Article

Achaean Confederacy, Greek

R. M. Errington

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics


Published online December 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.20

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Achaean Confederacy, federal organization developed by the twelve Achaean cities (see achaea) united in the cult of Zeus Hamarios. First mentioned in 453 bce as Athenian allies, Achaea's independence was guaranteed in 446 (*Thirty Years Peace). In the Peloponnesian War neutrality proved impossible and Achaea fell into Sparta's sphere of influence. Common citizenship existed by 389, when it had already been extended to non-Achaean Calydon. In the 4th cent. coins were issued. Polybius (2. 41. 4–6) claimed the ‘democratic’ constitution of his own time for the early confederacy, but since in 367 the ruling class was exiled and democracy installed (Xen. Hell. 7. 1. 43) this cannot be accurate, unless the two sources mean different things by ‘democracy’. The confederacy was dissolved sometime before its revival in 281/280. It then exploited the political vacuum in Greece after the collapse of the empire of *Demetrius (4) Poliorcetes, soon expanded beyond Achaea, and under the leadership of *Aratus (2) of Sicyon developed a locally expansionist anti-Macedonian policy in the 240s and 230s.

Article.  604 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Greek History

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