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The Hellenistic era in Greece was a time of great change, socially, economically and politically.

One of the most visible forms of change during this era was th e increased amount of incursion by powerful political entities outside of Greece . The Campaigns of Alexander the Great have produced many Greek kingdoms capable of exerting influences on the old Greek heartland. In reaction to those incursi ons, many of the old Greek Polis formed federations as a primary political unit. While on the surface the replacement of the old Polis by those federations was a stark change from the classical era, the Greek federal states of the Hellenist ic era is merely an evolution of earlier amalgamation of Greek Polis into a new form, rather than a new creation, prompted by the increase in pressure from poli tical entities around them. The Federal League In the Ancient Greek context, federal leagues is a amalgamation of nominally ind ependent political entities, which then shared a common foreign policy but retai ned a significant degree of domestic autonomy. The exact structure, degree of ce ntralization, make-up and intra-relations of those states vary, however most of those states possess similar basic structure. Those confederations, while in exi stence during the Hellenic era, supplemented individual city states in importanc e during the Hellenistic era. Precedence By the time of the Hellenistic era, the Greeks were no stranger to the concept o f federalism and existing federations. And have in fact utilise the concept of u nification between different city states for various purposes in the past. Thus the Federal states by this period cannot said to be new creations Culturally speaking, the Greeks were always "ready" for some form of federalism. Together with the identity of city states in the Greek conciousness was a signi ficant identification with tribal-ethnic groups which developed during the repea ted migration into Greece in the first Dark age. Groups which originated form th e same region [Larson, 6] tend to feel a sense of kinship with each other. Befor e the development of the classical city states a large part of Greece consisted of tribal states based on that sense of kinship. Those states generally composed of multiple villages, which had almost complete local autonomy, and led, but no governed by a king and a council of elders. The king's only influence would be in the field of foreign affair and to lead the armies of those states into battl e against foreign enemies. In the Hellenistic era, the old tribal system remained in Illyria. With the Illy rian monarch having little control over his subjects. When the Romans called upo n the queen of Illyria to try to halt the piracy against Roman commerce, the Ill yrian queen refused on the grounds that she saw no reason why she should be inte rfering in what she saw as personal enterprise of her subjects, and probably can not even if she wanted. This is the state of affairs was that which the norm acr oss all of Greece at some point: central governments with little power in domest ic affairs. This system of tribal states were surprisingly similar to later fede rations. While it is true that most of Greece have far evolved beyond this stage by the H ellenistic era, as villages evolved into cities either from increase in populati on or combining themselves with other villages, an important precedence has been set for federal leagues. In the case of the former, the evolved villages simply kept their old tribal ties, and the tribal state directly evolved into a federa l league or at least the basis for such. The Achaeans, for instance, were a trib e which most likely entered Greece during the Dorian invasion and assimilated ot her peoples. The Achaean league first entered significance during the 5th centur y BC but did not become prominent in affairs until the fourth. This gap in time

was likely the period in which the villages of the league underwent evolution. Therefore, the concept of federalism was far from alien for the Greeks, the old tribal structure which predates the polis which federalism was based on was wait ing to be called upon should the need arise. Culturally speaking, the prerequisi tes for a federation of Greek cities was always in existence. Politically speaking, an amalgamation of cities was nothing new by the Hellenist ic era: For one purpose or another, leagues of cities were formed during the cla ssical era. There was the already mentioned reason of the natural evolution of t ribal states. At times there was the need to unify for the purpose of armed conf lict against foreign enemies, such as Delian league against Persia. The majority of the leagues in fact, developed as result of some sort of armed threat. Those leagues had great influence on the affairs of Greece, and in many instances wou ld forcibly force external cities to join. By the late Hellenic era, the most do minant of those city leagues was created by one state as the head as a mean of c ontrolling those cities, such as Philip's Corinthnian league and Sparta's Pelopo nesian league. Federation existed during this period as well, they were nowhere as predominant as in later eras, and were of a different characteristic than that of the later confederations. However, they were important as the predecesors to later leagues . The Achaean confederation of the 5th century BC existed as a highly religious en tity, located by the gulf of Corinth and founded by need of mutual protection ag ainst pirates [83]. While little is known of this "old" Achaean confederation, i t is known that they had a federal assembly as well as two generals, which was r etained by later incarnations of the confederation. The governmental form for th e Achaeans seemed to alternate between democracy and autocracy. The "new" Achaean league of later eras is most likely a revival of the old one, making the old Achaean league a direct predecessor of the new. Therefore, the period leading up to the Hellenistic era involved important devel opments towards the Federal states, and by that era, the Greeks were already ver y familiarized with the concept of federal leagues been powerful political entit ies. In conclusion, this demonstrates that those federal states did not merely a ppear suddenly during the Hellenistic era, so they must have been an evolution o f previous entities. Transformation There are, of course, differences between the leagues of the Hellenic era and th ose of the Hellenistic era. The leagues during the Hellenistic era tend to be ge nuine federations between a group of cities rather than merely an alliance domin ated by a single city. The prominent leagues of the late Hellenic era: such as t he Delian league and the Peloponnesian league was essentially a group of cities under the hegemony of one city, Athens and Sparta respectively, the Delian leagu e been essentially an Athenian empire, while members of the Peloponesian league were in theory only allied with Sparta. In both leagues, the decision making pro cess of the leagues were centralized in the Hegemon's territory. In the Hellenistic era by contrast, no one city dominates either of the two most important city leagues: the Aetolian league and the Achaean league, which both had a]sort of Representative council for decision making in its federal governme nt. [Larson, 81]The Representative would be from each city of the league, someti mes in proportion to the city's population. Neither of the league was clearly do minated by one city and the federal league had limited influence over its member cities.

Finance is a more specific example of this phenomenon: in the Delian league, the re is a strict transition of tribute from the league members towards Athens. Fro m the very beginning of the league, Athens would "fix" how much a city was to "c ontribute money against the barbarians" [Rhodes, 256] and which was to contribut e ships. There would be official assessors of tributes from each city. Later on, the league's treasury was moved to Athens, and henceforth a sixth of tribute wa s to go directly to Athen's treasury. In many cases, the tribute was so heavy as to cause league members to rise up in revolt against Athenian leadership. In ot her words, the central government of the Delian league had a highly organized ta xation structure which was used on its members on a regular basis. By contrast, in the Achaean league, there is little evidence of a centralized fi nance system. While there is a federal treasurer, he is seldomly mentioned in re cords [Larsen, 232], which seem to indicate a low level of importance to be plac ed upon that person. Indeed, there appear to be little evidence of any form of d irect taxation by the federal government. The cities within the league seem to b e responsible for determining their own level of payment to the federal governme nt, and to collect the money themselves. While in theory, the federal government did have the power to enforce the collection of taxes, even under strong leader ship the federal government appear to persuade rather than compel the cities to pay their dues. This indicated a relatively weak central government in the Achae an league. Also significant is the matter of capital of leagues, as already mentioned, the decision making of the one city dominated league is centered one location, likel y with control of the Hegemon in that location. Such is the case with Athens and Delos. By contrast, the Achaeans seem to have no single capital. The central federal government of the Achaeans must, therefore, not be overly po werful at exerting influence upon its member cities if it has to depend upon the compliance of local authorities for the collection of money it relies on to fun ction, and the lack of a capital suggests a weak federal government not dominate d by any single city. Which is of course, very different from the enforcement of tribute practiced by Athens upon Delian league members during the classical era . The condition which made for this difference is largely due to the incursion of larger political units which made individual city states much less significant. While during the classical era strong city states such as Thebes, Sparta, and At hens were able to achieve hegemony over a part of Greece, in the Hellenistic era it was almost impossible for them to do so. The individual strong cities were k ept in check by Macedon (if not downright occupied), and therefore unable to ass ert the sort of control over other cities that they did in previous centuries. T his leaves cities federated together on relatively equal footing, as oppose to b een organized around one strong city. Athens is a strong example of a city subjugated thus. Having led the Delian leag ue before Alexander, Athens was under Macedonian occupation until 229 BC. [Walba nk, 63]. In 268 BC, Athens along with Sparta rose up in armed rebellion against Macedonian hegemony which existed since Alexander. The war ended in Macedonian v ictory after 5 years. It is generally accepted that this war broke the political power of Athens permanently. The lack of power for Athens to even successfully break away from Macedonian hegemony meant it cannot have an effective independen t foreign policy in the aftermath of the war. Within a decade after the war came the rise of the Achaean league, 251 BC, when Aratus brought Sicyon into the con federation, is a common date of which is given for this rise . Athens, though sh aring borders with various members of the Confederacy [Walbank, 151], was hence unable to exert influence over the Achaeans during the crucial stages of its for mation. By the time Athens bribed its Macedonian garrison to leave, with the hel

p of Achaean money, and was once again able to manage its own affairs, its leade rs opted to stay out of the league despite offers for them to join. It is perhap s with great irony that the former hegemon have been so weakened by Macedon that it was forced to buy its own independence with the money of cities formerly inf erior to it. And in the aftermath, Athens thought so lowly of its own chances at being a predominant power in the league that it choose not to make an attempt a t achieving that position. Afterwards, while retaining a great deal of prosperit y domestically, it never again was able to exert great influence on its neighbou rs. But perhaps the most direct example of a federated state supplementing the old o ne city dominated leagues lie in the Aetolian confederation and the Boeotian lea gue. Thebes, once having almost hegemonic status in central Greece, was dramatic ally razed by the Macedonians after their failed revolt in 335 BC. [4] Formerly, Thebes had led the powerful Boeotian league, by the time the city was rebuilt, the Boeotian league had lost much of its political will. In the aftermath of the defeat of Thebes, the cities in central Greece which were not directly defeated by Macedon federated into the Aetolian league. The Boeotians were heavily defea ted in 245 BC by Aetolians and forced to ally themselves to the them. The territ ory of Boeotia, including Thebes, under this alliance was considered to be virtu ally controlled by the Aetolians without actual annexation. [Larson, 205] Therea fter, the Aetolian league was considered the principle power of central Greece. The old great city states, once hegemons over the most important leagues of Gree ce during the Hellenic era, was now so reduced in power as to depending upon the ir former inferiors for their very independence, was in a very poor state to att empt leadership over other cities. Thus leagues such as Achaeans were able to ef fectively develop without a great deal of interference by the larger city states . Of course, there is far greater incentive to federate in the Hellenistic era tha n before, after Philip and Alexander, the Greeks more or less came to the realiz ation that the age when individual city states could be significant powers, or e ven viable independent entities, was over, and that in order to retain freedom a nd independence some form of unification among the Polis was required. The Achae an league and the Aetolian league were both in existence long before Alexander, but became significant after him as more cities were willing to join those leagu es. Evidence of this come from inscriptions: there appear to be a vast increase in t he number of in the usage of third party arbiters in disputes between different cities during this period. The increase can be attributed to the fact that many cities would call in an allied kingdom into play should war break out.The Greek cities were afraid of settling their disputes through violence since the power o f the kingdoms were so great that the possibility of interference by those state s presented far too great a risk for the cities endure. [Walbank, 143]. If citie s were to be part of a federated state, they had a convenient third party arbite r in the form of the federal government to call upon to help resolve their dispu tes. Similarly, the power of federated states afford cities protection from inte rference by the kingdoms around them. Evidence also appear in the political institutions of the Achaean and Aetolian l eagues to have greater city membership. Those confederations in their Hellenic f orms tend to be less city based. For instance, in the old Achaean confederation [Larson, 82] their components were not discussed in terms of cities but in terms of districts. In the Aetolian league, the representation for the federal govern ment was based on ethnically rather than citizenship. The switchover to more cit y oriented forms in both of those leagues in the Hellenistic era can be attribut ed to an increase in the cities which joined those leagues. After all, there wer e more cities in both leagues during the Hellenistic era than before, and they b

oth controlled far more territory than in the classical era. The willingness of some cities to join those leagues can at least partly be attributed to need for protection against larger powers around them. Therefore, the transformation from the Hellenic era leagues into federated state s was the result of larger political entities forcing the cities to unify withou t a single strong city to rally around. So, the concept of federation was familiar to the Greeks consciousness from thei r time as tribal states before the classical era. Amalgamations of Polis and the existence of federations, in different form, during the classical era meant tha t this concept was put into practice and their appearance later can hardly said to be new. And finally, Macedon restricted the power of the larger city states t o dominate or attacking emerging new federations and gave an incentive for citie s to enter those federations. The Hellenistic Greek federal states were old inst itutions which evolved or recreated due to the changing political atomsphere of the era. References 1 Rhodes, P.J. The Greek City States. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986. 2 Walbank, F.W The Hellenistic World, Liverpool, UK: Harvester Press, 1981 3 Larsen, J.A.O The Greek Federal States, Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1968 4 "Boeotian League" Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 2007. Encyclopaedia Britann ica.