Athens opportunistically turned its allies in the Delian League into an empire, continuing to impose the monetary levy on them even though there was no longer a Persian threat to justify it.

This money allowed Athens to spend most of the money on itself, and maintain a fleet to collect the money, by force where necessary. The fleet was used to interfere in cities outside its new-found empire, leading to conflict with the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta.

This devastating 27-year war weakened the Greek world, and paved the way for the rise of Macedonia and its takeover of the Persian Empire.

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