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War, Peace, And Alliance In Demosthenes' Athens...

At the request of Corinth, the Spartans summoned members of the Peloponnesian League to Sparta in 432 BC, especially those who had grievances with Athens, to make their complaints to the Spartan assembly. This debate was also attended by an uninvited delegation from Athens, which also asked to speak, and became the scene of a debate between the Athenians and the Corinthians. Thucydides reports that the Corinthians condemned Sparta's inactivity until then, warning Sparta that if it remained passive, it would soon be outflanked and without allies.[22] In response, the Athenians reminded the Spartans of Athens's record of military success and opposition to Persia, warned them of confronting such a powerful state, and encouraged Sparta to seek arbitration as provided by the Thirty Years' Peace.[23] The Spartan king Archidamus II spoke against the war, but the opinion of the hawkish ephor Sthenelaidas prevailed in the Spartan ecclesia.[24] A majority of the Spartan assembly voted to declare that the Athenians had broken the peace, essentially declaring war.[25]

War, Peace, and Alliance in Demosthenes' Athens...

Conversely, there was at first a substantial body of feeling in Athens, led by Aeschines, that the peace, unpopular though it was, should be maintained and developed.[24] Towards the end of the decade however, the "war party" gained the ascendancy, and began to openly goad Philip; in 341 BC for instance, the Athenian general Diopeithes ravaged the territory of Philip's ally Cardia, even though Philip demanded that they desist.[25] Philip's patience finally ran out when the Athenians formed an alliance with Byzantium, which Philip was at that time besieging, and he wrote the Athenians declaring war.[26] Shortly afterward Philip broke off the siege of Byzantium; Cawkwell suggests that Philip had decided to deal with Athens once and for all.[27] Philip went on campaign against the Scythians, and then began to prepare for war in southern Greece.[28]

Philip's actions and his letter triggered a debate in Athens. Demosthenes helped convince the people to declare war, while the column that recorded the existing treaty of peace and alliance with Philip was demolished. The Athenian fleet now took an active part in the siege, and drove the Macedonian fleet into the Black Sea.

Philip was in theory only three days march from Athens and two days from Attica. This caused an unsurprising panic in the city, where a joint Theban and Macedonian attack was expected any day. This finally gave Demosthenes the chance he wanted to form anti-Macedonian alliance with Thebes. Demosthenes suggested that Athens should send its full military levy to Eleusis, on the road to Boeotia, while he led an embassy to Thebes. This suggestion was accepted. Once he was in Thebes, Demosthenes made a very generous offer. Athens would accept Theban supremacy over Boeotia, thus abandoning her old allies at Plataea and Thespiae. Thebes would command the land war, and contribute one third of the costs. Athens would fund the entire naval war and two thirds of the land war. The war would be led from Thebes. 041b061a72


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