Amphictyonic League

In the Archaic Greece, an amphictyony (Greek: ἀμφικτυονία), a "league of neighbors", or Amphictyonic League was an ancient religious[1] association of Greek tribes[2] formed in the dim past, before the rise of the Greek poleis. The six Dorian cities of coastal southwest Anatolia, or the twelve Ionian cities to the north, the dodecapolis forming an Ionian League emerging in the aftermath of a faintly remembered "Meliac war" in the mid-7th century BCE, were already of considerable antiquity when the first written records emerge.

An amphictyony consisting of polities under the aegis of Apollo's shrine at Delos was apparently well-established in the seventh century, as the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo of that approximate date lists them,[3] those cities and islands that trembled[4] and refused to offer themselves for the birthplace of Apollo when pregnant Leto went to each in turn; the Homeric hymn presents an origin myth for the cult of Apollo on Delos. The joint Ionian festival celebrated there was the Delia. The Delian amphictyony was recreated in the 4th century as an instrument of Athenian hegemony.

Ancient historiography

Thucydides made recollection of the Lelantine War, apparently fought in Euboea sometime between the late 8th century BC and the first half of the 7th century BCE: "The war between Chalcis and Eretria was the one in which most cities belonging to the rest of Greece were divided up into alliances with one side or the other."[5]

Historians have puzzled over the broader meanings of "alliance" in such early times. "But comparatively large-scale associations lead more readily to contacts, to friendships and enmities at a distance than do little city-like units," George Forrest notes,[6] remarking apropos that Phrygia and Assyria were at war with each other about 720–710 BC, raising tensions among interested Greeks.

In historic times, an amphictyony might survive as a form of religious organization enjoined to support specific temples or sacred places; traditional amphictyonies coordinated Olympic and Pythian Games. Twelve members would meet at specific times in the same sanctuary to keep religious festivals and conduct other matters as well.

An early amphictyony centered on Kalaureia, an island close to the coast of Troezen in the Peloponnese sacred to Poseidon, was noted by Strabo. Archaeology of the site suggested to Thomas Kelly that the sacred league was founded in the second quarter of the 7th century BC, c. 680-650;[7] before that date there were virtually no remains at the site, which could not have been used more than sporadically.[8] The island was known at one time as Eirene (Εἰρήνη) ("Peace"), clearly in reference to the amphictyony.[9] Strabo[10] lists the poleis that belonged: "And there was also a kind of Amphictyonic League connected with this temple, a league of seven cities which shared in the sacrifice; they were Hermione, Epidaurus, Aegina, Athens, Prasïeis, Nauplïeis, and Orchomenus Minyeius;[11] however, the Argives paid dues for the Nauplians,[12] and the Lacedaemonians for the Prasians."[13]

Delphic Amphictyony

Amphictyonic law Louvre Ma133
Amphictyonic law of Delphi (4th century BC, marble, from Aegina, now in the Louvre)
Illustrerad Verldshistoria band I Ill 111
Silver stater from Delphi, 336 BC, issued in the name of Amphictyonic Council of Delphi

The least obscure and longest-lasting amphictyony was the Delphic or Great Amphictyonic League that was organized to support the greater temples of Apollo and Demeter. Its council had religious authority and the power to pronounce punishments against offenders. Punishments could range from fines to expulsion and to conduct sacred wars. The Amphictyonic League also set the rules of battle so as to protect sanctuaries and impose sentences on those who molested sanctuaries. All members were obliged to pledge themselves by an oath as reported by Aeschines.[14]

Based on legend, the Great Amphictyonic League was founded somewhat after the Trojan War, for the protection and administration of the temple of Apollo in Delphi and temple of Demeter in Anthela (Ἀνθήλη), near Thermopylae. The founding myth claimed that it had been founded in the most distant past by an eponymous founder Amphictyon, brother of Hellen, the common ancestor of all Hellenes. Representatives of the twelve members (called hieromnemones) met in Thermopylae in spring and in Delphi in autumn.

The twelve founders enumerated by Aeschines[15] were the Aenianes or Oetaeans (Αἰνιᾶνες, Οἰταῖοι), the Boeotians (Βοιωτοί) of Thebes, the Dolopes (Δόλοπες), the Dorians (Δωριείς) of Sparta, the Ionians (Ἴωνες) of Athens, the Phthian Achaeans (Ἀχαιοί), the Locrians (Λοκροί) [Opuntians (Ὀπούντιοι) and Ozolians (Ὀζολοί)], the Magnesians (Μάγνητες), the Malians (Μαλιεῖς), the Perrhaebians (Περραιβοί), the Phocians (Φωκεῖς), the Pythians (Πύθιοι) of Delphi, and the Thessalians (Θεσσαλοί). The League doctrine required that no member would be entirely wiped out in war and no water supply of any member would be cut even in wartime. It did not prevent members from fighting about the dominance over the temples.

The first Amphictyony

The oldest religious Amphictyonic League was known as Anthelian, because it was centered on the cult of the chthonic goddess Demeter at Anthela. The twelve delegates were entitled Pylagorai (gate-assemblers), perhaps a reference to the local Gates of Hades, since Demeter was a chthonic goddess in her older local cults. The immediate dwellers-round were some small states and also Achaea-Phthiotis that probably paved the way for the entry of the body of the rest Boeotian tribes which were living around Thessaly (perioikoi). Boeotia and Phocis the remotest may have joined only during or after the "First Sacred War", which led to the defeat of the old priesthood and to a new control of the prosperity of the oracle at Delphi.[16]

As a result of the war the Anthelan body was known thenceforth as the Delphic Amphictyony and became the official overseer and military defender of the Delphic cult. A strange and revealing anti-Thessalian feeling appeared and a wall was built across the narrow defile at Thermopylae to keep the Thessalians out.

It has been suggested that the Shield of Heracles may reflect anti-Thessalian feeling after the First Sacred War: in this epic, a Thessalian hero interfering with the Phocian sanctuary is killed by a Boeotian hero (Heracles), whose mortal father Amphitryon had for allies Locrians and Phocians. This was a pastiche made to be sung at a Boeotian festival at midsummer at the hottest time of the dogstar Sirios.[17]

The name Hellenes, may be related to the members of the league and may have been broadened to refer to all Greeks when the myth of their patriarch Hellen was invented. In Greek mythology Amphictyon was brother of Hellen, and Graecus was son of his sister Pandora. According to the Parian Chronicle, the previously-named Graeces were renamed Hellenes.[18]

Sacred Wars

Originally a religious organization, the Amphictyonic League became politically important in the 6th century BC, when larger city-states began to use it to apply pressure to the lesser ones.

The Oracle managed to become independent from the city of Krissa, to which the temple originally belonged. The people of Krissa then imposed a tax on those who were passing through their area to go to Delphi, causing strong complaints and reducing the resources of the Oracle. The Amphictyony, having exhausted all other means to peacefully resolve the crisis, declared the First Sacred War (or Cirrhean War)[19] against Krissa that lasted a decade, from 596 to 585 BC. The result was the destruction of Krissa and the dedication of this country to Apollo, Leto, Artemis, and Athena Pronaia. After this, the Pythian Games were held every four years, under the direction of the Amphictyons.

In 449-448 BC the Phocians, wanting to become masters of the sanctuary, marched against Delphi, but the Spartans sent an army and restored things, thus causing the second Sacred War. After the Spartans’ departure, the Athenians, led by Pericles, gave back to the Phocians the rule of Delphi and the management of the Pythian Games. In 421 BC, after the Peace of Nicias, Delphi became autonomous again. It is unlikely, however, that Phocis remained in control of Delphi after members of the Boeotian League defeated Athens at the Battle of Coronea (447 BC).[20]

In 356 BC the Phocians under Philomelos captured and sacked Delphi and another sacred war was declared against them. After a ten-year war the Phocians were expelled from the League in 346 BC and their two votes were given to Macedonians who had helped to defeat them. Philip II of Macedonia used this power to further his expansionist policy in Greece. This ended up in the Fourth Sacred War which culminated in the Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), marking the final domination of the Macedonians over Greece.


In 279 BC the Delphic Amphictyony admitted as new members the Aetolians, who had successfully defended the sanctuary as well as the rest of mainland Greece against the Gauls. At this instance the Phocians were also readmitted for having also participated at the defense of the region. In the 3rd century BC the Soteria (festival) was held in honour of the Greek victory against the Gauls. By 191 BC the League had 17 members but only the most dominant one had the two votes, when others had only one. The league continued to exist under the Roman Empire but its authority was limited to the care of the temple of Apollo at Delphi. The Roman emperor Augustus incorporated the Aenianes, Malians, Magnetians and Pythians with the Thessalians. Since the Dolopes had meanwhile vanished, he gave their vote to the city of Nicopolis.

The Amphictyonic League gradually declined and in the 2nd century AD it was replaced by the Panhellenion, established by the Roman emperor Hadrian. However, the see of the Amphictyonic League was in Athens, the emperor's favourite city. Thus, it seems that the Amphictyony finally faded away, although we have no specific date for its actual cessation.

Bolivar's emulation

The Congress of Panama, organized by Simón Bolívar in 1826 with the goal of bringing together the new republics of Latin America in a permanent alliance, was often referred to as The Amphictyonic Congress, in homage to the above.

See also


  1. ^ Definition. "Amphictiony". 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  2. ^ Archived April 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine;Encarta. Archived 2009-10-31.
  3. ^ Cf. Enyclopaedia Britannica, 11 ed., s.v. "Amphictyony'".
  4. ^ Hera, notably worshiped at Samos in the Archaic period, was opposed to the birth of Apollo and obstructing Leto's parturition, according to the Hymn.
  5. ^ Thucydides, I 15, 3.
  6. ^ Forrest, "Greece: The history of the archaic Period", in John Boardman, Jasper Griffin and Oswyn Murray, Greece and the Hellenistic World (Oxford University Press, 1986) 1988:14f.
  7. ^ Thomas Kelly, "The Calaurian Amphictiony" American Journal of Archaeology 70.2 (April 1966:113-121).
  8. ^ Some Mycenaean objects found at the site related to a few ancient burials without connection to Poseidon. (Kelly 1966:115, 116).
  9. ^ In a fragment of Aristotle and in the Suidas, s.v. "Kalaunia" (Kelly 1966:118 note 45).
  10. ^ Strabo, Geography viii.6.14
  11. ^ That is, "Minyan Orchomenus, in Boeotia; the eighth-century date of Orchomenus' last access to the sea and the general agreement, following Strabo, that the league was a sea league, have affected the dating of the league.
  12. ^ That is, Argos took the place of Nauplia; the Argives destroyed Nauplia shortly after the Second Messenian War, of uncertain date in the mid-seventh century.
  13. ^ That is, Sparta took the place of Prasïeis, which was conquered by Sparta shortly after the middle of the sixth century (Kelly 1966:119, noting Herodotus, i.82)
  14. ^ The Speeches of Aeschines, On the Embassy, (p.245)
  15. ^ Aeschines, ii (On the embassy). 115; see also Strabo, ix.3.7, and Pausanias, x.8.2-5.
  16. ^ L. H . Jeffery (1976). Archaic Greece. The Greek city states c. 700-500 B.C.. Ernest Benn Ltd. London & Tonbridge pp. 72-73, 78. ISBN 0-510-03271-0
  17. ^ L.H.Jeferry (1976). The Archaic Greece. The Greek city states. 700-500 B.C., p.74
  18. ^ Entry No 6: Graeces-Hellenes
  19. ^ An Epitome of the Civil and Literary Chronology of Greece. By Henry Fynes Clinton, p. 92.
  20. ^ For a more detailed account of this conflict, see Donald Kagan (1969), The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, pp. 120-124, based largely on Thuc. 1.112-13.


External links

Achaea Phthiotis

Achaea Phthiotis (Ancient Greek: Ἀχαΐα Φθιῶτις, "Achaea of Phthia") or simply Phthiotis (Φθιῶτις) was a historical region of ancient Thessaly in ancient Greece.

It lay in southeastern Thessaly, between Mount Othrys and the northern shore of the Pagasetic Gulf. Inhabited by perioikoi, it was originally formally not a part of Thessaly proper but a Thessalian dependency, and had a seat of its own in the Delphic Amphictyony. From 363 BC it came under Boeotian control, but split away during the Lamian War. In the 3rd century BC it became a member of the Aetolian League, until declared free and autonomous by the Roman Republic in 196 BC, following the Second Macedonian War, and re-incorporated into Thessaly.Phthiotis was inhabited by the Achaean Phthiotae (Ἀχαιοὶ Φθιῶται), under which name they are usually mentioned as members of the Amphictyonic League. This district, according to Strabo, included the southern part of Thessaly, extending from the Maliac Gulf on the east, to Dolopia and Mount Pindus on the west, and stretching as far north as Pharsalus and the Thessalian plains. Phthiotis derived its name from the Homeric Phthia (Φθίη), which appears to have included in the heroic times not only Hellas and Dolopia, which is expressly called the furthest part of Phthia, but also the southern portion of the Thessalian plain, since it is probable that Phthia was also the ancient name of Pharsalus. The cities of Phthiotis were: Amphanaeum or Amphanae, on the promontory Pyrrha and on the Pagasaean Gulf; Phthiotic Thebes, Eretria, Phylace, Iton, Halus, Pteleum, Antron, Larissa Cremaste, Proerna, Pras, Narthacium, Thaumaci, Melitaea, Coroneia, Xyniae, Lamia, Phalara, and Echinus.It has given its name to the modern prefecture of Phthiotis. The Phthiotis Prefecture however lies to the south of the historical region and does not include it. Historical Phthiotis is today part of Magnesia Prefecture.


Amphicleia or Amphikleia (Ancient Greek: Ἀμφίκλεια) or Amphicaea or Amphikaia (Ἀμφίκαια) was a Greek town in the north of ancient Phocis, distant 60 stadia from Lilaea, and 15 stadia from Tithronium. It was destroyed by the Persian army of Xerxes in his invasion of Greece (480 BCE). Although Herodotus calls it Amphicaea, following the most ancient traditions, the Amphictyonic League gave it the name of Amphicleia in their decree respecting rebuilding the town (346 BCE). It also bore for some time the name of Ophiteia (Ὀφιτεία), in consequence of a legend, which Pausanias relates. The place was celebrated in the time of Pausanias for the worship of Dionysus, to which an inscription refers, found at the site of the ancient town.The site of the ancient town is located at a site called Dadi/Nekrotapheio/Paliopyrgos within the bounds of the modern town of Amfikleia.


For the Amphictyony, an ancient Greek religious organization, see Amphictyonic League.Amphictyon or Amphiktyon (; Ancient Greek: Ἀμφικτυών), in Greek mythology, was a king of Thermopylae and later Athens.

Ancient Magnesia

Anciently, Magnesia (Ancient Greek: Μαγνησία) was a region of Ancient Greece, eventually absorbed by ancient Thessaly. Originally inhabited by the Magnetes (Μάγνητες), Magnesia was the long and narrow slip of country between Mounts Ossa and Pelion on the west and the sea on the east, and extending from the mouth of the Peneius on the north to the Pagasaean Gulf on the south. The Magnetes were members of the Amphictyonic League, and were settled in this district in the Homeric times, and mentioned in the Iliad. The Thessalian Magnetes are said to have founded the Asiatic cities of Magnesia ad Sipylum and Magnesia on the Maeander. The towns of Magnesia were: Aesonis, Aphetae, Boebe, Casthanaea, Cercinium, Coracae, Demetrias, Eurymenae, Glaphyrae, Homole or Homolium, Iolcus, Magnesia, Meliboea, Methone, Mylae, Nelia, Olizon, Pagasae, Rhizus, Spalaethra, and Thaumacia.

Anthedon (Boeotia)

Anthedon (Ἀνθηδών) was a town in Boeotia, Ancient Greece, located on the coast of the Gulf of Euboea, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) west of Chalcis, at the foot of Mount Messapius. It was member of the Amphictyonic League, and served as port for Thebes. In ancient times, it was believed to have had one of the mythical characters named Anthedon as its eponym.

The ruins of the town are situated 1 1/2 mile from the village Loukisia.

Anthela (Thessaly)

Anthela or Anthele (Ancient Greek: Ἀνθήλη) was a town and polis (city-state) of Malis in Ancient Thessaly. Herodotus places the town between the small river Phoenix and Thermopylae which was a celebrated pass between Thessaly and Phocis. He also mentions that the Thessalian Asopus river passed through its surroundings and that there was a sanctuary of Demeter, a place where the Amphictyonic League celebrated its meetings and a temple of Amphictyon. According to legend, the league was founded, in part, to protect the temple of Demeter at Anthela. Anthela is in the immediate vicinity of the pass of Thermopylae, celebrated for the temples of Amphictyon and of the Amphictyonic Demeter, containing seats for the members of the Amphicytonic council, who held here their autumnal meetings. At Anthela, Mount Oeta recedes a little from the sea, leaving a plain a little more than half a mile in breadth, but again contracts near Alpeni, the first town of the Locrians, where the space is again only sufficient for a single carriage. Modern scholars identify its location with the modern village of Anthili in the municipality of Lamia.

Aristagoras (given name)

Aristagoras usually refers to the tyrant of Miletus (d. 496 BC) who began the Ionian Revolt.

Aristagoras (Αρισταγόρας) was also a Greek masculine given name which may refer to:

Aristagoras, 6th century BC, father of Hegesistratus, the emissary from Samos to the Lacedaemonian army at Delos in one incident of the Persian Wars

Aristagoras, 6th century BC, tyrant of Cyme, son of Heracleides

Aristagoras, 5th century BC, tyrant of Cyzicus on the Propontis

Aristagoras, 5th century BC, a comic writer at Miletus

Aristagoras of Tenedos, c. 446 BC, a person of athletic note mentioned in an ode of Pindar

Aristagoras, 4th century BC, son of Eudoxus of Cnidus

Aristagoras, 4th century BC, Greek historian on Egypt

Aristagoras, c. 268 BC, member of the Amphictyonic League at Delphi for that year for the IoniansIts feminine form Aristagora may refer to:

Aristagora, 6th century BC, mistress of the orator Hyperides

Congress of Panama

The Congress of Panama (often referred to as the Amphictyonic Congress, in homage to the Amphictyonic League of Ancient Greece) was a congress organized by Simón Bolívar in 1826 with the goal of bringing together the new republics of Latin America to develop a unified policy towards Spain. Held in Panama City from 22 June to 15 July of that year, the meeting proposed creating a league of American republics, with a common military, a mutual defense pact, and a supranational parliamentary assembly.

It was attended by representatives of Gran Colombia (comprising the modern-day nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela), Peru, the United Provinces of Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica), and Mexico. Chile and the United Provinces of South America (Argentina) declined to attend, out of mistrust of Bolívar's enormous influence. The Empire of Brazil did not send delegates, because it expected a hostile reception from its Hispanic neighbours due to its ongoing war with Argentina over modern Uruguay. The isolationist Paraguay (which refused previous delegates from Bolívar) was not invited.

The grandly titled "Treaty of Union, League, and Perpetual Confederation" that emerged from the congress was ultimately only ratified by Gran Colombia, and Bolívar's dream soon foundered irretrievably with civil war in that nation, the disintegration of Central America, and the emergence of nationalism. The Congress of Panama also had political ramifications in the United States. President John Quincy Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay wanted the US to attend the congress, only been invited due to pressure on Bolívar; but as Hispanic America had outlawed slavery, politicians from the Southern United States held up the mission by not approving funds or confirming the delegates. Despite their eventual departure, of the two US delegates, one (Richard Clough Anderson Jr.) died en route to Panama, and the other (John Sergeant) only arrived after the Congress had concluded its discussions. Thus Great Britain, which attended with only observer status, managed to acquire many good trade deals with Latin American countries.


Dolopia (Ancient Greek: Δολοπία) is a mountainous region of Greece, located north of Aetolia.


Echedemos (Greek: Ἐχέδημος; fl. 190 BC) was a Greek statesman of ancient Athens.

Federalist No. 18

Federalist No. 18 is an essay by James Madison, the eighteenth of The Federalist Papers. It was published on December 7, 1787 under the pseudonym Publius, the name under which all The Federalist papers were published. No. 18 addresses the failures of the Articles of Confederation to satisfactorily govern the United States; it is the fourth of six essays on this topic. It is titled "The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union". Madison draws historical parallels between the Confederation and Ancient Greece, where both the Amphictyonic League and the Achaean League ended in tyranny and disintegration. This illustrates the importance of a closer union.

First Sacred War

The First Sacred War or Cirraean war, was fought between the Amphictyonic League of Delphi and the city of Kirrha. At the beginning of the 6th century BC the Pylaeo-Delphic Amphictyony, controlled by the Thessalians, attempted to take hold of the Sacred Land (or Kirrhaean Plain) of Apollo which resulted in this war. The conflict arose due to Kirrha's frequent robbery and mistreatment of pilgrims going to Delphi and their encroachments upon Delphic land. The war, which culminated with the defeat and destruction of Kirrha, is notable for the use of chemical warfare at the Siege of Kirrha, in the form of hellebore being used to poison the city's water supply. The war's end was marked by the organization of the first Pythian Games.


Homilae or Homilai (Ancient Greek: Ὅμιλαι) was a town in Oetaea in ancient Thessaly. The town's name appears in an epigraph dated to 206/5 BCE as providing a hieromnemone to the Amphictyonic League on behalf of the Aetolians.Its site is at the modern site of Kouvelo Kastro/Kastro Orias.

On the Peace

On the Peace (Ancient Greek: Περὶ τῆς εἰρήνης) is one of the most famous political orations of the prominent Athenian statesman and orator Demosthenes. It was delivered in 346 BC and constitutes a political intervention of Demosthenes in favor of the Peace of Philocrates.


Pamboeotia (Gr. παμβοιώτια) was a major festive panegyris of all the Boeotians, celebrated probably annually. The grammarians compare the Pamboeotia with the Panathenaea of the Atticans, and the Panionia of the Ionians. Though probably quite older than this, even primitive, the festival is celebrated with the name "Pamboeotia" only starting in the 3rd century BC. The festival was celebrated in the tenth month of the Boeotian calendar, Pamboiotos, at a temple of Athena Itonia in the neighborhood of Coronea.

The principal object of the meeting was the common worship of Athena Itonia. Activities included dancing and music and athletic events of a somewhat militaristic character, such as spear-throwing, trumpeting, heralding, mock battles, and horse racing. The priestess of the shrine was appointed by the Boeotian League.A depiction of a Pamboeotia festival can be seen on a lekane in the British Museum, on which men approach an altar of Athena that is covered in flame. Some of the men are leading an ox to sacrifice to the goddess. Before these men is a woman bearing on her head a platter of offerings.From Polybius it appears that during this national festival no war was allowed to be carried on, and that in case of a war a truce was always concluded. This panegyris is also mentioned by Plutarch. It is a disputed point whether the Pamboeotia had anything to do with the political constitution of Boeotia, or with the relation of its several towns to Thebes; but if so, it can have been only previous to the time when Thebes had obtained the undisputed supremacy in Boeotia. Some writers think it likely that this was the occasion on which Boeotian representatives to the Delphic Amphictyonic League were elected.

Regions of ancient Greece

The regions of ancient Greece were areas identified by the ancient Greeks as geographical sub-divisions of the Hellenic world. These regions are described in the works of ancient historians and geographers, and in the legends and myths of the ancient Greeks.

Conceptually, there is no clear theme to the structure of these regions. Some, particularly in the Peloponnese, can be seen primarily as distinct geo-physical units, defined by physical boundaries such as mountain ranges and rivers. These regions retained their identity, even when the identity of the people living there changed during the Greek Dark Ages (or at least, was conceived by the Greeks to have changed). Conversely, the division of central Greece between Boeotia, Phocis, Doris and the three parts of Locris, cannot be understood as a logical division by physical boundaries, and instead seems to follow ancient tribal divisions. Nevertheless, these regions also survived the upheaval of the Greek Dark Ages, showing that they had acquired less political connotations. Outside the Peloponnese and central Greece, geographical divisions and identities did change over time suggesting a closer connection with tribal identity. Over time however, all the regions also acquired geo-political meanings, and political bodies uniting the cities of a region (such as the Arcadian League) became common in the Classical period.

These traditional sub-divisions of Greece form the basis for the modern system of regional units of Greece. However, there are important differences, with many of the smaller ancient regions not represented in the current system.

Sacred War

Sacred War may refer to:

a series of wars carried out by members of the Amphictyonic League:

First Sacred War (595–585 BC)

Second Sacred War (449–448 BC)

Third Sacred War (356–346 BC)

Fourth Sacred War (339–338 BC)

"The Sacred War", Soviet song associated with the Second World War

Temple of Demeter Amphictyonis

The Temple of Demeter Amphictyonis was an extra-urban sanctuary in ancient Anthele in Thermopylae, dedicated to Demeter. It was an important Panhellenic shrine of Demeter and one of her main cult centers in Greece. It was also known as a center of the Amphictyonic League.

The sanctuary is mentioned by Herodotus in the 5th century BC:

"Between the river [Phoinix, a tributary of the Asopos River] and Thermopylai there is a village named Anthele, past which the Asopos flows out into the sea, and there is a wide space around it in which stand a temple of Demeter Amphiktyonis, seats for the Amphiktyones, and a temple of Amphiktyon himself."Excavations has dated the structures to the 5th-century BC. The archeological remains include a trapezoidal peribolos, identified as a large stoa and stadium, which measures north side 66.30m, south side 65.30m, east side 6.20m, west side 7.65m. The Sanctuary of Demeter Amphyctionis was known in antiquity as the place where the Pylaian or Delphic Amphictyonic council met each autumn.

Demeter Amphictyonis is depicted on a coin minted by Philip II of Macedon, who took over control of the Amphictyonic League in 339 BC. The coin from 335 BC portrayed the profile of Demeter wearing a veil and a wreath of grain on the obverse, and seated Apollo on the reverse, inscribed not by the Delphian name but with 'AMΦΙΚΤΥΩΝΩΝ' ("Of the Amphictyons").

The sanctuary still existed in the age of Strabo, who described it:

"There is also a large harbor here [at Thermopylai], and a temple of Demeter, in which at the time of every Pylaian assembly the Amphiktyons performed sacrificial rites. [...] The first cities which came together [to form the Amphictyonic League to care for the shared shrines of Ancient Greece] are said to have been twelve, and each sent a Pylagoras, the assembly convening twice a year, in spring and in late autumn; but later still more cities were added. They called the assembly Pylaia, both that of spring and that of late autumn, since they convened at Pylai, which is also called Thermopylai; and the Pylagorai sacrificed to Demeter."If still in use by the 4th century AD, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans under the Christian Emperors, when edicts where issued prohibiting all non-Christian worship. Excavations has been made of the archeological remains.

Third Sacred War

The Third Sacred War (356–346 BC) was fought between the forces of the Delphic Amphictyonic League, principally represented by Thebes, and latterly by Philip II of Macedon, and the Phocians. The war was caused by a large fine imposed in 357 BC on the Phocians by the Amphictyonic League (dominated at that moment by Thebes), for the offense of cultivating sacred land; refusing to pay, the Phocians instead seized the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, and used the accumulated treasures to fund large mercenary armies. Thus, although the Phocians suffered several major defeats, they were able to continue the war for many years, until eventually all parties were nearing exhaustion. Philip II used the distraction of the other states to increase his power in northern Greece, in the process becoming ruler of Thessaly. In the end, Philip's growing power, and the exhaustion of the other states, allowed him to impose a peaceful settlement of the war, marking a major step in the rise of Macedon to pre-eminence in Ancient Greece.

Sacred Wars

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