Delian League - Policies of The League

Policies of The League

In 461 BC, Cimon was ostracized and was succeeded in his influence by democrats such as Ephialtes and Pericles. This signaled a complete change in Athenian foreign policy, neglecting the alliance with the Spartans and instead allying with her enemies, Argos and Thessaly. Megara deserted the Spartan-led Peloponnesian League and allied herself with Athens, allowing construction of a double line of walls across the Isthmus of Corinth and protecting Athens from attack from that quarter. Around the same time, due to encouragement from influential speaker Themistocles, the Athenians also constructed the Long Walls connecting their city to the Piraeus, its port, making it effectively invulnerable to attack by land.

In 454 BC, the Athenian general Pericles moved the Delian League's treasury from Delos to Athens, allegedly to keep it safe from Persia. However, Plutarch indicates that many of Pericles' rivals viewed the transfer to Athens as usurping monetary resources to fund elaborate building projects. Athens also switched from accepting ships, men and weapons as dues from league members, to only accepting money.

The new treasury established in Athens was used for many purposes, not all relating to the defence of members of the league. It was from tribute paid to the league that Pericles set to building the Parthenon on the Acropolis, replacing an older temple, as well as many other non-defense related expenditures. The Delian League was turning from an alliance into an empire.

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