The Classical Quarterly (New series)

Research Article

Athenian Imperialism and the Foundation of Brea1

Harold B. Mattinglya1

a1 University of Nottingham

The decree establishing an Athenian colony at Brea in the north Aegaean area was firmly placed by the editors of The Athenian Tribute Lists in 446 B.C.; they identified the troops mentioned in lines 26 ff. with the men then serving in Euboia. In 1952, however, Woodhead proposed redating the decree c. 439/8 B.C. and explained lines 26 ff. by reference to the Samian revolt. A decade later I put forward a more radical theory, which seems to have won no adherents. I cannot really complain of this, since my arguments were inevitably far from cogent. For some Thucydides' silence alone will have been decisive. I would like to think that the issue has at least been clarified by now. The A.T.L. dating appears rather less plausible. Demokleides' generalship in 439/8 B.C. would fit excellently with his role as founder of Brea. This strongly supports Woodhead. It is doubtful whether Demokleides was general as early as 446 B.C, though conceivable that he returned to the board as late as 426/5 B.C. Woodhead may well be right in locating Brea on the inner Thermaic Gulf and, if so, this too tells against the A.T.L. dating. All our evidence suggests that real Athenian involvement in this area began in the 430's.


1 I owe a great deal to some stimulating discussion and correspondence with Mr. R. Meiggs and Professor W. P. Wallace. Both emphasize the importance of arguing from the letter-forms of securely dated inscriptions. I have tried to answer their challenge in this paper in my own way and they must not, of course, be blamed for die result. Professor K. J. Dover has helped considerably by his criticisms to improve the presentation of my ideas.