Alexander and the Greeks
Alexander and Athens
What happened to Athens after the Theban rebellion?
After the treatment of Thebes, the Athenians, who were morally just as responsible because they had encouraged Thebes, expected the same. They sent an embassy to Alexander and congratulated him on his punishment of Thebes.
Alexander’s only demand of Athens was that they should hand over their leaders, especially Demosthenes who was Alexander’s most unyielding opponent. The Athenians pleaded to be let off and Alexander settled for having the general Charidemus sent into exile. The general went straight off to the Persians.
The revolt of Agis III of Sparta 331 BC
In 331 BC Sparts rebelled against Macedonian rule. Why did this occur and what were the consequences for Sparta, the Greek States and Alexander's campaign?
The Exiles Decree 324BC
Many citizens of Greek cities had been expelled with changes of government, often caused by the actions of either Philip or Alexander. Many of them became mercenaries in Asia under the local governors in Asia under the local governors. In some cases they were a threat to law and order. Alexander ordered the governors to disband the mercenaries. They then wanted to return to their cities but those in power did not want them back. In many cases their property had been claimed by others. Alexander ordered the cities to receive back their exiles; this was difficult as they wanted the restoration of property since occupied by others.
The Exiles Decree – Reading
Early in 324 Alexander announced to his assembled troops at Susa his intention of ordering the Greek states to recall their exiles, except those convicted of murder or sacrilege. The states vitally affected were Aetolia and Athens: The Aetolians had expelled the inhabitants from Oeniadae and occupied it, while the Athenians had in 365 seized Samos and established cleruchies there.
Why did Alexander choose this particular moment, when Harpalus might be conjectured to be making for Athens with a considerable force of mercenaries and a large sum of money, to issue his Exiles Decree? Was it an act of disinterested generosity? On the surface it might seem so, for many of the exiles had been driven from their homes and condemned in absentia by the oligarchic regimes that governed in the Macedonian interest. A closer examination of the situation, however, raises doubts whether the welfare of the exiles was uppermost in Alexander’s mind. The decree seems rather to have have the king's method of solving the pressing problem of the existence of masses of exiles and mercenaries, a problem caused largely by his own policies, for many of the exiles had taken service with Darius and by no means all of them had chosen to continue as mercenaries with Alexander after he had abandoned his original policy of treating them as traitors to the Greek cause. Again, not all the mercenaries who had been settled as 'volunteers' in cities in the East were content to remain there. We hear, for example, quite by chance of one band of 3000 who left their posts and made their way back to their homeland.' The number of these homeless men who roamed Asia, a menace to peace and security, was greatly increased by Alexander's order to his satraps to disband their private armies. This threat to law and order had overflowed into Greece; for at Taenarum in Sparta an international market in mercenaries had COffie into being, and at the beginning of 324 a regular ferry service from Asia to Greece seems to have been established by the Athenian Leosthenes.
Alexander's handling of the problem was typically shrewd. Nicanor, who later became the son-in-law of Aristotle, was dispatched to Greece to make the proclamation of the Exiles Decree at the Olympic Games which in 324 began at the end of July.' News of his mission was evidently well publicized, for Diodorus (18.8.5) relates that 20,000 exiles flocked to Olympia to hear the announce¬ment. In his message Alexander explicitly disclaimed responsibility for the banishment of the exiles and claimed credit for their restora¬tion. He had written to Antipater, he announced, instructing him to compel the cities to receive back their exiles. Formally, Alexander was no doubt correct in attributing their exile to the city authorities, but in the final analysis he was as much responsible for this as he had been for the destruction of Thebes in 335, when the decision had been taken by the Synhedrion of the League of Corinth. True, there were certain drawbacks in this solution. It meant that the pro-Macedonian oligarchies in the cities would be faced with an influx of potentially hostile citizens, although Alexander might hope that the returning exiles would be grateful to him personally for their restoration. Nor can he have been blind to the problems, revealed to us in the extant inscriptions from Mytilene and Tegea, to which claims for the restoration of the exiles' property would give rise. More important for Alexander's relations with the Greeks, the Exiles Decree was an infringement of the terms of the League of Corinth, which forbade any interference in the internal affairs of tbe member states; for there is no evidence, despite assertions to the contrary,' that Alexander troubled himself to go through the motions of con¬sulting the Synhedrion. His action, in fact, only made explicit what had long been the case, that he was not the executant of the League's decrees, but its master. The greatest danger from Alexander's point of view lay in the reaction of Aetolia and, especially, of Athens, the key to any resistance in Greece to Macedon. No doubt he believed, and in this he was dearly correct, that Athens would fight for Samos only if all attempts at negotiation failed and that, if the worst hap¬pened, Antipater would be able to deal with any outbreak.
For the present the decree might be expected to reduce the number of mercenaries on whom Harpalus might draw, one reason perhaps why Alexander made his intention known to his troops several months before the Olympic Games. In the event Harpalus caused little trouble in Greece, at least to Alexander. After a necessarily long and circuitous journey, he reached the Piraeus shortly after Nicanor's arrival in Greece. But, although he was an Athenian citizen, he was refused admittance to Athens, for the Athenians feared him at the head of an army. Thereupon he took his forces to Taenarum and left them there together with the bulk of his treasure and all but three of his thirty ships before returning to the Piraeus. This time he gained admittance to the city. In the face of demands for his extradition from Antipater, Philoxenus, and Olympias, the Athenians compromised. They did not give Harpalus up but kept him under open arrest and deposited on the Acropolis the 700 talents he had brought with him. Some time later Harpalus managed to escape-doubtless he was assisted, but by whom is no longer dear¬collected his troops, ships, and money from Taenarum, and sailed to Crete, only to be murdered there by one of his officers. In Athens he left behind him a legacy of trouble. After his escape half of the 700 talents was found to be missing and, following an inquiry by tbe Areopagus that dragged on for six months, a number of leading politicians, notably Demosthenes and Demades, were declared to have accepted bribes. Those named were then tried; Demosthenes, Demades. and one or two others were convicted and fined and when they could not pay went into exile.