The Athenian Empire: Literature, Epigraphy, Archaeology
The Athenian Empire is a historical phenomenon that perplexed historians already in antiquity and continues to puzzle us to this day. After the Persian Wars, Athens led the so-called Delian League, originally a loose alliance of primarily Ionian city-states against Persia. In the process, Athens achieved unprecedented power that eventually led to the catastrophic Peloponnesian War. However, Athens’ hegemony was not only a cause of misery, but also the framework of extraordinary cultural achievements. In this course, we will be looking into the birth, rise, and fall of the Athenian Empire, as well as its legacy. This will entail close study of i) literacy sources, including Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, pseudo-Xenophon’s The Athenian Constitution, select tragedies and comedies thought to reflect contemporary imperialistic discourse, Isocrates’ Panegyricus, Diodorus Siculus’ books XI-XIV, and Plutarch’s Lives of Cimon, Pericles, and Alcibiades; ii) epigraphical documents, such as decrees, treaties, war dedications, casualty lists; iii) archaeological material, including the Parthenon, the Propylaia and other structures of the so-called Periclean building program, the Long Walls, the Demosion Sema etc. Finally, we will also be examining modern historiographical reconstructions of the Athenian Empire from the 19th century to the new millennium.
* J. de Romilly, Thucydides and Athenian Imperialism, New York 1964.
* R. Meiggs, The Athenian Empire, Oxford 1972.
* H. B. Mattingly, The Athenian Empire Restored: Epigraphic and Historical Studies, Ann Arbor 1996.
* R. Parker, Athenian Religion: A History, Oxford 1997.
* D. Gribble, Alcibiades and Athens: A Study in Literary Presentation, Oxford 1999.
* J. M. Camp, The Archaeology of Athens, New Haven 2001.
* P. Low (ed.), The Athenian Empire (Edinburgh Readings on the Ancient World), Edinburgh 2008.
* J. Ma et al. (edd.), Interpreting the Athenian Empire, London 2009.