Cultures > Achaean League

Achaean League


The Achaean League was a prominent confederation of Greek city-states in the northern and central Peloponnesian Peninsula, particularly flourishing during the Hellenistic period. It was one of the significant political and military entities in Greece during this time, often rivaling the power of Macedon and later interacting with the expanding Roman Republic. Here is a detailed overview of the Achaean League:

Early Formation and Re-establishment

Expansion and Political Structure

Prominent Leaders

Conflicts and Alliances

Decline and Dissolution



The Achaean League played a crucial role in the political and military history of Hellenistic Greece. Through its federal structure, notable leaders, and strategic alliances, it sought to unite the Greek city-states of the Peloponnese against common threats. Despite its eventual defeat and dissolution by Rome, the legacy of the Achaean League endures as an early model of federal governance and collective security in the ancient world.

The Diadochi

The interactions between the Achaean League and the Diadochi, the successors of Alexander the Great, were complex and varied over time as the political landscape of the Hellenistic world evolved. Here’s an overview of how the Achaean League interacted with the Diadochi:

The Achaean League

The Diadochi

Interactions Between the Achaean League and the Diadochi

  1. Early Conflicts and Alliances:

    • Initial Weakness: In the immediate aftermath of Alexander’s death, the Achaean cities were relatively weak and not yet united into the powerful league that emerged later. The Diadochi were more focused on consolidating their own territories and fighting each other than on the Greek city-states.
    • Alliances with Greek States: Various Greek city-states, including those in the Achaean League, sought alliances with different Diadochi to gain protection or to further their own ambitions. The shifting alliances were a hallmark of the period.
  2. Rise of the Achaean League:

    • Expansion and Unity: By the mid-3rd century BC, the Achaean League had expanded and become more unified, providing a counterbalance to Macedonian influence in Greece. The League's political and military strength grew under leaders like Aratus of Sicyon.
    • Antigonus II Gonatas: The Achaean League often found itself in opposition to Macedonian rulers like Antigonus II Gonatas, who sought to maintain Macedonian dominance in Greece.
  3. Interactions with Specific Diadochi and Hellenistic Rulers:

    • Antigonus II Gonatas: The Achaean League frequently opposed Antigonus II Gonatas, who ruled Macedonia and sought to exert control over the Greek city-states. Aratus of Sicyon, a prominent leader of the Achaean League, led efforts to resist Macedonian influence.
    • Ptolemaic Support: The Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, under rulers like Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes, sometimes supported the Achaean League as part of their broader strategy to counter Macedonian power. This support included financial aid and military alliances.
  4. Cleomenes War (229-222 BC):

    • Spartan Rivalry: During the Cleomenes War, the Achaean League, under Aratus, fought against Cleomenes III of Sparta. Cleomenes sought to expand Spartan power and reform the city-state.
    • Macedonian Alliance: The Achaean League allied with Antigonus III Doson of Macedonia to defeat Cleomenes. Antigonus III provided military support, leading to the decisive Battle of Sellasia in 222 BC, where Cleomenes was defeated.
  5. Roman Involvement:

    • Rise of Rome: As Rome's influence in the region grew, both the Achaean League and the Hellenistic kingdoms had to navigate their relationships with the emerging power. The Achaean League initially tried to maintain independence but eventually came into conflict with Rome.
    • End of Independence: The Achaean League’s independence effectively ended after the Roman victory in the Achaean War (146 BC). This marked the decline of Greek autonomy and the rise of Roman hegemony in the region.


The interactions between the Achaean League and the Diadochi were shaped by the complex and shifting alliances of the Hellenistic period. The Achaean League, initially weak, grew into a significant political and military force in Greece, often opposing Macedonian influence and occasionally allying with other Hellenistic powers like the Ptolemies. These interactions were part of the broader struggle for power and influence in the post-Alexandrian world, which eventually saw the rise of Rome as the dominant power in the Mediterranean.

List of Cities in the Achaean League

Here's a comprehensive table of the cities that joined the Achaean League, categorized by date of joining and political region:

CityDate of JoiningPolitical Region
Dyme281 BCAchaea
Patras281 BCAchaea
Pharae280 BCAchaea
Tritaia280 BCAchaea
Aegium275 BCAchaea
Boura~ 270 BCAchaea
Keryneia~ 270 BCAchaea
Leontion~ 265 BCAchaea
Aegira~ 265 BCAchaea
Pellene~ 265 BCAchaea
Olenusafter 272 BCAchaea
Helikebefore 373 BCAchaea
Sicyon251 BCCorinthia
Corinth243–224 BC, again 197 BCCorinthia
Troezen243 BCArgolis
Epidaurus243 BCArgolis
Cleonae235 BCArgolis
Argos229 BCArgolis
Phlius229 BCArgolis
Hermione229 BCArgolis
Megalopolis235 BCArcadia
Mantineia235/227 BCArcadia
Orchomenus235 BCArcadia
Heraeacaptured 236 BCArcadia
Caphyaecaptured 228 BCArcadia
Tegea223 BCArcadia
Psophis218 BCArcadia
Lasion218 BCArcadia
Megara243–223 BC / after 197 BC againOther Regions
Aegina228–211 BCOther Regions
Kydoniaafter 219 BCOther Regions
Sparta192 BCOther Regions
Elis191 BCOther Regions
Messene191/182 BCOther Regions
Pleuron167 BCOther Regions


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