HIS 104 Chapter 3.2: HIS 104 Chapter 3.: Chapter Three (Part 2)
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~ Chapter Three: From Classical Greece to the Hellenistic
Part 2: The Transformation of Greece in the Fourth Century BCE
o The political and military world of the city-states had been transformed by the Peloponnesian War
o In the years that led up to the war, local rivalries and quarrels were largely suppressed by
the formation of the Athenian and Spartan power blocs, which most of the independent city-
▪ After the war, Athens and Sparta were both poorer and less powerful than they had
been, and powerful smaller states such as Corinth and Thebes could change the
balance of power by switching alliances.
▪ In this new situation, conflicts between city-states flamed up more frequently than
in the past.
Power in the Region
o After the Spartans defeated the Athenian navy near Asia minor, the Spartan commander opened
negotiations with the Persians, again a formidable power in the region.
o A year later, the king of Persia imposed a “common peace” on the Greek world, with Sparta in
a dominant position.
▪ This settlement did not last long; Thebes soon asserted itself as a new regional
power, rising to leadership in a confederacy of states grouped against Sparta.
▪ Between 371 and 362 BCE, a rebellion of some of the Persian satraps and conflicts
with Egypt occupied the Persian king.
• Satraps: A provincial governor of the Persian Empire and its successor
states. Upon conquering Persia in 330 BCE, Alexander instilled his own
governors but kept this traditional Persian title.
o Sparta never recovered its former strength, however, and even Athens had only a fraction of the
material and human resources it had possessed in the age of the Delian League.
o The Persian Empire continued to be the greatest power in western Asia and the Mediterranean,
incomparable in wealth and in the scale of its army and administration.
Changes in the City-State
o In this period of decline, many city-state institutions survived.
o Athenians continued to serve for pay on state juries.
o Professional orators still dominated public life and continued to address large crowds in the
o In other respects, though, the city-state system was no longer what it had been.
o Persia regularly intervened in Greek affairs, threatening the autonomy of individual cities
that the Greeks had preserved from Persian aggression.
o In the perpetual warfare of the period, Athenians and other Greeks who would once have
served in their own cities’ armies found themselves fighting as mercenaries for anyone who
o Warfare assumed a professional form and took place on a vast scale.
The Rise of Macedon
o As the Greek city-states struggled for preeminence, a new power was rising in the north, one that
they could not resist even when they formed alliances against it.
o Macedonia was a kingdom ringed by mountains and endowed with rich natural resources,
including gold, silver, and timber.
o Archaeological evidence shows that the Macedonians built a wealthy warrior nation that
produced arms and jewelry far more splendid than anything seen in the Greek cities.
o But they adopted the Greek gods of Olympus as theirs, and their rulers traced their ancestry
back to the Greek hero Heracles.
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