Federalism in Greek Antiquity (Beck and Funke, eds.)

This new edited collection of essays on federalism and interstate interactions in Greek antiquity caught my eye when it was published late in the fall:

  • Beck, Hans, and Peter Funke, eds.. Federalism in Greek Antiquity. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

As the publisher page notes, this is the first comprehensive study of the subject since the publication of Larsen’s Greek Federal States: their institutions and history (1968) and the work casts a much broader net to capture the various ways that Greeks cooperated for common cause through leagues, federal states, and interstate relations. The comprehensive survey includes some 29 chapters by nearly as many authors and makes use of non-literary sources such as coins, inscriptions, and archaeological evidence. Here’s the book description:

Federalism“The world of ancient Greece witnessed some of the most sophisticated and varied experiments with federalism in the pre-modern era. In the volatile interstate environment of Greece, federalism was a creative response to the challenge of establishing regional unity, while at the same time preserving a degree of local autonomy. To reconcile the forces of integration and independence, Greek federal states introduced, for example, the notion of proportional representation, the stratification of legal practice, and a federal grammar of festivals and cults. Federalism in Greek Antiquity provides the first comprehensive reassessment of the topic. It comprises detailed contributions on all federal states in Aegean Greece and its periphery. With every chapter written by a leading expert in the field, the book also incorporates thematic sections that place the topic in a broader historical and social-scientific context.”

Corinth appears frequently in the work (see some of the relevant passages in Google Books ) given both the important role of the League of Corinth and the Achaian League in the Hellenistic era, as well as interactions between Corinth and its colonies and various federations in the archaic and classical periods. The table of contents is available here as PDF. The first ten pages of the editors’ introductory essay, which outlines why scholars have often ignored federations in favor of polis interactions, can be found here. Hans Beck provides an overview of the project at this page.

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Categories: Archaic, Classical, Colonies of Corinth, Hellenistic

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