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S U M M A R Y

Objectives of the Athenian Campaigns to Caria and Lycia
Muzaffer DEMİR*

The Persians were successively defeated at Salamis, Plataiai and Mykale by the joint; naval forces of the Peloponnesian League, the Athenians and their allies, in 480 and 479 BC; however, it is to be observed that Persian sovereignty over Caria and Lycia continuedj until about 460 when the Athenian commander Cimon finally defeated the Persians the battle of the Eurymedon and Athens placed the cities of Caria and Lycia under herl hegemony. Yet, the fact that the ancient sources are silent until 431 BC, when the Pelopon-j nesian Wars began, supports the hypothesis that the Athenian military intervention towards] the Carian and Lycian cities was, in the period prior to this date, not very intensive.

At the onset of the war, Athens launched campaigns to Caria and Lycia, under the command of Melesandros in the winter of 430 BC and under the command of Lysicles in the summer of 428 BC. Thucydides explicitly reports that the first campaign was aimed at col-1 lecting taxes from Caria and Lycia, together with the objective of preventing PeloponnesianJ League supported pirates from founding a base there and thereby preventing these pirates! from attacking the merchant shipping supplying Athens, whereas the second campaign! only to collect taxes. However, the most meticulous work on this topic has claimed that! what Thucydides reported did not reflect the reality; that these two campaigns were indeed aimed at capturing the Carian and Lycian cities, thus, keeping their coastline under! Athenian control, in order to prevent the Persians from intervening in the PeloponnesianJ War. Yet, we are of the opinion that the reasons put forth by Thucydides concerning the! objectives of the Athenian campaigns to Caria and Lycia are most likely to be correct. At I the onset of the Peloponnesian War, Athens spent most of her financial reserves to sup-1 port the continuation of the war effort, and these expenses continued. Ancient sources confirm that the Lycians and Carians supported Athens with both money and soldiers; and I that Athens, being the leader of the maritime Delian League, continued to collect money I for emergencies during the war, rather than regular taxes, not only in Caria and Lycia but also in other regions that were members of the League. The fact that the number of the cities from the inner regions to be observed on the Caria panel of the Athenian Tribute Lists continuously decreases from 440 BC onwards, suggests that Athens would direct her focus toward these cities, where she had been unable to collect taxes for some cosiderable time, as she was involved in a war and needed fresh finacial resources. Contrary to the general j opinion, it is to be observed that some of the cities in Lycia paid while others refused to.

It therefore seems sensible to suggest that there was no political unity in Lycia during this period. The Inscribed Pillar Tomb of the dynast Kherei at Xanthos is dated to ca. 400 BC and probably mentions the name Melesandros. Taking into consideration the information provided by this inscription we discover that: some Lycian cities gave military support to Melesandros on his way to the inner region at the time when they were opposed to Limyra which was supported by the Persians, secondly Xanthos, the largest city of the region under the reign of Kherei, and other smaller cities, preferred paying less tax to the Persians; and thirdly that finally Melesandros was defeated. Lysicles, and probably Melesandros too, first proceeded through the Maiandros valley into the rich and strategically important inner parts of Caria, which had a very mixed population. It is highly likely that they had expected to collect a lot of money as the region was wealthy. However, it is to be noted that the complex structure of the population led to a greater resistance against Athens. In addition, it is most probable that the pirates that raided the merchant ships trading with Athens were also clustered in the region.

An important reason for Athens to launch such campaigns must have been to stop the piracy that was supported by the Peloponnesian League that was carried out against merchants from Caria and Lycia that were trading with Athens. With the onset of the war, Athens confined her citizens within the fortifications (inside the Long Walls) and began to apply the defensive strategy of Pericles while the Peloponnesians occupied the land of Attica. As Athens became dependent upon the importation of grains and other basic needs supplied through maritime trade, the security of the maritime merchants procuring basic food material from places such as Finike and Egypt, and bringing them to Athens, that travelled along the coastline of Lycia and Caria became a priority. Therefore, it is to be observed at the beginning of the war that Athens reinforced her garrisons or established new ones, at places such as Hellespont, which were both strategically important and open to attack, by enemy forces and the pirates supported by an enemy that threatened these vital sea routes. Likewise, Athens sent Melesandros out, in order to facilitate some control over enemy troops or ships even in the distant lands of Lycia and Caria, as they were beside the trade route to Egypt, and also to establish bases, to take measures against those pirates supported by the enemy. Furthermore, the Peloponnesian League followed a strategy of warfare that kept the Athenians under pressure and which led to surrender through depriving them of their basic needs, aided by removing those merchants, who were from Athens or who were trading with Athens. As the Peloponnesian League could not defeat the powerful Athenian navy at the beginning of the war, they necessarily supported piracy in order to restrict the sea trade supplying Athens. Thus, it is most probable that the Peloponnesian League made use of the historically renowned Carian and Lycian pirates, who attacked from the Maiandros valley and from other rivers, in their small pirate boats which are claimed to have been invented in Caria.

There is not much information available concerning the activities carried out in regard to Caria and Lycia following the peace treaty signed between Athens and Sparta in 424 BC. It can be understood that Athens slightly supported the uprisings in these regions towards the end of this period of peace. However, as the Ionian War (413-404 BC) -the third phase of the Peloponnesian War- broke out, the Peloponnesians occupied the land of Attica again, and again tried to stop shipping from Caria and Lycia trading with Athens. The Peloponnesian League received support from the pirates in the region, for example, from Theopompos of Miletos, and from cities, such as Cnidos and Caunos, that revolted against Athens, which gave support to the Peloponnesian forces, who used these cities as bases from 412 BC onwards. In response, Athenian maritime forces, ships and garrisons were based in Samos in order to keep the coastline of Caria and Lycia under their control and they continued to collect money when needed. In 407 BC the Athenian general Alcibiades sailed to the Ceramos Bay in Caria and collected a great amount of money within a short period of time. Later in 405 BC, having established a powerful navy with the support of Cyrus, son of the Persian king, the Peloponnesian forces, under the command of Lysandros, attacked some Carian cities that supported Athens and captured them. Lysandros was probably aware of the fact that it was necessary to establish control over the seas and cities in the region of Caria-Lycia and the Hellespont, that is, over the vital maritime trade routes that supplied the Athenians with money, food and other basic needs, in order to force the surrender of Athens. Later, Lysandros went to the Hellespont from Caria, and finally defeated the Athenian navy in battle at Aigospotamoi in 404. He proved correct in his strategy and Athens, whose navy was destroyed, had no choice but to surrender.


*Yrd. Doç. Dr. Muzaffer Demir, Muğla Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Tarih Bölümü - Muğla.

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