Hellenistic Democracies

Book Details

Author  Susanne Carlsson
Publisher  Franz Steiner Verlag
Publication Date   April 29, 2010
ISBN  351509265X
Pages  372

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During the Hellenistic period, the Greek city states were thought to have lost their independence and thus also their means of democratic government. This study shows that interstate relations among the Greek cities of coastal Asia Minor were still active at that time. Measures were taken to solve conflicts and to strengthen ties of friendship among cities, but the cities did not refrain from claiming their rights from each other and even waging wars; in the power struggle between the changing hegemons, the polis had possibilities to maneuver fairly independently. By systematizing and analyzing the frequency and contents of Hellenistic decrees enacted by the councils and the demos of four East Greek city states, this study shows that the latter were democratically ruled, and the issues primarily concerned foreign relations. However, in the second half of the second century BC, polis decrees gradually decreased, ceasing altogether towards the end of the first century BC. A possible reason was the growing power of Rome and the establishment of the Roman province of Asia in 129 BC. Under a sole hegemon, the polis no longer had possibilities to set its own agenda.

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