Delian League and Spartan
What Really Happened….
(c) PIH 2007. All rights reserved.
• Delian League
• Spartan Confederacy
– Argos
– Melos
– Corcyria
– Corinth
– Thebes
– Pylos
The Delian League
• Initially formed to
continue the naval
war against Persia
To protect trade
Liberate Greek
Islands from Persian
Purposes of Spartan Confederacy
• A mutual desire for security
• Support other oligarchy governments
• Stop Athenian domination of the Greeks
The Leagues Transition
• Athens power continued to grow and it
began to dominate the Delian League
• Sparta became paranoid and suspicious of
the Delian leagues intentions. As a result,
their members began to encourage action
against Athens.
New League Goals
• Delian/Athens
– Retain all members
– Promote democratic
– Maintain position of
• Sparta
– Prevent Athenian
– Assist oligarchic
– Protect other citystates attempting to
leave the Delian
What were the purposes and goals
of the two leagues?
Relationship between Athens and
• During the Persian war Athens and Sparta were
For much of the war Sparta was in charge of the
Greek alliance against the Persians
After the Delian league was established, Sparta
gave up its leadership of the war against Persia
As a result, relations between Athens and Sparta
eventually became strained-especially, once
Athens began to appear to be establishing an
How The Delian League Functioned
• Athens was made the leader due to naval
After becoming a member, city-states had to
pay regular fees and supply ships
Initially, each city-state had an equal vote, but
Athens eventually took over decision making
Athens was always able to control the majorityensuring its will was carried out
How the Spartan Confederacy
• Offensive and defensive alliance
• League councils were used for decision making
• Bound together by a mutual desire for security
and protection
Leadership of the member city-states was a
close knit group of oligarchs
Larger city-states could influence Spartan policy
Geographic proximity of the Peloponnesus
strongly influenced league membership
– Smaller city-states joined out of fear of Sparta
How did the two leagues function?
Athenian Perspective on Power
• Corcyria:
– got involved in a civil war Epidamnus.
– It supported a democratic government over
an opposing aristocratic government
– As a result, the democratic government won
– Corcyria was afraid of an attack from Corinth
because they had helped the democratic party
– Out of fear Corcyria turned to Athens
Other Examples of Athenian
Perspectives on Power
• Melos: A city-state that wanted to stay neutral and was
forced to become part of the Athenian Empire. Men
were killed, women and children were sold as slaves,
and 500 settlers were sent to colonize their island.
– Example: Melian Dialogue is a document that describes a
conversation between the leaders of Melos and Athenian
delegation. Here we see the Athenians demanding submission
of Melos. Document is recorded by Thucydides.
• “The strong do what they can and the weak submit.”
• Aigina, another city-state, tried to leave the Delian
League. It was subjected by Athens in a similar way.
Its land was ravaged, cities besieged, and navy
defeated. They were forced to pay money to Athens on
a regular basis.
Spartan Perspective on Power
• Corinth:
– Allied with Sparta since the Persian War and possibly before.
– Corinth mainly joined Sparta due to its rivalry with Athens.
– Athens was perceived as a threat to its communications, trade,
and wealth.
• Thebes
– Neighboring Boeotian city-states were taken over by Athens and
made into democracies, therefore, making Thebes isolated as an
– Turned to Sparta because they shared common interests and
government structure
• Infanticide
• Annual wars on helots to keep them in “Spartan” shape
How did the two leagues achieve
the allegiance of the city-states
mentioned in the examples?
How do you think Athens and
Sparta demonstrated imperialism?
Perspectives of Athens and Sparta
• Athens
– Justified their
dominance based on
their leadership role in
the Persian War
– The strength they had
– Their promotion of
• Sparta
– Justified their criticism
of Athens as a moral
crusade against the
suppression of
unwilling city-states in
the Athenian Empire
– Felt suspicious of
Athens intent and how
far they would take
their empire
What were the perspectives of the
two leagues?
Do you think these leagues will
lead to war or peace?

Delian League and Spartan Confederacy