BMCR 2006.10.06

Citoyenneté et participation à la basse époque hellénistique. Hautes Etudes du monde gréco-romain, 35

, , Citoyenneté et participation à la basse époque hellénistique : actes de la table ronde des 22 et 23 mai 2004, Paris BNF .... Hautes études du monde gréco-romain, 35. Genève: Droz, 2005. 310 pages ; 22 cm.. ISBN 2600010521 CHF 90.00.

[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

This volume is the 35th in a series called “Hautes Études du Monde Greco-Romain” and gathers twelve papers from a conference held in Paris in 2004. Their general goal is to make evident features characterising civic life in the “low” Hellenistic age, starting with the Roman annexation of Macedonia (146 BC) and continuing into the imperial age. Some of these aspects had already been made evident by the late scholar Louis Robert, to whose authority in the field of Greek epigraphical studies this volume is substantially a tribute.1

The book is opened by an introduction of Philippe Gauthier (pp. 1-6) and the first section is dedicated to the definition of the civic body (‘Contours du corps civique’): Savalli Lestrade focuses on three cases in Asia minor, those of Toriaion in Phrygia, Aphrodisias in Caria and Antiochia ad Pyramum in Cilicia. Toriaion was granted the status of a polis by King Eumenes after the victory of the Romans over Antiochus III at Magnesia.2 Aphrodisias not only engaged in a sympolity with nearby Plarasa, but also in a federation with the neighbouring towns of Tabae and Kibyra. Later some of its notable members claimed descent from the true founders of the city.3 Antiochia ad Pyramum, as Cilicia came under Seleucid dominion, was like a second identity of the former town of Mallos: this lasted for just half a century, as the inhabitants soon reverted to their former location and name.

Bertrand deals with the status of the indigenous population settled nearby Hellenistic cities: this is the case of the Pedieis near Priene (who happen to be mentioned both in a letter of Alexander the Great and in a civic honorary decree) or of the Phrygians surrounding Zeleia. It was in general the policy of Hellenistic rulers to request the integration of πάροικοι from the adjoining cities, but their status remained unstable, as is proved by the cases of Smyrna, Pergamon, Ephesos, Aphrodisias and, later, Oenoanda.

Ferrary reexamines the evidence for the granting of Roman citizenship to Greeks during the late Republic: despite a number of early instances attested in Cicero’s Verrines, admission into the Roman civic body continued to be rare during the late Republic. Notable exceptions are (Pompeius) Theophanes of Mytilene and (Iulius) Theopompos of Cnidos. In Cicero’s time indeed to become a Roman citizen implied losing citizenship at home, an hindrance superseded only in triumviral and Augustan legislation.

Opening a new section entitled ‘Institutions civiques’, Philippe Gauthier studies three cases of private intervention in the making of public decrees: in the first instance a Teian, in time of war and at his own risk, volunteered to convey the honours publicly decreed by the city for a Magnesian. In Alabanda a private committee put pressure on the city council in order to get public honours for Pyrrha[kos], the envoy who had died on a mission to Eumenes.4 Finally a decree from the Laconian town of Kotyrta records that some men suggested to the ephors where the city could get a loan, and went along with the magistrates to negotiate with the banker.

Christel Müller examines the epigraphical evidence from Hellenistic Boeotia. She tries to get a more precise chronology through consideration of dialectal features, prosopography and relation to established historical events, such as the dissolution of the Boeotian league in 171 BC, or the destruction of Haliartos in the same year. She has gathered a dossier of about 150 inscriptions stemming from 15 Boeotian cities: chronological distribution is however uneven, and while many inscriptions date around 200 BC, there is almost no evidence for the years 80-30 BC.

Hamon draws a comparison between institutional changes taking place in mainland Greece and in Asia minor: in the province of Achaia the city councils, reorganized on a censitary basis by Lucius Mummius in 146 BC, changed their name from βουλή to that of synedrion. In Asia the process was less definite: however, according to this reviewer’s opinion, the κρίσις κατ’ ἄνδρα which took place after the Sullan reconquest,5 might have also helped to the shaping of the new βουλαί, on a partisan as well as on a timocratic basis.

Wörrle presents some remarkable features of the newly published dossier from Maroneia:6 soon after the institution of the province of Thracia the city had sent an embassy to the emperor Claudius, probably to defend her rights from the intrusion of the newly appointed governor. The leading citizens of Maroneia, in unity with the resident Romans, also introduced a legal device by which the appointment of volunteers would readily cover the necessity of future embassies to Rome.

Avram explores the existence of civic armies in the cities of the Northern shore of the Black Sea: evidence testifies only to small garrisons, unable to resist effectively the raids of the neighbouring natives. But Diophantos, a general sent by Mithridates, succeeded in mustering the population of Greek cities for campaigns against the barbarians; in 61/60 BC they also seem to have fought a successful revolt against the Roman general C. Antonius Hybrida. After Pompey’s defeat in the civil war, the Greek cities however fell prey to their former ally, king Burebysta.

A third and final section is devoted to social distinctions inside the community (‘Distinctions sociales et place des notables’): Chankowski focuses on representations of the city’s social order in civic processions: according to C. (and contrary to Chaniotis’ opinion) civic processions were not a new feature of the Hellenistic age, it is only their description that becomes more detailed and articulate. I cannot support the author’s opinion (p. 203) that Diodoros Pasparos of Pergamum was the first to receive an individual place in a civic procession, as in the relevant passage the name of Diodoros is entirely restored.7

Chiricat examines the evidence for burial in the gymnasium as an honorific distinction. The first occurrence is provided in a prophetic inscription from Miletus, attesting burial in the local gymnasium of the Olympic winner Antenor (in 308 BC: Moretti, Olympionikai 488): it was probably by his victory that he earned this right for his descendants, too (three of them were also buried there). This kind of privilege is better attested in the lower Hellenistic age by the cases of Artemidoros of Knidos8 and Callicrates of Aphrodisias.9

Fröhlich attempts an exploitation of the epigraphical corpus of Priene: especially remunerative are the long honorary decrees, all datable in the years 130-80 BC, documenting contentions with the publicans, as well as with some neighbouring cities.10 Benefactors honoured in such decrees had served as στεφανηφόροι and civic magistrates, but also performed missions ad hoc as envoys or ἔκδικοι.

Sève surveys the epigraphical production of Macedonia in the relevant period, looking for evidence about Macedonian notables: results are scanty, with the probable exception of Harpalos of Beroea, descendant of an envoy of Philip V to Rome: this enduring situation is probably an effect of the deportation of the Macedonian political class after the victory of L. Aemilius at Pydna in 167 BC.

The conclusions are drawn by Claude Vial, on pp. 275-282. There follow comprehensive indexes of ancient authors, inscriptions, persons, places and things. Mistakes are not remarkably frequent: but on p. 211, line 19, read “[av.] J.-C.”; on p. 226, note 4, Inschriften von Metropolis have been published by B. Dreyer and [H. Engelmann].


I. Savalli Lestrade, Devenir une cité: Poleis nouvelles et aspirations civiques en Asie Mineure à la basse époque hellénistique, pp. 9-37.

J.-M. Bertrand, À propos des πάροικοι dans les cités d’Asie Mineure, pp. 39-49.

J.-L. Ferrary, Les Grecs des cités et l’obtention de la civitas Romana, pp. 51-75.

Ph. Gauthier, Trois exemples méconnus d’intervenants dans des décrets de la basse époque hellénistique, pp. 79-93.

C. Müller, La procédure d’adoption des décrets en Béotie de la fin du IIIe s. av. J.-C. au Ier s. apr. J.-C., pp. 95-119.

P. Hamon, Le conseil et la participation des citoyens: les mutations de la basse époque hellénistique, pp. 121-144.

M. Wörrle, La politique des évergètes et la non-participation des citoyens. Le cas de Maronée sous l’empereur Claude, pp. 145-161.

A. Avram, La défense des cités en mer Noire à la basse époque hellénistique, pp. 163-182.

A.S. Chankowski, Processions et cérémonies d’accueil: une image de la cité de la basse époque hellénistique?, pp. 185-206.

É. Chiricat, Funérailles publiques et enterrement au gymnase à l’ époque hellénistique, pp. 207-223.

P. Fröhlich, Dépenses publiques et évergétisme des citoyens dans l’exercice des charges publiques à Priène à la basse époque hellénistique, pp. 225-256.

M. Sève, Notables de Macédoine entre l’époque hellénistique et le Haut-Empire, pp. 257-273.


1. I also wish to dedicate this review to the memory of Prof. Reinhold Merkelbach.

2. This text is also reproduced as nr. 196 in F. Canali De Rossi, Iscrizioni Storiche Ellenistiche [= ISE ] III, Roma 2002.

3. A similar role of “founders” appear to have existed in Perge: cfr. S. Sahin, I.v. Perge I, Bonn 1999, nn. 101-109.

4. The king in question cannot be Mithridates. I have made the case for Eumenes in Morte di un ambasciatore di Alabanda, Scienze dell’antichità, 6-7, 1992-1993 [but 1996], pp. 35-40.

5. Not in the 90s as assumed by J.-L. Ferrary (above), on p. 54. Cfr. F. Canali De Rossi, Lucio Silla e Maronea, in XI Congresso Internazionale di Epigrafia Greca e Latina. Atti, I, Roma 1999, p. 321, n. 23.

6. K. Clinton, Maroneia and Rome: Two Decrees of Maroneia from Samothrace, Chiron 33, 2003, pp. 379-417 and Idem, Further Thoughts, Chiron 34, 2004, pp. 145-148.

7. IGR IV, 292; ISE III, 190, ll. 45-46.

8. W. Blümel, I.v. Knidos, Bonn 1992, 59.

9. I have provided restorations to the text of J. Reynolds, Aphrodisias & Rome, London 1984, nr. 28, in ISE, III, nr. 167 [ SEG LI, 1489].

10. The decree in honour of Krates (F. Hiller von Gärtringen, I.v. Priene 111) is only partially reproduced as ISE III, 182.