, τὸ Ἀρκαδικόν συνέδριον κοινὸν
), the Arcadian League, was established soon
after the battle of Leuctra, in B.C. 371, when the victory of Epaminondas
had destroyed the Spartan supremacy in the Peloponnesus, and restored the
independence of the Arcadian towns. The person who took the most active part
in forming this league was a native of Mantineia, named Lycomedes, and the
project was supported by Epaminondas. A new city was founded, named
Megalopolis or the Great City, which was the seat of the league, and of
which Epaminondas was regarded as the οἰκιστὴς
or founder (Paus.
). Its population was drawn from about forty petty Arcadian
townships. Of the constitution of the new confederation we have very little
We only know that the great council of the nation, which used to
meet at Megalopolis, was called Μύριοι,
the “Ten Thousand.” As representative of all Arcadia, the Ten
Thousand concluded war and peace, and tried all officers or other Arcadians
brought before them on accusations of public misconduct. The Athenian
orators Demosthenes and Aeschines pleaded before it on various occasions.
(Xen. Hell. 6.5
, § 3 seq.,
Dem. Fals. Leg.
Aeschin. Fals. Leg.
p. 257.79; Harpocr., Suid., Phot., s. v.)
Whether this council represented the numbers, more or less exact, which
might be brought together for the purpose of consultation, or whether the
name was used in a vague sense for a great multitude, cannot be determined.
Thirlwall points out that it is strange that there should be no mention of a
select council, which, according to the uniform custom of the Greek states,
should have prepared the business to be transacted by the assembly of the
Ten Thousand; but he conjectures that the council-house, called Thersilium,
which Pausanias (8.32.1
) describes as the
place of meeting of the Ten Thousand, may really have been the smaller
council or senate of the larger assembly of the Ten Thousand. We read of a
standing army called Epariti
)--probably a word belonging to the Arcadian
dialect--consisting of 5000 men, to defend the common interests of the
confederation. (Xen. Hell. 7.4
34, 7.5.3; Diod. 15.62
; Hesych. sub voce
) The new confederation
succeeded for only a short time in giving a certain degree of unity to the
Arcadians; and its
Coin of the Arcadian League. (Brit. Museum.)
influence soon declined. For its subsequent history, see
Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Geogr.,
s. vv. Arcadia
were struck by the league. The one figured above represents the head of Zeus
on the obverse, and Pan, the national god of the Arcadians, on the reverse.
(Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece,
v. p. 85 seq.;
Grote, Hist. of Greece,
x. pp. 306, 317 seq.;
Wachsmuth, Hell. Alterth.
i.2 p. 282 seq.