Login *:
Password *:


7-10-2015, 05:09

With Using It

Diodorus' vast compilatory work, the Historical Library, purports to give a complete history of the ancient Mediterranean world down to diodorus' own day, the first century bc, in a year-by-year format. the entry for a given year begins with the athenian archon and the roman consuls for that year. this matter comes from diodorus' so-called "Chronographic source," a sort of almanac of rulers, dates, and important events. After the chronological matter, Diodorus places an account of events allegedly from the year in question. This account is an excerpt from whatever author Diodorus was using as his source for a given period or area. Diodorus did little original work, but produced condensed versions of others' books (see most clearly commentary to Ephorus, BNJ 70 Fr. 191; Ephorus was Diodorus' source for books XI to XV, minus the sections dealing with Sicily).

When using Diodorus, one has to distinguish between the material itself and Diodorus' arrangement of it. The latter causes problems. Until 362, when Xenophon's narrative ends, a second narrative source exists which either makes Diodorus redundant or allows for corrections. From 362 to 336 and from 323 until the 270s (insofar as his work has itself survived) Diodorus is the only surviving narrative source, so here the problems with his narrative become acute.

First, Diodorus' chronology is erratic. His statements on the Social War are a case in point. At XVI 7,3, in his entry for the year 358/57, Diodorus states that the Social War began and lasted for three years (i. e., with exclusive counting, from 358/57 to 355/54). In his entry for this last year, however, there stands no notice of the Social War's end. Instead, that notice comes at XVI 22,2, in the entry for 356/55 - with the additional remark that the war had lasted for four years (i. e., from 360/59 to 356/55).

Second, Diodorus' abridging can distort his source's account. According to Diod. XVI 21, an abortive battle between the Athenians and their opponents in the Social War took place in the Propontis, near Byzantium. Yet the battle (probably in 356) took place at Embata near Erythrae opposite Chios (Poly. III 9,29; Nep. Timoth. 3 - both based, like Diodorus, on Ephorus). Diodorus began with an account that proceeded thus:

1  the Athenians sailed into the Propontis and achieved nothing

2  the athenians sailed southwards towards samos and on the way met their opponents' fleet near Embata between Erythrae and Chios

3  the abortive battle took place

Diodorus omitted step two (so that the battle then appeared to take place in the Propontis), drew this false conclusion, and summarized accordingly.

Third, Diodorus' work contains frequent "doublets" - descriptions of one and the same event as though it had occurred twice. In ancient authors doublets arise either through faulty combination of two sources or when one source described the same event in two different contexts. In his narrative of the Phocian War, Diodorus has Philip conquer Methone once in his entry for 354/53 (XVI 31 - possibly from the "Chronographic Source") and again in his entry for 353/52 (XVI 34). Yet Philip clearly took Methone once only.

All of this makes using Diodorus frustrating. The material, as continuing investigation has repeatedly shown, is often sound since it comes from good sources, but Diodorus' presentation of the material commonly obscures its value.

Chares now had a free hand to prosecute the war as he saw fit; unfortunately, he had no money. So probably in 355 he joined forces with Artabazus, the satrap of Hellespontine Phrygia, who had revolted against the Persian king Artaxerxes III Ochus, and defeated royal troops in battle. In exchange for this aid, Artabazus provided Chares with the funds necessary for waging war against Athens’ rebellious allies. But before Chares could begin with this, ambassadors from the king arrived in Athens and threatened that the Persians would soon attack Athens with a fleet of three hundred ships. The overawed Athenian assembly decided to end the Social War (Diod. XVI 22; Harding, Nr. 72), and presumably during 354 peace treaties between Athens and its rebellious allies were concluded (Diod. XVI 22).

On the basis of these treaties, Byzantium, Chios, Cos, and Rhodes all withdrew from the Second Athenian League (Isoc. VIII 16). In the treaties the Athenians apparently acknowledged that the cities involved were “autonomous” (Harding, Nr. 71; Dem. XV 26). The acknowledgment of the cities’ “autonomy” raises the question of how the Second Athenian League had developed since the time of its founding in 377 - whether or not Athens had lived up to its promise, explicitly made in the League’s Charter, to respect the allies’ freedom and autonomy (see chap. 16). That document (Harding, Nr. 35) had defined the following as infringements of autonomy: the levying of tribute, the imposition of a garrison, the imposition of a governor, and interference in the choice of constitution.

To take the points in order: The Second Athenian League had to finance its military expeditions somehow, and it did so through the collection of syntaxeis,

Voluntary contributions, from its members. Yet the question remains just how voluntary this “contribution” was (see Harding, Nr. 36). For example, in the 330s Alexander the Great released the town of Priene from payment of a syntaxis - which is to say that the payment otherwise was obligatory (Harding, Nr. 106). Additionally, Demosthenes, in a disarmingly frank passage, explains that a large Athenian fleet was rather more successful in collecting a sizable syntaxis than a small one (Dem. VIII 25). The more firepower the collectors were packing, the more freely the money flowed. In other words, it was extortion; and the Athenians’ treaty with Ceos in 362 shows how unsentimentally the Athenians proceeded with the collection of any money which they considered due them:

If they [i. e., the Iulietae on Ceos] do not pay at the prescribed time, then let those whom the (Athenian) Assembly has chosen to collect money collect (it) from them however they can. . .

(Harding, Nr. 55, lines 11-14.)

Garrisons, meanwhile, sprouted up all across the Second Athenian League. As early as 376 Chabrias had installed one in Abdera, a member of the League, albeit under circumstances which surely excused the action - heavy fighting against the Thracians to the north (Diod. XV 36). Nothing of the sort, however, excused the garrison present on Corcyra in 361 (Aeneas the Tactician, 11,13; Diod. XV 95). In 356, granted during the Social War when the rebellious allies were carrying out attacks all around the Aegean, the Athenians installed a garrison on Andros (Harding, Nr. 69). At the very least, all of this formally violated the League’s Charter. The appointment of Athenian governors (on Amorgos and Andros - see Harding, Nrr. 68 and 69) during the Social War was another such violation; and even if the external situation made the installation of a garrison advisable, appointing Athenian governors did not logically follow from that. The same applies to the interference in an ally’s internal affairs attested on Corcyra (Diod. XV 95) and on Ceos (Harding, Nr. 55). All of the states mentioned were members of the Second Athenian League (Harding, Nrr. 35, 41, and 42).

Meanwhile the Athenians had once again begun installing cleruchies. The earliest known cleruchy from the time of the Second Athenian League was that on Samos in 365 (Diod. XVIII 18). The Athenians sent out a second cleruchy to Samos in 361-60 and a third in 352-51 (Harding, Nr. 77 with note). At the time of the third cleruchy, all the original Samians were expelled; they did not return until 322 BC (Diod. l. c.). The Athenians additionally sent out cleruchs to Potidaea in 361-60 (Harding, Nr. 58) and to various cities on the Chersonese in 353 (Diod. XVI 34). No evidence exists that these cities were members of the League, but these acts demonstrated how Athens could exert its power when it chose, and they made clear both what might happen to a state which did not join the League as well as what might happen to one that dared leave.

The Athenians in the time of the Second Athenian League became oppressive and high-handed just as in the time of the First League. When they captured

Sestus in 353, they slew the men and enslaved the women and children (Diod. l. c.) as they had at Melos in 416. It is no wonder that states such as Byzantium, Chios, Cos, and Rhodes eventually rebelled and that by the end of the Social War some 75 states left the League (Aesch. II 70).

The Social War reduced this new Athenian Empire to a few remaining members of the League (e. g., Ceos, Amorgos, and Andros) and some possessions outside of the League both in the north (e. g. Methone) and in the Aegean (Lemnos, Imbros, Samos, and Euboea). In addition to this, Cersobleptes, the king of Thrace, in 353 gave the Athenians the Chersonese (except for the town of Cardia) in exchange for Athenian support against Philip (Diod. XVI 34,3-4). This was still a sizable “empire” even if only a shadow of either the First or the Second Athenian Leagues in their heyday. Far worse was the parlous state of Athens’ finances once the syntaxeis ceased to flow in.