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Letters and CommunitiesStudies in the Socio-Political Dimensions of Ancient Epistolography$
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Paola Ceccarelli, Lutz Doering, Thorsten Fögen, and Ingo Gildenhard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804208.001.0001

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Letters and Decrees

Letters and Decrees

Diplomatic Protocols in the Hellenistic Period

(p.147) 5 Letters and Decrees
Letters and Communities

Paola Ceccarelli

Oxford University Press

During the Hellenistic period, royal correspondence constituted a challenging mode of diplomacy for polis communities. The chapter offers a case study of how one such community, Magnesia on the Maeander, responded to the challenge. The dossier in question concerns the request of acceptance of a new contest for Artemis Leukophryene, first celebrated in 208 BCE, which Magnesia addressed to all of the Greek world. The answers from kings, leagues, and cities make it possible to compare different ‘discursive styles’, in particular the contrastive ideologies of power instantiated in the royal letter and the city-decree. In addition, Ceccarelli shows how the way in which they were set up in the agora of Magnesia affords insights into the Magnesians’ own perception of these acts of international diplomacy—and how they used the responses to project an image of a political community that was both internally cohesive and well connected with the outside world.

Keywords:   royal correspondence, city-decrees, international diplomacy, Hellenistic period, Magnesia on the Maeander, inscriptions and polis ideology

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