Creating a Common Polity: Religion, Economy, and Politics in the Making of the Greek Koinon

Creating a Common Polity: Religion, Economy, and Politics in the Making of the Greek Koinon

Creating a Common Polity: Religion, Economy, and Politics in the Making of the Greek Koinon

Creating a Common Polity: Religion, Economy, and Politics in the Making of the Greek Koinon

Synopsis

In the ancient Greece of Pericles and Plato, the polis, or city-state, reigned supreme, but by the time of Alexander, nearly half of the mainland Greek city-states had surrendered part of their autonomy to join the larger political entities called koina. In the first book in fifty years to tackle the rise of these so-called Greek federal states, Emily Mackil charts a complex, fascinating map of how shared religious practices and long-standing economic interactions faciliated political cooperation and the emergence of a new kind of state. Mackil provides a detailed historical narrative spanning five centuries to contextualize her analyses, which focus on the three best-attested areas of mainland Greece--Boiotia, Achaia, and Aitolia. The analysis is supported by a dossier of Greek inscriptions, each text accompanied by an English translation and commentary.

Excerpt

This book trades in a currency that is not widely accepted beyond the relatively small scholarly circle of classicists, ancient historians, and Greek epigraphers. Yet in the course of writing it I have learned a great deal from work done in fields well beyond theirs, including geography, economics, political science, anthropology, and sociology. I have therefore attempted to write in such a way as to keep my account accessible to the interested nonspecialist, in the hope that the intellectual exchange may be reciprocal. At the same time, the full scholarly apparatus of ancient historical research, especially that based in ancient documents, has been retained in the notes and above all in the appended epigraphic dossier, which collects, translates, and comments upon sixty-one Greek inscriptions of particular relevance to the argument that is sustained over the course of this book. I hope that, in offering this book for exchange with specialists and nonspecialists alike, I have not unwittingly debased my currency with both.

It is with a view to accessibility beyond classical circles that all Greek is transliterated (except in the epigraphic dossier), according to what I readily admit is a somewhat arbitrary system. I have preferred the Greek to the Latin system of transliteration, except where the result is an offense to normal English usage. So, for example, Achaia, Aitolia, Boiotia, Orchomenos, and Polybios are as close as possible to the Greek spelling, but Athens, Attica, Carthage, Cassander, Corinth, Crete, Macedonia, Thebes, and Thucydides are preferred over Athenai, Attike, Karchedon, Kassandros, Korinthos, Krete, Makedonia, Thebai, and Thoukydides, against which my spirit simply rebels.

The abbreviations of ancient authors and texts are in general those given in The Oxford Classical Dictionary, third edition (ocd), occasionally with familiar . . .

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