Social War (357–355 BC)

The Social War, also known as the War of the Allies, was fought from 357 BC to 355 BC between Athens with the Second Athenian League and the allied city-states of Chios, Rhodes, Cos and Byzantion.

Social War
Date357–355 BC
Result Confederate allies independent; Athens provoked by Persia
Athens and the Second Athenian League Chios
Commanders and leaders
Numerous including:


Provoked by Athens' increasingly dominating stance over the Second Athenian League, Chios, Rhodes, Cos and Byzantion overthrew their democratic governments and broke away from the league. The Athenian generals Chares and Chabrias were given command of the Athenian fleet.


During midsummer of 357 BC Chabrias's fleet was defeated and he was killed in the attack on the island of Chios. Chares was given complete command of the Athenian fleet and withdrew to the Hellespont for operations against Byzantion. The generals Timotheus, Iphicrates and his son Menestheus were sent to help him during an oncoming naval battle between the sighted enemy fleet on the Hellespont. Timotheus and Iphicrates refused to engage due to a blowing gale but Chares did engage and lost many of his ships. Timotheus and Iphicrates were accused by Chares and put on trial, however only Timotheus was condemned to pay a fine, and escaped.

In 356 BC, the revolting allies ravaged the Athenian-loyal islands of Lemnos and Imbros but were only able to lay siege to Samos because it was defended by cleruchs. Chares commanded the Athenian fleet at the Battle of Embata, and lost decisively.

Philip II's interferenceEdit

King Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, used the war as an opportunity to further the interests of his Macedonian kingdom in the Aegean region. In 357 BC, Philip captured Amphipolis, a depot for the gold and silver mines from Mount Pangaion and the approach to it, as well as for timber, securing Macedon's economic and political future. He secretly offered Amphipolis to the Athenians in exchange for the valuable port Pydna; when they complied, both Pydna and Potidaea were conquered over the winter and occupied; Philip, however, did not surrender Amphipolis. He also took the city of Crenides from the Odrysae and renamed it Philippi.

Persian interference and the end of the warEdit

Chares was in need of money for his war effort but frowned upon asking it from home; thus, partly compelled by his mercenaries, he entered the service of the revolted Persian satrap Artabazus. The Athenians originally approved this collaboration but then ordered it to be dropped due to the Persian king Artaxerxes III Ochus's complaint and their fear of Persian support for the revolting confederates.

Furthermore, as a result of increasing Athenian operations near the Persian empire, in 356 BC Persia asked Athens to leave Asia Minor, threatening war. In 355 BC Athens, not in any shape for another war, complied and withdrew, recognizing the independence of the confederate allies. Chares' war party was replaced by a peaceful one under Eubulus. The financial surplus racked for the war was put in a fund to be used for public entertainment.

Further readingEdit

  • Cawkwell, George (1981). "Notes on the Failure of the Second Athenian Confederacy". Journal of Hellenic Studies. The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. 101: 40–55. doi:10.2307/629842. JSTOR 629842.
  • Dreher, Martin (1995). Hegemon und Symmachoi. Untersuchungen zum Zweiten Attischen Seebund (in German). Berlin: de Gruyter. pp. 287–292. ISBN 3-11-014444-1.
  • Peake, Scott (1997). "A Note on the Dating of the Social War". Greece & Rome. Cambridge University Press. 44 (2): 161–164. doi:10.1093/gr/44.2.161. JSTOR 643057.
  • Ruzicka, Stephen (1998). "Epaminondas and the Genesis of the Social War". Classical Philology. 93: 60–69. doi:10.1086/449375.
  • Sealey, Raphael (1955). "Athens after the Social War". Journal of Hellenic Studies. The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. 75: 74–81. doi:10.2307/629172. JSTOR 629172.