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Encyclopedia > Athenian coup of 411 BC

The Athenian coup of 411 BC was a revolutionary movement during the Peloponnesian War which overthrew the democratic government of ancient Athens, replacing it with a short-lived oligarchy. The movement was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians who held positions of power in the Athenian army at Samos, in coordination with Alcibiades, who promised to deliver Persian support to Athens if the democracy was overthrown. The negotiations with Alcibiades eventually broke down, as he proved incapable of delivering what he had promised, but the leaders of the oligarchic movement went forward with their plans to overthrow the democracy. Combatants Delian League led by Athens Peloponnesian League led by Sparta Commanders Pericles Cleon Nicias Alcibiades Archidamus II Brasidas Lysander The Peloponnesian War (431 BC–404 BC) was an Ancient Greek military conflict fought by Athens and its empire and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. ... The speakers platform in the Pnyx, the meeting ground of the assembly where all the great political struggles of Athens were fought during the Golden Age. Here Athenian statesmen stood to speak, such as Pericles and Aristides in the 5th century BC and Demosthenes and Aeschines in the 4th... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece and the birthplace of democracy. ... Oligarchy is a form of government where most or all political power effectively rests with a small segment of society (typically the most powerful, whether by wealth, family, military strength, ruthlessness, or political influence). ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα, Athína IPA: ) is the capital and largest city of Greece and the birthplace of democracy. ... Samos (Greek Σάμος) is a Greek island in the Eastern Aegean Sea, located between the island of Chios to the North and the archipelagic complex of the Dodecanese islands to the South and in particular the island of Patmos and off the coast of Turkey, on what was formely known as... Alcibiades Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides (also Alkibiades) (Greek: Αλκιβιάδης Κλεινίου Σκαμβωνίδης)¹ (c. ...


The oligarchs plotted two coups, one at Athens and one at Samos, where the Athenian navy was based. The coup at Athens went forwards as planned, and the city came under the control of the oligarchic government known as "the 400"; at Samos, on the other hand the plotters were thwarted by Samian democrats and pro-democratic leaders in the Athenian fleet. The men of the fleet, upon learning of the coup at home, deposed their generals and elected new ones in their place, announcing that the city had revolted from them, not they from the city. The new leaders of the fleet arranged the recall of Alcibiades to Samos, and announced their intention to carry on the war against Sparta A coup détat, or simply a coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government, usually done by a small group that just replaces the top power figures. ... Samos (Greek Σάμος) is a Greek island in the Eastern Aegean Sea, located between the island of Chios to the North and the archipelagic complex of the Dodecanese islands to the South and in particular the island of Patmos and off the coast of Turkey, on what was formely known as... Sparta (Doric: , Attic: ) is a city in southern Greece. ...


At Athens a conflict soon arose between moderates and extremists among the oligarchs. The moderates, led by Theramenes and Aristocrates, called for the replacement of the 400 with a broader oligarchy of "the 5,000", which would include all citizens of zeugitai status or higher. Under pressure, the extremist leaders opened peace negotiations with Sparta and began constructing a fortification in the harbor of Piraeus, which they may have been planning to hand over to the Spartans. After Phrynichus, the leader of the extremists, was assassinated, the moderates grew bolder and arrested an extremist general in Piraeus; a confrontation ensued, which ended with the hoplites in Piraeus tearing down the new fortification. Several days later, the 400 were officially replaced by the 5,000, who ruled for several more months until after the Athenian victory at Cyzicus. Theramenes (d. ... View of Piraeus A night ferry about to leave the port of Piraeus for the Dodecanese Piraeus, or Peiraeus (Modern Greek: Πειραιάς Peiraiás or Pireás, Ancient Greek / Katharevousa: Πειραιεύς Pireéfs) is a city in the periphery of Attica, Greece, located south of Athens. ... This is an incomplete list of persons that were assassinated for political and other reasons, and who have individual entries. ... A hoplite armed with a spear. ... The Battle of Cyzicus in 410 BC was a small-scale naval battle during the Peloponnesian War between an Athenian fleet led by Alcibiades and a Peloponnesian fleet led by Sparta. ...


References

  • Buck, Robert J., Thrasybulus and the Athenian Democracy: the life of an Athenian statesman. (Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998) ISBN 3515072217
  • Fine, John V.A. The Ancient Greeks: A critical history (Harvard University Press, 1983) ISBN 0674033140
  • Kagan, Donald. The Peloponnesian War (Penguin Books, 2003). ISBN 0670032115
  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (Original text, translated into English)

 
 

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