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    The Cambridge Ancient History
    • Online ISBN: 9781139054331
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484
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Book description

Volume VI of the new edition of The Cambridge Ancient History begins with Sparta attempting to consolidate its leadership of mainland Greece and ends with the death of Alexander the Great after he had conquered the Persian Empire and marched far into India. It is correspondingly wide-ranging in its treatment of the politics and economy, not only of old Greece, but of the Near East and the western Mediterranean. The century also saw the continued development of Classical Greek art and the moulding of Greek prose as an uniquely flexible means of expression. The formation of the great philosophical schools assured to Athens in her political decline a long future as a cultural centre, and established patterns of thought which dominated western civilization for two thousand years.

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Page 1 of 2


  • 1 - Sources and their uses
    pp 1-23
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the fourth century certain types of history which Thucydides' had treated only selectively, particularly social, economic and religious topics, can actually be better studied than was possible in the Thucydidean period. Xenophon has glaring faults when judged as a political reporter but is a prime source for the modern historian of religion. Xenophon's own feelings about Persia and Persians were mixed, though not illogically so - nor even unusually so for a man of his time. He admired many Persian qualities and the individuals who displayed them. But some of his writings, notably the Agesilaus, are undoubtedly characterized by political 'panhellenism'. Panhellenism of a mild sort makes its appearance early in the Hellenica. The Politics of Aristotle is a work of fundamental importance for the understanding of the Greece of the fourth century even more than of the fifth. For the fourth century in general, inscriptions are a rich source of evidence for the historian.
  • 2 - Sparta as victor
    pp 24-44
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Greek world had long been accustomed to a situation in which there had been two sources of power, Athens and Sparta. The disappearance of Athenian power left the determination of the future to Sparta. The Spartans and their allies had fought the Peloponnesian War for the freedom of Greece and the day on which Lysander sailed into the Piraeus and the demolition of Athens' Long Walls began was seen as the beginning of that freedom. Lysander had won the confidence not only of Greeks but of Cyrus the Persian. His success in this had made him the principal architect of victory without winning a major fought-out battle. The most important factual clash is over the timing of the introduction of a Spartan garrison. By the end of the Peloponnesian War, Spartan relations with Persia had become in practice the relations of Lysander with the King's son Cyrus.
  • 3 - Persia
    pp 45-96
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In some parts of the Persian Empire, notably Greek Asia Minor and to a lesser extent Judaea, the encounter with articulate subject races has left informed comment, whether admiring like Xenophon, Isaiah and Nehemiah, or mistrustful like the Athenians of the fifth century, whose tragedians seem to have invented the concept of 'barbarian' only after the Persian Wars of 490-479. And in western Anatolia in particular, epigraphic finds have made it a well-documented district even by Greek or Roman standards. A reasonable amount about Achaemenid Egypt is known; but it has to be acknowledged that it is not safe to generalize from the Egyptian experience. Reliable information about Persian affairs can plausibly be traced to the Persica or Persian History of Dinon of Colophon, the father of the celebrated Alexander-historian Cleitarchus. The satraps Belesys of Syria and Mazaeus of Cilicia commanded the Persian invasion force, which assembled in Babylonia.
  • 4 - The Corinthian War
    pp 97-119
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The outcome of the Peloponnesian War had left many of the victors discontented. Sparta had totally disregarded the wishes and interests of her allies and had pursued a policy of aggressive expansion in the Peloponnese, central and northern Greece and the Aegean which had at times seemed directed specifically against them. By 14 August 394, the young king Agesipolis had crossed the borders of Boeotia and was encamped at Chaeronea. There he received news of a different kind: the report that Spartan naval power in the Aegean had been shattered by the victory of Conon and Pharnabazus at Cnidus. Until the first Spartan invasion of the Argolid in 391, the land war was confined to the neighbourhood of Corinth, which served as a base for the allies, while the Spartans operated from Sicyon. Conon certainly financed and perhaps organized the establishment of an Athenian mercenary force at Corinth, the first commander of which was Iphicrates.
  • 5 - Sicily, 413–368 B.C.
    pp 120-155
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the period between the Peloponnesian War and the accession of Philip of Macedon, it is perhaps the events in Sicily which carry the greatest potential interest. Politically, Sicily offers a chance to see in operation a possible solution to the Greek political dilemma. In Sicily, monarchy has its chance, and operates on a larger scale than the city state. It has in general been held that the years after the battle of Himera in 480 had seen a retreat of Carthage from Mediterranean history. Three thousand Syracusans had arrived at Acragas by the time of Selinus' fall, and Diocles now concentrated 4,000 men in Himera. Greek sources totally obscure Carthaginian policy, assuming that it had always been the intention to subdue the whole island and ignoring the gap of two and a half years between Himera and the next Carthaginian move.
  • 6 - The King's Peace and the Second Athenian Confederacy
    pp 156-186
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Sparta's preoccupation with the conduct of her allies in the war and in particular with their willingness to supply troops was exploited by the exiles from Phlius. The theme on which the Acanthian ambassador Cleigenes spoke was one to which the terms of the King Pausanias Peace were clearly relevant: the expansion of Olynthus at the expense not only of Amyntas but also of the smaller and weaker cities of Chalcidice. The combination of Athens, Thebes and Olynthus might prove a major threat to Sparta. The King's Peace had not only put an end to Theban control over Boeotia but had no doubt at least temporarily diminished the standing within the city of those like Ismenias and Androclidas who had conceived the policy that provoked the Corinthian War. The Athenian forces in Thebes had returned home after the capture of the Cadmea, but a contingent of light-armed troops under Chabrias was sent to hold the road through Eleutherae against Cleombrotus.
  • 7 - Thebes in the 360s B.C.
    pp 187-208
    • By J. Roy, University of Nottingham
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Thebes' victory at Leuctra allowed it to attract allies and wield influence in many parts of the Greek world. It moved quickly from a position of relative weakness to become a leading power in Greek inter-state politics, acting in central Greece, Thessaly and Macedon, the Peloponnese, and, briefly, the Aegean. The Mantineans, relying on the autonomy guaranteed by the peace at Athens, re-established a democracy and recreated their city, split up by Sparta in 384 BC After a preliminary inquiry at Thebes as to whether negotiations about peace might be fruitful, Corinth sought permission from Sparta to make peace with Thebes, and Sparta granted that permission not only to Corinth but to any of her other allies who wished to make peace. The background to Thebes' renewed interest in northern Greece and her unique naval venture is increased Athenian activity in and around the Aegean. The split in the Arcadian League brought major warfare to the Peloponnese.
  • 8a - Asia Minor
    pp 209-233
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The early years of the fourth century are the early years of the reign of Artaxerxes II. The revolts of Pissouthnes, Amorges and the younger Cyrus had been a warning to Persia against allowing ambitious Iranian proconsuls to profit from the opportunism of the Greek city states and the availability of their mercenaries. Cyrus, had shown that western Anatolia must be secured from satrapal subversion and from Greek would-be liberators of Asia Minor. Evidence for the Persian presence is plentiful, not just from literary references, but from dedications to 'Artemis Anaitis' and to 'Persian Artemis' at Maibozani/Mermera, which was in the Roman assize district of Sardis in the imperial period. Western Anatolia was invaded in the fourth century by a diaspora, in part the result of the collapse of the Athenian Empire as paymaster, of Greek artists, sculptors, poets and intellectuals generally.
  • 8b - Mesopotamia, 482–330 B.C.
    pp 234-260
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Xerxes and his successors succeeded in consolidating imperial control over Mesopotamia. There is, at least, no explicit record of Babylonian resistance to Achaemenid rule after the revolts in the early years of Xerxes' reign. Babylonian astronomical texts put the date of Xerxes' death in early August 465. The texts that mention this Bēlshunu supply a rare glimpse of a Babylonian's political career under Achaemenid rule. Archaeological surveys in Babylonia show an increase in the number and average size of settlements between the periods identified as Middle Babylonian and as Neo-Babylonian/Achaemenid, with eastern and south-eastern Babylonia undergoing an especially pronounced resurgence. The direct exploitation of land rarely needed formal documentation. It is chiefly because proprietors sometimes leased or pawned their holdings to commercial contractors that elements of late Achaemenid tenure appear in the textual record. The most distinctive of the foreign elements are Iranians, a small but growing minority of the Babylonian population in late Achaemenid reigns.
  • 8c - Judah
    pp 261-296
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Shortly after Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539, he issued an edict to the exiles of Judah in Babylon, permitting them to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. With the construction of the Temple, all the provisions of the original Edict of Cyrus had been implemented, culminating in the establishment of Jerusalem as a full-fledged temple city. The new status of Jerusalem and its Temple as a major centre, cultic, spiritual and even political, was not dissimilar from that of other temple cities of the period, particularly those of Babylonia. The priesthood increased its economic power, in a way which remained in effect until the economic reforms of Nehemiah. It is quite evident that the historians and the editors responsible for the book of Ezra-Nehemiah made particular efforts to highlight the hostility between the returnees and the leaders of Judah on the one hand, and the governing circles of Samaria on the other.
  • 8d - Cyprus and Phoenicia
    pp 297-336
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the fifth and fourth centuries BC Cyprus and Phoenicia had a number of basic problems in common. Both were divided into a number of relatively small, half-independent political units. As in Phoenicia, monarchic institutions survived throughout the archaic and classical periods, setting the island apart from the Greek world where kingship had disappeared long before. The style and technique of the stone-built houses in the harbour town of Ayios Philon are clearly influenced by contemporary Phoenician building. The Phoenician element in Cypriot society, religion and art was still vigorous, radiating from Citium, the Tyrian colony on the south-eastern coast of the island. The history of Cyprus between the Ionian Revolt and the middle of the fifth century is dominated by the conflict between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greeks. Salamis was ruled by a Greek dynasty which traced its ancestry back to the legendary Teucer. Next to Salamis and Citium, Paphos seems to have been the most important kingdom.
  • 8e - Egypt, 404–332 B.C.
    pp 337-360
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The domestic history of Egypt during her last age of independence was dominated by power struggles both within dynasties themselves and between great families of the Delta each jealous of the other and anxious to gain possession of the crown. Initially, the major problems confronting Amyrtaeus, the sole king of the XXVIIIth Dynasty, were the expulsion of Persian forces from the kingdom and consolidation of his position as an independent ruler. Egyptian foreign relations between 404 and 332 are preeminently classical and reflect the interests of the classical world. Egyptian forces engaged in active military operations against the Persians. The concept of kingship, which provided, at all periods, the ideological basis of Egyptian civilization, exemplifies at Ptolemaic period a typical mixture of tradition and evolution. Earlier Late Period temples were laid on foundations consisting of a huge pit excavated into the soil, lined with brick, and filled with sand, the Saite temple at Mendes.
  • 9a - Carthage from the battle at Himera to Agathocles' invasion (480–308 B.C.)
    pp 361-380
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Greek and Roman authors wrote many books about Carthage. The end of Justin XVIII, and XIX-XXI, are for the greater part devoted to Carthage, an essential source, especially for the story of the Magonids. According to Justin, the first Magonids failed to suppress the power of the neighbouring chieftains, and it was only during the period of apparent quiet after the battle of Himera that their successors succeeded in subduing them. The outburst of fanaticism that resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of adult noble children, when Agathocles attacked the city, attests the existence of hidden tendencies that might be called retrograde. Agathocles' invasion revealed in the clearest light all the weaknesses of the city state: the incapacity of the lawful holders of civil power, especially the shophets, to oppose the invaders with the slightest force, because they entirely lacked anything like the Roman imperium.
  • 9b - South Italy in the fourth century B.C.
    pp 381-403
    • By Nicholas Purcell, Fellow and Tutor of St John's College, and Lecturer in Ancient History in the University of Oxford
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The fifteen decades which elapsed between the expedition to Sicily of the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War and the war between Pyrrhus of Epirus and the Romans are something of a heroic age in Italian history. In many of the cities of South Italy the ideology of the ruling elite had long been shaped by a system of philosophical ideas linked with the name of Pythagoras. Reconsideration of the texts and a better understanding of the archaeology is leading to a new emphasis on the cultural, economic and political effects of the prominence of the city in the second, third and fourth centuries. The principal phenomenon of the social history of South Italy in Roman period is cultural change, the acculturation of the indigenous peoples by the Greeks; a process which seems to reflect topography in its irradiation of the mountainous interior from the coasts by way of the greater river valleys.
  • 9c - Celtic Europe
    pp 404-421
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Any synthesis of Europe north of the Alps in the first half of the first millennium BC is conditioned by imbalances in the archaeological record. What was supplied reciprocally from Celtic Europe is not so obvious from the archaeological record, and presumably must have included agricultural products, raw materials and even mercenaries and slaves. Celtic elements in place-names occur in some abundance across the northern half of Spain and Portugal, in marked contrast to the south and east where Mediterranean connexions gave rise to the distinctive Iberian culture in the second half of the first millennium BC. The fifth century BC saw a number of important changes in settlement, burial and economy. With the decline in transalpine trade in the fourth century, there followed a period of change in central and western Europe, broadly coincident with the historical appearance of Celtic raiders in Italy and Asia Minor.
  • 9d - Illyrians and North-west Greeks
    pp 422-443
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The lakeland area holds a most important place in the south-west Balkans economically and strategically. The northern end of the lakeland was held by an Illyrian-speaking tribe which the Greeks called the Encheleae. Next to the Encheleae', 'the Dexari, a tribe of Chaones', which is best identified with Mt Tomor. The Chaones were a group of Greek-speaking tribes, and the Dexari were the most northerly member of the group. The way of life which has been associated with the practice of tumulus-burial is that form of nomadic pastoralism which engages in the transhumance of livestock, especially sheep and goats. The north-west Greeks occupied a large area, extending in the west from the Gulf of Ambracia to the Gulf of Oricum and in the east to an imaginary line from the upper Achelous valley to the upper Erigon valley. Philip's crushing defeat of Bardylis in 358 BC revolutionized the situation in the north-western area.
  • 9e - Thracians and Scythians
    pp 444-475
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Following the three and a half decade occupation of its southern flanks by Persian troops, the post-war history of Thrace in the fifth century is marked by a rapid development of tribal political power. The Maritsa valley is the prime thoroughfare into the east Balkans and control of its middle and lower reaches gave access to the Thracian interior and much of the hinterland besides. Events along the north Aegean coast in the years following the Persian retreat are unlikely to have raised Sitalces' confidence in the genuineness of Athenian or Macedonian intentions. The encounter with the Scythians involved Atheas, a king whose coins, which show a bearded, long-haired bowman on horseback, have been found between the Danube and the Romanian border with Bulgaria. Philip's conquest of Odrysian Thrace brought Byzantine territories south of Haemus firmly into the Greco-Macedonian political sphere.
  • 9f - The Bosporan Kingdom
    pp 476-511
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Bosporan state was exposed on the extreme north-eastern rim of the classical Greek, and later of the Hellenistic world. In the fourth century the Bosporan state comprised some 5,000 sq. km. of territory and a population of approximately 100,000-120,000 citizens and subjects. Greeks probably first sailed into the Black Sea in the second half of the eighth century BC. The Greeks of the North Black Sea cities were subject to the demands of an acknowledged major power. Satyrus' rule over the Bosporan state lasted until 389/8 BC, when his son, Leucon, succeeded and ruled for a further forty years. Thereafter, two of his sons, Spartocus II and Paerisades I, ruled jointly for five years. After the death of Spartocus, Paerisades ruled alone for a further thirty-three years. The dynasts of the Bosporus were, in the fourth century, regarded as barbarians but accepted as kings in the new hellenistic milieu from the early third century.
  • 9g - Mediterranean communications
    pp 512-526
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The preferred means of communication, and the only practicable one for the transport of commodities, was the sea. In the western Mediterranean, the northerlies are not as troublesome; there ancient sailing ships made good time on most of the major routes. Transport by land, even where suitable roads existed, was held to a minimum, particularly if the freight was heavy or bulky. The standard cargo carrier of the ancient world was the sailing ship. Most cargo, and virtually all that travelled over open water, went aboard sailing ships. There were two ways of getting from the eastern basin of the Mediterranean to the western or vice versa: either through the Malta and Sicily channels or through the Strait of Messina. Ships travelling across the channels, from Italy or Sicily to North Africa or the reverse, made good time in either direction, although the run southward was somewhat the quicker.
  • 10 - Society and economy
    pp 527-564
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The central theme of this chapter is the impact of war on the Greek world in the first half of the fourth century BC. Thucydides described the Peloponnesian War as the greatest disturbance in Greek history, a war that came to affect almost the whole of the Greek world and part of the non- Greek world as well. In the Decelean War, the Thebans enriched themselves on the plunder of Attica and acquired many of the runaway Athenian slaves. The gap between Sparta's ambitions, and the resources available to her, seemed dangerously wide. The impact of the war on the society and economy of the two protagonists differed strikingly. War was a matter of manpower, but also, and increasingly since the Peloponnesian War, a matter of financial resources. The beginnings of the corn trade go back to the archaic age, and by the classical period it had grown into the largest international sea-borne trade of the Greek world.
  • 11 - The polis and the alternatives
    pp 565-591
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521233484.022
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter has been devoted to Athens, the only Greek state. In the time of Cimon and Pericles the generals had been political leaders as well as military commanders, but the split between political leadership and public office which began during the Peloponnesian War continued in the fourth century. Until the death of Pericles the leading politicians of Athens had held the leading offices of state: originally the archonship, followed by life membership of the Areopagus; in the middle of the fifth century the generalship, to which they could be re-elected indefinitely. Although the polis, city state, was the characteristic political unit of Greece, and was assumed by the philosophers to be the ideal unit, it was not the only kind of political organization to be found in classical Greece. The Greek mainland and the western coast of Asia Minor are divided by mountains into separate, mostly small habitable regions, and the islands of the Aegean are small.