Wandering Greeks: The Ancient Greek Diaspora from the Age of Homer to the Death of Alexander the Great

Wandering Greeks: The Ancient Greek Diaspora from the Age of Homer to the Death of Alexander the Great

Language: English

Pages: 344

ISBN: 0691161054

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Most classical authors and modern historians depict the ancient Greek world as essentially stable and even static, once the so-called colonization movement came to an end. But Robert Garland argues that the Greeks were highly mobile, that their movement was essential to the survival, success, and sheer sustainability of their society, and that this wandering became a defining characteristic of their culture. Addressing a neglected but essential subject, Wandering Greeks focuses on the diaspora of tens of thousands of people between about 700 and 325 BCE, demonstrating the degree to which Greeks were liable to be forced to leave their homes due to political upheaval, oppression, poverty, warfare, or simply a desire to better themselves.

Attempting to enter into the mind-set of these wanderers, the book provides an insightful and sympathetic account of what it meant for ancient Greeks to part from everyone and everything they held dear, to start a new life elsewhere--or even to become homeless, living on the open road or on the high seas with no end to their journey in sight. Each chapter identifies a specific kind of "wanderer," including the overseas settler, the deportee, the evacuee, the asylum-seeker, the fugitive, the economic migrant, and the itinerant, and the book also addresses repatriation and the idea of the "portable polis." The result is a vivid and unique portrait of ancient Greece as a culture of displaced persons.











community [comprising] a mixed and possibly shifting population of traders” (OCD 4 s.v.). The earliest and most northerly Greek settlement in the west, Pithecusae, modern-­day Ischia in the Bay of Naples, is generally assigned to this category, though the exact nature and purpose of this foundation are still contested and there is evidence at the site for mixed marriages in the later period (Hansen and Nielsen 2004, 285–­87). A major problem is that the word emporion is rarely used in ancient

founder of the Achaemenid dynasty (9.122). Cyrus, however, rejected the suggestion on the grounds that rugged terrain produces brave men, whereas terrain that is easier to work produces weaklings. In consequence, the Persians “chose to rule while inhabiting a poor land, rather than be enslaved to others while cultivating the plains.” And that, incidentally, is how Herodotus chooses to end his History, which indicates the importance he attached to the theme of relocation. Likewise, as we shall see

that Syracuse “immediately grew and flourished” (7.156.2). Gelon died in 478 and was succeeded as tyrant of Syracuse by his brother Hieron, who likewise used mass deportation to consolidate his power. Unlike Gelon, however, his primary objective was to settle his mercenaries. To this end he deported the populations of Naxos and Catania to Leontini and then some four years later resettled Catania with 10,000 mercenaries. Half of these were drawn from the Peloponnese and half from Syracuse. (Naxos

safety. They had abandoned not only their homes but also everything that was precious to them. All the valuables that they could not take with them—­their pottery, their glass bowls, and the images of their gods—­they had hastily buried in the ground. They knew the Persians, bent on revenge, would spare nothing—­and so it proved. When the invaders advanced through Attica, they smashed all the funerary monuments that lay in their path and destroyed all the temples on the Acropolis (D.S. 11.14.5

verdict had been delivered—­an option Socrates rejected on the grounds that he would be as unpopular abroad as he had been in Athens and so “constantly exchanging one city for another” (Pl. Ap. 37d). Plato in the Laws recommended exile as a punishment for those guilty of homicide, but with a view to rehabilitating the criminal. He proposed two years for a man convicted of involuntary homicide in order that he should “learn to control his temper,” whereas if his crime had been intentional his

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