Strategoi on the Bema:
The Separation of Political and Military Authority
in Fourth-Century Athens1

Debra Hamel (Yale University)

 

The Ancient History Bulletin 9.1 (1995) 25-39

 

   

   

 

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It has long been thought that increasing professionalism in the military and political spheres led in the fourth century to a de facto separation of powers between Athens’ strategoi and rhetores. Whereas during the fifth century, according to this view, political and military leadership most often resided in the same men, strategoi of the fourth century tended to abandon the bema to Athens’ rhetors.2 This ‘traditional view’ of Athenian political and military leadership has recently been questioned by Lawrence Tritle.3 He argues that fifth- and fourth-century generals were not substantially different from one another in the range of their political activities. As I suggest below, however, Tritle’s argument for the continuity of the strategia in the classical period is not a persuasive refutation of the traditional view. Nor does the author adequately discuss a quite different phenomenon affecting fourth-century political leadership. In the conclusion of his most recent article on the strategia Tritle merely alludes to the emergence of rhetoric in the fourth century and its creation of a second avenue to political influence alongside the generalship.4 The rise of a class of political leaders who never served as strategoi is an issue which merits more extensive treatment in a critique of the traditional view of Athenian leadership. Accordingly, I offer here a more thorough reconsideration of the tenets of the traditional view. The analysis requires that two questions be addressed: (1) Is there evidence that generals were any less active politically in the fourth century than the fifth? (2) Is there evidence that the ratio of generals to

 

   

   

 

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non-generals among Athens’ politically active was changed between the fifth and fourth centuries?5

Tritle is interested primarily in disproving the evidence of a passage in Plutarch’s Life of Phokion which suggests that, with a single exception, political and military leadership were mutually exclusive occupations in fourth-century Athens. Phokion alone of his contemporaries, the passage suggests, succeeded in uniting in his career both political and military activity:

Plut. Phoc. 7. 5.

O(RW=N DE\ TOU\S TA\ KOINA\ PRA/SSONTAS TO/TE DIH|RHME/NOUS W(/SPER A)PO\ KLH/ROU TO\ STRATH/GION KAI\ TO\ BH=MA, KAI\ TOU\S ME\N LE/GONTAS E)N TW|= DH/MW| KAI\ GRA/FONTAS MO/NON, W(=N *EU)BOULOS H)=N KAI\ *A)RISTOFW=N KAI\ *DHMOSQE/NHS KAI\ *LUKOU=RGOS KAI\ *U(PEREI/DHS, *DIOPEI/QH DE\ KAI\ *MENESQE/A KAI\ *LEWSQE/NH KAI\ *XA/RHTA TW|= STRATHGEI=N KAI\ POLEMEI=N AU)/CONTAS E(AUTOU/S, E)BOU/LETO TH\N *PERIKLE/OUS KAI\ *A)RISTEI/DOU KAI\ *SO/LWNOS POLITEI/AN W(/SPER O(LO/KLHRON KAI\ DIHRMOSME/NHN E)N A)MFOI=N A)NALABEI=N KAI\ A)PODOU=NAI.

Phokion saw that those who engaged in public affairs had divided the strategia and the bema among themselves as if by lot. Those who addressed the demos and proposed measures were one group, in which were Euboulos, Aristophon, Demosthenes, Lykourgos, and Hypereides; but Diopeithes, Menestheus, Leosthenes, and Chares augmented themselves by serving in the strategia and waging war. Seeing this situation, Phokion wanted to restore the political behavior of Perikles, Aristeides, and Solon, as being complete and distributed in both the political and military spheres.6

 

   

   

 

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Against Plutarch’s evidence, Tritle notes that a number of generals are known to have addressed the assembly or proposed decrees in the fourth century. Among these is Leosthenes, whom Plutarch categorizes in the above passage as a strategos rather than a rhetor.7 In light of the political activity of Leosthenes and other generals, Tritle argues, Plutarch’s evidence for the withdrawal of fourth-century strategoi from political activity cannot stand.

Tritle’s identification of a number of politically active fourth-century generals does contradict Plutarch’s evidence of a strict dichotomy between political and military authority in fourth-century Athens: the activity of these individuals clearly demonstrates that generals of the period had not abandoned the bema altogether. But by identifying these strategoi Tritle does not demonstrate that fourth-century generals were as politically active as their predecessors. Since it remains possible that generals were less active in the political sphere in the fourth century than they had been previously, Tritle’s argument is not a persuasive refutation of the traditional view of fourth-century leadership.8

That view holds that there was less overlap among Athens’ political and military leaders in the fourth century than the fifth. The divergence of the two groups in the later period is attributed to two causes, (1) the partial withdrawal of generals from political activity, and (2) a similar withdrawal of rhetors from military activity (or, in other words, an increase in the participation of non-generals in politics). The assumption is that these two phenomena occurred in concert, but it is important to note that the second of these changes could have occurred independently of the first: generals, that is, can have remained as politically active as ever in the fourth century while men who never served in the strategia played a larger role in Athens’ political life than they had in the past. Whether both changes occurred or only one, the result would have been the same, an increased separation between political and military authority in fourth-century Athens as

 

   

   

 

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strategoi came to constitute a smaller percentage of the city’s rhetores than they had previously. To assess the traditional view of Athenian leadership, it is necessary to consider whether our evidence suggests that either of these two changes in fact occurred.

I consider first whether the conclusion that generals withdrew to any extent from political activity in the fourth century is supported by literary evidence. Comments made by Isocrates and Aristotle, together with the passage of Plutarch cited above, are our principal sources for the separation of military and political authority in fourth-century Athens.9

Isoc. 8. 54-55:

TOSOU=TON DE\ DIAFE/ROMEN TW=N PROGO/NWN, O(/SON E)KEI=NOI ME\N TOU\S AU)TOU\S PROSTA/TAS TE TH=S PO/LEWS E)POIOU=NTO KAI\ STRATHGOU\S H|(ROU=NTO, NOMI/ZONTES TO\N E)PI\ TOU= BH/MATOS TA\ BE/LTISTA SUMBOULEU=SAI DUNA/MENON, TO\N AU)TO\N TOU=TON A)/RIST’ A)\N BOULEU/SASQAI KAI\ KAQ’ AU)\TO\N GENO/MENON, H(MEI=S DE\ TOU)NANTI/ON TOU/TWN POIOU=MEN: OI(=S ME\N GA\R PERI\ TW=N MEGI/STWN SUMBOU/LOIS XRW/MEQA, TOU/TOUS ME\N OU)K A)CIOU=MEN STRATHGOU\S XEIROTONEI=N W(S NOU=N OU)K E)/XONTAS, OI(=S D’ OU)DEI\S A)\N OU)/TE PERI\ TW=N I)DI/WN OU)/TE PERI\ TW=N KOINW=N SUMBOULEU/SAITO, TOU/TOUS D’ AU)TOKRA/TORAS E)KPE/MPOMEN W(S E)KEI= SOFWTE/ROUS E)SOME/NOUS KAI\ R(A|=ON BOULEUSOME/NOUS PERI\ TW=N *E(LLHNIKW=N PRAGMA/TWN H)\ PERI\ TW=N E)NQA/DE PROTIQEME/NWN.

So far are we different from our ancestors that they used to make prostatai of the city and elect as generals the same men, thinking that he who could give the best advice on the bema would also be able to give the best advice on his own. But we do the opposite. We do not think it appropriate to elect as generals, as if they were not intelligent, those whose advice we use on the most important issues. But those whom no one would take counsel with concerning their own affairs or those of the state, those men we send out as autokratores, as if they will be wiser there and will advise more easily concerning Hellenic affairs than concerning issues under consideration here.

 

   

   

 

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Arist. Pol. 1305a 7-15:

E)PI\ DE\ TW=N A)RXAI/WN, O(/TE GE/NOITO AU)TO\S DHMAGWGO\S KAI\ STRATHGO/S, EI)S TURANNI/DA METE/BALLON: SXEDO\N GA\R OI( PLEI=STOI TW=N A)RXAI/WN TURA/NNWN E)K DHMAGWGW=N GEGO/NASIN. AI)/TION DE\ TOU= TO/TE ME\N GI/GNESQAI NU=N DE\ MH/, O(/TI TO/TE ME\N OI( DHMAGWGOI\ H)=SAN E)K TW=N STRATHGOU/NTWN ( OU) GA/R PW DEINOI\ H)=SAN LE/GEIN ), NU=N DE\ TH=S R(HTORIKH=S HU)CHME/NHS OI( DUNA/MENOI LE/GEIN DHMAGWGOU=SI ME/N, DI’ A)PEIRI/AN DE\ TW=N POLEMIKW=N OU)K E)PITI/QENTAI, PLH\N EI)/ POU BRAXU/ TI GE/GONE TOIOU=TON.

In ancient times there was a change to tyranny when the same man was both demagogue and strategos. For the majority of early tyrants, pretty much, began as demagogues. The reason that this happened then but not now is that then demagogues (for they were not yet experienced speakers) were drawn from the military leaders. But now, with the development of rhetorical skill, those who are experienced speakers are demagogues, but because of their inexperience in warfare they do not attempt to gain power, except perhaps when such a thing has happened briefly.

Neither author provides evidence that Athens’ generals were any less politically active in the fourth century than they had been in the fifth. Isocrates reports that the Athenians of his day elected as generals men whose advice they did not value rather than those whom they consulted ‘on the most important issues’. The author’s remarks do not imply, however, either that these would-be advisors who were elected to the strategia were not politically active (they can regularly have given political advice which failed of approval, for example) or that generals were on the whole less politically active in the fourth century than the fifth. We are led to believe only that in the fourth century generals no longer numbered among Athens’ most influential citizens. Aristotle’s assertion that Athens’ demagogoi lacked experience in warfare in the fourth century likewise suggests that generals of the period were not political leaders. The remark does not imply, however, that fourth-century generals lacked political experience or were less politically active as a group than their predecessors.

Prosopographical evidence likewise lends no support to the conclusion that generals were less politically active in the fourth century than the fifth. The data presented in Table 1 below suggest that fourth-century generals were as likely as their predecessors to engage in political activity at some time in their lives: of the some 243 generals whose names are known to us from the fifth and fourth centuries, virtually the same percentage in both periods are known to have been politically active. Nor is there evidence that generals who engaged in political activity in the fourth century did so any less frequently than had politically active fifth-century generals: in both periods the median number of

 

   

   

 

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attested instances of political involvement on the part of generals is two.10 If generals were in fact less active in politics in the fourth century than the fifth, their withdrawal from political activity in the later period is not reflected in our sources.

Our literary evidence does suggest, however, that the second of the two possible changes in Athenian leadership enumerated above in fact occurred. Isocrates and Aristotle agree in suggesting that non-generals were more prominent in politics in the fourth century than they had been previously. Isocrates complains that although it had once been the case that the same men served Athens as both political and military leaders, his contemporaries did not elect their prostatai to the strategia. Aristotle describes the same change in Athenian leadership: whereas Athens’ political leaders had once been drawn from the strategia, fourth-century demagogoi were inexperienced in warfare. Both authors are concerned with the lack of military experience of Athens’ fourth-century political leaders (their prostatai and demagogoi), that is to say, with those Athenians who were habitually, almost professionally, active in politics rather than with those whose political activity was only occasional.11 To test their information against prosopographical evidence we must therefore separate Athens’ ‘political leaders’ of the fifth and fourth centuries from the larger body of Athenians whose political activity is not known to have been as extensive. I have used two criteria in identifying Athenians as political leaders. Listed in Table 2 below are (1) those Athenians for whom there is evidence of political activity in three or more separate years,12 and (2) those whom the author of the Athenaion Politeia includes in his list of fifth-century Athenian prostatai (28.2-3).13 Some forty Athenians meet one or both of these criteria.14 Fourteen of these forty were politically active in or before 405/4,15 and thirteen of the fourteen (93%) are known to have been generals. Another twenty-six political leaders were active after

 

   

   

 

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405/4. Of these, only six (23%) are attested as generals, and only one of the six, Phokion, is known to have been politically active after 340.

It is clear from this evidence that the claims of our literary sources are exaggerated: Athens’ fourth-century political leaders were not to a man lacking in military experience, as Isocrates and Aristotle imply. The conclusion suggested by our prosopographical evidence is less sweeping than that indicated by these authors: in the fifth century, the above data suggest, Athens’ political leaders were most often also her military leaders, but fourth-century political leaders were less likely than their predecessors to serve as strategoi. Indeed, the combination of regular political and military leadership in a single career appears to have become a rarity in the fourth century. Plutarch, although he has exaggerated considerably the division which existed between fourth-century strategoi and rhetors, was evidently correct in his assessment of Phokion as an exceptional leader. A handful of Athenians are known to have combined military leadership with frequent political activity in the fourth century, but with the exception of Thrasyboulos, whose career ended in 389, none is known to have held the strategia more than three times. Phokion alone of later fourth-century generals certainly united in his career extensive political activity with regular service in the strategia on the Periklean model.

If we broaden our study to include all of Athens’ known politically active citizens, both her political leaders and those whose political activity was only occasional, we find that in this larger group as well the ratio of generals to non-generals is considerably lower for the fourth century than the fifth. Between 23% and 25% of the 122 politically active citizens known from the fifth century are attested as generals (see Table 3). In the first half of the fourth century (404/3-356/5), however, fewer than 16% of Athens’ known politically active served in the strategia, and in the latter half of the century (355/4-322/1) fewer than 9% are attested as generals.

The conclusions I would draw from the evidence presented in this paper are as follows. In the fourth century generals constituted a smaller percentage of Athens’ politically active citizens than they had previously. This reduction in the ratio of generals to non-generals among Athens’ politically active - and the concomitant reduction in the political influence of Athens’ generals - was the result of the increased political activity in the period of men who never served in Athens’ strategia. Insofar as non-generals influenced Athens’ political decisions more often in the fourth century than they had previously, military and political authority were indeed more separate in the fourth century than the fifth, as the traditional view of Athenian leadership contends. But modification of this view is nevertheless in order. There is no support in our sources for the conclusion that fourth-century generals were less politically active than their fifth-century predecessors. The political influence of generals was merely diluted in the fourth century by the increasing role of non-generals in politics. It can therefore no longer be assumed that the withdrawal of generals from political activity was a cause of the increasing separation between military and political authority in fourth-century Athens.

 

   

   

 

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TABLES

Table 1.  Generals among the Politically Active1

 

Date of Generalships Number of Generals Known Number of Generals Known to Have Been Politically Active Percentage of Known Generals who were Politically Active
501/0-405/4 134-1482 29-31 19.9-22.8%
501/0-432/1 49-59 12-13 20.7-26.0%
431/0-405/4 94-9819-20 19.6-21.1%
404/3-322/1 83-963 17-19 18.1-22.4%
404/3-356/5 46-56 9-12 17.0-24.5%
355/4-322/1 38-48 6-10 13.6-23.8%
Totals 216-2434 45-49 18.8-22.35

 

Table 2.  Athens’ Political Leaders

 

No. Develin, AO Name of Citizen
(Generals Shaded)6
Range of Years of Attested Political Activity Number of Known Strategiai
1 3128 Xanthippos   2
2 2003 Miltiades 490?7 1
3 2901 Themistokles 481-477 2-4
4 1619 Kimon 481?-462 10
5 371 Aristeides 480-c. 465 3
6 1011 Ephialtes 462 1
7 2293 Perikles 453-430 14-168
8 3012 Thoukydides   1
9 1659 Kleon c. 430-425 3-4
10 2281 Peisandros 430?-415 or 415-410?  
11 2116 Nikias 425-416 13-14
12 84 Alkibiades 422-407 7-8
13 1672 Kleophon 411-405 1
14 2982 Theramenes 406-404 3
15 44 Agyrrhios? before 405-before 392 1
16 3033 Thrasyboulos 403-395 6
17 462 Aristophon 403-340? 1
18 1581 Kephalos 387-379  
19 1113 Euboulos before 378-340?  
20 1564 Kallistratos before 378-369 3

 

   

   

 

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21 1603 Kephisodotos 369-358  
22 159 Androtion 365-344  
23 1697 Kratinos 363-354  
24 1360 Hegesippos 357-332  
25 2563 Polyeuktos 356-332  
26 1921 Meidias 355-349 2
27 2434 Philokrates 352-340?  
28 2806 Stephanos? 347 and others  
29 3067 Timarchos 347 and others  
30 1614 Kephisophon 347-337  
31 51 Aischines 347-338  
32 2496 Phokion 344-322 9-109
33 2322 Phanodemos 343-329  
34 1832 Lykourgos 338-324  
35 2377 Philippides? before 336-336  
36 795 Demosthenes 351-324  
37 1437 Hypereides 339-323  
38 717 Demades 338-322  
39 444 Aristonikos 336-before 322  
40 397 Aristogeiton 325 and others  

 

Table 3.  Politically Active Citizens in the Strategia

 

Period of Political Activity Number of Politically Active Citizens Known Number of Politically Active Known to Have Been Generals Percentage of Politically Active Known to Have Been Generals
501/0-405/4 12210 29-31 23.8-25.4%
501/0-432/1 48-54 12-14 22.2-28.6%
431/0-405/4 69-76 17-20 23.0-28.2%
404/3-322/1 19811 17-19 8.6-9.6%
404/3-356/5 76-84 10-12 12.0-15.6%
355/4-322/1 130-13612 9-11 6.6-8.4%
Totals 31913 45-49 14.1-15.4%14

 

   

   

 

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Notes to Tables

 

1     Except where indicated in the notes, the information in these tables is taken or derived from the index and text of Develin, AO.

Return to tables

2     The following served in the strategia between 501/0 and 405/4. Question marks indicate doubt that the man ever served as general. Underlining indicates that the individual was politically active, though not necessarily during the same years that he served in the strategia.

 

501/0-432/1:

 

1.    131

2.    138

3.    196

4.    303

5.    320

6.    371

7.    555

8.    752

9.    834

10.    927

11.   956

12.  1011?

13.   1054

14.  1060?

15.   1159

16.  1292?

17.   1300

18.   1413

19.   1499

20.   1562

21.   1619

22.   1644

23.   1696

24.   1705

25.  1746?

26.   1766

27.   1771

28.   1776

29.  1783?

30.   1785

31.   1831

32.   1884

33.   1936

34.  1984?

35.   1997

 

36.  1998?

37.   2003

38.   2060

39.  2518?

40.  2591?

41.   2744

42.   2756

43.   2809

 

44.   2901

45.   3011=

       3013

46.   3012

47.   3120

48.   3124

49.   3128

50.  3274?

 

 

Both in 501/0-432/1 and 431/0-405/4:

 

51.   1333

52.   1576

53.   1770

54.   2293

55.   2504

56.   2630

57.   2747

 

58.   2766

 

59.   3144

 

 

431/0-405/4:

 

60.   31

61.   75

62.   84

63.   245

64.   265

65.   321

66.   366

67.   370

68.   398

69.   426

70.   469

71.   480

72.   513

73.   560

74.   644

75.   672

76.   675

77.   722

78.   747

79.   792

80.   817

81.   830

82.   884

83.   935?

84.   1057

85.   1131

86.   1134

87.   1145

88.   1157

89.   1166

90.   1172

91.   1213

92.   1231

93.   1381

94.   1416?

95.   1419

96.   1426

97.   1436?

98.   1486

99.   1566

100.  1598

101.  1638

102.  1652

103.  1659

104.  1672

105.  1676

106.  1686

107.  1761

108.  1765

109.  1792

110.  1806

111.  1849

112.  1856

113.  1864

114.  1935

115.  1937

116.  1938

117.  1958

118.  2116

119.  2177

120.  2191

121.  2211

122.  2237

123.  2264

124.  2294

125.  2326

126.  2329?

127.  2417

128.  2430

129.  2519

130.  2616

131.  2634

132.  2671

133.  2676

134.  2710

135.  2717

136.  2720

137.  2764

138.  2829

139.  2859

140.  2868

141.  2982

142.  3033

143.  3035

144.  3042

145.  3052

146.  3055

147.  3064

148.  3125

 

 

I include Thrasyboulos (3033) among known, politically active generals of both the fifth and fourth centuries (see below) since his career straddles the turn of the century. He is known to have served as a general nine times between 411/10 and 389/8; he proposed legislation in 403 and 401; and he addressed the assembly in 396 and 395.

Return to tables

3     The following served in the strategia between 404/3 and 322/1. I should note that a proposal dated to 368 is mistakenly attributed in the index of AO to the general Autokles (515). It belongs rather under no. 520. The same mistake is not made in the text (p. 256). Autokles may have been politically active: Xenophon (Hell. 6. 3. 7) says he was reputed to be an E)PISTREFH\S R(H/TWR (cf. M. H. Hansen, ‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 21 n. 56). But since Autokles may have been known for oratory in the dikasteria rather than in the ekklesia, I have not included him among the politically active.

 

   

   

 

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404/3-356/5:

 

1.   44

2.   177?

3.   259

4.   283

5.   347

6.   462

7.   515

8.   556

9.   720

10.  786

11.  874

12.  893

13.  924

14.  1068

15.  1072

16.  1279

17.  1368

18.  1397?

19.  1449

20.  1502

21.  1553

22.  1564

23.  1601

24.  1645

25.  1723

26.  1760

27.  1798

28.  1801

29.  1887

30.  1907

31.  1994

32.  2020

33.  2181?

34.  2239

35.  2316

36.  2407

37.  2431

38.  2450?

39.  2502

40.  2584?

41.  2692

42.  2800

43.  2975?

44.  3003

45.  3031

46.  3033

47.  3097

48.  3112

 

The following served or may have served in the strategia both before and after 356/5. Checks [in this on-line version represented by "Yes"] indicate that service in the period is accepted as certain. Question marks indicate doubt. Shading marks those for whom political activity is attested.

 

Develin No. 404/3-356/5 355/4-322/1 Develin No. 404/3-356/5 355/4-322/1
49.     88 Yes ? 53.     1921 ? ?
50.     610 Yes Yes 54.     1969 Yes Yes
51.     637 ? Yes 55.     2496 ? Yes
52.     1358 Yes Yes 56.     2560 ? ?

 

Meidias (1921) is not listed in Develin, AO, as a general. For evidence of his generalships see L. Tritle, ‘A Missing Athenian General: Meidias Kephisodorou Anagyrasios’, Athenaeum 70 (1992), 487-494.

 

355/4-322/1:

 

57.   67?

58.   240

59.   508

60.  627?

61.   713

62.  733?

63.   740

64.   835

65.   910

66.   926

67.   930

68.   936

69.  1010

70. 1498?

71.  1610

72.  1687

73.  1802

74.  1857

75. 1868?

76. 1933?

77.  2028

78.  2035

79.  2050

80.  2077

81.  2306

82.  2349

83.  2364

84.  2405

85.  2422

86.  2448

87.  2635

88.  2642

89. 2755?

90.  2763

 

91.  2810

92.  2818

93.  3030

94.  3056

95.  3339

96.  3507

 

 

Cf. M. H. Hansen, ‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 17-18 and n. 47, who notes that of 77 known generals between 403 and 322 (he identifies fewer generals for the period than Develin), 12-13 proposed decrees or spoke in the assembly. These are Develin nos. 265, 347, 462, 1279, 1564, 2692, 3033, 3112 (all between 403 and 355); 1933, 2077, 2422, 2496, and perhaps 2560 (all between 355 and 322). (Note that Hansen lists 12-13 generals in his note but refers in his text [pp. 17 and 21] to only 11-12.) Hansen (p. 21 n. 55) lists a further four generals as proposers of nomoi: nos. 44, 1610, 347, and 462 (of whom the last two are included as well among the above 12-13). Finally, Hansen identifies four generals for whom no activity as rhetor is attested but who are referred to by our sources as rhetors. These are Autokles (515), Eunomos (1179), Leosthenes (1802), and Thrasyboulos of Kollytos (3031). Leosthenes was politically active (see Tritle, ‘Leosthenes’, 6-9), however, and Thrasyboulos appears to have addressed the assembly in 407/6 (Plut. Alc. 36; Develin, AO, 178). I have numbered both among Athens’ politically active generals. On Autokles see above in this note. Eunomos may have been a navarch rather than a strategos (see Develin, AO, 216).

Tritle, ‘Continuity’, 128, and ‘Leosthenes’, 8-9, lists a number of generals who were politically active in the fourth century. In addition to Exekestides (1279), Kallistratos (1564), Kephisophon (1610), Leosthenes (1802), Meidias (1921), and Phokion (2496), whose political activity I would not dispute, Tritle includes in his list Ephialtes (1010), Iphikrates (1449), the elder Leosthenes (1801, father of 1802), and (perhaps) Diopeithes (910). (1) Ephialtes= known political activity consisted of service as an envoy in 341. I have elected not to include envoys among the politically active for the present purpose (cf. footnote 5). (2) Tritle cites two instances of Iphikrates= political activity, but I am not convinced that in either case the general addressed the ekklesia: (a) Diodorus (14. 92. 2) tells us that after the Argives secured Corinth for themselves

 

   

   

 

— 36 —

 

in the late 390’s Iphikrates undertook to capture the city (E)PEBA/LETO DE\ KAI\ *I)FIKRA/THS O( *A)QHNAI=OW KATALABE/SQAI TH\N PO/LIN ...). He was prevented from doing so, however, by the Athenian demos, and he consequently resigned his position (cf. Xen. Hell. 4. 8. 34). Diodorus does not imply, however, that Iphikrates addressed the assembly, and it seems more likely that his communication with the demos in this instance was carried on by letter. (b) At Xen. Hell. 6. 2. 39 we are told that Iphikrates bid (KELEU=SAI) the Athenians to appoint Kallistratos and Chabrias as his colleagues for an expedition in 373/2. This may mean that Iphikrates addressed the assembly, but I am not convinced that it does. (3) At 2. 124 Aeschines refers to Leosthenes’ ability as an orator: *LEWSQE/NHS ... O(\N OU)K O)KNOU=SI/ TINES A)POFAI/NESQAI META\ *KALLI/STRATON TO\N *A)FIDNAI=ON TW=N A)/LLWN MA/LISTA EI)PEI=N DU/NASQAI. As was true of Autokles (see above), however, it is possible that Leosthenes had displayed his speaking ability outside of the ekklesia. (4) Finally, Demosthenes at 18. 70 attributes the proposal of at least one decree to a certain Diopeithes, whom a scholiast on the passage identifies as the general of that name. The scholiast’s information may be nothing more than conjecture, however. Develin, AO, 354, understands the passage to refer to Diopeithes of Sphettos (911).

For the sake of argument, however, let us include Eunomos (1179) among the generals of 404/3-356/5 and add to the politically active of the same period Autokles (515), Diopeithes (910), Eunomos (1179), Iphikrates (1449), and Leosthenes (1801). The relevant statistics are changed as follows:

 

Date of Generalships Number of Generals Known Number of Generals Known to Have Been Politically Active Percentage of Known Generals who were Politically Active
404/3-322/1 84-97 22-24 23.2-27.9% (22/95-24/86)
404/3-356/5 47-57 13-16 24.1-32.0% (13/54-16/50)
355/4-322/1 38-48 7-11 15.9-26.2% (7/44-11/42)

 

The addition of only five politically active generals increases considerably the percentage of generals known to have been politically active in the period. It does not significantly alter the implication of the evidence, however. Fourth-century generals had by no means abandoned the bema entirely. Roughly the same percentage of Athens’ generals engaged in political activity in the fourth century as had in the fifth

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4     This is one fewer general than might be expected because Thrasyboulos (3033) served in the strategia both before and after 405/4.

Certainty is impossible, but it may be that the percentage of fifth-century generals whose names are known to us is not very different from that of known fourth-century generals. We have evidence on average of roughly two strategiai for each strategos known in the fifth and fourth centuries. (In the fifth century, between 134 and 148 generals held 272-301 strategiai; in the fourth century, 83-96 generals held 185-214 strategiai.) If we assume that two strategiai per individual strategos was a consistent average in the fifth and fourth centuries, we will be led to the conclusion that the percentage of generals of each period who are known to us is roughly comparable to the percentage of possible strategiai in each period for which we have information. Of the 980 strategiai which could have been held between 501/0 and 405/4 (10 strategiai per year for 97 years, plus 10 extra strategiai filled in 411), we have information about as many as 301 (30.7%). There remain at least 679 strategiai about which we are not informed. These 679 strategiai may have been held by some 339 strategoi (assuming that each strategos held on average two strategiai). This makes a total of 487 generals (339 plus 148 certain or possible generals), of whom 30.4% are known to us (148 of 487). Of the 820 possible strategiai between 404/3 and 322/1 (820 strategiai rather than the expected 830, since no generals were elected in 404/3), we have information about as many as 214 (26.1%). The remaining 606 strategiai were perhaps held by some 303 generals. This makes a total of 399 generals (303 plus 96 certain or possible generals), of whom 24.1% are known to us (96 of 399). These estimates are of course highly problematic. That two strategiai per general was a consistent average is far from a safe assumption. But we will perhaps not be seriously misled if we accept the above as a rough indication that (1) we know the names of a higher percentage of fifth-century generals than fourth-century generals, but (2) the percentage of generals known from the fifth century is not very different from that of known fourth-century generals.

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5     The percentages in this column are derived from the following ratios: 501/0-405/4: 29/146-31/136;

 

   

   

 

— 37 —

 

501/0-432/1: 12/58-13/50; 431/0-405/4: 19/97-20/95; 404/3-322/1: 17/94-19/85; 404/3-356/5: 9/53-12/49; 355/4-322/1: 6/44-10/42; 501/0-322/1: 45/239-49/220.

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6     Those Athenians for whom a third year of political activity is dubious and who are not named as prostatai at Ath. Pol. 28. 2-3 are listed in Table 2 with question marks after their names.

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7     No reference is made in the index of AO to Miltiades’ political activity, but see p. 56 of the text. Two instances of activity are possible. (1) A number of sources attribute to Miltiades authorship of a mobilization decree issued prior to the battle of Marathon (Arist. Rhet. 1411a; Dem. 19. 303 and schol.; Ael. Arist. 3. 160 [Behr] and schol.; Plut. Mor. 628e; cf. Paus. 7. 15. 7). No source earlier than the fourth century refers to the decree, however, and it is likely to be spurious. That Miltiades was the proposer of a mobilization decree is accepted by N. G. L. Hammond, ‘The Campaign and Battle of Marathon’, JHS 88 (1968), 33-34, and W. W. How, ‘Cornelius Nepos on Marathon and Paros’, JHS 39 (1919), 53. Doubts are expressed by A. J. Podlecki, The Life of Themistocles (Montreal and London, 1975), 160-161; P. J. Rhodes, The Athenian Boule (Oxford, 1972), 17 n. 4; and R. W. Macan, Herodotus. The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Books (London, 1895), II 219. See also C. Habicht, ‘Falsche Urkunden zur Geschichte Athens im Zeitalter der Perserkriege’, Hermes 89 (1961), 20, who questions the historicity of the decree primarily because the information which Plutarch adds (Mor. 628e), that the decree was passed during the prytany of Aiantis, is probably not historical. (2) We are told by Herodotus (6. 132) that Miltiades addressed the Athenians regarding a campaign he later undertook against Paros.

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8     I do not include among Perikles’ generalships those for which Plut. Per. 16. 3 is the only evidence.

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9     Plut. Phoc. 8. 1 tells us that Phokion was general 45 times, but I note here only those generalships for which there is independent evidence. In support of Plutarch’s evidence for Phokion’s numerous strategiai see L. Tritle, ‘Forty-Five or What? The Generalships of Phocion’, LCM 17 (1992), 19-23.

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10     The following were politically active between 501/0 and 432/1. Underlining indicates that the individual was a general at some time in his life, not necessarily in the same years he was politically active. Question marks indicate doubt the individual was ever a general.

 

1.    83

2.   168

3.   295

4.   311

5.   320

6.   328

7.   371

8.   578

9.   651

10.   691

11.   752

12.   861

13.   906

14.   956

15.   976

16.   988

17. 1011?

18.  1187

19.  1304

20.  1306

21.  1333

22.  1380

23.  1425

24.  1470

25.  1495

26.  1496

27.  1521

28.  1532

29.  1575

30.  1619

31.  1627

32.  1636

33.  1790

34.  1791

35.  1817

36.  1838

37.  2003

38.  2139

39.  2336

 

40.  2988

41.  2901

42.  3012

43.  3128

44.  3210

45.  3238

46.  3242

 

 

The following were politically active between 501/0 and 432/1 and/or between 431/0 and 405/4. Checks mark those for whom political activity in the period is accepted as certain. Question marks indicate doubt. Shading marks those who are attested as generals.

 

Develin No. 501/0-432/1 431/0-405/4 Develin No. 501/0-432/1 431/0-405/4
47.     196 Yes ? 51.    1856 ? ?
48.    1417 ? ? 52.    1988 ? ?
49.    1666 ? ? 53.    2293 Yes Yes
50.    1717 ? ? 54.    2514 ? ?

 

The following were politically active between 431/0 and 405/4. Question marks indicate doubt that the individual ever served in the strategia.

 

   

   

 

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55.    18

56.    31

57.    33

58.    44

59.    84

60.   156

61.   169

62.   313

63.   314

64.   347

65.   525

66.   750

67.   792

68.   797

69.   798

70.   830

71.   848

72.   869

73.   884

74.   907

75.  1057

76.  1124

77.  1152

78.  1214

79.  1273

80.  1372

81.  1419

82.  1423

83.  1436?

84.  1461

85.  1497

86.  1551

87.  1573

88.  1643

89.  1659

 

90.  1664

91.  1665

92.  1667

93.  1672

94.  1709

95.  1761

96.  1772

97.  1821

98.  1979

99.  1985

100.  2116

 

101.  2222

102.  2268

103.  2281

104.  2484

105.  2509

106.  2670

107.  2688

108.  2723

109.  2796

110.  2833

111.  2838

 

112.  2848

113.  2890

114.  2982

115.  2996

116.  3008

117.  3031

118.  3035

119.  3084

120.  3219

121.  3305

122.  3342

 

 

Of the above Demosthenes (792), Miltiades (2003), Thoukydides son of Melesias (3012), and Xanthippos (3128) are not listed in the index of AO as having engaged in political activity. Thoukydides and Xanthippos are attested in our sources as active politicians (Ath. Pol. 28. 2), however, and Demosthenes and Miltiades appear to have addressed the assembly in connection with military expeditions. For Miltiades’ political activity see Notes to Tables, n. 7. As for Demosthenes, Thucydides tells us that the Athenian expedition into Boeotia in 424/3 was prompted by certain Boeotians who were interested in establishing democracies in their cities and who had intrigued with the generals of Demosthenes and Hippokrates (4. 76. 1-2). No reference is made to deliberation at Athens, but if the expedition was discussed — as it presumably was — we may imagine that the generals were compelled to address the Athenian people or boule: it was they who were most knowledgeable about the Boeotian situation.

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11     The following were politically active between 404/3 and 356/5.

 

1.    44

2.    68

3.   139

4.   152

5.   265

6.   380

7.   467

8.   478

9.   486

10.   495

11.   562

12.   570

13.   809

14.   854

15.   872

16.   955

17.   975

18.  1044

19.  1091

20.  1119

21.  1210

22.  1278

23.  1279

24.  1298

25.  1307

26.  1310

27.  1368

28.  1550

29.  1564

30.  1581

31.  1603

32.  1613

 

33.  1622

34.  1710

35.  1740

36.  1810

37.  1910

38.  1981

39.  2053

40.  2150

41.  2161

42.  2191

 

43.  2238

44.  2246

45.  2292

46.  2317

47.  2352

48.  2366

49.  2384

50.  2506

51.  2508

52.  2545

 

53.  2572

54.  2702

55.  2760

56.  2803

57.  2941

58.  2981

59.  3033

60.  3112

61.  3133

62.  3147

 

 

The following were politically active before and/or after 356/5. A question mark after the reference number marks individuals who may never have served as generals.

 

Develin No. 404/3-356/5 355/4-322/1 Develin No. 404/3-356/5 355/4-322/1
63.   159 Yes Yes 74.   1697 Yes Yes
64.   462 Yes Yes 75.   1921 Yes Yes
65.   520 Yes Yes 76.   1933? Yes ?
66.   535 ? ? 77.   2387 ? ?
67.   921 Yes Yes 78.   2434 ? Yes
68.   1013 ? ? 79.   2496 ? Yes
69.   1113 Yes Yes 80.   2498 ? ?
70.   1128 ? ? 81.   2563 Yes Yes
71.   1350 Yes Yes 82.   2649 Yes Yes
72.   1360 Yes Yes 83.   3067 Yes Yes
73.   1554 Yes Yes 84.   3094 ? Yes

 

   

   

 

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The following were politically active between 355/4 and 322/1.

 

85.    19

86.    35

87.    51

88.    78

89.    90

90.   100

91.   180

92.   212

93.   269

94.   279

95.   299

96.   392

97.   397

98.   419

99.   443

100.   444

101.   447

102.   459

103.   471

104.   494

105.   546

106.   604

107.   643

108.   716

109.   717

110.   724

111.   726

112.   730

113.   743

114.   760

115.   767

116.   768

117.   775

118.   777

119.   793

120.   795

121.   813

122.   911

123.   914

124.   920

125.   936

126.   937

127.   995

128.  1043

129.  1055

130.  1103

131.  1106

132.  1133

133.  1160

134.  1165

135.  1194

136.  1212

137.  1259

138.  1269

139.  1334

140.  1342

141.  1344

142.  1345

143.  1385

144.  1400

145.  1411

146.  1428

147.  1437

148.  1443

149.  1498?

150.  1524

151.  1558

152.  1569

153.  1589

154.  1600

155.  1602

156.  1610

157.  1611

158.  1614

159.  1725

160.  1730

161.  1731

162.  1802

163.  1832

164.  1922

165.  2048

166.  2077

167.  2184

168.  2240

169.  2265

170.  2322

171.  2360

172.  2377

173.  2409

174.  2422

175.  2478

176.  2523

177.  2526

178.  2552

179.  2558

180.  2559

181.  2560

182.  2612

183.  2655

184.  2682

185.  2721

186.  2729

187.  2804

188.  2806

189.  2847

190.  2866

191.  2906

192.  2940

193.  3009

194.  3100

195.  3237

196.  3258

197.  3495

198.  3783

 

If we include among the politically active of 404/3-356/5 the generals whom Hansen and Tritle identify as rhetores of the period (see Notes to Talbes, n. 3), the statistics given in Table 3 are changed as indicated below. Despite the addition of five politically active generals, the implication of the evidence is not altered: the percentage of politically active Athenians who are known to have served in the strategia is considerably smaller in the fourth century than in the fifth.

 

Period of Political Activity Number of Politically Active Citizens Known Number of Politically Active Known to Have Been Generals Percentage of Politically Active Known to Have Been Generals
404/3-322/1 203 22-24 10.8-11.8%
404/3-356/5 80-88 14-16 16.1-19.8% (14/87-16/81)
355/4-322/1 131-137 10-12 7.3-9.2% (10/137-12/131)

 

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12     Cf. M. H. Hansen, ‘The Number of Rhetores in the Athenian Ecclesia, 355-322 B.C.’, in The Athenian Ecclesia II (Copenhagen, 1989), who identifies for the same period (1) 82 individuals who proposed decrees of the people (pp. 102-105), (2) a further 13 to 14 proposers (other than the above 82) whose names are preserved only incompletely in inscriptions (pp. 105-110), (3) 20 who addressed the ekklesia but are not known to have proposed legislation (pp. 115-116), and (4) another 13 who are attested as spokesmen of decrees of the boule (pp. 116-117).

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13     The total is 319 rather than the expected 320 (122 + 198) because I include Agyrrhios (44) among the politically active of both 501/0-405/4 and 404/3-322/1. He was politically active in both periods.

In his index Develin actually lists 365 different politically active individuals, of whom the names of 66 are incomplete. (Alternate names which appear in the index are not included among the 365.) Of the 66 incomplete proposers I ignore all but those 16 who I was confident could not be identified with known generals. These are nos.: 18, 19, 976, 1470, 2222, 2838, 3210, 3219, 3237, 3238, 3242, 3258, 3305, 3342, 3495, and 3783. I have also added four politically active citizens whom Develin does not list as such in his index, nos. 792, 2003, 3012, and 3128. Cf. Notes to Tables, n. 10.

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14     The percentages in this column are derived from the following ratios: 501/0-432/1: 12/54-14/49; 431/0-405/4: 17/74-20/71; 404/3-356/5: 10/83-12/77; 355/4-322/1: 9/136-11/131

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Footnotes

 

1     I am grateful to Victor Bers and David Seidemann for their comments on drafts of this paper.

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2     For this view of Athenian leadership see in particular M. H. Hansen, ‘The Athenian “Politicians”, 403-322 B.C.’, in M. H. Hansen, The Athenian Ecclesia II (Copenhagen, 1989), 17-21. Also id., The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes, trans. J. A. Crook (Oxford and Cambridge, Mass., 1991), 268-271; J. Ober, Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (Princeton, 1989), 119-121; R. K. Sinclair, Democracy and Participation in Athens (Cambridge, 1988), 45-46; J. K. Davies, Wealth and the Power of Wealth in Classical Athens (New York, 1981), 124-131; W. R. Connor, The New Politicians of Fifth-Century Athens (Princeton, 1971), 143-147; S. Perlman, ‘Political Leadership in Athens in the Fourth Century B.C.’, PdP 22 (1967), 170-173, and id., ‘The Politicians in the Athenian Democracy of the Fourth Century B.C.’, Athenaeum 41 (1963), 346-348; C. Mossé, La Fin de la Démocratie Athénienne (Paris, 1962), 269-273; A. H.M. Jones, Athenian Democracy (Baltimore, 1957), 127-128.

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3     ‘Continuity and Change in the Athenian Strategia’, AHB 7[.3-4] (1993), 125-129; Phocion the Good (London, Sydney, and New York, 1988), 101-102 and 161 n. 60; and, in particular, ‘Leosthenes and Plutarch’s View of the Athenian Strategia’, AHB 1[.1] (1987), 6-9. Cf. ‘Virtue and Progress in Classical Athens: The Myth of the Professional General’, AncW 23 (1992), 71-89, in which Tritle argues that the distinction frequently drawn between fourth-century generals and rhetors is ‘illusory and stems from a historiographical myth’ (p. 71). He traces the evolution of the traditional view from its origins in a 19th-century essay by Lord Macaulay (‘On the Athenian Orators’, in The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay [London, 1871; essay orig. pub. 1824]) through modern historians. See also J. T. Roberts, ‘Paradigm Lost: Tritle, Plutarch and Athenian Politics in the Fourth Century’, AHB 1[.2] (1987), 34-35, who is apparently persuaded by Tritle’s argument against the traditional view.

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4     ‘Continuity’, 128-129.

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5     Three remarks regarding terminology are necessary by way of a preface. To avoid much periphrasis I use the terms ‘general’ and ‘strategos’ in this paper to signify any Athenian who is known to have served in the strategia at some time in his life. References to generals addressing the assembly, therefore, ought not be understood to imply that the individual concerned delivered his speech during his tenure as strategos. He may rather have addressed the assembly as a private citizen or when serving in some other official capacity. For the same reason I refer frequently to the ‘political activity’ of Athens’ generals. Although much might be included under this rubric, I mean to denote by the term only the delivery of a speech before the boule or ekklesia or the proposal of psephismata. (See M. H. Hansen, ‘Rhetores and Strategoi in Fourth-Century Athens’, in The Athenian Ecclesia II [Copenhagen, 1989], 32-33, for a list of those he includes as political leaders in his inventory of rhetores and strategoi. Service as an ambassador might in fact entail the delivery of speeches in the boule and ekklesia [cf. M. H. Hansen, ‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 20-21; Aesch. 2.45-46]. I have nonetheless not included envoys among the politically active: when delivering their reports ambassadors did not necessarily express opinions of their own or make proposals.) Finally, I use the term ‘fifth century’ loosely to refer to the period from 501/0 to 405/4. ‘Fourth century’ refers to the years between 404/3 and 322/1.

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6     I have borrowed Jennifer Roberts’ translation (‘Paradigm Lost’, 34) of POLITEI/AN as ‘political behavior’.

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7     In addition to Phokion (2496) and Leosthenes (1802), Tritle (‘Continuity’, 128; ‘Leosthenes’, 8-9 and n. 11; cf. Phocion, 102 and 195 n. 29) names as politically active generals Ephialtes (1010), Exekestides (1279), Iphikrates (1449), Kallistratos (1564), Kephisophon (1610), the elder Leosthenes (1801), Meidias (1921), and (possibly) Diopeithes (910). For discussion of these generals see Notes to Tables, n. 3. The numbers used throughout this paper to identify generals refer to Index I of R. Develin, Athenian Officials 684-321 B.C. (Cambridge, 1989) = AO.

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8     The traditional view does not require that fourth-century generals have withdrawn entirely from political activity. It assumes only that they were less politically active than their predecessors. Cf. M. H. Hansen, Athenian Democracy, 269: ‘After the democratic restoration of 403/2 a split in political leadership between rhetores and strategoi began to develop: the generals who won (and lost) the wars for the Athenians . . . very seldom took the platform as speakers . . . .’; Hansen, ‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 17: ‘After the restoration of the democracy, however, a sharp division developed, so that policy-making was left to a group of rhetores who were no longer elected strategoi, whereas the wars were conducted by a group of professional strategoi who tended [emphasis added] to keep away from the bema on the Pnyx.’ Elsewhere, however, Hansen exaggerates the separation between fourth-century strategoi and rhetores (‘The Battle Exhortation in Ancient Historiography’, Historia 42 [1993], 164): ‘But at that time [355-322 B.C.] the political leaders had split up into rhetores (who no longer served as strategoi) and strategoi (who no longer took the floor and addressed the people as rhetores).’ (In the period with which Hansen is here concerned, however, as many as ten generals are known to have been politically active: see Table 1. Hansen himself is of course perfectly aware that some generals were politically active after 355 [‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 49-50 n. 47].)

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9     The frequent juxtaposition in fourth-century sources of the terms R(H/TORES and STRATHGOI/ (e.g., Lys. 13. 7; Dem. 2. 29 = 13. 20, 9. 38, 18. 170, 23. 184; Isoc. 5. 81; Aesch. 3. 146; Din. 1. 112, 3. 19; cf. Aesch. 3. 229) suggests that political and military functions were not always executed during that period by the same men. The terminology tells us nothing, however, about any change between the fifth and fourth centuries in the frequency with which generals and non-generals engaged in political activity. On the phrase R(H/TORES KAI\ STRATHGOI/ used by the Athenians to refer to their political leaders, see Hansen, ‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 5-10, and cf. ‘Initiative and Decision: the Separation of Powers in Fourth-Century Athens’, GRBS 22 (1981), 368-370.

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10     Information about the political activity of the generals listed in the notes to Table 1 is gleaned from Develin, AO, except that the evidence of political activity discussed in Notes to Tables, nn. 7 and 10, are taken into account.

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11     M. H. Hansen, ‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 13-16, similarly distinguishes between Athens’ ‘political leaders’ and her idiotai —  those whose political activity was occasional.

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12     I have used the information compiled in Develin, AO, to determine the number of years in which the political activity of individual Athenians is attested.

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13     This criterion is used by M. H. Hansen (‘Athenian “Politicians”’, 17) to compile a list of Athens’ fifth-century political leaders. Twelve prostatai are listed in the passage in pairs of opposed democratic and aristocratic leaders. The list concludes with Theramenes (2982) and Kleophon (1672), and we are thereafter told that the two-obol dole which Kleophon introduced was eventually abolished by a certain Kallikrates. It does not seem to be the author’s intent to include Kallikrates among Athens’ prostatai: no Athenian is paired with Kallikrates as the leader of an opposing faction. I therefore have not identified him as one of Athens’ political leaders. (He is included, however, in Hansen’s list of prostatai.) I should note that Kallikrates is not attested as a general.

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14     The majority of those listed in Table 2 are included by virtue of their attested political activity. Seven, however, meet both the above criteria (Themistokles, Aristeides, Perikles, Nikias, Kleon, Theramenes, and Kleophon), and five are identified as political leaders solely because of the testimony of the Athenaion Politeia (Xanthippos, Miltiades, Kimon, Ephialtes, and Thoukydides).

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15     For this purpose I include Agyrrhios (44) among fourth-century political leaders. His political career began before 405/4 and extended into the fourth century. Theramenes’ (2982) political activity likewise extended beyond 405/4. He addressed the ekklesia and council in 404/3, but since his career (and life) ended soon thereafter, I have counted him among the politically active of the fifth century only.

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