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The First Achaean League

And first: When the burning of the Pythagorean clubs in Magna Grecia was followed by great constitutional disturbances, as was natural on the sudden disappearance of the leading men in each state; and the Greek cities in that part of Italy became the scene of murder, revolutionary warfare, and every kind of confusion; deputations were sent from most parts of Greece to endeavour to bring about some settlement of these disorders.1 But the disturbed states preferred the intervention of the Achaeans above all others, and showed the greatest confidence in them, in regard to the measures to be adopted for removing the evils that oppressed them. Nor was this the only occasion on which they displayed this preference. For shortly afterwards there was a general movement among them to adopt the model of the Achaean constitution. The first states to move in the matter were Croton, Sybaris, and Caulonia, who began by erecting a common temple to Zeus Homorios,2 and a place in which to hold their meetings and common councils.
Ζεύς ὁμάριος or ἀμάριος.
They then adopted the laws and customs of the Achaeans, and determined to conduct their constitution according to their principles; but finding themselves hampered by the tyranny of Dionysius of Syracuse, and also by the encroachment of the neighbouring barbarians, they were forced much against their will to abandon them.
B. C. 405-367.
Again, later on, when the Lacedaemonians met with their unexpected reverse at Leuctra, and the Thebans as unexpectedly claimed the hegemony in Greece, a feeling of uncertainty prevailed throughout the country, and especially among the Lacedaemonians and Thebans themselves, because the former refused to allow that they were beaten, the latter felt hardly certain that they had conquered.
B. C. 371.
On this occasion, once more, the Achaeans were the people selected by the two parties, out of all Greece, to act as arbitrators on the points in dispute. And this could not have been from any special view of their power, for at that time they were perhaps the weakest state in Greece; it was rather from a conviction of their good faith and high principles, in regard to which there was but one opinion universally entertained. At that period of their history, however, they possessed only the elements of success; success itself, and material increase, were barred by the fact that they had not yet been able to produce a leader worthy of the occasion. Whenever any man had given indications of such ability, he was systematically thrust into the background and hampered, at one time by the Lacedaemonian government, and at another, still more effectually, by that of Macedonia.

1 The Pythagorean clubs, beginning in combinations for the cultivation of mystic philosophy and ascetic life, had grown to be political,—a combination of the upper or cultivated classes to secure political power. Thus Archytas was for many years ruler in Tarentum (Strabo, I.3.4). The earliest was at Croton, but they were also established in many cities of Magna Graecia. Sometime in the fourth century B. C. a general democratic rising took place against them, and their members were driven into exile. Strabo, 8.7.1; Justin, 20, 4; Iamblichus vit. Pythag., 240-262.

2 The MS. vary between ὁμάριος and ὁμόριος. The latter form seems to mean "god of a common frontier." But an inscription found at Orchomenus gives the form ἀμάριος, which has been connected with ἡμάρα "day."

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