Due to the Persian wars, Athens saw fit to build a fleet that would rival an empire far larger than itself. After the conclusion of the war this fleet served as a rallying point for Greek cities tired of living under the Persian Empire. Joining Athens, the Greeks formed the Delian league with three goals in mind, “containment of Persia, the gathering of booty as compensation for damages done to Greece during the war, and simple revenge”. It’s fair to say that at this point, many of the Greek Poleis that joined the league were desperate for leadership, and some form of unity between the Greeks in the face of a larger threat. This is evidenced by the the fact that Athens was given unilateral decision making power over the League’s assembly and the League member’s contributions in ships and coin. The Naval dominance of the Delian League served as its main strength for internal and external threats. The fleet allowed for the nullification of any further aggression from Persia in 467 B.C.E. when a Persian fleet was destroyed on the Eurymedon river. Internally the fleet put down insurrections by Naxos and T...
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...ed to further separation between Poleis where the League could have been used to increase Greek unity.
In conclusion, the Delian League showed incredible success as a political system in the context of the fifth century B.C.E. Greek world. Athens spearheaded the greatest military force in fifth century Greece through its Naval dominance. This military strength led to economic and cultural prosperity for many Greek Poleis. The proliferation of wealth and culture in Athens also saw the growth of the Athenian democracy. The unpredictability of this political system was its main weakness, often sacrificing its own security for brash military campaigns. The Delian League’s success laid in its military, economy, culture, and government. Athens Hegemony over the Delian League allowed it to exert power and influence at a scale that no other Polis at the time was capable of.
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