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Hellenistic Democracies: Freedom, Independence and Political Procedure in Some East Greek City-States
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Classical archaeology and ancient history.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Freedom from external control is one prerequisite for democracy. In the hellenistic period the Greek city-states are thought to have lost their independence due to the establishment of the hellenistic hegemonies, and thereby also lost their possibilities of democratic government and of pursuing a foreign policy of their own. This study shows that interstate relations among many of the Greek cities of coastal Asia Minor were active. Measures were taken to solve interstate conflicts and to strengthen ties of friendship among cities, but the cities did not refrain from claiming their rights vis-à-vis each other and even waging war; this would not have been possible during severe control. In the power struggle between the changing hegemons, the individual poleis had possibilities to manoeuvre fairly independently.

By systematizing and analyzing the frequency and contents of hellenistic decrees enacted by the council and demos of four East Greek city-states, the study shows that the latter were democratically ruled, and the issues decided on foremost concerned foreign relations. The empirical investigation concludes with an application of the criteria for democracy set up by Aristotle and the political scientist Robert Dahl, and all four city-states are shown to comply with most of the criteria. However, in the second half of the second century polis decrees gradually decrease, to cease altogether towards the end of the first century BC, and foreign matters also disappear from the agenda. A possible reason is the growing power of Rome and the establishment of the Roman province of Asia in 129 BC. Under a sole hegemon the poleis no longer had possibilities to set their own agenda.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för arkeologi och antik historia , 2005. , 439 p.
Keyword [en]
Classical archaeology and ancient history, democracy, demokratia, demos, exclusiveness, independence, autonomia, hegemonic power, hellenism, city-states, poleis, desicion-making process, foreign policy, decrees, epigraphy, Iasos, Kalymna, Kos, Miletos
Keyword [sv]
Antikens kultur och samhällsliv
National Category
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Research subject
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-5820OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-5820DiVA: diva2:166521
Public defence
2005-05-20, Geijersalen, Hus 6, Engelska Parken, Humanistiskt centrum, Uppsala, 13:00
Available from: 2005-04-29 Created: 2005-04-29Bibliographically approved

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