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A Permanent Structure for the Alliance

Under Athenian direction, the Greek alliance against Persia took on a permanent organizational structure1. Member states swore a solemn oath never to desert the coalition. The members were predominately located in northern Greece, on the islands of the Aegean Sea, and along the western coast of Anatolia—that is, in the areas most exposed to Persian attack. Most of the independent city-states of the Peloponnese, on the other hand, remained in their traditional alliance with the Spartans. This alliance of Sparta and its allies, which modern historians refer to as the Peloponnesian League, had an assembly to set policy, but no action could be taken unless the Spartan leaders agreed to it. The alliance headed by Athens also had an assembly of representatives to make policy. Its structure was supposed to allow participation by all its members.2

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