had seen examples of it, but it was a very, very harsh kind of warfare that Philip carried forward. He destroyed the cities physically, he enslaved what was left of the population and so this was a message. I think it wasn't just that he had a cruel temperament, though I suppose he must have had that too, but it was meant to be exemplary. It was meant to say when Philip says do this, do it, because if you don't, he will crush you and this is what will happen to your city and to you. That's an old technique. We know that the Assyrians used to do that way back in biblical times in which they would deliberately be as brutal and cruel as they could be, and having done so would broadcast how brutal and cruel they had been, in order to encourage other states to behave appropriately in the future.

Hitler had used those same tactics early in the Second World War when he destroyed the city of Rotterdam from the air, completely not military whatsoever. It was obviously intended to terrify everybody who might want to resist him. So, that's what Philip did up there. Finally after further fighting of one kind or another, the Athenians and a number of other Greeks make a treaty with Philip. It is called the Peace of Philocrates; he was one of the negotiators on the Athenian team. There really didn't seem to be much disagreement among the Athenians as to the desirability of this peace, even Demosthenes who is normally opposed to anything like it, felt that it probably had to be done, and I think that just reflected the realities of the distribution of power and also of the willingness of the Athenians to do anything more than that, and so there is this period of the Peace of Philocrates in which the Athenians make a defensive alliance with Philip.

There things sit when another development raises the panic button, I think, for Demosthenes and some others. The Sacred War, there's another Sacred War going on. This time the people who want to restore power to the priests invite Philip to lead the Greek forces in the Sacred War. That is a very big deal. First of all, it recognizes the Macedonians as Greeks in the truest sense of the word. It should have been, probably was, a major source of satisfaction for Philip and extraordinary glory in the eyes of his fellow Macedonians that the Greeks should have done this. Not only accepted them as Hellenes, but asked them to save the Oracle of Apollo, the center of Greek worship there. So, he takes his army, he runs into the Phocians, blasts the Phocian army and does what he was asked to do. In the process, when it's all over, he decides that from now on Macedon and King Philip will take not just one vote on the council that governs the Delphic Oracle. I may have mentioned it to you earlier in the semester, the Amphictyonic Council, the council of those who dwell around Delphi. He took two votes on that council, and he made himself president of the Pythian Games-- you remember these panhellenic festivals.

There were four great panhellenic festivals, Olympia, Nemea, the isthmus of Corinth, and the one at Delphi which was called the Pythian Games and here is this barbarian from Macedonia not only sitting on the council but being the chairman, holding the position of honor as all the Greeks gather for the Pythian Games. Well, this must have had an enormously intimidating effect on many in the Greek world, and it becomes more and more Athens that has to take the lead, if anybody is going to resist. The Athenians were concerned; at least those who were not determined to accept the course of events. Phillip was very careful with Athens, for this there was a very good reason. They had a special strategic set of advantages that nobody else in the Greek world had, and that Philip didn't have an easy answer for.

Athens was a walled city which had proven itself capable of defending those walls. You should realize that up to this point in Greek history, nobody has demonstrated any kind of ability of taking a walled city by force, the only way you can take a walled city is by surrounding it and starving it out, but you remember now that the Athenians have a navy and walls, they can't be starved out in the same way. So, taking on Athens, if you really want to take the city, is a job that's very difficult indeed. Of course, the Athenians have their navy which makes that true, but also allows the Athenians to do you harm in a way that other states cannot do. So, all of that means that Philip is not about to make a headlong assault on Athens, but to try to have his way by going around Athens somehow.

He tried to win Athenian support through his usual technique of soft words, explaining how he had no aggressive intentions in areas that the Athenians were interested in, even though he had already demonstrated that that wasn't right. Also by working Athenian politics, by bribing Athenian politicians to be on his side and using every device he could to make it harder for the hawkish people to have their way. Demosthenes from here on in is determined, and determinedly against Philip, spending all his energy and time trying to get up Athenian support and then, indeed, to put together a coalition of states besides Athens to resist and fight and defeat Philip. Indeed, he is more successful than he was before, because the danger from Philip is obviously greater, so that more Athenians can see it that way. The league he puts together includes Euboea, Megara, Achaea, Acarnania, Lucas, Phocis, and finally Thebes.

Now, that's a pretty good trick. Phocis and Thebes are traditional opponents, but they're both in the league and what that tells you is that those states, and especially those states which are in central Greece, closest to where Philip is located with his forces into Thessaly and so they now see that there is a great danger from him and they join in an anti-Philip coalition. He doesn't go at them immediately directly; he goes to war but he does so up in the north on the shores of the Aegean Sea. He moves eastward--this is an enormously clever thing to do, towards what the Greeks call the Chersonese, the peninsula which we call the Gallipoli Peninsula, the Hellespont. Philip wants to gain control of that, because if he can control the Hellespont, it's the old story, he can cut off trade, he can starve Athens out and it would hurt others too but Athens would be the main attack.

So, he moves forces to the Thracian coast, taking various cities there, and gaining more and more territory towards that end, and then he goes all the way across to the Bosporus to Byzantium, modern Istanbul, and he takes that city as well, and, of course, you can cut off trade, if you can control the Bosporus. So this is very, very serious for Athens and it's on this occasion that Demosthenes delivers his third Philippic making the same case as he has been making all along, and only doing so but I think with even greater intensity and this time with more persuasiveness, because more and more Athenians understand how serious this menace has become.

Small point but not so trivial that the Athenians were able even to enlist the support in language at least by Persia. If the Greeks are going to fight this guy, it would be awfully handy if you could get the Persian support. As it turns out, the Persians don't do anything of importance in resisting Philip, but it shows you how Demosthenes and those Greeks who agreed with him were attempting to put together as strong a coalition as they could to try to stop him. Forgive me. Don't pay too much attention to what I'm saying but I'm constantly being reminded of the behavior of the European states just prior to the Second World War, and in place of Persia I think we would have to put the United States of America, which was out of the game and sort of constantly trying to stay out of the game, powerful isolation of sentiment in this country, and people in Europe, some people urging that everything be done to get the United States into the game and others reluctant to do that.

It wouldn't have made any difference, nothing would have gotten the Americans to take an active part against Hitler at that time, and I suspect there was no chance that anybody could have convinced the Persians to do anything at this point either. But the Athenians do send a force and it's a good size force and it does a very good job, and they drive Philip back out of some of the places that he has conquered, which I think is interesting to think about. It's not obvious that if the Athenians had gotten their collation together earlier, and if they had done the best they could, it's not obvious that they couldn't have defeated Philip. There's this terrible danger that we will all become victims of a fait accompli, what happened obviously had to happen, it couldn't happen any other way. No, I don't think that's right. We certainly don't live our lives as though that's true, and we shouldn't allow ourselves to imagine it's true in retrospect.

The fact that the Athenians could have such success against Philip as they did at this moment is evidence that that was by no means a hopeless cause. Once again, a Sacred War breaks out over Delphi. Again, the Amphictyonic League, this time of course having as its president Philip invite Philip to lead the forces of the Sacred War. The Sacred War has been declared against the town near Delphi called Amphisa and that's the force that he's going to use against it. Philip moves down from Thessaly, arrives at a place not very far from Delphi called Elatea on one side, and the other side at Thermopylae. These are the roots to get down into central Greece. Once you go through those places you are right next to Boeotia, you are a couple of days from Athens, you're right in the middle of a position where you could do terrific harm.

When the Athenians received the news, there really is panic. Demosthenes tells the story. Now, Demosthenes is a witness who is excellent because he's a participant, contemporary, that's great, but you've got to look at him with a certain amount of skepticism because he's a participant. He's a guy who held a certain point of view, he was very active in politics, he has strong views on everything, his reputation depends upon how you look upon what he did. So, you must understand that when he tells us these things he's telling it form his perspective. It's very much like Winston Churchill's histories of the two world wars in which he played a very large part, even in the first but certainly in the second, and it's not that he lies, it's not that he deceives, but when you read those stories you read them as Winston Churchill sees them and you have to be alert to them. There's a wonderful--about Churchill is a wonderful story, apparently true, that when Churchill's book on the First World War came out--I forget the title; let's say it was called "The Great War," which it wasn't. The former prime minister, Arthur Balfour, who didn't like Churchill at all is supposed to have said, "I see that Winston has published another book about himself and called it The Great War."

The enemies of Demosthenes might say the same things about what he says in some of his speeches. But later on in his career when there was a big battle between him and his chief opponent, Demosthenes' friends were asking the assembly to vote him a crown. It meant a crown of leaves, not of gold, but the honor for things he had done for Athens and his opponents thought that what should be done for Demosthenes for what he had done to Athens is to throw him off the Acropolis. So, there's a great debate that we have both halves of. It's in that debate that he recounts the things he has done for Athens, why they should be grateful to him, and this moment is one he points to. He tells about the news came to Athens that Philip was in Elatea, and he says, we all gathered there first thing in the morning and the place was full.

If you remember that passage I read to you from Aristophanes about how things usually were in the Athenian assembly, where everybody came ambling in late, no problem, nobody was in a hurry, no he says, everybody was there. When the prytany for the day, the president of the meeting said, who wishes to speak, no one, no one raised their hand. Then I got up and gave you guys the good advice that followed and all that stuff. But I think we can't doubt the essential truth of the situation, that there was just a terrible fear and no idea how to cope. Demosthenes then suggested what steps should be taken to resist. One of them, and he was able to do it now, was to use the theoric fund to supply the forces that were necessary. Secondly, to do something that was quite an achievement from a diplomatic point of view, to make an alliance with Thebes.

Ever since the late 370s Athens had not been allied to Thebes, it had become alarmed that Theban power had joined even with Sparta against the Thebans, but here as we're into the very late 340s, early 330s, he makes an alliance with Thebes so that what is surely the strongest ground force on the side of the Greeks against Philip will be there, namely the Thebans, and the Boeotians in general. Finally, in 338 the Battle of Chaeronea takes place in western Boeotia and the result is a victory for Philip. The battle itself was by no means a walkover; it was very close. Our accounts of it make it clear that there was every possibility, even then, even though the Spartans weren't there, even though Philip's forces were at their peak. The Greeks might have won that battle, that's a very important thing to remember, but they didn't. Philip won and that was the end of Greek freedom. Thereafter, the states all had to bow down to Philip in terms of foreign policy.

In many cases, he actually interfered in their internal autonomy. He established garrisons at key places in the Greek world, including Chalcis and Euboea, Corinth and Mount Ambracia in the west and they were called the fetters of Greece. It was like he put a great chain across Greece to show and demonstrate, and make real his control. Athens was forced to abandon the confederacy, its own confederacy; they were forced to make an alliance with Philip. He constituted in 336 the League of Corinth with himself as president. It was an offensive and defensive alliance. Philip was commander in chief and he could tell everybody what to do, and they would have to do it. This truly was the end of Greek freedom. As it turned out, Philip was assassinated in the same year so that he never was able to demonstrate how he would carry on once he had that power.

The business of the conquest of Persia, if that was in the mind of Philip, had to be left to his very young son Alexander, who I think was eighteen at this point. So, that gets us to the interesting question of history's judgment on these events, and especially I think the interesting person is Demosthenes, and as you read in your problems collection, the nineteenth-century German historian Droysen and the German historians of that time in general had no doubt about the judgment. It was very negative about Demosthenes. After all, what was Athens anyway? According to Droysen it was ein advokaten republic, it's the lowest blow anybody could deliver, a republic of lawyers. What Demosthenes was trying to preserve was kliene Städte, the world of small independent states, a contemptible term in the eyes of Droysen and his fellow nationalists. German, you remember had just--I forget the date of his writing, either it had already been unified by Bismarck or nationalists were demanding that these little states all be brought together into a great German empire and that's where Droysen was.

The future, Droysen said, was with Philip. Demosthenes was a reactionary trying to retain things that were--whose time had come and gone. What was needed was the unification of the ancient Mediterranean and this was a step in that direction. Why was it necessary to have a unification of the ancient Mediterranean? As would finally be accomplished, not by Philip and Macedon, but by the Romans, because it was all part of the great plan without which there could not have been Christianity. Christianity could come to the world and dominate Europe, because it had been made into a single word by virtue of the Macedonian and Roman conquest, and Demosthenes in his small minded petty way was standing in the way of that.

Yes, there were admirable things about Demosthenes, but his behavior and his policy was quixotic, because it was hopeless. I think this is my reading of what Droysen really is saying; he lost so he must have been wrong. Winners are always right or else they wouldn't win. Now, I think we can evaluate that in a different way. If we think about a different situation, I've been thinking about it all along and telling you about it, which is let's take a look at Winston Churchill who had been called by historians the Demosthenes of that time. The man who had been calling attention to the danger from Hitler and trying to rally support and really treated like an idiot until finally the knife, the dagger was at the throat of the British and only then, and with great reluctance did the British put him in control.

Now, if we look at his experience and what he did I think it's illuminating. The difference between heroic victory and disaster can be terribly thin. Taking office at a low point in the fortunes of his country and its allies, Churchill made a famous speech, which just breathed defiance when there was no physical justification for such a position. He said this, "I have myself full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our island home. To ride out the storm of war and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone, we shall go onto the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, and we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, and we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender."

Yet England came within a hair's breath of losing that war and suffering the horrors of invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany. In fact, had Hitler and Guering continued bombing the RAF's landing fields and ground facilities as they began to do with the Battle of Britain, instead of turning away from that and using their planes to bomb cities and scaring civilians, it's very clear to me that Germany would have won the Battle of Britain and control of the air, which would have made their success inevitable. Now imagine that it had gone that way; in that case, Churchill's bulldog determination, his refusal to accept what was a relatively generous peace offer after the fall of France, would seem in retrospect the wrong-headed defiance of a man, who brought his people low by his own intransigence. He would have been treated, I think by history, as some kind of a gallant fool, some kind of a brave imbecile.

But men like Churchill and Demosthenes know that those who love liberty must fight for it, even against odds, even when there is little support, even when victory seems impossible. In spite of the outcome, it seems to me that the stand of Athens and its Greek allies at Chaeronea may have been in words that Churchill used in another context, "their finest hour." Thank you very much.

Ancient Greek History - Twilight of the Polis

Professor Donald Kagan: Let me remind you that the Spartans, ever since their victory in the Peloponnesian War had been attempting to extend their hegemony, at first all the way over into Asia, and then when that was thwarted, they tried to do so on the mainland of Greece, and one consequence of their effort and the failure to achieve it in an easy way was the restoration of Athens to a primary position in the Greek world. Again, not as powerful as Sparta, but once again an independent state that was capable of being a serious opponent of the Spartans. Today, I want to talk about the emergence of a third great power in this period which had never had a position, I think, of something resembling equality with the leading powers in the Greek world, although it had had periods when it was very strong anyway. Thebes is what I'm talking about.

Now, if you look at the situation in 379, when the Spartans were in control of Thebes as a consequence of the actions of Phoebidas, there was a Spartan garrison there in the city, on its acropolis, there were Spartan garrisons in other towns in Boeotia and it was probably as a low a point for the Thebans as they had experienced since the 450s when the Athenians gained control of Boeotia. But starting with the successful Theban rebellion which overthrew the Spartan command of the city, the Thebans launched a period of growth in power, influence, wealth, and even to some degree extent which justifies modern historians in speaking about a period perhaps beginning in 371 and running at least a decade, to which they give the name the Theban Hegemony, and today I want to talk about how that happened and how it sort of developed and ended.

The Spartans invaded, after the Theban overthrow of Spartan rule and in the first year the leader in that invasion was given to the young King Cleombrotus, not to Agesilaus, and his failure to undertake that command exercised the minds of ancient writers as well as modern ones. One answer whenever Agesilaus doesn't take command of an army, which is following a policy that he likes, people suggest that he might have been physically incapable of doing it. He was an old man and he had been injured and so that's a plausible reason at any time, and yet the ancient writers were persuaded that there were times when he was simply playing politics in some complicated way and choosing not to take the command. This is one of those occasions when they speculate that he was trying to get Cleombrotus engaged in this anti-Theban policy, which would provide for greater support for that general Agesilean policy and that that's why he had worked it so that Cleombrotus got the command.

We simply can't be sure about what the truth of that is. Cleombrotus, however, did not wage a very aggressive campaign and that first invasion of 378 produced very, very little. However, subsequent Spartan invasions also, even those led by Agesilaus, were not successful. The Thebans were able gradually to gather their strength, to recover parts of Boeotia and bring them under their power, and to drive the Spartans away without yielding anything of importance. One of the consequences--I'm talking really about the years 378, 377, 376 and into 375.

One of the things that the Thebans engaged in, in this period, and it's extremely important because it provides the basis for the power that they will develop, was a reconstruction of the Boeotian League. The Thebans had commanded or led, or dominated the Boeotian League before. They changed its constitution, however, in these years in a way that was rather important. In a word, to simply the matter, the entire operation of the league became more democratic. They used to have the decisive bodies that determined the Theban policy in the form of four separate councils, which were sort of indirect regimes that really made the policy. The new constitution made the decisive place really an assembly in which all the representatives of the Theban cities came and made policy in an assembly not in separate councils, all of which could be more readily controlled by oligarchic figures, and the only thing is that the meetings of the Boeotian League took place in Thebes.

Now, not only did Thebes have a majority of representatives in that league, or at least the largest number by virtue of its size and its leading role, but the fact that it all took place in Thebes meant that there would be more Thebans there and more Thebans playing an influential role in what was going on. Nonetheless, we shouldn't discount the truly democratic nature of this regime. It's a new thing. Boeotia and Thebes used to be bulwark of oligarchy, and it became a remarkably democratic city, and I think there's reason to take note of the fact that this seemed to have had an impact on Thebes and Boeotia much like the one that Herodotus praises so highly back when Athens became democratic, when they threw out their tyrants, and established the Cleisthenic regime, Herodotus says that they became better warriors. They produced a better army; they began defeating their enemies as they had not done before.

I think that is very clearly also what happens in Thebes. We can't get away from the fact that Thebes became a more formidable military power thereafter. Whether or not it's linked to democracy is open to argument, but I think there is a real argument that would say it worked that way. At least, we don't know the details of this very well, but a very unusual thing seems to have happened. The Thebans ultimately were able to increase the size of their army by using farmers, who would not ordinarily have been able to afford hoplite equipment, but somehow the state managed to equip poorer farmers and to turn them into hoplites, so that ultimately the army that Thebes commanded--when you get down to the years after the Battle of Leuctra, in which the Thebans and their friends defeated the Spartans, you will see that really a huge army, by Greek standards, goes marching into the Peloponnesus of which a large portion was this Theban hoplite group that was much more potent, because of its size and it could be argued because of the spirit of these newly hoplited democrats, you might say.

Well, as the Thebans were developing this league they were also fighting the Spartans and gradually driving the Spartans back. For instance, they destroyed the city of Plataea, which was always on the side of the enemies of Thebes. In this case they were on the side of the Spartans, and it would take a while before that was undone. They also placed a number of cities under Theban command. They didn't need to do that, for most of the cities in Boeotia, because mostly they seemed to be satisfied and pleased to cooperate with--and why not? I mean, I should make the point clear as to why they would be happy to do that. When the Spartans invaded Boeotia they didn't only beat up Thebes. In fact, Thebes was less hurt than were the other towns because Thebes was further away and better equipped to defend itself.

Every time the Spartans came in they ravaged the Boeotian countryside and did harm to these Boeotian towns. So, it was Thebes that was the defender, the protector of the Boeotians against the Spartans, and this certainly gave them popularity; it helps explain why this new Boeotian confederation was so effective and so loyal. The Thebans were doing a key job for Boeotia and the Boeotians. Meanwhile, this new army that was being put together--it wasn't of course entirely new, its heart would have been the old Boeotian hoplite farmer group, but it was added to and it was given this new twist. I think really a combination twist of two kinds of elements that explain a kind of enthusiasm, a kind of morale boost that they had.

One was a greater sense of what we would call nationalism. It's obviously an anachronistic for the city states but we don't have a better word for it. That is to say, this constant warfare, these constant attacks by the Spartans, culminating in this seizure of their city against all custom, against all law and in a very unpleasant way, and the support of these oligarchs as against the common people, the ordinary folks, so that when this new regime led--I should point out by these two extraordinary military leaders, Pelopidas and Epaminondas, when these fellows also were responsible for the liberation of Thebes, especially Pelopidas, and when they were leading the fight for the defense of Boeotia, all of that meant that there was a growing feeling of "we are Boeotians, we are together, and the enemy is the Spartans and we need to fight them." To that, if you throw in the feeling that democracy appears to have in its first burst especially--I should point out that the Athenian extraordinary success on land occurs right after the democratic revolution of Cleisthenes.

I don't say they become bad thereafter but they're never again quite as extraordinary as a land force as they are then. An analogy that's often drawn is with the armies of the French Revolution in the eighteenth century, which really were fantastically successful right after the revolution began and they began enrolling and de-conscripting great numbers of people who would never have been in the army before in the name of the nation, in the name of freedom, in the name of all kinds of lovely things. Again, it's often neglected that the French already had a terrific army before that happened and they had wonderful officers and generals, and were skilled in the art of war. So, it was a kind of a best of all worlds where they had a solid base for military superiority, to which was added this great business of numbers and the zeal that went with it.

Something like that I believe is going on here in the 370s to help explain what's happening to what becomes this enormously powerful and successful Theban army. The fighting goes on. The Thebans, you remember, joined with the Athenians against the Spartans back at the time of the foundation of the Second Athenian Confederacy in 377 and they do work together for a time, but it doesn't take very long for there to grow up differences between the Athenians and the Boeotians. They are, if you look back at the whole history, more frequently enemies than they are friends. There are longstanding differences, suspicions, attitudes that are not entirely friendly and so on, and as Theban power grows, and as the threat from Sparta diminishes, the Athenians become less enthusiastic about their alliance with Thebes, because the Thebans are now emerging as a contender for the leading position for a hegemonal position in Greece. So, we will see the Athenians and the Thebans gradually moving apart in the decade of the 370s.

There was in 375 a proposal for peace to be established in the warring Greek world. It was apparently--there's some difference of opinion among our sources, but one thing that seems clear, the King of Persia was in favor of it. The ancient writers explain his reason for doing that, for being interested in having that happen, because he had other wars to fight. As to often was the case, there was a rebellion in Egypt, which was always a serious menace, so he wanted peace so that he could hire Greek mercenaries to fight in his army. Perhaps that wasn't the only reason that the great king had. He must have been worried at the growth of Athenian power and influence at sea, which was continuing throughout this period. The Second Athenian Confederacy never had the power and extent that the great empire had had in the fifth century, but it was scary from the standpoint of the great king and so he might very well have wanted to restore peace to Greece as a way of stopping excuses for further expansion on the part of the Athenians.

On the other hand, the Athenians were not unhappy to make peace as an opportunity to consolidate the gains that they had had and because that would put a stop to what I think was beginning to worry them, the expansion of Thebes. Now, mind you, they're still worried number one about Sparta in 375. Spartans haven't been defeated by anybody; they're still the most serious power, and they're still the power that stands for Persian power in the Greek world, but things have become more complicated as Thebes has emerged on the scene.

Well, the ancient writer, Diodorus especially, speaks of an event--well, let me describe the event. He says that when it was time to sign this common peace--maybe I want to say a word about that too. The Greek words for common peace are koine eirene; it is a term that comes up again and again in the fourth century in attempting to bring peace agreements among the Greek states. It's a new thing. As you know, peace in the past usually took the form of the swearing of oaths to accept a peace treaty on very specific terms between combatants in that war. The koine eirene concept has a more modern ring to it, and it seems to have the idea that there should be a common peace among all the Greeks, and that the signatories should be responsible for upholding that common peace. It's a very interesting idea and it sparked enormous interest in scholars, I think especially after the First World War, when all of the hopeful talk about the League of Nations and Kant's picture of perpetual peace and all of that stuff was flying around in certain circles, so people hoped to see in the koine eirene, this might have been a preliminary sign of that same kind of idea.

But it didn't work any better in the ancient world than it has worked in the modern world. To get back to the first suggestion in 375 about having such a thing, the states were agreed to do it, and then trouble came when Thebes insisted that just as the Spartans could sign on behalf of all of their allies for the Peloponnesian League, the Thebans wanted the right to sign for all of their Boeotian allies on behalf of the Boeotian League. It would have been the de facto recognition of the Boeotian League with Thebes as its leader. This is really what happened, if you put your minds back to 445 in the thirty-years peace that concluded what we call the first Peloponnesian War. When the Spartans allowed the Athenians to sign and speak for all of the members of its league they were giving de facto recognition and regarding the Athenians as their equals. This was something that the Spartans no doubt led chiefly in this view by Agesilaus; they were not going to let the Thebans do it.

In fact, we're told in a very bold action Agesilaus struck the Thebans from the lists, the list of those who would take part in the peace because they insisted on this clause. Now, there's a problem about this. The same story almost identically is told in 371 when we come to the attempt at another koine eirenee, to bring peace to the general Greek world, the whole story is told in pretty much the same way and the up shot of the one in 371 will be the Great Battle of Leuctra. This had led some scholars to say Diodorus, who is the source of these tales, simply has screwed up, has got it wrong; this is what they call a doublet. Somehow he projected backwards an event that really happened in 371 and has it happen twice.

I'm very, very suspicious about modern historians who are prepared rip up pieces of ancient historians, because we know better and it just doesn't make any sense is the argument. The truth is, I can see no reason why this shouldn't have happened twice. Certainly, Epaminondas would have insisted on that, certainly the Spartans would have objected to it, the actions that go with it strike me as being perfectly okay in 375 and when four years later a similar circumstance emerges, why shouldn't the same thing happen again? I haven't really looked into this, but I can imagine if you look through the whole Cold War history I'm sure you'll find many of the things that are happening over and over again in exactly the same way because the circumstances haven't changed. So, with my characteristic gullibility I believe in the story as it is told in 375.

Well, fighting resumes since the peace really didn't hold and the Thebans continue--and the Boeotians in general continue to successfully fight off the Spartans. I should have mentioned in the course of this fighting, soon after the treaty, there's an amazing occasion which has harbingers for the future. A Spartan army is marching in one direction, a Theban army is marching in another direction, the Spartans outnumber the Thebans very greatly. In fact, the whole Theban force is simply the 300 men who had been formed pretty recently into a special elite fighting core called the Sacred Band. Their special quality was that in addition to be excellent warriors and trained especially for their job, they were homosexual lovers who stood and fought right next to each other. This was just carrying forward the principle that the Spartans had used in one way and another, and it turned out to be equally successful.

This Sacred Band was a tremendous fighting force and will play a critical role in the important Battle of Leuctra. Anyway, they managed to defeat in a hoplite battle, a Spartan force that is greater than they are. It's not a real hundred percent hoplite battle, the numbers--there are only 300 Thebans, even though there's about 1,000 Spartans. The way the battle is fought is not traditional, typical, it's a little peculiar so you really can't regard it as the decisive time, somebody beat a Spartan hoplite phalanx in battle. That will have to wait until Leuctra. On the other hand, the evidence of the ancients is that it really impressed the Greek world in general, and even this form of a victory over Spartan hoplites, was unprecedented and it really I think kind of shook some people in terms of their confidence that the Spartans would always win a battle like that.

So, the fighting goes on, on all the fronts that I have mentioned to you, until finally we get down to 371 and in 371 the same thing happens. There is a pressure from the Persians for a general peace, the Athenians are not against that idea, but the same tale I told you last time, there's no question that it happened at Leuctra, nobody doubts that and the result was a renewal of the war with the Spartans taking the lead, aggressively moving into Boeotia as they had done every time before. I think it's very worth mentioning that we don't have any case up to now, up to 371, in which the Boeotians and their friends and allies march into the Peloponnesus. All the attacking has been by the Spartans into Boeotia, which means these wars have always been costly to Boeotia but not to Sparta, and we'll see that one of the things that Epaminondas wants to do when he can is to reverse that situation.

So, this brings us to the Battle of Leuctra; Leuctra is a town in southwestern Boeotia. The two armies march towards each other; there's a lot of maneuvering this way and that way, but finally they come onto this rather small field. You can go there today and look at it; it really is pretty easy to place the ancient story into the modern geography. There's a plain between two hills, one to the south and one to the north. Boeotian army took up its position on the northern hill, and the Spartans took up theirs on the southern hill, and then finally when the daylight came they move forward and fought each other in this field which is sort of--it's plenty big enough for any kind of hoplite battle that you want to have. Some scholars have wanted to make the battle in terms of a limited space but I think that really isn't an issue. This is a sort of a typical hoplite battlefield.

So, Cleombrotus marches on Thebes, again, it's not Agesilaus, and I mean this looks like the culmination of Agesilaus' anti-Theban policy; he's not there. Again, the ancient writers and modern scholars wonder why he wasn't there. I'm prepared to take the simple-minded view; if he wasn't there, he couldn't have been there. He must have been out of action for physical reasons, because I can't imagine any good reason why he wouldn't want to be there for the payoff here. Anyway, there was something in the neighborhood of 10,000 Spartan hoplites and maybe 1,000 cavalry and the Boeotian side is less clear maybe 6,000 maybe 7,000 Boeotian hoplites. So, they are outnumbered and I think that has a lot to do with the tactics that Epaminondas employs in fighting this battle.

It's a famous battle; it's an important battle. So, I'll take a few moments to talk about the battle itself. Again, this is much debated; it's not easy to know what's going on or why it's going on. Let's start with the important point that the Thebans were outnumbered. So, it really was up to Epaminondas to think of some way to overcome this disadvantage. Normal course of events 6,000 or 7,000 against 10,000 in a regular hoplite battle you can--the bookies would take the game off the board. I mean, especially if they're Spartans and Peloponnesians. The bigger battalions are going to win. So Epaminondas comes up with certainly--nobody can deny that he came up with some kind of plan. What am I fussing about here?

Some scholars have wanted to emphasize not the tactics of Epaminondas, but rather the superior fighting qualities of this new Theban, democratic, national army. Well, I certainly think that made a difference. I give real credit to that element and yet I can't escape thinking that there really was a very tricky, unusual, strategy of tactics or operational plan used by Epaminondas that accounts in a considerable part for the success of the Thebans in this battle. The normal way you line up is--sort of the leading forces on each side take up the right wing of their phalanx. That's the position of honor and that's where you try to beat the other guy. That has the consequence incidentally of meaning that the best army doesn't fight against the best army. In each case, the best army is fighting against a weaker portion of the enemy army.

That's not what Epaminondas wanted. He put his Theban forces with the 300 Sacred Band members at the front of it; his own group was at the left side of the Boeotian line facing the Spartans directly. Now, the Spartans had to realize when they saw what was going on--forgive me, I forgot to tell you another very important thing. Instead of the usual depth of the phalanx eight, twelve, maybe sixteen ranks, Epaminondas loaded his left wing fifty men deep. It may be precedented, but if so it's extremely rare in the past. Then when he started for battle he took his left wing and moved it obliquely further to the left. The plan being to flank the Spartans, if they could, and come at them from their vulnerable side and to do so in tremendous strength.

I think the idea of the tremendous strength and depth was to win on that side quickly, because he was weak, obviously, on his right. I suppose that the force immediately after the Thebans would itself present a problem, because if the Thebans went sharply to the left on this occasion with their deep powerful phalanx, the guys next to them probably would move with them to some degree, but not with the same speed and not with the same determination, because the situation--so there was the danger of there being an opening right there; that would have been very scary. Apparently, Epaminondas told the people on the right--I would have thought everybody to the right of his outfit, to proceed only very slowly. If that's the case, the Peloponnesian army on their left would have had to take some time before they could encounter the Boeotian army. So, the first fighting would be on the left, where Epaminondas wanted it and his hope was in a way this is a variety of the Marathon strategy.

You remember the big thing there was the Athenians under Miltiades hoped to win swiftly on the wings where they had greater depth. They knew they would lose in the middle, they just hoped they would lose slower, than they would win on the wings. I think this is a version of the same idea. So, Epaminondas and his block of Thebans goes to the left, and I would argue and the ancient sources say this too, swiftly as Herodotus said of the Athenians at Marathon, dromoi, on the run. Well, I guess that means on the trot, and so they wanted to get that fight going as fast as they could and to win it as fast as they could. Well, that's the essential idea, that they would win powerfully on the left and send the Spartans into route and thereby destroy their whole campaign. Now, we have to account for funny things that happen apart from the phalanx.

Before the battle is over, both sides take their cavalry from the usual position on the wings, on the flanks of the phalanx, meant either to protect your wings or to assault the enemy on his wing and move it to the center of the battlefield where it plays a role, and so the question always is what are they doing, what's this all about? I think one can only speculate. Surely, it would have been a wise thing for Epaminondas to move his cavalry into the center of the field in front of the center of his line, not in front of him but in front of the guys to his right, because they too would have had an effect of slowing down any Spartan attack where there was a vulnerability. So, if you take it from that point of view you could think the Spartans, who definitely moved their cavalry out front did so in order to combat the Theban cavalry.

That would be an explanation enough, but some scholars make an argument, and there's some reason to think they might be right, that the Spartans seeing what Epaminondas was doing knew that he was trying to flank them on the right side and so they wanted to take steps to prevent being flanked on that side, and so they did something which they tried to do at the Battle of Mantinea, but it didn't happen for them, they pulled troops out from the center of their line, sent them around behind the phalanx, and put them out on the right wing to prevent exactly that kind of an event. But to prevent the Boeotians from charging that empty spot until it was filled, they sent their cavalry up front to shield them, not only to shield them but in effect to hide them. Certainly, the cavalries being out there would have kicked up a lot of dust, and they could have hoped that the Thebans wouldn't know what was going on. So, that's the theory.

What is a fact is that the Boeotian cavalry and the Spartan cavalry clashed, and as I think again the bookies if this had happened, would have predicted the Thebans defeated the Peloponnesians. The Thebans had a superior cavalry. It had to do, of course, with the nature of their land which is better for horses than most of Greek country and so they drove the cavalry back into the Spartan phalanx helping to create confusion and to break ranks and all that kind of stuff. But the real payoff, the real victory in the battle was one where Epaminondas hoped it would be, on his left flank, on the Spartan right flank. I don't think it's an accident that the Theban phalanx came swiftly to the place where the Spartan king was located, Cleombrotus, and killed him.

If you look at Greek battles throughout all of their history, killing the general in command is a really good idea, because when you do that you usually win. Have you got numbers Curtis on that or just got a general idea? Of how often that is a decisive or an important element? Very frequent, isn't it? When you kill the general you win; Curtis knows more about military history in the Greek world than anybody. So, I have to consult him. So that being the case, the Spartans fought bravely and strongly around the body of their king, but that only led more of them to be killed and before very long the Spartan phalanx broke and ran and the Thebans, the Boeotians had won a clear cut unmistakable, blatant victory in a normal hoplite battle, on a normal field, and this was the shock felt round the Greek world that this had happened, just changed everything.

Here's an interesting fact that tells you something else that's important about what's going on in the Greek world. There were only perhaps 700 Spartiates in the whole battle and of these 400 were killed. Think about that; I mean, that's devastating in so many ways. It had all kinds of effects. We shall see it immediately shook the control of the Spartans, even over the Peloponnesus. It made people think the Spartans were vulnerable and that they might have come to the end of the line, but another interesting contrary consequence was that suddenly Sparta wasn't scary, but Thebes was very scary, and the Athenians who had already come to be nervous about the Thebans--notice I haven't mentioned them. They had been the allies of Thebes; they were not at the Battle of Leuctra. As a matter of fact, they were clearly working with the Spartans already to check Theban power and Theban expansion before the Battle of Leuctra. They stayed neutral; they didn't show up at the battle at all, but it tells you a very important change in the seam in the Greek world at this time.

So, I think it's safe to say the Battle of Leuctra put an end to Spartan supremacy. The Spartan hegemony is over and now the question that awaits Greece is what happens next. I think in the normal course of events prior to the build up of this new Thebes, there would have been a division of power between the states, the Athenians would have used some muscle, the Thebans would have used some muscle, some lesser states would have emerged in the vacuum created by the destruction of Spartan power but that would have been that. However, given all that had had happened in Boeotia and the kind of leadership that existed in Thebes, something amazing then happened; the Thebans decided to put an end to Spartan power forever and took a number of measures to bring that about. Just the defeat of Leuctra meant the disintegration of the Peloponnesian League.

A number of states obviously took advantage of Sparta's weakness to just pull out and get out from under Spartan control. Then in the year 370, the Thebans put together a tremendous army and ultimately marched into the Peloponnesus to do what they were going to do. One of the things that happened reflecting the collapse of the Spartan hegemony in the Peloponnesus was that the towns in the region of Arcadia, the mountainous region to the north of Sparta, put themselves together in the form of the Arcadian League. I mentioned this to your earlier, I believe; it is one of the first federal leagues of a different kind from the one we've seen up to now. There is no hegemonal state. It is not some big state and its friends, which even the Boeotian League is still in that category.

It is, in fact, a collection of states that are ostensibly equal and this is entirely voluntary. They are coming together, these Arcadian states, in order to protect themselves and to pursue their interests against the many troubles they've had over the years. The question always is then--this is both evidence of what I'm saying that it was a new kind of a league and it reveals the fact that there was no state that was sufficiently superior to the others that could make it obvious that the capital so to speak of this new confederation would be that state. They built a brand new city. It was called, I love it, Megalopolis. That means it ran from Washington to Boston. No I'm sorry. It meant, of course, big polis, big city, big state, whatever you want. But it was the place where the league council met, state sent their representatives to it, their business was done there, and it's really quite an interesting event, especially as you look ahead in the history of Greece and as I told you last time, that kind of thing had the remarkable influence on the thinking of the shapers of the American Constitution.

The Athenians' attitude towards this--we think about all this long rivalry between Sparta and Athens that resulted in such terrible wars, it just goes to show you--what was it--Palmesrton in the nineteenth century, British statesman, I think he once said, Britain has no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. I think whether that was true of Britain or not at the time, I think we should always realize that that is true of the way states operate in an international system. It is not that they don't have inclinations and longstanding friendships do have some impact, and longstanding enmities have a greater impact and yet anything can happen. I mean, just to get some sense of that who would have believed that in the 1930s that Great Britain and France would join with Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union for any purpose whatever, since they, especially the British, had been interested in putting an end to that regime from the moment that it was invented, and that Winston Churchill would be the greatest advocate of this alliance with Stalin. Winston Churchill, who I tell you, had been a leading figure in having an invasion of Russia in 1920-21, in order to bring down the Bolshevik Regime.

Churchill's answer, I think, to the question of why you're doing this, tells you a lot about this general point I'm trying to make. I'm not going to get this exactly right; I don't have Churchill's gift and my memory is fading. He said, you know, why are you joining up with Stalin? You've been denouncing him forever. He said, if the devil--no I'm sorry, if Hitler invaded hell at the very least I would want to say a few kind words about the devil in the House of Commons. That ought to tell you something about the permanence of these kinds of things. Interests are what matter and the Athenian interests have changed. Thebes was becoming a challenge to the Athenian growth and influence in power, and they did not want the Thebans now to destroy Sparta's control of the Peloponnesus and replaced it with a Theban control of the Peloponnesus and that accounts both for why Athens is not helping the Thebans, but also in fact, intriguing with states in the Peloponnesus to try to stand up to the Thebans, rather than to do what might seem obvious.

Now, the Thebans were continuing--I'll come back to their invasion in just a moment. They were continuing to grow, they were gaining allies in central Greece, Phocis, Aetolia, Acarnania, Locris, Euboea. Here again, I'm going to be teaching you general truths about international relations that don't seem to be part of the ordinary education and that is, power has a fantastically attractive quality. When a state is suddenly enormously powerful--I think the political scientists' rules and I admit what I just said has been known and been said by many of them many times, but the favorite thing is if there's a great power what happens next? What happens is all the other states get together and join up to control that power to which the answer is "sometimes." A lot of times, and they have another term to consider the alternative, which they call bandwagoning and that is states are attracted by that power, want to get on the right side of that power, join up with that power, and that's what happened here where suddenly the Theban power in that area seemed so strong that you wanted to be on that side.

I'm just in this terrible analogizing mood today so please forgive me, but lest you think the study of ancient history is not relevant to your understanding of the world today, and I know none of you would be so foolish as to think that, let me just look at what's happening in the Middle East. And I'll say it before it's common wisdom, so that you'll see how smart I am. Syria, which has been nothing but trouble for our side all this time, all of a sudden seems to be behaving in a different way, and even the United States government says that the Syrians seem not to be feeding more Al Qaeda people across the border into Iraq. Why is that? What have they found religion? I guess they had religion already, but the answer is because suddenly the American forces are kicking hell out of everybody in Iraq and suddenly there's a powerful American army sitting there, which is right next door to Syria. It's also right next door to Iran. That should have interesting consequences too; the result is that the Syrians are suddenly talking very differently.

Now, that doesn't mean that there'll be a permanent change; that will depend upon realities. But you get fed so much gunk in a different direction. The most important single element in international relations, not the only one by any means, but the most important one is power and the perception of where the power is, and the perception of whether that power is growing or shrinking. Nothing is as important as that, everything else contributes, but doesn't have that central role. Well, that's the situation that the Thebans have created with their victory and so they are expanding all over the place. Thebans were great landlubbers, they're even building a navy, they are moving out into the Aegean Sea, and that's one of the things that has created this nervousness in Athens and explains the Athenian behavior.

Now comes this great invasion over the year 370, 369. The total force of hoplites in the army put together by Epaminondas is reported to be 40,000. Now, there's just not a number like that in the whole fifth century, or any time before this. It's just an amazing army and we are told there were some 30,000 others on the campaign who were not hoplites, maybe many of them weren't even fighters but a lot of them would have been cavalry, light arm infantry and so on. But in any case, here are 70,000 people meaning no good to the Spartans pouring into the Peloponnesus in that year. It is the largest military force reported in Greek history.

The men in charge are these two extraordinary men, Epaminondas and Pelopidas, who repeatedly proved themselves. By the way, it was Pelopidas who won that victory in 375 at Tegyra, you remember that with the 300. So, he has that great victory on his record and Epaminondas, of course, is the architect of the victory at Leuctra and they just are amazing and remarkable people. If you read some of those--we do not have a Plutarch biography of Epaminondas, although he does give us a Pelopidas, we're happy about that. But before I get through I will try to remedy that as I tried to do in the case of Thrasybulus by bringing to your attention how great was the reputation of Epaminondas in the Greek world; maybe I should just say a word about him now.

He is reputed to have been a person of great intellect. Apparently, he was a philosopher and took that seriously and was regarded with respect by others of that ilk in that world. Of course, it looks very much as though he is a man of political convictions of such a kind as almost to suggest political theory. I mean, he seems to have been committed to the idea of democracy as a good thing in itself. On this latter point we just don't have very much evidence, nothing that he said, but we do have what he did which squares perfectly with what we are talking about. It would be--I mean it breaks my heart--these lives that Plutarch did not write. What I would give for a life of Cleisthenes by Plutarch, and similarly of Epaminondas and I'm amazed. I don't know. Who knows why Plutarch did what he did. But in any case it would be really fascinating in his case, because of the complicated nature of his mind and his life, but there he is along with Pelopidas leaving this armed force in there.

They move down into Laconia, the home territory of the Spartans. Now, the Spartans are forced to huddle in their city and to try to resist anything that comes at them. They cannot go out to fight these people invading their homeland. Their homeland has never been invaded in anybody's memory. This is out of the question, nothing like this would have been possible, and here they are just hiding in their city. Not even a walled city, because it was part of their pride, they don't need walls, they have an army. Nobody can come in there and attack their city and there they are. What does Epaminondas do? He does not go after them in that city, because probably--one reason would have been--fighting in the city, urban warfare is always difficult and costly, and nobody until lately, is really good at it.

I mean, I don't know much you paid attention to what's going on in Iraq these days in the so called surge, but if you study it as a military problem, then you see how they dealt with that military problem. It is one of the really most brilliant things I have ever seen, because to be successful in the war I'm talking about now requires not only shrewd use of military forces for military purposes, but it has to be integrated with constant political negotiation and conversation with the natives, which has to be associated also with certain economic conditions being brought about so that the people who might be on the other side can be on your side and then you can have them work for you. I've only touched on the beginning of all the complexity of that. But in any case, until that happened there are very few cases of really successful urban warfare without a tremendous cost.

Well, of course, before they figured out what to do in Iraq they had some tremendous costs of not figuring it out. What I'm getting at is, yes I'm sure that if Epaminondas had wanted to, he would have been able to defeat the Spartans in their city, but he would have paid a great price. Now, there's perhaps another consideration. Before I come to that, let me just tell you that what Epaminondas did. He bypassed the city, ravaged the countryside wherever he found it, doing as much harm as he possibly could, and even as this was happening and was obviously reported back to the Spartans, the Spartans did not come out to fight. Now, here's where I think once again Victor Hansen's splendid imagination comes into the picture in what I find to be a very persuasive explanation of what's going on.

He makes this explanation based on an analogy he draws with the army of general Sherman during the American Civil War in Sherman's famous march to the sea or his march through Georgia. When there is as confederate army to the north of where he goes but he doesn't seek them out. He goes marching towards where he wants to get to, doing as much damage as he possibly can, destroying the food, the crops, animals, everything, burning down houses, being as nasty and unpleasant as he can be. Why is the question? Well, he is a nasty, unpleasant fellow; not really. We do know a lot about what Sherman thought he was doing because he wrote about it. Sherman apparently hated the southern slaveocrisy.

He wasn't satisfied with defeating the South as many a northerner was, and then sort of letting it be what it had been before or perhaps destroying slavery itself and leaving everything else pretty much as it had been. He seems to have thought this was a terrible wicked society, and if it wasn't to go back to its old bad ways, it not only had to be defeated; it had to be humiliated. In his view, part of the success of the south was in building up what he would have thought of as a myth of their aristocratic superiority, which made slave holding appropriate, because the people who were superior were ruling over people who were inferior, and they deserved it, because they were better fighters than anybody else. Everybody thought at the beginning of the war, certainly that the south had a better military tradition, and that they were better soldiers, and I think they were and that they were courageous. Being a great military man means being courageous. All of that justified the system and provided the pride that made it possible to work.

Well, Sherman wanted to show it wasn't so, and here they were burning down houses and barns, and food, and women folk having to stand there and watch it, and where was the confederate army? They didn't come down to challenge them and he felt in the process, he was destroying the myth that was more potent. Well, I think Hansen certainly has that right when he talks about Sherman, and it's very attractive to think that maybe Epaminondas was after the same thing. Here were the Spartans cowering in their city, it would be said, while Epaminondas was doing as he liked with the Peloponnesus. There would never again be a time where people would accept the story that the Spartans were the great fighters, the great heroes etc., etc., etc.

In any case, that's what he did and then--I think all of this is assisted by some of the things he did and some of the things that he actually said. He went to Mycenae and indeed he went to the place where the Mycenaeans had withdrawn for security in their rebellions up there and he established, or re-established a city called Mycenae. It was powerfully fortified, it was up on a mountain, it was a place where you could really defend it, and it became the capital of Mycenae, which would now be a free Mycenae in which the former helots, the former slaves of the Spartan state, would now rule their own country as they had not done for centuries.

It was a liberation and that was language that Epaminondas used of it. It had the marvelous psychological effect that I am speaking of and also a very practical one. Here was a fortress on the flank of the Spartans, which was controlled by people who hated the Spartans bitterly and that would guarantee that the Spartans would not lightly gain control of the western Peloponnesus again. If you add to that that the Arcadians had suffered plenty from the Spartans and were unwilling to allow the Spartans to rise again, and there was Megalopolis, a walled powerful city that would see to it that the Spartans would never likely be able to make their way into control of central and northern Peloponnesus again. So, all of this combination of power and the strategic use of power, along with this psychological warfare that was involved brought about the permanent check on Sparta.

Sparta amazingly enough would emerge from this still an independent city still somehow taken seriously by others, but never again in the position of threatening the security of other states. Now, some of what was happening began to create a counter force as it always does. Here was this blatantly democratic force that had been unleashed in the Peloponnesus, most of which had always been oligarchic. So, in Arcadia there began to be a revival of oligarchic activity, people who wanted to overthrow the regime that was being established, and to restore oligarchic governments, which would, of course, naturally be friendly to Sparta and some of these oligarchs in Arcadia began to assist the Spartans.

We know the Spartans were finished but they didn't know it. The Greeks at the time didn't know it so that--I'm just touching on the high points here. In 362, by now I should report that Pelopidas was dead. He had died fighting in Thessaly against an autocrat there by the name of Jason from the city of Pherae about whom we don't know a lot, except to say he got to be very powerful indeed, and was pretty soon challenging both Thebes on the land and also challenging Athens to some degree at sea and who knows how much trouble he would have made had he not died before he could do so. But Pelopidas died fighting in a battle against Jason. I think it was 364. So in 362 when the Thebans again put together a force to invade the Peloponnesus, to put down those forces that were working against his settlement, it was only Epaminondas who was in charge.

Apparently, in the Battle of Mantinea--this is the second Battle of Mantinea, the first took place in the Peloponnesian War in 418, but this one in 362 apparently Epaminondas used some of the very same tactics that had been successful in the battle at Leuctra and the Thebans won the Battle of Mantinea. However, Epaminondas was killed in the fighting and it turned out that that was more important than anything else. With both Pelopidas and Epaminondas gone Thebes never again shows that kind of special quality that brought it swiftly to power and will swiftly bring it down. Although, as we look at the world in 362, we should realize that Thebes remains a very formidable power and the Greeks again, I want to warn you, don't know that Thebes isn't going to come back with two new leaders or ten new leaders, or one or whatever and become the same kind of a menace that it had been before, but looking back we can see that that was the outcome.

So, the Thebans won the victory, but in effect they really lost the war, because that was the end of their special quality. Since we're all writing about this, centuries later called Epaminondas the foremost man of Greece. There is an inscription, or there was an inscription, on Epaminondas' statue that was erected on his death at Thebes, and it is as though he was speaking. It must have been taken somehow from something he said or wrote. Here's what he said, "By my plans was Sparta shorn of her glory and holy Mycenae at last received back her children. By the weapons of Thebes was Mycenae fortified, and all Greece became independent and free." Now, of course, the claim that everybody was seeking independence for the Greeks, autonomia, is an old stale one that never really worked.

This is the first time that I am aware--no actually that's not true. The Spartans entered the Peloponnesian War claiming that they were fighting to free the Greeks; but of course, they immediately began enslaving as many of them as they could when they won the war. But Epaminondas says, well, we did this, we accomplished this and at the end of the day all of Greece was free, he claimed. I'm sure it wasn't perfectly true, but there was a lot in it and that's what he was proud of. That's what he thought he was doing. I think that's the important point about that quotation. It tells us what he would have wanted as indeed it has worked out that way, to come down as his legacy. What did Epaminondas do?

Did he say he increased the power of Thebes ten told, he made Thebes name ring in the Valhalla; he never heard of Valhalla. The Valhalla of heroes throughout history, that's not what he wanted to have said. What he wanted to have said was, I restored the Mycenaeans to their land, I restored them to safety, I gave them freedom, I left Greece free and independent. Xenophon, writing after his description of the Battle of Mantinea says the following, and these are the last words in his Hellenica, in his history of Greek affairs in his time. "Since nearly all the people of Greece have come together or had come together and formed themselves in opposing lines, there was no one who did not suppose that if a battle were fought, those who proved victorious would be the rulers and those who were defeated would be their subjects. While each side claimed to be victorious, neither was found to be any better off than before the battle took place. But there was even more confusion and disorder in Greece after the battle than before."

So, here's a case for the unimportance of warfare, you might say, for those people who want to make that case. Here was all this fighting, here were all the dead, and at the end of the day nothing had been settled. That is often the case in war. Although, it might be said, that something pretty serious had been settled by the campaigns that the Thebans had fought before the Battle of Mantinea and that Greece would never be the same again because of the fighting that had taken place before. But as we look forward not backward, it's worth noticing that the years of competition for hegemony, which go back you know at least to the days after the Persian Wars, had left Greece weakened and divided, and therefore, open for exploitation and even conquests by a new threat from outside the system, which was not even dreamed of by the Greeks as a menace in 362 at the Battle of Mantinea.

There's something to be learned in there too. I mean, if you had taken a poll of the Greeks and said, where are the dangers to us now, what problems do we have, they would have been talking about the traditional conflicts between the Greek city states. No one, I think, would have used the word Macedonia as part of anything that looked scary, and, of course, nobody would have uttered the name Philip, because Philip wasn't even king of Macedonia yet. And yet, within a few years, Philip would be the king of Macedonia, and within a couple or three decades there would suddenly be a real menace from the north that would be very threatening and we'll take a look at that next time.