a1 University of Nottingham
The series of decrees concerning Methone throws welcome light on Athenian foreign policy and the imperialism of Pericles' successors. Here is historical evidence of the highest quality. Are we using it as fully and accurately as we should? This paper is written in the belief that we are being hampered by unsound presuppositions. Chronologically the second decree is our main fixed point. It was passed in the first prytany of 426/5 B.C. The third and fourth decrees followed in the next two archon-years. They can be ignored in this discussion, since one is hopelessly mutilated and the other is missing from the stone as it stands now. The real problem rises over the first decree. What is its date? It used commonly to be put in 428/7 B.C. until West argued powerfully for January/February 429/8 B.C. His view won considerable support, but the editors of The Athenian Tribute Lists have since succeeded in establishing the summer of 430 B.C. as the orthodox dating. Now those who accept this should recognize that it creates an awkwardly long gap between the first and second decrees. By the first decree Methone was permitted to pay the quota alone, instead of its full tribute, and was promised separate, favourable treatment of its arrears in return for continued loyalty.
1 I should like to thank Mr. R. Meiggs for his most helpful advice and criticism.