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The Military and Financial Success of the Delian League

The Athenian-dominated Delian League enjoyed success after success against the Persians in the 470s and 460s.1 Within twenty years after the rout of the Persian fleet in the battle of Salamis in 479, almost all Persian garrisons had been expelled from the Greek world and the Persian fleet driven from the Aegean. Although the Persian heartland was not threatened by these setbacks, Persia ceased to be a threat to Greeks for the next fifty years. Athens meanwhile grew stronger from its share of the spoils captured from Persian outposts and the dues paid by its members. By the middle of the fifth century B.C., League members' dues alone totaled an amount equivalent to perhaps $200,000,000 in contemporary terms (based on the assumption of $80 as the average daily pay of a worker today). For a state the size of Athens (around 30,000 to 40,000 adult male citizens at the time), this annual income meant prosperity.

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