Greece History - The Aetolian and Achaean Leagues 3

Greece History – The Aetolian and Achaean Leagues and the Republican Awakening Part 3


Perhaps this was the occasion for the expansion of the republican movement in northern Greece. When Alexander, the son of Pyrrhus, died, in Epirus the Eacid dynasty, although feeling weak it had resorted to the support of Macedonia, was overwhelmed, and, established a federative republic centered in Phoenix, Epirus allied itself with the Aetoli, while to the south Ambracia, the old capital of Pyrrhus, with the neighboring regions was incorporated then or shortly after into the Aetolian league. Only a small part of the Acarnans with the support of Macedonia obstinately defended their independence against the Aetolians. And yet Demetrius’s successes on the Confederate republican leagues were not slight. He regained ground against the Aetolians both in Thessaly and in central Greece, where he snatched Phocis and Boeotia from them, he managed to preserve Athens, despite the attacks and republican propaganda of the Aetolians and Achaeans, and through his general Biti he also won the Confederates in a great battle. But in the Peloponnese, with which by now, dominated by the Achaeans the line of the isthmus, it only communicated with extreme difficulty, it lost ground. Much of Arcadia came into the hands of the Achaeans, who also managed to acquire Megalopolis (235), which for many years had been the citadel of Macedonian dominance in the Peloponnese. In fact, there the tyrant Lydia, deposed the power, proclaimed the union of the city to the Achaeans, and in compensation he was elected supreme magistrate of the league (stratego) for the following year. Argos still resisted, and Elide, Messene and Sparta were kept out of the league, even though they did not adhere to Macedonia. In the’ West of Greece Demetrius, unable to intervene in person, fought by means of the Illyrians with whom he made an alliance, and the Illyrians inflicted such damage on the Epirotians that, although the intervention of the Ethol-Achaeans then induced the barbarians to retreat, the Epirus broke away from the anti-Macedonia coalition, approaching, first with the Illyrians, then, when the Cyric power declined, with Macedonia. While he fought so strenuously against the Greeks, Demetrius had to defend himself also from the barbarians who threatened Macedonia from the north, and particularly from the Dardani, whose assaults had induced him to approach the Illyrians, who had then constituted a semi-civil state of some importance on the southern Adriatic with center in Scodra. But the alliance with the Illyrians was not without danger. They were in fact encouraged to pirate more and more daringly in the Adriatic and Ionian to the detriment of the Greeks and the Italians. To these pirates and the Illyrian attacks against Epirus, Acarnania, the Greek cities of Apollonia and Epidamno in modern day Albania and the island of Corcira, which they managed to subjugate for a moment, after defeating near the island of Paxo the flotilla of the Aetolo-Achaeans, the Romans could not remain indifferent, who now dominated the whole Italian peninsula south of Rimini. This gave occasion to the first Roman intervention in the Balkan peninsula (229-28) which led to the full defeat of the Illyria and the accession to Rome of Corcira and the two Greek colonies of Apollonia and ‘ Epidamno (Dyrrachium) which formed a precious bridgehead beyond the Otranto canal. Before this intervention, Demetrius had died in battle against the Dardani, leaving behind a son, Philip, who was a minor. In the name of Philip the expert cousin Antigono, called Dosone, assumed the regency, who soon after took the title of king. While the power of the Illyrian allies of the Macedonians collapsed in the west and the Romans settled in modern-day Albania, it seemed that almost everything was collapsing what remained of the Macedonian dominion in Greece. Aristomachus, the tyrant of Argos, abandoning the Macedonian cause, deposed power and joined the Achaean league. The Peloponnese rebelled entirely, Attica was also lost to the Macedonians, because the Macedonian commander Diogenes handed over Piraeus to the Athenians, and the Athenians retaliated in liberty. That was also a decisive moment, like that of Sicyon’s liberation. Athens could join the Achaean league, make itself the moral capital of the most important and civil federative state that had ever been established in Greece. Instead he kept separate from the league, isolating himself from the political life of his compatriots. This was for all of Greece and for Athens itself serious and irreparable damage.

According to Sunglassestracker, the social revolution in Sparta is the new Macedonian symmachy. – Meanwhile, in a large part of the peninsula the less wealthy bourgeoisie, no stronger than the support of the proletariat, from which the Macedonians and their friends had tried to remove all power, had been decaying and partly proletarianized. The disasters produced by the wars, the axis shifted towards the East of the economic life of the Hellenistic world and the exodus of the most active and capable bourgeois or proletarians, who, attracted by the charm of the East, had sought their fortune, fighting, bargaining there or colonizing. More acute the crisis manifested itself in Sparta where, having maintained the order dating back to the seventh and sixth centuries, a small number of privileged citizens found themselves faced with a much higher number of citizens who had lost their rights due to poverty, alongside which they were,

It was clear to everyone that in these conditions Sparta could not regain a leading position in Greek politics without radical reforms, and the opinion that one had about the original land distribution attributed to Lycurgus facilitated the revolution, as the demand for a new partition of landed property, which here the conditions in fact made more violent than elsewhere in Greece, was colored with legitimacy, almost a return to the ancient. It should therefore not be surprising that in Sparta the social revolution was first attempted by a generous but weak king, Agis IV, then, Agis put to death by the reactionaries (241), carried out with firm and lucid energy by a brilliant and valiant king, Cleomenes III. (227). The reform allowed Cleomenes to renew the military might of Sparta for both increased number of soldiers both for their enthusiasm towards the liberating king. Carried out earlier, this reform would probably have prevented the collapse of the Peloponnesian league. But it is natural that the Spartans did not resolve themselves until the most severe experiences had shown the necessity.

Greece History - The Aetolian and Achaean Leagues 3