The Functions of the Delphic Amphictyony before 346 BCE

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Hugh Bowden


This article re-examines the history and purpose of the Delphic Amphictyony in the period before its reorganisation in 346 BCE. It questions the notion of a fixed membership before 346 BCE, and emphasises the religious responsibilities of the Amphictyons, in particular relating to the Pylaea at Anthedon, and to the Sacred Land at Delphi. It re-examines the evidence for the so-called Second, Third and Fourth Sacred Wars, demonstrating that the Sacred Land can only have been an issue in the Fourth War of 340-338 BCE, and arguing that only this war was the only one triggered by the Amphictyony. It concludes that at no stage did the Delphic Amphictyony play a significant role in interstate relationships.

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