Athenian empire

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The cities and islands mainly in the Aegean area that paid tribute to Athens in the 5th century bc. It developed out of the Delian League as Athens, by virtue of its great naval superiority, imposed its will on its allies. A significant step was the transference of the League's treasury from Delos to Athens probably in 454 bc, since this ensured for Athens absolute control of the tribute. Inscriptions and literary sources reveal the means by which Athens controlled its subjects: the installation of garrisons; the establishment of clenruchies (colonies) of Athenian citizens in important or rebellious areas; the encouragement of local democracies; the referral of important judicial cases to Athens; the imposition of Athenian weights and measures throughout the empire; and officials to keep an eye on subject cities.

As long as it had a strong navy, Athens could crush revolts and enforce its will throughout the Aegean, but the empire died with Athens' final defeat in the Peloponnesian War. Nevertheless it did establish the Second Athenian Confederacy in 377 bc, trying to avoid the mistakes of the 5th century.

Subjects: World History.

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