II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > D. Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World > 5. The Hellenistic World, to 30 B.C.E. > c. Macedon and Greece, to 146 B.C.E.
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
c. Macedon and Greece, to 146 B.C.E.
Emergence of the Aetolian League, a military federation in western Greece. It had a council with proportional representation and a semiannual assembly. Affairs were handled by a committee of 100 apokletoi and a single general (strategos) in wartime. The league expanded into Phocis (254) and Boeotia (245) and dominated Greece from sea to sea. It also included Elis and part of Arcadia (245) and made an alliance with Messene, thus separating Sparta from the Achaean League.  1
Formation of the Achaean League, consisting of twelve towns in the northern Peloponnese. It had a general (two until 255), a board of ten demiourgoi, and a federal council with proportional representation of members. There was also an annual assembly of all free citizens. After 251, Aratus of Sicyon dominated its policy, and after 245 he was strategos in alternate years. With Ptolemaic backing he opposed Macedonian and Aetolian power, extending Achaean influence in the Peloponnese and taking Corinth from Macedon in 243.  2
ANTIGONUS II GONATAS (“knock-kneed”?) was driven from Macedon by Pyrrhus of Epirus (274). Pyrrhus was then called into Greece by Cleonymus, pretender to the Spartan kingship. After Pyrrhus was killed in Corinth (272), Antigonus returned to rule Macedon. He established control over Greece by garrisoning the cities of Demetrius in Thrace, Chalcis in Euboea, and Corinth; by supporting pro-Macedonian tyrants in several cities of the Peloponnese; and by making peace with the Aetolian League.  3
Ptolemy II of Egypt stirred up Athens and Sparta to wage the Chremonidean War (from Chremonides, an Athenian leader) against Antigonus. When Ptolemy failed to give energetic aid, Athens was obliged to surrender after a two-year siege (262). Antigonus garrisoned several strong points of Attica and imposed a moderate oligarchy on Athens.  4
261 (256?)
Antigonus defeated Ptolemy in a naval battle off Cos and took the Cyclades, though he had to reconquer them later in the Battle of Andros (245).  5
c. 249
Antigonus's governor of the Peloponnese, Alexander, revolted and held the peninsula until his death (c. 245).  6
Aratus of Sicyon recovered that city from Antigonus's tyrant and then joined the Achaean League, which he soon dominated.  7
Sparta had fallen into a serious economic crisis because of the excessive concentration of land and wealth in the hands of a few. Coined money had been introduced by King Areus. The number of full citizens who could contribute to their mess-tables (syssitia) had fallen to 700. When King Agis IV (244–240) tried to redistribute the land into 4,500 equal lots, the great landowners executed him. Cleomenes III, who married Agis's widow, became king (235).  8
Demetrius II succeeded his father, Antigonus. He protected Epirus against Aetolia, so that the latter broke with Macedon and made an alliance with Achaea. Demetrius attacked it in the War of Demetrius (238–229) but was recalled by invasions from the north (233). Argos expelled the pro-Macedonian tyrant Aristomachus and joined the Achaean League (229), while Athens asserted its independence.  9
Antigonus III Doson (“going to give,” i.e., always promising) succeeded his cousin Demetrius as guardian of the latter's eight-year-old son, Philip, whom he deposed in 227 to become king himself. He made peace with Aetolia and drove the northern tribes out of Macedon.  10
Cleomenes defeated the Achaeans under Aratus. He then seized the power in Sparta, redivided the land, enfranchised 4000 perioikoi, and abolished the ephorate. With an increased citizen army, he reduced Aratus to appeal to Antigonus (225).  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.