Chapter

Money and the Great Man in the fourth century BC: military power, aristocratic connections and mercenary service

Matthew Trundle

in Ancient Tyranny

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621255
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651047 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621255.003.0021
Money and the Great Man in the fourth century BC: military power, aristocratic connections and mercenary service

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Great men thrived in Greece during the fourth century BC. Money, mercenaries, and aristocratic connections augmented and supported their power. The Athenian Empire had monetised the Aegean basin in the previous century due to naval warfare's dependence on coinage. The fall of the empire left a vacuum in the Aegean. Powerful individuals and their families from the wider Greek world, the Persian Empire, Sicily, and Macedonia, filled this vacuum. Money facilitated the power and influence of these dynasts. Money bought friends and eroded the independence of the civic communities of the Greek poleis. Money and mercenaries led the way towards the hegemony and dominance over the eastern Mediterranean of the Macedonian and Hellenistic kings. Autocrats were a feature of early poleis. Money fed the beast of tyranny and destabilised democratic or oligarchic, particularly aristocratic, power in the classical Mediterranean. This chapter draws a compelling picture of the fourth century in which opportunities for building personal power were created by changes in monetisation (a motif which goes back to the archaic period) and social upheaval.

Keywords: Greece; money; mercenaries; tyrants; tyranny; monetisation; kings; Mediterranean; autocrats

Chapter.  5160 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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