Journal article

Athens, Thebes and Plataia and the end of the sixth century BCE

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  • Journal of Ancient History. - 2017, p. 179-204
English One of the key events in the relations between the Athenians and Thebans was the Plataian decision to align themselves with the Athenians at the end of the sixth century BCE. This decision shook up the contemporary political landscape and proved to be a source of hostility between the two neighbouring polities throughout the fifth and fourth centuries. The orthodox view holds that the original alignment took place in 519 during the Peisistratid tyranny, based on the date given by Thucydides 3.68.5. This date, in the mind of some scholars, seems contradictory with the story of the Plataian alignment as given by Herodotus (6.108.1-6.). This inconsistency resulted in a search for alternatives that fit the Herodotean narrative better. To accommodate this change, they relied on emendating the Thucydidean text, but there is no sign of corruption in this part. Emendation of a text is best avoided, although the controversy merits attention. Therefore, in this article it will be argued that the two narratives – the Thucydidean and the Herodotean – need to be separated. What follows is a renewed chronology of Plataian-Athenian relations. The orthodox date (519) was the date of an original Peisistratid-Plataian alliance that did not lead to hostilities with Thebes. Instead, it is in the context of the foundation of the Athenian democracy and the subsequent clashes with Thebes after 507/6 that the Herodotean narrative should be placed
Faculté des lettres
Département d'histoire
  • English
Ancient history
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