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Alternatives to Athens: Varieties of Political Organization and Community in Ancient Greece

As evidence for this she offers settlement patterns from the Pharai valley of Achaea, a region slow to develop major settlements, but replete with signs of highly structured, quickly changing, socio-political relationships. In the end, Morgan's discussion urges that we reconsider the traditional view of community development.

Only by viewing big sites in ethne alongside contemporary poleis like Corinth and Athens we can better understand the inherent structures and variation of archaic communities. In an excellent contribution, Z. Archibald compares the early development and articulation of ethne in Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly and the relationship between their civic and regional communities. Archibald argues that all three regions shared a higher degree of geographic and even political unity than other areas of Greece; such cooperation partly depended on patterns of subsistence, the large quantity of available resources in these regions, and the size of the plains.

Archibald explores Thessaly in the most detail. She argues that Thessaly shared quasi-"dynastic" tendencies with Macedonia and Thrace in terms of leadership and dominance of a few powerful aristocrats who mobilized certain areas and communities within the region. In this Archibald challenges the traditional interpretation of a Thessaly organized from a federal center. Members from these powerful Thessalian families served in administration, both civic and regional, in ways that have yet to be clarified from lack of evidence; it is relatively clear, however, that the regional aristocratic and landowning authority in Thessaly superseded the smaller local areas and communities.

Macedonia and Thrace seem to have operated with a comparable regional hierarchy. Thus, although civic officials did exist, the regions are usually represented as strongholds of royal power in both ancient and modern sources. How closed and exclusive Thessalian local governments were in terms of citizenship or office-holding is a matter of debate since, as Archibald shows, evidence supports interpreting Thessalian communities as both closed and open, at least by the Hellenistic period.

Although J.

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Davies insists that his purpose is simply "to bring the evidence before a wider audience which may not be fully aware of recent and current work," his essay offers more than a simple review of current scholarship. Davies brings into sharp focus Molossian conceptions of citizenship, gender, and identity as revealed through their dedications and decrees. After reviewing the literary and numismatic evidence, Davies employs the epigraphic evidence to flesh out and modify the picture of Molossian social and political life garnered from literary sources.

His conclusions confirm those made by Morgan: there is no necessary correlation between the process of city formation and the process of crystallization into a large and effective political entity. Davies concludes that even though late-classical Epirus was a very non-Aristotelian world, a world not of the polis, Epirus still rewards careful study by producing useful comparative data.

He also reminds us that regions like Epirus and its close analog Macedonia served as crucibles for Greek political activity in the fourth and third centuries. If we wish to understand the evolution of the hellenistic monarchy, we would do well to study its predecessor. Carlier next challenges the traditional reading of Macedonian kingship in terms of epic kingship.

Instead Carlier argues that, although Macedonian kingship can be understood to resemble certain aspects of epic kingship, the basileis of Macedonia had developed their own particularly local systems of power. Despite these similarities, Carlier argues, contrasts between the two systems are significant and include the potentially strong role of the Macedonian kings in religious matters; representation of Macedonian kings as great fighters; the relative weakness of a Macedonian people's assembly in terms of free discussion, communal decision-making, judicial procedure, and pressure by royalty; and the lack of interaction between the Macedonian royal council and the assembly.

These powers of the Macedonian kings evolved because of historical circumstances particular to the region, such as access to resources, the insurmountable gap between the demos and the aristocrats, and the vast scale of the region itself. Keen takes as his subject the communities of Lycia during the Achaemenid period and concludes that two main features dominate political life: cities and coin-issuing dynasts. He examines the roles and interdependencies of each and suggests that Lycia may have been unified only in the sense that there were a number of quasi-autonomous dynasts and cities dominated by a central "king" whose seat was at Xanthos.

These dynasts had some degree of local autonomy reflected in their right to mint their own coins. In an article revised and completed by B and H after his death, W. Forrest turns to early amphiktyonies and koina. He stresses the multi-dimensional character of these early communities but places particular emphasis on the sharing of a central cult place disassociated from a major political center.

Forrest's introductory discussion of early communal activity in Asia Minor is somewhat problematic since he presents positive evidence for Pan-Ionian enterprises but does not mention a passage from Herodotus which may call into question the solidity of Pan-Ionian cohesion Hdt.

Similarly, in treating the Kalaurian amphiktyony, Forrest raises the significant question of Boiotian Orchomenos' inclusion, yet he dismisses the issue as "more entertaining than important," a somewhat inapt characterization since Forrest's goal includes discussing such variety within early communities. Despite these problems, Forrest draws useful conclusions. He studies the choice of divinity for amphiktyonies and the early set-up of such organizations.

He also suggests that each town and village located around a central amphiktyonic cult place had a single basileus who met in common with the other basileis from nearby communities. Forrest identifies a decline in the importance of most amphiktyonies over time as poleis solidified; instrumental in their demise was a rise in the number of basileis in various single communities and material evidence for the expression of a plurality of opinion. He also stresses the importance of Cyprus and Euboia as stepping-stones from the Levant in terms of institutional development in mainland Greece.

Forrest's disjointed writing style is troublesome, and conclusions are often left for the reader to draw, but these small troubles are likely the result of the draft form of the original contribution. Also in this section M. Arnush considers the relationship of the Delphic polis within the Amphiktyony of Anthela and Delphi during the reign of Alexander in an effort to uncover what independent role, if any, the polis might have played in opposing Macedonian rule and in courting Aetolian support.

Aside from providing a useful review of the internal workings of the Delphic Amphiktyony and Delphi's position within it, Arnush successfully brings to light Delphic foreign policy by analyzing proxenia decrees. He argues that these often-ignored attestations of friendship issued by the polis of Delphi to foreign individuals show Delphi's political position with respect to those individuals' homelands.

Only after , with the publication of the Exiles' Decree and general shift in public opinion away from Alexander, does Delphi restrict her grants to individuals from scattered groups of poleis and ethne who opposite Macedon.

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This shift in attitude is also reflected in the actions of the Amphiktyony, which refused to seat the new Macedonian councilors and declined to purchase the crowns honoring Alexander's mother Olympias that were promised three years earlier. In the end, Arnush convincingly demonstrates that Delphi was an independent polis that could use its sovereign institutions to take an active role in foreign affairs, though perhaps only in concert with its larger cousin, the Amphiktyony itself.

Roy turns to the fourth century, a period in which the development of confederacies quickly accelerated, and he tackles the complex topic of democratic politics within a federal system: the Arkadian confederacy of BCE. Roy convincingly disassociates the Arkadian constitution from a Boiotian model. When possible, he discusses specific democratic aspects of the Arkadian confederacy's constitution, such as officials and governing bodies, e.

Roy also includes a longer discussion of the eparitoi , a relatively long-lived Arkadian military corps, and the role which they played as a pro-democratic force before c. Roy, arguing against Thompson, also associates Arkadian foreign policy with democratic tendencies in the confederacy. In the final contribution, N. Sekunda identifies the forces that led to the establishment and collapse of two alliance systems in western Crete during the classical and hellenistic periods: the Polichnitai, or "league of small communities," and the Oreioi, the inhabitants of the White Mountains.

For the Polichnitai, Sekunda argues that opposition to an external threat in the form of Aeginetan settlement at Kydonia, as well as a common, perhaps even non-Greek ethnicity were the principal factors behind the establishment of an alliance. Only the rise of individual poleis among the Polichnitai in the 4th century, such as the expansionist Polyrrhenia, broke up the alliance. For the Oreioi, Sekunda observes that terrain and land-use strategies provided an impetus for confederacy, as common upland pasture and transhumance led to common economic and political goals.


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In order to illustrate the dynamics of this process, Sekunda uses comparative ethnographic data from the Turkish and Venetian periods, as well as the epigraphic evidence for ancient transhumance assembled by Chaniotis. The reviewers have only a few criticisms of this volume, most of which pertain to their own scholarly work.

Revision history. Google Books no proxy Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server Configure custom proxy use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy. Configure custom resolver. Sara Forsdyke - - Journal of Hellenic Studies David Fearn - - Journal of Hellenic Studies Ancient Umbria.

Elena Isayev - - Historical Materialism 14 4 The Virtue Politics of Democratic Athens. Ryan K.

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Balot - - In Stephen G. Salkever ed. Cambridge University Press. Ancient Greek Political Thought in Practice.


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