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Phokian Desperation: Private And Public In The Outbreak Of The 3rd Sacred War

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Chapter Summary

In 343 BC the Athenian orator Demosthenes described travelling though Phokis in central Greece, on his way to Delphoi. Demosthenes, of course, had reason to exaggerate the Phokian plight, for which he held his enemy Aischines responsible. Yet the scene is plausible enough. The 3rd Sacred War had ended three years before, in 346. The war had begun in 356, when the Phokians seized the sanctuary at Delphoi and proceeded, with the help of mercenaries paid for with looted Delphic treasures, to hold off their enemies - primarily Thebans, Thessalians, and Lokrians - for ten years. In this chapter the author argues that the 3rd Sacred War, similarly, may have sprung from local rather than great power conflicts. The connection between the expulsion of Astykrates in 363 and the Sacred War a few years later is that Astykrates' group were, it would appear, able to return to Delphoi when it was under Phokian control.

Keywords: 3rd Sacred War; Athenian orator Demosthenes; Delphoi; Phokian plight



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