In the Archaic period of Greek history, an amphictyony (Greek: ἀμφικτυονία), a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient association of Greek tribes formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek polis. The six Dorian cities of coastal southwest Asia Minor, or the twelve Ionian cities to the north, a dodecapolis forming an Ionian League emerging in the aftermath of a dimly-remembered "Meliac war" in the mid-7th century BCE, were already of considerable antiquity when the first written records emerge.
Thucydides made recollection of the Lelantine War, apparently fought in Euboea sometime between the late 8th century BCE and the first half of the 7th century BCE:
"The war between Chalcis and Eretria was the one in which most cities belonging to the rest of Greece were divided up into alliances with one side or the other."
Historians have puzzled over the broader meanings of "alliance" in such early times. "But comparatively large-scale associations lead more readily to contacts, to friendships and enmities at a distance than do little city-like units," George Forrest notes, remarking apropos that Phrygia and Assyria were at war with each other about 720-710 BCE, raising tensions among interested Greeks.
In historic times, an amphictyony might survive as a form of religious organization enjoined to support specific temples or sacred places; traditional amphictyonies coordinated Olympic and Pythian games. Twelve members would meet at specific times in the same sanctuary to keep religious festivals and conduct other matters as well.
An early amphictyony centered on Kalaureia, an island close to the coast of Troezen in the Peloponnesus sacred to Poseidon, was noted by Strabo. Archaeology of the site suggested to Thomas Kelly that the sacred league was founded in the second quarter of the 7th century BCE, ca 680-650; before that date there were virtually no remains at the site, which could not have been used more than sporadically. The island was known at one time as Eirene (Εἰρήνη) ("Peace"), clearly in reference to the amphictiony. Strabo lists the poleis that belonged:
- And there was also a kind of Amphictyonic League connected with this temple, a league of seven cities which shared in the sacrifice; they were Hermione, Epidaurus, Aegina, Athens, Prasïeis, Nauplïeis, and Orchomenus Minyeius; however, the Argives paid dues for the Nauplians, and the Lacedaemonians for the Prasians."
Other articles related to "amphictyonic league, amphictyonic, league":
... the refusal of the Phocian Confederation to pay a fine imposed on them in 357 BC by the Amphictyonic League, a pan-Greek religious organisation which governed the ... and asserted the ancient claim of Phocis to the presidency of the Amphictyonic League, intending to annul the judgment against themselves ... a "sacred war" was declared against the Phocians by the Amphictyonic council, with the Thebans being the major protagonists ...
... pay a fine imposed on them in 357 BC by the Amphictyonic League, a pan-Greek religious organisation which governed the most sacred site in Ancient Greece, the Temple of Apollo at Delphi ... The Amphictyonic League was composed of 12 Greek tribes, primarily of central Greece (the Oetaeans, Boeotians, Dolopes, Phthian Achaeans, Locrians, Magnesians, Malians, Perrhaebians, Phocians, Pythians of ... effectively become the 'protector' of the league in 360 BC, after the civil war had restarted in Thessaly the Thessalians having previously been the dominant power in ...
... and longest-lasting amphictyony was the Delphic or Great Amphictyonic League that was organized to support the greater temples of Apollo and Demeter ... The League council had religious authority and the power to pronounce punishments against offenders ... The Amphictyonic League also set the rules of battle as to protect sanctuaries and/or impose sentences on those who molested sanctuaries ...
Famous quotes containing the word league:
“Were the victims of a disease called social prejudice, my child. These dear ladies of the law and order league are scouring out the dregs of the town. Cmon be a glorified wreck like me.”
—Dudley Nichols (18951960)