The Personalities That Formed The Athenian Empire

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The great Athenian Empire was formed through the important actions of individuals and events. Whilst no one individual can take the credit for the formation on the Empire; certainly influential people such as Themistocles, Aristides, Cimon, Pausanius, Miltiades and Pericles all play very important roles in the formation of the Athenian Empire. Other factors, such as the coastal Greek states choosing Athens (contrary to Thucydides’ belief) over Sparta and the Persian threat helped keep the allies in line and enabled Athens to steadily take over. Whether it be through political reforms or military campaigns, these individuals played a crucial part in the formation of the powerful Athenian Empire. When assessing the individuals during the pentacontaetia, it seems logical to start with Miltiades. During this time, Miltiades was the Athenian general, and he made his greatest contribution to the formation of the Athenian Empire by his efforts in the battle of Marathon. This battle was a key part in the formation of the empire as it proved the Ionian States that Athens could defeat the Persians without the aid of Sparta (however the advancing army did play an indirect role in the battle). Miltiades commanded his 10,000 Athenians and Plateans (Herodotus) and successfully stopped the first Persian invasion. It is said by Plutarch that Miltiades enjoyed the highest prestige from the battle, and this would have increased Athenian reputation among the Greek states (it is important to note that one factor of the formation of e empire was that the Ionian States chose Athens), and would thus have made them more inclined to choose Athens as the hegemon, and allowing them to create their empire. Pausanius also played an influential role in the formation of the Athenian Empire; however it was through his negative actions and behaviour that this came to be. Pausanius was the Spartan
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