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The League of Corinth
(Corinthian League)
Diodorus 16. 89
In 338/7 BC King Phillip, proud of his victory at Chaeroneia
by which he had humbled the leading Greek states,
became ambitious to become leader of all Greece. He
spread the word that he wished to undertake a war against
the Persians on behalf of Greece and to punish them for
the sacrilege they had committed against Greek
temples. He treated them all kindly both in public
and private matters and revealed to the cities that he
wanted to discuss with them matters of mutual benefit.
Hence he convened a general congress at Corinth and put
forward his proposals for the war. By raising great
hopes, he won the support of the delegates and
finally the chose him as commander-in-chief of the
Greek forces. He began to make great preparations for
the campaign against the Persians and, after fixing the
number of troops each city should contribute to the allied
forces, he returned to Macedonia.
…victory at Chaeroneia…
2nd August 338 BC
Greek Allies (Athens and Thebes) v Macedonia &
Thessalian Cavalry
Allies held strong position between foothills and the
Cephisus R.
Phillip orders ‘withdraw’ of Macedonian right  Athenians
pursue  Gap opens between Athenians and Sacred Band
 Alexander lead companions through the Gap and
wheeled left to attack Sacred band  Thebians
slaughtered  1000 Athenians fell, 2000 taken hostage.
 Thebes heavily punished for ‘breaking’ and early agreement with
 Athens offered more lenient terms.
Persians… …sacrilege they had
committed against Greek temples.
► Persian
Invasion under Xerxes 480-479BC
► The idea of a war against Persia was not new…
 Panegyricus 380BC – Isocrates urges for a Greek
crusade against Persia.
 Phillip 346BC – Isocrates sends an open letter to Phillip
to lead the invasion
 Demosthenes (Athenian orator) supported an Athenian
lead response against Persia – but was openly hostile to
a Macedonian lead campaign by Phillip the Barbarian!
► Sacrilege
– Xerxes has desecrated the Greek
…He treated them all kindly both in
public and private matters…
Is this a little romanticised???
After the battle of Chaeroneia…
 Thebes: Leaders executed, pro-Macedonian oligarchy established,
prisoners sold into slavery, independent treaties abolished
But then again
 Athens: Disband confederacy and give up Cheronnese, Athenian
prisoners were restored, gained territory from Thebes
 The Greek states were ‘free and autonomous’
But then again…
 Four Macedonian garrisons held ‘strategic’ positions in Greece
 Phillip was Hegemon of all Greece
 Anyone allying with Persia was to be executed!
…raising great hopes, he won
the support of the delegates…
slightly different translation…
 Through bribery and propaganda, military might
and the threat of reprisal, he won the
begrudging support of the delegates and they
had no choice but to name him as the
commander-in-chief of the Greek forces.
…commander-in-chief of the
Greek forces.
► Strategos
 Pure military role
 Commander-in-chief of all Macedonain and LEAGUE
forces in the field
► Hegemon
 Leader of the League
 Military and civil
 Council would pass resolutions and hegemon would
 Phillip manipulated this position to suit his own ends.
► Taxation,
Macedonian status, execution of traitors
The League of Corinth
(Corinthian League)
Tod, Greek Historical Inscriptions,
No. 177
I shall abstain from any attack…
on any member state…
► This
was essentially a peace proposal.
 All members could feel secure and safe
 Philip would not have to worry about internal
conflicts while he was abroad
 Importantly, Macedonia did not join the League
so was not bound by these clauses
I shall not subvert the kingdom
of Philip and his descendants…
► This
was Philip’s protection clause.
 If any member state tried to rise against Macedon then
this would be in breach of the common peace.
 … I shall make war on the transgressor… This
clause meant that all members would need to make war
on the state that broke the common peace. This is a big
incentive NOT to break the conditions.
► Alexander
was assured the same privileges and
protection that Philip had. This also included a
hereditary right to the leadership of the League
…constitutions which existed…
► Philip
was shrewd in his political dealings.
 He ensured that the conditions enforced on
Thebes and Athens after Chaeroneia still applied
 That the ‘autonomy’ of the member states was
autonomy was artificial in that Member States
had Macedonian garrisons patroling them.
…decision of the common council
and the orders of the Leader…
Common Council
 Synhedrion
 Elected representatives from member states
 Numbers of representatives were determined by naval and military
 Judicial powers and could impose sentences
Leader (Hegemon)
Leader of the League
Military and civil
Council would pass resolutions and hegemon would implement
Phillip manipulated this position to suit his own ends.
► Taxation,
Macedonian status, execution of traitors
The ‘New’ Relationship
► By
the time the L.O.C was actioned…
 Macedonia was now in a dominant position.
► The
Greek States were forced to support Macedon and any
attempts to resist would be meet with force.
► Macedonia was the Master  the Greek States were the slaves.
► Just
as a Master needs slaves, so to Macedon
needed the resources of the Greek States.
 “Philip’s policy, it seems likely, was aimed primarily at
securing the advancement of Macedon and for this he
found Greeks useful, perhaps essential.”
(Hamilton, 1973, 28)