Between Federation and Empire: The koina of the imperial Greek mainland, 1st to 3rd century CE
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CitationGettel, Eliza. 2019. Between Federation and Empire: The koina of the imperial Greek mainland, 1st to 3rd century CE. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation uncovers the dynamism and durability of koina in the Greek mainland within the Roman empire. The term koinon translates from ancient Greek as ‘what is common, shared, or public.’ However, scholars often translate it as ‘federal state’ in Greek historical scholarship or ‘provincial council’ in Roman historical scholarship. Before Roman control, koina united otherwise autonomous city-states in shared political institutions and facilitated cooperation in economic, military, and religious activities. However, within the empire, their range of cooperative activities largely consisted of religious and honorary ones, making it difficult to characterize them as ‘federal states’ any longer. Meanwhile, the koina of the Greek mainland were too fragmented to serve as a ‘provincial council’ in the model of imperial koina found in Asia Minor. Nevertheless, this dissertation establishes that koina still had local significance for those living within them in the Greek mainland through at least the mid 3rd century CE.
Analysis of inscriptions, archaeological contexts, and literary texts demonstrates that elites of the Greek mainland were still invested in these supra-civic communities when they were subject to Rome. The project traces how koina existed on several scales within the imperial Greek mainland, and it considers how these different scales of community interacted. It reveals how members of koina associated with a particular ethnos (e.g., the koinon of the Phocians) progressively took part in broader, supra-regional koina of Hellenes (e.g., the so-called Panachaean koinon; Panhellenion). This nesting of koina distributed power unequally to local elites, who climbed a flexible ladder of offices in supra-civic communities in order to set themselves apart from colleagues. In this regard, the large number of koina in the region (which has caused them to be overlooked) was central to their continued local significance, since koina of various scales reinforced elite power structures and situated certain groups more firmly at the center of imperial discourses surrounding Hellenism. Ultimately, the study concludes that local elites thought about their participation and membership in the Roman empire through the increasing scales of the koinon, which had institutional and ideological symmetries with the imperial state, or the evolving res publica.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42013092
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