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The Kingdom of PriamLesbos and the Troad between Anatolia and the Aegean$
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Aneurin Ellis-Evans

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831983

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831983.001.0001

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The Hellenistic Koinon of the Lesbians

The Hellenistic Koinon of the Lesbians

(p.199) 5 The Hellenistic Koinon of the Lesbians
The Kingdom of Priam

Aneurin Ellis-Evans

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers what kind of collective identity was fostered by the insular location of the Lesbian cities. It is usually assumed that the cities of Lesbos were particularly inclined to cooperate with one another because of their insular geography, and as a result the treaty refounding the Lesbian koinon from c.200 BC should be interpreted as evidence that the island’s cities were headed for political unification. Here it is instead argued that the cities of Lesbos kept the level of cooperation between themselves at a bare minimum and usually viewed Lesbian identity as something to compete over and claim exclusive ownership of rather than as a rationale for political cooperation. A reassessment of the treaty of the refounded koinon suggests that it attests a much more limited level of intra-island cooperation than has previously been assumed. Insofar as this is nevertheless a greater level of cooperation than we see in earlier and later periods, this reflects the dangerous and uncertain political context which engulfed many Greek cities in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Ptolemaic hegemony in the Aegean in the 200s BC.

Keywords:   koinon, isopoliteia, foreign judges, Messon, coinage, foundation myths, Arion, proxeny, Dionysos Phallen, insularity

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