Polybius and Diodorus each cite a league of Italiote city-states while chronicling events of the fifth and fourth centuries bc respectively. Scholarly opinion holds that the authors describe the same alliance. This article argues that each ancient historian refers to a different alliance with dissimilar goals. Evidence is marshaled to show that Polybius's fifth-century league was not formed to combat an Italic threat, as is commonly stated by modern authors. Three Achaean states established this alliance to counter their aggressive Italiote neighbors, Thurii and Locri, both of whom were supported by major powers. By the first part of the fourth century, however, the situation in southern Italy had changed dramatically, and the growing power of Dionysius I as well as Italic people threatened the Italiotes. Diodorus describes another alliance formed by a larger group of Italiote states to counter a different set of enemies.
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