BMCR 2001.05.07

Early Hellenistic Athens. Symptoms of a Change. Papers and Monographs of the Finnish Institute at Athens, vol. 6

, Early Hellenistic Athens : symptoms of a change. Papers and monographs of the Finnish Institute at Athens, vol. VI. iv, 226 pages, xvi pages of plates. ISBN 9519529578 $38.00.

The elder Pliny famously opined that at the beginning of the third century B.C. the art of Greek sculpture ceased.1 Mutatis mutandis, both ancient and modern commentators long felt the same with regard to the history of ancient Athens. Even the most casual student of the ancient Mediterranean world deemed Athens of the Archaic and Classical periods worthy of considerable attention, whether for political, social, or cultural developments. After Alexander, however, loomed an abyss of decline and decadence, at least until the Pax Romana allowed revival as a pre-eminent cultural center.2 W.S. Ferguson was long a lonely voice calling attention to Athens during the intervening, Hellenistic era.3 The six decades following the publication of his work saw the occasional appearance of more narrowly focused work, particularly on the highly specialized topic of Attic chronology, but only one other general history of Athens from the time of Alexander through that of Caesar.4

At first glance, Christian Habicht’s 1979 study of aspects of Third-Century Athens seemed to follow in this pattern of microstudies, but the rapid appearance of a sequel volume, and a subsequent stream of articles by that same author were to prove the harbinger of a turnaround in Hellenistic Athens’ scholarly appeal, and part of a general explosion in Hellenistic studies that continues to reverberate to this day.5 Habicht’s work has recently culminated in the magisterial Athen : die Geschichte der Stadt in hellenistischer Zeit (Munich: Beck, 1995), and its subsequent English translation.6 But that study is merely one of many recent works on post-Classical Athens, and additions to the list continue to appear at a steady pace.7

Amid this efflorescence of interest in Hellenistic Athens, in summer 1988 a group of young scholars at the Finnish Institute in Athens embarked upon a multi-year collective investigation of the topic, under the leadership of J. Frösén. The group reconvened annually in Athens over the next several summers, narrowing the focus of their collaborative enterprise as they refined their individual contributions.8 The ultimate question that emerged from their discussions was “What is ‘Hellenistic’ in Hellenistic Athens?” (p. i). As they developed this theme, the participants also came to the conclusion that they should restrict their temporal focus, as well, to “the early Hellenistic period, roughly, from the defeat of Chaeronea in 338 to Athen’s (sic) capitulation to Antigonus Gonatas in 262 at the end of the Chremonidean War.” These boundaries remained fluid, however, so that materials from preceding and succeeding years (and eras) could be brought to bear as each investigator thought necessary. The point was to study “questions concerning economics and culture, their interplay and their political reflections during a transformation process, seen in the status of literature, philosophy and art in the public life of the city.” As the resulting studies were completed in 1992, the editor modestly refrains from making any claim that this collection represents the state of the question (or questions, given the diversity of its contributions). A wide range of readers (art historians, philosophers, economic historians, students of Greek drama and/or religion, numismatists, et al.) will nonetheless mine many nuggets from its pages.

M. Hakkarainen leads off with a study of “Private Wealth in the Athenian Public Sphere during the Late Classical and the Early Hellenistic Period” (pp.1-32). His purpose is to use Fourth-Century Athens as a model of the process whereby a Greek polis came to be dependent in the Hellenistic era on wealthy individuals (including monarchs) for the meeting of public expenses.9 H(akkarainen) finds the roots of this phenomenon in Athens in the financial chaos that ensued when, as a result of the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian state lost the revenues it had received from the tax on its allies. The Second Delian League offered some temporary relief, but after its breakup as a result of the Social War of the 350s, Athenians again had to confront the question of “where to find enough revenue to cover the public needs of the polis-society when the old financial system was suppressed” (p. 2). Drawing on fourth-century sources such as Xenophon (esp. the Poroi) and the Aristotelian corpus (esp. the Oeconomica), H. prefaces his discussion with an overview of the πολιτικὴ οἰκονομία, “the financial framework of a polis and the problems connected with it.” (p. 3) Neophytes will find this a useful introduction to the technical terminology of economic theory and practice in this period (and place).

Having differentiated prosodoi (revenues) from poroi (means of acquisition) and described their budgeting ( merismos) among the various arkhê and epimeleia, H. proceeds to the development of the theoric fund, and then to the use of private funding for the public sphere. In explaining the origins of such practices as the “annual duties” ( ἐγκύκλιοι λειτουργίαι) such as the choregia, H. notes their tribal focus, as opposed to the trierarchia and eisphoria, aimed at community defense. He sees the latter (as well as the related epidosis) as key to subsequent Hellenistic patterns of private public finance, through their gradual extension into the civil sphere. This marked, in Athens at least, a reversal of the fifth-century, democratic policy of trying to limit the dependence of the polis on the “property power” of the wealthy.

H. sees this transformation mirrored in the shifting connotations of certain public vocabulary. The term philotimia experiences a particularly sharp change in meaning. Formerly a negative personal attribute (“ambition for a person’s own profit and private prestige” [p.17]), in the context of “increasing resort to voluntary contributions” in the mid-fourth century philotimia began to be understood as “private contribution for the benefit of the polis, for which the contributor was rewarded with public gratitude, charis.”(p. 19) This latter, abstract concept was in turn “reified (or totally remodeled) during the second half of the fourth century by the Athenian polis to attract the private contributions it needed” (pp. 24-25). A series of public honors ( timai) that had previously developed independently came to be systematized and granted as a reward for serving as philotimos. The latter included making good from personal wealth any shortfall between the public funds allotted to an office ( merismos) and the actual fiscal requirements of that post. This awarding of honors came to be linked to the old requirement of passing a review of one’s tenure of office ( euthyna).

H. illustrates this transformation with abundant reference to the epigraphic and literary record (especially the orators). By the late third century the linkage of service and reward seems to have been codified in Athenian law whereby an office holder could make a demand ( aitesis) for honors (pp. 29-30). In sum, H. documents “the gradual liturgization of Athenian offices,” (p. 31) whereby “liturgy was identified with the arche and epimeleia” (p. 32).

T. Korhonen’s contribution (“Self-Concept and Public Image of Philosophers and Philosophical Schools at the Beginning of the Hellenistic Period”, [pp. 33-101]) is more ambitious. Indeed, at 68 pages it accounts for one third of the text in this collection. In a “methodological preface” she specifically situates her work within the larger discussion “of how social history of intellectual movements should be approached” (p. 33). K(orhonen) presents her study not so much as a critique of the earlier work of Habicht on this topic10 as an elaboration, based on subjecting the evidence Habicht assembled to a different set of questions. In particular, she explores whether “honoured tasks were granted to philosophers at the beginning of the Hellenistic age because of their φιλοσοφία, and the prestige attached to it, or if the reason lay elsewhere, in the personal character of the philosophers, their relationships with the monarchs, their importance not as philosophers but as persons of influence in their society in general” (p. 34).

In pursuing this question, K. immediately addresses major methodological difficulties. Beyond the paucity and predilections of the sources themselves, she must also cope with the overarching problem of the “interplay between the socio-historical material and the history of ideas.” The intellectual’s dual role of critic and creator of contemporary values makes the “outlining of the relationship between the socio-historical constellation and the ‘ideology’ of intellectual movement more problematic than more conformist activities in the society.” With regard to the philosophers and the philosophic schools, if one concentrates on their social activities as members of their polis, one risks ignoring “the most important activity of philosophers: the making of φιλοσοφίια —whatever it might have been” (p. 35). K. sees this dilemma as like that of trying to “harness a unicorn.” The very action transforms the nature of the beast (i.e., turns it into a mere horse).

K’s solution is to try to break down her task into manageable units. She draws a distinction between what philosophers thought of themselves, of philosophy, and of their role in society (“self-concept”); and the status, position, and prestige accorded philosophers and philosophy (“public image”). K. finds the intersection of these two sets in a “condensation of expectations” both by philosophers and others, that constitutes a “role.” She cautions against assuming that the ancients shared the modern world’s relative tolerance for multiple role-playing by one individual but also notes that we must be careful to distinguish between “restricted code” (language used when philosophers are communicating with each other) and “elaborate code” (language used when philosophers are communicating with the larger public) when assessing any self-definition that philosophers (whether individuals or schools) have left to posterity.

K. begins her actual analysis with a lengthy case study of examples of seeming philosophers who also played the role of ambassador. Strangely, given the concern of the entire collection for change over time, the first case she treats, while arguably the most famous example of philosophical envoyship (that of the Academic Karneades, the Peripatetic Kritolaos, and the Stoic Diogenes, sent by Athens to Rome), is also chronologically the latest in her collection (155 B.C.). It is followed by discussion of many other, earlier instances, involving such luminaries as Xenokrates of Chalkedon, Menedemos of Eretria, and Arkesilaos of Pitane (Diog, Laert. 4.28), in Anatolian Aiolis, treated in chronological order.

Building upon the work of Declava Caizzi and others,11 K. then proceeds to consider what various individual philosophers (beginning with Plato) and schools had to say about the practice of philosophy and the role of the philosopher. Cynics, Stoics, Skeptics—all the usual intellectual suspects are presented, their ideas and vocabulary discussed in a depth at which a brief summary such as this can only hint. Suffice it to say that, as with Hakkarainen on economic and administrative matters, so K. offers a very useful general introduction to early Hellenistic philosophy. Concerning the larger question of self-image, K. sees a marked shift between earlier, fourth-century philosophers (esp. Plato and Aristotle) and their successors. For the former, the philosopher’s life was contemplative and theoretically oriented, and the philosopher had to demonstrate to his fellow citizen that seeming idleness was actually for the benefit of the polis. Later thinkers and schools felt no such need to self-justify: the value of philosophy by then was self-evident. But the philosophical life had also changed, to include both theoretical and practical activity.

Against this self-image K. then juxtaposes evidence of philosophers’ “popular image,” utilizing such reports as Diogenes Laertius’ account of the seeming anti-philosophical legislation of Sophokles of Sounion at Athens, in the wake of the collapse of the regime of Demetrios of Phaleron. K. also offers an extensive survey of the attitudes reflected in New Comedy. From these she again tracks a shift, from a general hostility based upon association with the sophists, toward a more benign view that allowed acceptance to those philosophers who espoused pragmatic programs and seemed to function within the boundaries of traditional educators. Nonetheless, K. sees no diminution of the divide between philosophers and non-philosophers with the passage of time. Quite the contrary, public perception concentrated more on the distinction between philosophers and non-philosophers, and less on the distinctions between the various “schools” of philosophy. Indeed, it is with the concept of philosopher as professional educator that K. leaves the subject, calling for a more thorough study of how it was that Athens “became a centre of higher education at least by the end of the 3rd century B.C.” (p. 101).

M. Leiwo’s study (“Religion, or Other Reasons? Private Associations in Athens” [pp. 103-117]) expands upon K.’s interest in sub-polis groups. It also nicely complements Hakkarainen in offering a primer in private Greek economics and finance. L(eiwo)’s focus is the lesser known types of private groups, such as the θιασῶται and ὀργεῶνες, whose origins he finds in cultic clubs established in archaic Athens by “citizens who did not belong to the most noble or powerful classes”(p. 103). He is particularly interested in the ἔρανος, a type of association whose membership included both full citizens and residents of lesser privilege (females [citizen or foreign], metics, slaves). L. notes the particular emergence of this latter type of group in later fourth century Athens, in the context of the growing importance of private wealth in public social and political contexts, as outlined by Hakkarainen. Private wealth, however, came in two basic forms: visible ( φανερὰ οὐσία) and invisible ( ἀφανὴς οὐσία), corresponding, roughly, to real estate and fungible assets (“cash, money invested in loans, or other property that was hidden” [p. 108]). Moreover, there was a distinction between the prestige and influence that went with landed wealth and that of other forms. The former was the exclusive reserve of the male citizenry and its power expressed through the fundamental unit of Athenian society, the οἶκος. Yet, as the fiscal health of the Athenian state declined, pressures on that landed wealth grew. L. suggests (p. 108) that the eranos form of private association may have gotten considerable impetus from citizens seeking to make their fanera ousia“disappear” as the commonly shared possession of such a club. As such it was available as collateral for loans to members (” eranos loans”), but the eranos itself could then also serve as a bridge across the divide between landed and other types of wealth. In particular, wealthy but underprivileged residents could solicit property from full citizens and organize a quasi- oikos, whereby they could reap fuller economic, social, and political benefits.12 L. concludes his analysis with a consideration of what meaning, if any, the cultic connections of these private associations had. In contrast to many other scholars, L. does not see such ties as primary to these organizations. Citing Aristotles’ comments ( Eth.Nic. 8.9, 1160a) on the function of such groups, L. suggests that the purpose of organizations such as the cult of the Thracian god Bendis, that of Cypriote Aphrodite, or Egyptian Isis, was “more political and socio-economical than religious.” (p. 114) “One could claim that in Athens in the fourth and third centuries there were no opportunities to gather more or less officially and legally together other than a cultic synousia,” whose main purpose was “common meals, and social and financial support.” (p. 116) It was not until the second century that these associations, perhaps following the example of the Dionysiac artists, became “more like professional guilds” (p. 117). And by then, a parallel development had occurred among the Attic demes, reviving the local associations that Kleisthenes had tried to suppress and further undermining the integrity of the Athenian state.

In perhaps no other field of inquiry is the sense of Hellenistic decline in Athens more tangible than that of numismatics. From being so dominant a producer of silver coinage in the Classical period that its tetradrachms (the “Owls”) became common tender in the eastern Mediterranean, Athens seems—in the eyes of some scholars—to have sunk to the status of a non-producer between the time of Alexander and the coming of the Romans (around which time the “New Style” silver tetradrachms make their appearance). K. Lo+nnqvist stares straight into this black hole in search of some ray of enlightenment (“Studies on the Hellenistic Coinage of Athens: The Impact of Macedonia on the Athenian Money Market in the 3rd Century B.C.” [pp.119-145 and Plates I-II]). Starting from the principle that “specimens coming from controlled excavations should represent stray-finds of coins giving a reasonably accurate picture of the original pool of coins once in circulation” (p. 120), L. considers the Macedonian coinage found at three sites in Athens: the Agora, the Kerameikos, and the Asklepeion. His research draws heavily upon J. Kroll’s recent publication of material from the first of these (see note 7), which itself includes many coins found between 1931 and 1990 but not previously published. In addition, L. has intrepidly hunted down a body of coins unearthed at the Asklepeion in the late 19th century but subsequently consigned without publication to the musty nether reaches of the Numismatic Museum in Athens.

While the database thus assembled (343 coins) might strike a trained statistician as too meager to inspire confidence, some traits that L. highlights are at least suggestive. To begin with, the vast majority of the material (316 specimens) is bronze, and there is a striking consistency between the Agora and Asklepeion finds. When organized by ruler, each assemblage shows concentrations of material from the period of Alexander and his Successors, and especially from the reign of Antigonos II Gonatas. Over half the bronze specimens (at least 162 coins) can be attributed to the latter. L. follows Kroll in accepting a threefold division of Gonatas’ bronze according to type, with Pan found on the two larger denominations (AE 1 = “obol” and AE 2 = “hemiobol”) and a Herakles/horseman combination found on the smallest (AE 3 = “quarter-obol”).

L. sensibly explains the preponderance of Makedonian bronze over precious metal issues as a matter of function: silver and (especially) gold were used for major transactions, while bronze was the common species for mundane monetary transactions. Further, he relates the dynamics of the corpus to Athens’ shifting political fortunes. For L., it is no surprise that the Makedonian bronze comes almost exclusively from the years ca. 340-301, and ca. 260-240: in these periods Athens was dominated by Makedonia’s kings. In practical terms, this domination meant Makedonian troops frequenting the markets of Athens, putting their stipends into circulation. This influx was so influential, according to L. (again following Kroll), that the Makedonian system of weights and denominations outlived Makedonian control over Attika, albeit overstruck with Athenian programs. L. does not believe, however, that either the surge in Makedonian base-metal coinage, or the contemporary decline in Athenian silver issues, was a direct result of Makedonian usurpation of Athenian sovereignty. Rather, he is “inclined to believe like T. Martin and J.H. Kroll that there is no reliable evidence that the Macedonians anywhere south of Macedonia suppressed local coinage.” “A cessation of minting was often the outcome of poor economic conditions or some other natural explanation” (p. 136). Indeed, L. believes that the Asklepeion coins he rediscovered bolster Kroll’s suggestion that Gonatas actually gave a considerable quantity of bronze coinage to Athens in the aftermath of the Chremonidean War in order to facilitate the Attic economy’s recover after that damaging conflict, although there is no evidence, to my knowledge, that Gonatas’ troops sacked Athens at the end this war, as L. claims (p. 130). Nor is L. correct when he claims (p. 129) that numismatists generally assume that Antigonos III Doson minted no gold or silver coins: cf. O. Moerkholm Early Hellenistic Coinage (Cambridge: 1991), nos. 436-37.

M. Lo+nnqvist’s contribution also focuses on material remains in considering the implications of the so-called “Tanagra figurines” (“‘Nulla signa sine argilla.’ Hellenistic Athens and the Message of the Tanagra Style” [pp.147-82 and Plates ιιι). At the outset she points out the modern consensus that the designation itself is a misnomer, and that this genre of small terracottas in fact emerged from the shops of Athenian coroplasts. Rather than treat them as mere objets d’art, however, L. wishes to use these figurines as another index of change in Athens between the mid-fourth and mid-third centuries. “Important questions, as to why the Tanagra style emerged and what was the purpose of the figurine production are closely related to each other” (p. 148). “The new style is an answer to the needs and tastes of the consumer; it is a medium of social practices.” While “not ignoring the creative role of the artists themselves,” L. proposes to focus her study on “the view that the style mediates as a habituated form of social consciousness.”

L. nonetheless does not forego the typical art historical analysis of stylistic development. As with the other studies in this collection, so this one too offers a basic (if at times convoluted) introduction for newcomers to the topic. Comparing Athenian materials (found at excavations in the Agora, Pnyx, Acropolis, North Slope sanctuary of Eros and Aphrodite, South Slope sanctuary of Nymphe and Asklepeion, West Slope, and Kerameikos) with those from the eponymous Tanagra tombs, L. takes the reader through a progression from Athenian pre-Tanagra, to early Tanagra, mature Tanagra, and late Tanagra styles. She uses such familiar criteria as pose, form, production technique, and drapery style, highlighting the influences of Praxitelean sculptural norms seen in the pre-Tanagras and their persistence against subsequent Lysippan standards. Some readers might find fault with L.’s rendering of the term sfumato, used to describe Praxiteles’ work , as “Elegant”, and a reference to his general style. More conventional usage refers to Praxiteles’ specific technique of making the transitions between the various surfaces and elements of his composition soft (“smoky”). L. attributes this conservatism to general Athenian resistance to Makedonian influence and ties its abandonment in the “mature” style figurines to Athens’ subjugation.

This conclusion is only a point of departure, however, for the true heart of L’s exercise: the consideration of the development of the entire genre in its full historical context (social, political, economic, religious, et al). Having established that the most likely production center in Athens for the figurines was close to the Agora and Pnyx, she concludes that the coroplasts were imbedded in the daily life of the polis, and “produced terracotta statues for ordinary people” (p. 157). L. further asserts that the “production process used by the coroplasts in the later fourth century B.C. clearly reflects a response to a social need” and their products “the private values of the domestic world” (p. 158). So, what was this need, what were these values?

L. begins by noting the dominance in the Tanagra figurines of portrayals of young boys and young girls. She then places these motifs in the context of general Attic sculpture of the fourth century, and considers them against the nature of the figurines’ various findspots. L. concludes that “a certain social picture, or more specifically a religious pattern of the locations, can be obtained from the studied figurines” (p. 171). What unites the find spots are their associations with cults and rites de passage that have at least some connection to fertility and reproductivity, be they to Demeter and Persephone, Artemis (the Arkteia), Athena (the Arrephoria), Zeus (at Dodonna), or other deities. L. places the Athenian figurines in a particular historical context, noting the evidence for recurrent drought and famine in Attic precisely in the era when the Tanagra figurines developed and gained popularity. She is inclined to see them as a “politico- or socio-religious institutionalized response” (p. 179). “The quantity, the motifs and the contexts of the terracotta figurines discovered in Athens clearly speaks for their socio-cultural character as religious objects used in the institutionalized festivals to secure the fecundity of the citizens and the fertility of nature in the fourth and third century B.C.” (p. 180). “The development of the style was indeed connected with a time of poor economics and that of growing Macedonian influence. The influence of the sumptuary laws on the production of cheap miniature statues is obvious” (p. 182).

E. Salmenkivi concludes the collection with a study of “Family Life in the Comedies of Menander” (pp. 183-94). She is forthright about the difficulties and dangers inherent in drawing historical conclusions from a body of evidence of this sort, and is careful to keep the scope of her investigation and conclusions modest. In the few pages that follow, S. nevertheless offers a number of interesting suggestions about the place of the oikos in Menander’s thinking. She begins by pointing out that “one of the most striking features in the comedies of Menander is that almost all characters belong to a certain family” (p. 185). S. includes slaves in this comment, noting their centrality to so many of the families in Menander’s works, and so to the action of the plays. Women are equally central, although infrequently seen and even less often heard. When a female does have a major speaking part, she is normally an outsider partnered to a free male (whether as a free common-law spouse or a servile courtesan). Here S. sees reflections of Athenian social attitudes found in other sources: the predominance of the free male, the subordination of the female (and her exclusion from public life, if she is a citizen), the preference for those (whether slave or free) who belong to an oikos over those who do not.

Indeed, S. sees the health and maintenance of the oikos as Menander’s main concern. While Menander’s plots normally revolve around youthful males’ “romantic” pursuit of females, they invariably conclude with a marriage that was not, “as K. Treu has already pointed out, a marriage between individuals only, but between two oikoi that form the very basic unit of the social structure of the Greek city-state” (pp. 186-87).13Hetairai… social Others, often restore the oikos, the social Self, to a state of order and harmony,” (p. 188) while “the plays usually concern relationships within the family, between husband and wife or father and son, for example” (p. 190).

Even the most notoriously stereotypical of Menander’s famous stock characters, the miles gloriosus, fits into this concern with the oikos, in S.’s view. “Menandrean soldiers are not treated in the traditional way,” but rather “are characters who are human and who want to establish an oikos in the polis where they live.” S. sees “Menander’s way of dealing with these soldiers as an indication of changes in the social structure of the polis” that were “a consequence of a rising number of mercenary soldiers living within the city-states” (p. 191). Whether these soldiers eventually returned to their home polis or settled in their current location, S. believes Menander could not help but pay attention to the social impact of their behavior. With regard to Attica and the Antigonids’ various garrisons there, S. follows K. Loehnquist in seeing numismatic finds as evidence for the presence and involvement of mercenaries in the day-to-day life of towns and villages.

As a corollary to this humanization of the itinerant soldier, one also sees in Menander a greater sensitivity to the fallout of war. S. finds hints of a rejection of the practice of enslaving captive populations, and suggestions “that people in a new situation should be given a chance to build a new life for themselves.” She connects these ideas to the long-noted influence of Euripidean tragedy in Menander. In her view, Menander meant “to show his audience that the matters dealt with in tragedy could also be dealt with within the non-heroic and non-mythical world of everyday life, especially within the life of the family.” (p. 192) Menander uses the genre of comedy to bring profound issues close to the everyday lives of his Athenian audience. According to S., his plays concern not individual characters, but the Athenian social system as a whole. In this “closed and tightly knit political and religious unity … the breakdown of regularly conducted marriage…would threaten the existence of the community itself.” “The plays offer a ‘comforting spectacle’ of the restoration of the social status quo by pointing out to the audience the importance of maintaining the traditional ways and habits in the form of legal marriage.” (p. 193)

S. sees Menander’s plays as bolstering J.Ober and B. Strauss’s claim that political rhetoric and drama were closely related forms of public speech.14 She finds this mixing of traditional attitudes and new thinking “particularly appropriate … in the public discourse of the festivals in the theatre of Dionysus.” S. follows J. Aronen in noting that “these festivals were organized and maintained by the polis and during the festivals the whole polis was in a liminal state of transforming from a (Dionysiac) previous state to a new, more complete, state.”15 It is precisely for this reason, S. believes, that “the theatre had its prominent role within the public (and political) discourse of the polis.” Its impact will have persisted in Menander’s day because of the theatre’s ritual nature. “Thus, and especially if we consider the socio-ethical questions to be part of the politics of the Athenians in the early Hellenistic period, we could say that Menander … participated in the political discourse of his time” (pp. 193-94).

With S.’s contribution the collection comes to a close. The editor is forthright in eschewing any attempt to sum up and assess the implications of these essays as a whole, a decision that some readers may find unsatisfying. Others of a critical bent might feel the articles as a whole would have benefited from additional editing. Certainly the texts display more than a few typesetting errors, and the absence of good general maps of Athens and Attica is unfortunate.

More generous readers, on the other hand, will excuse these rough edges in favor of the critical vitality underlying the entire volume. Veteran readers of American undergraduate prose will certainly find depressingly little to complain of here, particularly considering that the authors are writing in a tongue that is outside the language family of their native Finnish. And the plates that accompany the volume are of high quality and utility.

Having invited its readers to reconsider the validity and meaning of conventional periodizations (as does Dreyer’s more extensive study—which appeared too late to be used by the contributors here) this collection of essays does not presume to impose a new orthodoxy. Whether one’s interest is with Athens, some specific sub-discipline, or more general issues such as the process of change in human cultures and societies, scholars will find much of use in this deceptively slender volume.16


1. Pliny’s overview of Greek sculptors reaches the one hundred twenty-first Olympiad (summer 296 B.C.-summer 292 B.C.) at N.H. 34.51-52: (olympiade) CXXI Eutychides, Euthycrates, Laippus, Cephis[od]otus, 34.52 Timarchus, Pyromachus. cessavit deinde ars.

2. A view that again parallels Pliny’s assessment of the history of Greek sculpture (N.H. 34.52: Timarchus, Pyromachus. cessavit deinde ars ac rursus olympiade CLVI revixit. [= 156 B.C.])

3. Hellenistic Athens. An historical essay. (London, MacMillan: 1911).

4. Claude Mossé’s Athens in decline, 404-86 B.C. (translated from the French by Jean Stewart. London, Boston, Routledge & K. Paul [1973]), and even Mossé’s treatment of Hellenistic Athens is a scant fifty pages. Ferguson again led the way in more specialized study of post-Alexandrine Athens, with The Athenian archons of the third and second centuries before Christ (Cornell studies in classical philology, no. 10: 1899 [New York, Johnson Reprint Corp., 1970]) and Athenian tribal cycles in the Hellenistic age (Harvard historical monographs, v. 1; Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1932). On magisterial chronology, see also W.B. Dinsmoor The archons of Athens in the Hellenistic age (Cambridge, Mass., Pub. for the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Harvard University Press, 1931); id. The Athenian archon list in the light of recent discoveries (New York, Columbia University Press, 1939); W. K. Pritchett and B.D. Meritt, The chronology of Hellenistic Athens. (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1940); those interested in this thorny topic await eagerly the forthcoming work of J.D. Morgan. Other, more limited studies include P. L. MacKendrick’s The Athenian aristocracy, 399 to 31 B.C. (Cambridge, Published for Oberlin College by Harvard University Press, 1969) in the Martin classical lectures series (vol. 23); F. Mitchel’s Lykourgan Athens: 338-322, (Cincinnati: University of Cincinnati, 1973) in the Louise Taft Semple classical lectures series; M. Thompson’s important numismatic study The new style silver coinage of Athens. (New York, American Numismatic Society [Numismatic studies, no. 10], 1961); and A.F. Stewart’s Attika: studies in Athenian sculpture of the Hellenistic age (London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 1979) in the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies’s Supplementary paper series (no. 14).

5. Chr. Habicht Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte Athens im 3. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (Vestigia Bd. 30; Munich: Beck, 1979); followed by Studien zur Geschichte Athens in hellenistischer Zeit (Hypomnemata heft 73; Goettingen, 1982). Habicht’s other articles have now been conveniently assembled as Athen in hellenistischer Zeit: gesammelte Aufsätze (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1994).

6. Athens from Alexander to Antony. Translated by Deborah Lucas Schneider. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).

7. The list includes several volumes in the series of publications from the American excavation of the Agora (v.22: S. Rotroff, Hellenistic pottery : Athenian and imported moldmade bowls [Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1982.]; v.29: Id., Hellenistic pottery: Athenian and imported wheelmade table ware and related material [Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1997.]; v.26: J. Kroll, with contributions by Alan S. Walker, The Greek Coins [Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1993]; v.27: R. Townsend, The east side of the Agora : the remains beneath the Stoa of Attalos. [Princeton, N.J.: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1995]; see also C. Grandjouan, E. Markson, and S. Rotroff, Hellenistic relief molds from the Athenian Agora [Hesperia. Supplement 23; Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1989]); S.V. Tracy’s two epigraphical studies ( Attic letter-cutters of 229 to 86 B.C. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990; and Athenian democracy in transition: Attic letter-cutters of 340 to 290 B.C. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.); B. Hintzen-Bohlen Die Kulturpolitik des Eubulos und des Lykurg: die Denkmäler- und Bauprojekte in Athen zwischen 355 und 322 v. Chr. (Berlin: 1997; in the series Antike in der Moderne); and, most recently, B. Dreyer, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des spätklassischen Athen (322- ca.230 v. Chr.). (Historia Einzelschriften 137. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2000).

8. P. Pakkanen’s contribution became a University of Helsinki dissertation, and was published separately as Interpreting Early Hellenistic Religion: A Study Based on the Mystery Cult of Demeter and the Cult of Isis (Papers and Monographs of the Finnish Institute at Athens, vol. 3. Helsinki, 1996). T. Purola also participated in the seminar’s discussions and travels.

9. For a balanced assessment of the nature of the polis in the Hellenistic era see now G. Shipley, The Greek world after Alexander, 323-30 B.C. (Routledge history of the ancient world, London; New York: 2000).

10. Athen in hellenistischer Zeit 231-47; Athen : die Geschichte der Stadt in hellenistischer Zeit 111-16.

11. F. Declava Caizzi, “The Porch and the Garden: Early Hellenistic Images of the Philosophical Life,” in A. Bulloch et al. (eds.) Images and Ideologies: Self-Definition in the Hellenistic World (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1993) 303-30.

12. L. here presents the example of the famous banker Pasion. L. is generally in sympathy with the view of the ancient economy championed by E. Cohen (e.g., as expressed in Athenian Economy and Society. A Banking Perspective [Princeton, 1992]), as opposed to those of Finley and Millett. On associations in general, see also M.-F. Baslez, “Les communautés d’Orientaux dans la cité grecque. Formes de sociabilité et modêles associatifs,” in L’étranger dans le monde grec. Actes du colloque organisé par l’Institut d’études anciennes, Nancy, mai 1987, 139-158; and now N.F. Jones The associations of Classical Athens: the response to democracy. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), which includes an appendix on ‘Post-Macedonian Associations at Athens’ (pp. 307-310).

13. K. Treu, “Menanders Menschen als Polisbuerger,” Philologus, 125 (1981), 211-14.

14. J. Ober and B. Strauss “Drama, Political Rhetoric and the Discourse of Athenian Democracy,” in J.J. Winkler and F. Zeitlin (eds.) Nothing to Do with Dionysos? Athenian Drama in its Social Context. (Princeton, 1990), 237-70.

15. J. Aronen “Notes on Athenian Drama as Ritual Myth-Telling within the Cult of Dionysos,” Arctos 26 (1992), 19-37.

16. I would like to offer my apologies to the authors of this work, and the editors and readers of BMCR, for the tardiness of this review.