|338 BC/337 BC–322 BC|
|Common languages||Ancient Greek|
|Religion||Ancient Greek religion|
|Hegemon, Strategos, Autokrator of Greece|
• 338 BC/337 BC
• 336 BC
|Alexander III, the Great|
• 304 BC
|Demetrius I Poliorcetes|
• 224 BC
|Antigonus III Doson|
|338 BC/337 BC|
The League of Corinth, also referred to as the Hellenic League (from Greek Ἑλληνικός Hellenikos, "pertaining to Greece and Greeks"), was a federation of Greek states created by Philip II in 338–337 BC. The League was created in order to unify Greek military forces under Macedonian leadership (hegemony) in their combined conquest of the Persian Achaemenid Empire.
King Philip was initially urged by Isocrates (in Isocrates' Philippus oration), in 346 BC, to unify Greece against the Persians. After the Battle of Chaeronea, the league became controlled by King Philip.
The title 'League of Corinth' was invented by modern historians because the first council of the League took place in Corinth, and the Greek word synedrion is better translated as congress or conference rather than league. The organization was the first time in history that the Greek city-states (with the notable exception of Sparta, which would join only later under Alexander's terms) would unify under a single political entity.
The League was governed by the Hegemon (strategos autokrator in a military context), the Synedrion (council) and the Dikastai (judges). Decrees of the league were issued in Corinth, Athens, Delphi, Olympia and Pydna. The League maintained an army levied from member states in approximate proportion to their size, while Philip established Hellenic garrisons (commanded by phrourarchs, or garrison commanders) in Corinth, Thebes, Pydna and Ambracia.
(A fragmentary inscription found in Athens)
[․․․․․․․․․21․․․․․․․․․․ Ποσ]ειδῶ ․․5․․
․․․․․․․․․․22․․․․․․․․․․ς ἐμμεν[ῶ ․․․․] ․․․․․․․․․․22․․․․․․․․․․νον[τ]ας τ․․․․ [․․․․․․․․18․․․․․․․․ οὐδ]ὲ ὅπλα ἐ[π]οί[σω ἐ]- [πὶ πημονῆι ἐπ’ οὐδένα τῶν] ἐμμενόντ[ω]ν ἐν τ- [οῖς ὅρκοις οὔτε κατὰ γῆν] οὔτε κατὰ [θ]άλασ- [σαν· οὐδὲ πόλιν οὐδὲ φρο]ύριον καταλήψομ- [αι οὔτε λιμένα ἐπὶ πολέ]μωι οὐθενὸς τῶν τ- [ῆς εἰρήνης κοινωνούντ]ων τέχνηι οὐδεμι- [ᾶι οὔτε μηχανῆι· οὐδὲ τ]ὴν βασιλείαν [τ]ὴν Φ- [ιλίππου καὶ τῶν ἐκγόν]ων καταλύσω ὀδὲ τὰ- [ς πολιτείας τὰς οὔσας] παρ’ ἑκάστοις ὅτε τ- [οὺς ὅρκους τοὺς περὶ τ]ῆς εἰρήνης ὤμνυον· [οὐδὲ ποιήσω οὐδὲν ἐνα]ντίον ταῖσδε ταῖς [σπονδαῖς οὔτ’ ἐγὼ οὔτ’ ἄλ]λωι ἐπιτρέψω εἰς [δύναμιν, ἀλλ’ ἐάν τις ποε̑ι τι] παράσπονδ[ον] πε- [ρὶ τὰς συνθήκας, βοηθήσω] καθότι ἂν παραγ- [γέλλωσιν οἱ ἀεὶ δεόμενοι] καὶ πολεμήσω τῶ- [ι τὴν κοινὴν εἰρήνην παρ]αβαίνοντι καθότι [ἂν ἦι συντεταγμένον ἐμαυ]τῶι καὶ ὁ ἡγε[μὼ]- [ν κελεύηι ․․․․․12․․․․․ κα]ταλείψω τε․․ — — — — — — — — — — — — — :𐅃 [— — — — — — — — — — : Θεσ]σαλῶν :Δ [— — — — — — — — — — — ῶ]ν :ΙΙ [— — — — — — — — — Ἐλειμ]ιωτῶν :Ι [— — — — Σαμοθράικων καὶ] Θασίων :ΙΙ — — — — — — — — — ων :ΙΙ: Ἀμβρακιωτ[ῶν] [— — — — — — — ἀ]πὸ Θράικης καὶ [— — — — — :] Φωκέων :ΙΙΙ: Λοκρῶν :ΙΙΙ [— — — — Οἰτ]αίων καὶ Μαλιέων καὶ [Αἰνιάνων :ΙΙΙ: — καὶ Ἀγ]ραίων καὶ Δολόπων :𐅃 [— — — — — — : Πε]ρραιβῶν :ΙΙ
[— — — — — : Ζακύνθο]υ καὶ Κεφαληνίας :ΙΙΙ
Oath. I swear by Zeus, Gaia, Helios, Poseidon and all the gods and goddesses. I will abide by the common peace and I will neither break the agreement with Philip, nor take up arms on land or sea, harming any of those abiding by the oaths. Nor shall I take any city, or fortress, nor harbour by craft or contrivance, with intent of war against the participants of the war. Nor shall I depose the kingship of Philip or his descendants, nor the constitutions existing in each state, when they swore the oaths of the peace. Nor shall I do anything contrary to these agreements, nor shall I allow anyone else as far as possible. But if anyone does commit any breach of the treaty, I shall go in support as called by those who need and I shall fight the transgressors of the common peace, as decided (by the council) and called on by the hegemon and I shall not abandon--------
of Thessalians--Elimiotes--Samothracians and Thasians---Ambraciots---from Thrace and---Phocians, Locrians Oitaeans and Malians and Ainianes --and Agraeans and Dolopes---Perrhaebi---of Zacynthus and of Cephalenia.
The decision for the destruction of Thebes as transgressor of the above oath was taken by the council of the League of Corinth by a large majority. Beyond the violation of the oath, the council judged that the Thebans were thus finally punished for their betrayal of the Greeks during the Persian Wars. The League is mentioned by Arrian (I, 16, 7), after the Battle of Granicus (334 BC). Alexander sent 300 panoplies to the temple of Pallas Athena in Athens, with the following inscription.
Alexander, son of Philip, and the Hellenes, except the Lacedaemonians, from the barbarians inhabiting Asia
Also, Diodorus Siculus (Βίβλος ΙΖ’ 48.) mentions the Council's decision in 333 BC, after the Battle of Issus, to send ambassadors to Alexander that will bring the Excellence of Greece (Golden Wreath). During 331 BC after the Battle of Megalopolis, Sparta appealed to Alexander for terms, to which he agreed on condition that the Lacedaemonians now joined the League of Corinth. During the Asiatic campaign, Antipater was appointed deputy hegemon of the League while Alexander personally recommended that the Athenians turn their attention to things; in case something happened to him, Athens would take over the power in Greece.
The League was dissolved after the Lamian War (322 BC). During 302 BC Antigonus I Monophthalmus and his son Demetrius Poliorcetes tried to revive the federation against Cassander. Antigonus III Doson (king of Macedon from 229 BC to 221 BC) also revived the League against Sparta during 224 BC.
He [Philip] also recognized the power of pan-Hellenic sentiment when arranging Greek affairs after his victory at Chaironeia: a pan-Hellenic expedition against Persia ostensibly was one of the main goals of the League of Corinth.
Afterwards he [Alexander] revived his father's League of Corinth, and with it his plan for a pan-Hellenic invasion of Asia to punish the Persians for the suffering of the Greeks, especially the Athenians, in the Greco-Persian Wars and to liberate the Greek cities of Asia Minor.
The idea of the city-state was first challenged by the ideal of pan-Hellenic unity supported by some writers and orators, among which the Athenian Isocrates became a leading proponent with his Panegyrics of 380 suggesting a Greek holy war against Persia. However, only the rise of Macedonia made the realization of pan-Hellenic unity possible.