Delphic Amphictyonic League

The Great Amphictyonic League of Ancient Delphi, in Greece: In ancient times, an Amphictyonic league was an association of town-states linked together to form a cultural and political union. In most cases, these town-states were in close distance to each other and had a common origin. The most significant such league was the Amphictyonic League of Delphi.

Initially created to protect the temple of Apollo in Delphi and of Demeter in Thermopiles from enemies, the league was ruled by a powerful council which had the right to punish the offenders and practice religious authority. Moreover, the Council could set the rules for wars, which were sometimes a form of punishment imposed on offenders. They would highly reject the destruction of religious structures in the wartime and hardly punish anyone who was found guilty for such an action. Also, the council would forbid its members to fight to each other and cut water supply to other members, even in times of war.

It is believed that the Delphic Amphictyony, or the Great Amphictyonic League as it was called, was set up in about 1100 BC and consisted of all the Greek tribes that surrounded the oracle of Delphi, that is the Ionians, the Magnesians, the Pythians, the Boeotians, the Dolopes, the Locrians, the Dorians, the Malians, the Thessalians, the Perrhoebians and the Phoenicians. It reached the top of its power in the 6th and the 5th century A.D.

In 365 BC, the Phoenicians, which was a powerful tribe in the League, captured and controlled the Oracle Delphi. This made the entire League turn against them. The Phoenicians were removed from the League and the Macedonians took their place. But in 279 BC, the Phoenicians were readmitted into the league, after they helped in the war against the Romans. By 191 BC, the League had 17 members, with powerful members holding two votes and the others only one.

The League is believed to have continued in existence during the Roman rule as well, though its role was reduced to strictly religious duties, which involved the care of the Temple of Apollo. The final end of the League came in the 2nd century A.D.