[Electronic Antiquity]


Current Editor
Terry Papillon, Terry.Papillon@vt.edu
Volume 1, Number 3
August 1993

DLA Ejournal Home | Electronic Antiquity Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search ElAnt and other ejournals


N.G.L Hammond,
Clare College,
e-mail: no e-mail address

To answer this question an understanding is needed of the structure of the Amphictyony c.356 BC. Theopompus, a contemporary historian, is one guide (FGrH 115 FF 63, 168, 169). According to him the Amphictyony consisted of twelve ethne , i.e. tribal states or groups. They met twice a year at 'Pylae', i.e. Thermopylae, as an 'assembly of Amphictyons' (sunodos ton Amphiktuonon and to ton Amphiktuonon sunedrion), also called a 'Hellenic Assembly' (sunedrion Ellenikon). They were addressed by 'Pylagori', who had been appointed by each ethnos (for instance, by Demosthenes in 343 BC and by Aeschines in 340 BC). Decisions were taken in accordance with the majority vote of the 'Hieromnemones' ('those mindful of sacred matters'), who were sent from each member- state. Further, details are provided by another contemporary, Aeschines. The 'assembly of the Amphictyons' (3.116: to sunedrion . . . tous Amphiktuonas) was attended by men of the member-states, who in 340 BC were addressed by Aeschines as o andres Amphiktuones (3.119). Such an assembly, he said later (3.124: ekklesian ton Amphiktuonon), included besides the Hieromnemones and the Pylagori 'those making sacrifice and those consulting the god' (Apollo at Delphi). At his instigation in 340 BC the Amphictyons, including by proclamation the Delphians (a member-state), burned the houses of the sacrilegious Amphissaeans (3.119 and 122). 'Each ethnos has two votes' (2.116: duo gar psephous ekaston pherei ethnos). They are cast by the Hieromnemones in each case. There were also ad hoc committees of the Amphictyony: naopoioi charged with the rebuilding of the temple at Delphi and tamiai responsible for finance, in each case appointed by the member-state.

The remark of Theopompus that the assembly of Amphictyons was called also 'a Hellenic assembly' was explained by Pausanias in the second century AD when he wrote of the early days of the Amphictyony. Some believed, he wrote, that Amphictyon, son of Deucalion, founded 'an assembly of Hellenes' (10.8.1: sunedrion . . . Ellenon) and brought togther into a common assembly, so they say, 'so many clans of the Hellenic' (group).(1) At 10.3.3 Pausanias wrote of the 'assembly at the Hellenicum', evidently the name of its original meeting-place.(2)

On each occasion in the fourth century the Amphictyons met first at Anthela near Thermopylae and then adjourned to Delphi. This adjournment must have been introduced in early times, and it was presumably then that the Delphians were enrolled as a member-state of the Amphictyony.(3) We can see from the history of the Amphictyony that the Delphians had two votes, appointed two Hieromnemones and provided members of the committee of naopoioi . It is therefore to be assumed, if this precedent was respected, that when a new member-state was enrolled in place of the Phocians in 346 BC it received the same rights. How was this organised?

Answers have been varied. In 1914 Pickard-Cambridge wrote that the two votes of the Phocians were transferred by the Amphictyonic Council to Philip, and that the recognition of Philip 'as an Amphictyonic Power had given him a definite position as the head of a Hellenic state'.(4) In 1922 Beloch declared that 'the Macedonian king entered the Amphictyonic Council and was thereby accepted in a ceremonial manner into the Hellenic community' ('Staatengemeinschaft'); and that the two votes hitherto held by the Phocians were given not to Philip but to the Delphians.(5) Griffith in 1979 wrote as follows: 'The first act of the Amphictyonic Council . . . was to expel the Phocians from membership and to award the two Phocian votes in the Council to Philip'; and later: 'there was no question of the Macedonian ethnos achieving membership now in place of the Phocians'.(6) My own view in 1991 was that 'the Council stripped the Phocians of their votes and conferred them on the Macedonians, whose delegates were appointed at once by Philip'; (7) thus unlike Griffith I believed that 'Makedones' became a member of the Amphictyony in place of 'Phokeis'.

Where answers vary so widely, it is proper to consult the ancient sources. The most important is the statement of Demosthenes in 343 BC in his speech De Falsa Legatione 327, in which he pictured the change in the situation. 'Instead of the traditional rites being re-established in the shrine and the monies being exacted for the god, those who are Amphictyons are in exile and have been driven out, whereas those who never yet in past time were so, Makedones and barbarians, now force their way into being Amphictyons' (oi d' oupopot' en to prosthen chrono genomenoi, Makedones kai barbaroi, nun Amphiktuones einai biazontai).

The wording is very striking; for Demosthenes spoke almost always of 'Philip' and very rarely of 'Makedones' (at 2.15 and 17; 7.11; 11.10 and 19.260). Here it is not Philip but 'Makedones' who are forcing their way into membership of the Amphictyony. Nor is it surprising that they should do so; for the member-states were ethne , and 'Makedones' were an ethnos . Demosthenes' addition 'and barbarians' was abusive; it was analogous to Aeschines calling Philip 'a barbarian and a devil' (Dem. 19.305: barbaron te . . . kai alastora). On enrolment 'Makedones' were entitled to representation on committees. Accordingly, in autumn 346 BC, 'when the peace was made', the naopoioi included two men, Philippos Makedon, Timanorida Makedon, bearing the member-state name Makedon. In autumn 325 an exceptionally large contribution of money was conveyed by two Hieromnemones Makedones Archepolis, Agippos, again bearing the member-state name.(8)

Membership carried with it the right to two votes. According to Pausanias (whose source we shall consider later) 'the Phokeis were deprived both of their sharing in the shrine at Delphi and of the assembly at the Hellenicum, and the Amphictyons gave their votes to Makedones' (10.3.3: apherethesan de oi Phokeis kai meteinai sphisin ierou tou en Delphois kai sunodou tes es to Ellenikon, kai tas psephous auton Makedosin edosan oi Amphiktuones). Like Demosthenes, Pausanias also noted the change in the affairs of the Amphictyons: 'Makedones found means to be reckoned as Amphictyons' (10.8.2: Makedones men gar telein es Amphiktuonas euranto).(9) No doubt they attended the assemblies at the Hellenicum.

When it came to the casting of the votes, the situation in the kingdom of Macedonia was different from that in the other member-states. For Philip as King was the arbiter of all religious matters, and as such it was he who controlled the casting of the votes.(10) In effect Philip had two votes. They were cast by his appointees as Hieromnemones in accordance with his wishes. For this reason the Hieromnemones were described in a list recording the first payment by the Phocians in 343 as 'from Philip'; the text runs: ieromnamoneonton tonde Thessalon Kottuphou, Kolosimmou tom para Philippou Eurulochou, Kleandrou Delphon Damonos, Mnasidamou (Tod, GHI 172, Col. 1, 21 ff.). After his death the Hieromnemones were described as par' Alexandrou.

A passage on which Griffith and others relied in particular is Diodorus 16.59.4-60.1. Therein, Philip, having brought the Sacred War to an end, decided to convene the assembly of Amphictyons and entrust to it the decision on the whole issue. 'It seemed good to those who assembled to give to Philip and his descendants a share in the Amphictyony (to Philippo kai tois apogonois) and (for them) to have two votes which the defeated Phocians had previously held'. Those who prefer this passage (11) to the statement by Demosthenes, the evidence of some Delphic inscriptions and the statement by Pausanias have supposed that a list of member-states would then have read eleven ethnic names and then 'Philip and his descendants' but not 'Makedones'. What they have not realised is that there were two ways of describing the realm of 'a king of Makedones' (12) at the time and in the future: either 'Philip and his descendants' as in Tod, GHI 177 of 338/7 BC (line 11, as restored [13], ten basileian ten Ph[ilippou kai ton ekyon]on), or 'Makedones' (without a definite article).(14) There is thus no difference of substance between the passage in Diodorus and the other evidence, but only a difference of terminology. The Macedonian state, whether the wording was 'Makedones' or 'Philip and his descendants', was enrolled by the Amphictyons meeting in their Assembly as a member of the Amphictyony in 346 BC.

Finally, we have to consider the source or sources which Diodorus and Pausanias used in writing several centuries after the event. Both refer to a decree by the Amphictyons. Diodorus reported the convening of 'the assembly of the Amphictyons' and the decision of those present at the assembly (16.59.4 and 60.1: edoxen oun tois sunedrois summarised as ta dedogmena tois Amphiktuosi at 60.4). He then reported some details of that decision (16.60.1-3). Pausanias cited a decree of the Amphictyons concerning the destruction of Phocian cities (10.33.9: Amphiktuones de dogma epi te ton poleon apoleia ton en Phokeusin exenegkontes). He did so to establish the spelling of a name 'Amphikleia' which Herodotus had given in the form 'Amphikaia' (8.33). This city occurred with the same spelling at 10.3.2, a passage in which Pausanias listed 'the Phocian cities razed to the ground' after the Third Sacred War.(15) The original list was presumably in the Amphictyonic decree. After explaining that one city, Abae, was spared, Pausanias reported that the Phocians were deprived both of their sharing in the shrine at Delphi and of the assembly at the Hellenicum, and the Amphictyons gave their votes to Makedones (the Greek text is cited above). We conclude, then, that both Diodorus and Pausanias were using a source or sources conversant with the original decree passed in 346 BC.

In my analysis of the sources of Diodorus 16 I concluded (16) that he was following the monograph of Demophilus, the son of Ephorus, on the Sacred War (Diod. 16.14.3), and that he found in that monograph an account of the Amphictyonic decree. Demophilus, being a contemporary of the events in 346 BC, was a dependable source. Diodorus povided from Demophilus a brief summary of those points in the decree which interested him (16.60.1-3). He did not include a list of the Phocian cities to be razed; indeed, he said that 'all the cities of the Phocians were to be razed'. The wording of Diodorus' summary was his own. He was not quoting verbatim at second hand from the original decree.

The author followed by Pausanias for the list of cities to be razed presumably derived that list from the Amphictyonic decree and gave the original spelling of 'Amphikleia'. He is most likely to have been Demophilus, the accepted authority for the Sacred War and the subsequent fate of the sacrilegious participants. If so, Diodorus and Pausanias both made use of Demophilus as their chief source. Points in common in their accounts are the prophetic dreams of the Phocian leaders (Diod. 16.33.1, Onomarchus; Paus. 10.2.6, Phayllus); the suicide of Philomelus (Diod. 16.31.4, Paus. 10.2.4); Phayllus' wasting disease (Diod. 16.38.6 and 61.3); and Phalaecus killed at Cydonia in Crete (Diod. 16.63.2; Paus. 10.2.7).(17) One difference of fact is that Diodorus in his summary of the decree had 'all Phocian cities' sentenced to destruction, whereas Pausanias excluded Abae with the explanation 'the fact was that freedom from impiety was established for the men of Abae, and they had no part in the seizure of the shrine or in the war' (10.3.2 fin.). The difference may be explained in this way. The original decree condemned all Phocian cities. Only later was the innocence of Abae proved and accepted. Diodorus concerned himself with the decree. Pausanias paid more attention to the historical narrative of Demophilus. We have already discussed the difference in the terminology used by the two writers for the transfer of the Phocian votes to 'Philip and his descendants' and to 'Makedones'. It is probable that Diodorus kept closer to the wording of the Amphictyonic decree as set out by Demophilus, and that Pausanias took his phrase from the narrative of Demophilus or used his own form of words.(18)

If my analysis of the source or sources used by Diodorus and Pausanias is correct, their statements were derived in the main from a reputable contemporary historian, Demophilus. We should therefore treat their accounts with respect and not argue that they are untrustworthy because they themselves wrote so long after the events or were stupidly retrojecting conditions of their own time into the year 346 BC.


1. Pausanias was contrasting this view with that of Androtion, a fourth century writer, who evidently challenged earlier versions.

2. I am writing in this article not of an Amphictyonic 'Council', for which one would expect e boule, but of an 'Assembly' in accordance with the ancient names sunodos, sunedrion and ekklesia.

3. H.W. Parke, The Delphic Oracle (Oxford, 1939), p. 119, placed this 'well before the beginning of the sixth century'; see also G. Daux, 'Remarques sur la composition du conseil amphictionique', BCH 81 (1957), pp. 102 ff.

4. A.W. Pickard-Cambridge, Demosthenes (London, 1914), pp. 288 and 290.

5. K.J. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte 3.1 (Berlin, 1922), p. 512.

6. In The Miracle that was Macedonia (London, 1991), p. 82.

7. In N.G.L. Hammond & G.T. Griffith, A History of Macedonia 2 (Oxford, 1979), pp. 451 and 453.

8. Fouilles de Delphes III, 5 no. 19, line 74 and p. 50. J. Bousquet observed in 'La compte de l'automne 325 a Delphes', Melanges Daux, p. 24, in Col. II, 8-10 and 27, 'on voit apparaitre les Etats, confederations et cites, avec la Macedoine a la place de la Phocide'. The actual sum was presumably assessed by and sent by the Assembly of Makedones, for which see my remarks in CQ n.s. 30 (1980), pp. 461 ff., and in The Macedonian State (Oxford, 1989), pp. 178 ff.

9. For the aorist middle tense and for the meaning see LSJ, s.v. eurisko I 3, iv fin. and LSJ, s.v. teleo II 33.

10. There is an interesting parallel in the case of Amyntas III, who had control of his own vote (Aes. 2.32, tes kath' auton psephou kurios on), but sent a deputy (sunedron) to attend the gathering of 'the Lacedaemonians and the other Greeks'. It was the deputy of the king who cast the vote to recover Amphipolis for Athens. He may well have been described as par' Amuntou.

11. For instance, G.L. Cawkwell wrote in Philip of Macedon, edd. M. Hatzopoulos & L. Loukopoulou (Athens, 1980), p. 88, 'Philip had himself and his descendants declared members of the Amphictyony and accorded the two votes previously held by the Phokians'.

12. This description, which was generally in use from Hdt. 9.44.1 and Thuc. 1.57.2 onwards, encapsulated the structure of the Macedonian state in which the king and the Makedones formed the governing body. See Hammond, Macedonian State, pp. 58 ff.

13. In accordance with the similar phrase in Demosthenes 19.48, as cited from a decree of 346 BC.

14. The absence of the definite article was usual in any constitutional context in which 'Makedones' meant those possessing the Macedonian citizenship. See Hammond, Macedonian State, pp. 58 ff. and 63 ff.

15. The list interested Pausanias because in his time some of the cities had disappeared without trace (e.g. Parapotamii, 10.33.8).

16. In CQ 31 (1937), pp. 79 ff.

17. Diodorus gave two versions of the end of Onomarchus (16.35.5 and 16.61.2). One of them is compatible with that recorded by Pausanias 10.2.5, if one remembers that Diodorus was capable of faulty abbreviation.

18. It is remarkable that Pausanias referred some twenty-five times to Macedonia by the name of the reigning king coupled with 'Makedones' (e.g. at 4.28.2, Philippo . . . kai Makedosin, and 10.36.3, Makedonon kai Philippou). His insistence on mentioning 'Makedones' is unusual, in that most ancient authors simply named the king alone. Occasionally, Pausanias named only one or the other, for instance at 5.4.9 'alliance of the Makedones . . . Philip', followed by 'Makedones and Arrhidaeus'. At 10.3.3 Pausanias named only the one part 'Makedones'.

19. Griffith, for instance, in History of Macedonia 2, p. 453 n. 2, held that Pausanias was misled by the composition of the Amphictyony in his own time, some 500 years after 346 BC; but Pausanias at 10.8.2-3 was expressly comparing the membership of the Amphictyony in the past with that in the principate of Augustus and in his own time, oi de Amphiktuones oi ep' emou.

N.G.L. Hammond
e-mail: no e-mail address
see address details at top

COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright remains with authors, but due reference should be made to this journal if any part of the above is later published elsewhere.

Electronic Antiquity Vol. 1 Issue 3 - August 1993
edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington
ISSN 1320-3606

DLA Ejournal Home | Electronic Antiquity Home | Table of Contents for this issue | Search ElAnt and other ejournals