Athenian capitulation to Sparta following defeat in the Peloponnesian War (404/3 B.C.) meant the loss of hegemony, disarmament and the return of the cleruchs to Attica. Athens, in her effort to recapture some strategic positions in the Aegean necessary to shore up trade and guarantee the city’s food supply, joined a coalition against the Spartans. This coalition was formed in 395 B.C. by the many cities that ware disaffected by Spartan policy. The war that followed became known as the Corinthian War, taking its name from the fact that most of its military operations were conducted near Corinth. (Most of the naval operations were conducted off the coast of Asia Minor.) Athenian successes in the Aegean worried the Persian king who, taking advantage of the fatigue the war had brought in Greece, summoned representatives from the Greek cities to sign a peace treaty known as the Peace of Antalcidas or the King’s Peace, with relatively favourable terms for the Athenians (386 B.C.).

Although Athens respected the terms of the treaty at first, later, in trying to prevent the consolidation of Lacedaemonian power in central Greece, gathered around her many Greek cities to form the Second Athenian Confederacy. Nevertheless, Athenian arbitrariness and pressure exerted on allied cities, coupled with military failures, aggravated the situation until the allies left the coalition, preparing the ground for the allied war (357-355 B.C.), in which Athens was defeated and the autonomy restored to the cities. The disappointment of some intellectuals with Athenian policy is clear from some contemporary works such as Isocrates’, On Peace and Xenophon’s, Poroi.

Athens, following defeat in the allied war, avoided further expeditions and tried to revive her economy and increase state revenues. Eubulus, an important mid-4thcentury figure in Athenian politics, introduced stricter controls on the city’s financial administration. He was anxious to invest the budget surplus in public and socially beneficial works and in the theoric fund, which subsidised free seats at public spectacles. He was also involved in the organisation of grand festivals and in the exploitation of the Laurium mines.

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