Illusions of Democracy in the Hellenistic World
One of the most extraordinary ceremonies in western
democracies is the Royal address given by the Queen in the House of Lords,
at the State opening of Parliament. The Imperial State Crown, the Sword of
State, and the Cap of Maintenance are transported to Westminster by coach
ahead of the Queen as symbols of royal power. The royal procession,
following a route prescribed as much by tradition as the route in a Roman
triumph, brings the Queen from Buckingham Palace, down The Mall and along
Whitehall to the House of Lords. As the Queen passes under the Royal Arch of
the Victoria Tower, the Union Flag is lowered and the Royal Standard is
raised. The Queen in her parliamentary dress enters the chamber of the House
of Lords, sword and cap being carried before her. While the Queen is
processing, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is dispatched to the House
of Commons where he bangs three times on the door with his ebony staff. As a
reminder that Members of the Parliament fought hard to gain independence
from the Crown, the door is slammed in his face before he is allowed in to
summon them to the Lords, as no monarch is allowed to enter the Commons. The
Members of the Parliament traditionally dawdle and are boisterous in protest
that the House of the Lords still is the senior chamber. After the Lords are
seated and the Members of the Parliament are stood in position at the bar of
the Lords, the Lord Chancellor hands the Queen her speech. Although written
by the government, setting out its aims for the forthcoming Parliamentary
session, the Royal Address creates the illusion that it expresses the
monarch’s wishes, who refers throughout to “my government”; adding, however,
the phrase “other measures will be laid before you,” thus giving the
government flexibility to introduce other legislation if necessary. In this
ceremony, the monarch is dressed in a particular attire—one is tempted to
use the word “costume”; all the details are staged; the ceremony is
overloaded with symbols; everyone involved—the yeomen, the Members of the
Parliament, the Lords, and the Queen play a part; the effect, to a certain
extent, is the maintenance of the illusion that the United Kingdom is ruled
by a sovereign monarch.
In our everyday life and in public life we continually encounter situations
of artificial and staged behavior. We are also surrounded by illusions,
whether we recognize them or not, whether they are consciously staged or
transmitted as fundamental assumptions. Some of them are harmless—for
instance creating the illusion of a successful performance by applauding
after a bad lecture; others have more serious consequences—for instance the
illusion of free will which dominates our system of justice, or the illusion
that parliamentary democracies always guarantee the full and unlimited
expression of the will of the people. Hardly any society can function
without elements of staged behavior or illusion.
Illusions and elements of theatrical behavior are particularly prominent in
public life and in the behavior of statesmen, especially in our times, when
the mass media provide almost unlimited possibilities (see §8 below). We
recognize them for instance in the gestures and body language of candidates
in elections, or in the artificial tone in parliamentary debates. I briefly
mention only a striking convergence in the behavior of modern statesmen: the
demonstration of health, vigor, and youthfulness. All American presidents
after Jimmy Carter have included jogging in their public image (figure 1);
they were soon imitated by statesmen in the Old Continent.
Vladimir Putin misses no opportunity to demonstrate his skills in martial
arts, his predecessor presented himself dancing (or rather jumping up and
down) despite his severe heart problems, 
and an image of Andreas Papandreou
swimming at a Cretan beach aimed to persuade the electorate that the “iron
premier” ( siderenios
) had recovered from
his health problems. The eighty-year-old President Perón in Argentina dyed
his hair, and until a German court ruled to prohibit discussions on whether
the then German chancellor G erhard Schroeder dyed his, this subject had
provoked some debate.
A few years ago, readers of a French newspaper had no reason to doubt the
credibility of a report that some extra weight had been removed from
President Sarkozy’s waist with the help of Photoshop—until they noticed that
the report appeared on April Fools’ Day.
Illusion is defined as the ability of appearances to deceive the mind and
senses. The result of illusion is the belief of an individual or a group
that something exists although it does not—or it really exists in a
different form—or the belief that something has taken place, although it has
not—or it has not taken place in the way they think it has. According to
this definition, statesmen who adopt such forms of behavior attempt to
An illusion with more serious consequences is the impression that
democracy—roughly defined as the free and equal right of every citizen to
participate in a system of government, primarily practiced by electing
representatives of the people by the people—is only limited or abolished by
violations of the constitution or violent interventions of
extraconstitutional organs (e.g. the army), and not by social and economic
forces, such as wealth and indiscernible economic interests (e.g. in the
U.S.), the control of mass media (e.g. in Berlusconi’s Italy), local systems
of patronage that allow parliamentary seats to pass from one generation to
the next within a family (e.g. in Greece), and murky interconnections
between economic interests, the legislative, the executive, and the
judiciary power, and those who control the mass media.
That the rule of the people in a democracy can be an illusion is an
observation made for the first time by Thucydides in connection with the
Athenian democracy. In his appraisal of Pericles’ leadership, Thucydides
(2.65) designated Periclean Athens as only nominally a democracy ( logoi men dēmokratia
); in reality it was the
rule ( arkhē
) of one man. This remark
needs to be seen in its context. Pericles’ rule was based on charisma; it
was primarily imposed by means of his personality. Admittedly, social
position, inherited wealth, and education had helped him establish his
leadership, but without his political skills neither the social position nor
the wealth of his family would have had the same impact. Thucydides observed
a discrepancy between the principles of a radical democracy and reality,
which originated in disparity with regard to personal skills and political
insight. Today, but also in the moderate democracies of the Hellenistic
period that will be the subject of this presentation, the discrepancies
between the ideal and the reality of democracy have their roots in anything
but the merits of individuals.
What makes Thucydides’ observation particularly interesting is the fact that
it retrospectively refers to the period in which Athens had developed the
most advanced democratic institutions. The Athenian democracy introduced
mechanisms that undeniably safeguarded the participation of the people:
regular meetings of the assembly; the accountability of the magistrates;
appointment to important positions by lot; limits on office iteration;
people’s courts; remuneration for public service.
It has often and rightly been
pointed out that this triumph of democracy in Athens had its limits: only a
small segment of the inhabitants of Athens had citizenship; the female
members of citizen families had limited participation in public life
(essentially as priestesses and in other cultic functions); foreign
residents had many rights but were rarely awarded citizenship; and the
economy relied very much on slave labor. Nostalgic aristocrats resented the
rule of the people ( dēmos
), and the
allies of Athens often perceived the interventions of the Athenians in their
own affairs (political institutions, coinage and standards, administration
of justice, payment of tribute, foreign policy, defense) as a tyranny,
against which some of them revolted. But despite these deficiencies, the
Athenian political reforms of the mid-fifth century BCE not only influenced
the political organization of other Greek communities, but they also created
standards against which democratic constitutions, in general, are still
being judged. Despite its own decline, the Athenian democracy also
influenced the diffusion of democratic institutions in the rest of the Greek
In this presentation I shall first give a brief overview of the diffusion,
acceptance, and main features of democracy in the Hellenistic period (§2),
and explain the main factors that undermined the sovereignty of the people:
external interventions by kings (§3) and the inherited power of an elite of
wealthy and politically influential families (§4). I argue that the
visibility and continual commemoration of benefactions and service in
magistracies was an important medium exploited by the members of the elite
in order to make their political power acceptable, ensure that their
descendants continued the family tradition of political leadership, and
establish an oligarchic regime without abolishing the democratic
institutions (§§5–6). The awarding of honorific titles (e.g. “the son of the
”) created the illusion that the
community was a big family, and expressed the expectation that the members
of the elite would treat their polis
the same affectionate care that loving sons treat their mothers. Theatrical
behavior of kings and statesmen displayed affability and closeness to the
people (§7). Taking into consideration the Hellenistic paradigm of
theatricality, one can critically study the theatrical behavior of both the
modern elite (as observed by Panajotis Kondylis) and statesmen who attempt
to create a deceptive image of themselves by exploiting the possibilities of
the mass media (§8).
The Expandable Meaning of Dēmokratia:
Hellenistic Democracies and Their Limits
It was once believed that the defeat of an alliance of Greek
cities under the leadership of Athens and Thebes at Chaironeia in 338 BCE
meant the end of the Greek city-states and with it the end of democracy. Until the mid-twentieth century many histories of ancient Greece ended with
that year. The following period—the Hellenistic period—was primarily treated
as the history of kings and their wars. Although the curriculum of many
American and European universities still continues this tradition, research
in ancient history has established that the Hellenistic world is a world of
striving for autonomy as much
as it is a world of monarchies.
It is not possible to estimate the number of Hellenistic
. In the approximately 250
years from Alexander the Great (336–323 BCE) to the last revolts of Greek
cities against the Romans during the Mithridatic Wars (c. 88 BCE) many new
were created and dozens were
destroyed or lost their autonomy. At times, their number may have approached
800. In addition to the poleis
Greece” and the old colonies of Magna Graecia, the Aegean coast of Asia
Minor, the Black Sea, and Cyrenaica, new poleis
with institutions of the Greek type were founded by
Hellenistic kings for their Greek military settlers in Asia Minor and the
Near East. In Crete alone, more than fifty independent poleis
existed at the beginning of the
Hellenistic period—most of them had disappeared by its end.
The institutions of most of the small cities are not known, and for this
reason generalizations should be avoided. Also, the institutions changed in
the course of the Hellenistic period, especially after the mid-second
century BCE, under the influence of internal social developments and in part
under Roman pressure.
Many city-states had oligarchic constitutions—usually noticeable in the
fact that only a small group of citizens had the right to occupy political
offices or to become members of the council ( boulē
), which prepared all proposals that were presented to
the assembly ( probouleusis
). Despite this
limitation, one can safely claim that in the Hellenistic period democratic
institutions experienced their greatest dissemination in Greek history.
Admittedly, the democratic institutions in the Hellenistic period are more
comparable to those of the moderate Athenian democracy of Demosthenes’ times
than to the radical Athenian democracy of the fifth century BCE.
Still, in this
period the foundation of the people’s sovereignty, the popular assembly
), regularly met in hundreds
of city-states to elect annual magistrates, to approve of all proposals of
the council and the magistrates, to honor local and foreign benefactors, to
grant citizenship to foreigners, to confirm treaties, and to exercise
control over the magistrates.
Foreign envoys appeared in front of the assembly to
present their case. Statesmen had to use persuasion strategies in order to
get the people on their side. Inscriptions containing the decrees ( psēphismata
) approved by the assembly
occasionally record the number of votes in favor of and against the
Citizens had the right to address the council and request that it should
draft a decree.
Proposals of the council ( probouleumata
could be amended after considering the discussions in the assembly. In this
respect, moderate democracy is the most widespread constitutional form in
the Hellenistic period.
In some cities democracy was regarded as an ideal that was worth fighting
for.Commemorative anniversaries for the abolishment of tyrannical or
oligarchic regimes are known in several cities, 
as are also honors for the
defenders of democracy.As a decree from Klazomenai or Erythrai reports
(third century BCE), 
the supporters of an oligarchic regime had removed the sword from a
statue of a tyrannicide, “believing that his posture was against them.”
After the collapse of this regime the city decreed that the statue should be
restored in its earlier form. Measures were also taken to keep the bronze
statue clean from stain and to crown it on the first day of each month and
during all festivals.In Athens, democracy’s birthplace, the personification
of the Dēmos
, the sovereign people, was
worshipped as a god, 
and a procession in honor of the personification of Dēmokratia
took place every year, attended by
By the Hellenistic period the word dēmokratia
, for a long time hated by the proponents of
oligarchy and aristocracy, was widely acceptable. But it was also used to
describe constitutions with clearly oligarchic or aristocratic features. A
treaty between Rhodes and the Cretan city of Hierapytna (c.201 BCE)
contains for instance the following clause: 
If anyone attacks the city or territory of the Rhodians or subverts
their laws, revenues, or their established democracy ( damokratian ), the Hierapytnians shall
assist the Rhodians with all possible strength.… If anyone deprives the
Hierapytnians of their lawful revenues from the sea, or subverts the
established democracy of the Hierapytnians, and the Hierapytnians ask
for auxiliary force, the Rhodians shall send two triremes to the
Neither Hierapytna nor any other Cretan city had a
As for Rhodes, Strabo (first century BCE) comments: 
The Rhodians care for the dēmos ,
although they do not live under a democracy. They wish nonetheless to
keep the mass of the poor in good condition. And so the common people
are provided with food, and the wealthy support those in need according
to an old tradition. They have liturgies for the provision of food, with
the result both that the poor receive sustenance and the city has no
lack of available manpower, particularly as regards the
We notice that Strabo’s comments do not refer to the constitution (elections,
power of the assembly, membership in the council, etc.), but only to wealth.
In the mid-second century BCE, the greatest Hellenistic historian, Polybius,
in his famous description of the Achaean League, characterized its
constitution as a democracy: 
Nowhere will you find a better constitution and more genuine ideal of
equality, freedom of speech, and in a word a true democracy than among
And yet, in the Achaean League a small minority of wealthy landowners, who
formed the league’s cavalry, monopolized political power.
Although the word dēmokratia
always be taken literally, as these passages show, it is true that in the
Hellenistic period it had acquired a positive, albeit expandable, meaning. This is quite comparable with the expandable meanings of “democracy” in the
modern world: no other artificially created word has had so great a
dissemination (before the introduction of the Internet) as the word
“democracy”—a term created some time in the fifth century BCE to describe
the new Athenian institutions. But probably also no other political term has
been subject to so many controversies, manipulations, inappropriate usages,
and modifications. Innumerable attributes can be attached to the word
to modify its meaning—for instance in modern
Greek attributes such as ἄμεση, βασιλευομένη,
κοινοβουλευτική, λαϊκή, προεδρευομένη, προεδρική
, and so on. The “People’s Democracies” have little to do with the “parliamentary
democracies,” but the word democracy
is used in both cases. If
we take a close look at Polybius’ statement (above), we notice that the
historian qualifies democracy: the praise of “true democracy” ( dēmokratias alēthinẽs
) presupposes the
existence of “false democracies.” The reference to the genuine ideal of
democracy in the Achaean League is an implicit criticism on pretentiousness
as regards the ideal of democracy elsewhere. This suggests that a very vague
concept of dēmokratia
was idealized, and
at the same time the concrete institutional meaning of dēmokratia
varied from city to city and from
time to time. In the late third or early second century BCE, Magnesia on the
Maeander arbitrated in one of the numerous Cretan wars, requesting one of
the leading powers, Gortyn, to let the Cretans live in democracy.
Magnesians referred to dēmokratia
context, they did not apply a technical term; they did not recommend a
specific constitutional form or reform. They were using a catchphrase that
admitted multiple interpretations. What they meant by dēmokratia
was not necessarily what the
Gortynians understood by the same word. Similarly, when Alexander the Great
ordered the Chians to establish a democracy, he acted not as a proponent of
a political ideal, but as a monarch who took a decision which best suited
the interests of his campaign. Alexander made sure that the laws of the
Chians were approved personally by him, not by their popular assembly.
A discrepancy between ideal and reality is inherent in democracy, as it
probably is in any constitution. The great diffusion of democratic
institutions combined with the vague and expandable use of the term
Hellenistic period an interesting case study for the factors that increase
this discrepancy between ideal and reality. Despite the ubiquity of
democratic institutions, or some kind of democratic institutions, in the
Hellenistic cities, democracy was often only an illusion.
The illusion of democracy, which I shall treat in this contribution, is of an
entirely different character than the one noticed by Thucydides (see §1
above). It was not generated by the disparity between the charisma of one
individual and the inferior political skills of the large majority of the
citizens. It was generated by political and social processes. I should
stress, again, that the following examples do not support any
generalizations: the political institutions of hundreds of communities of
citizens and their development over a period of almost three centuries are
extremely complex phenomena that need to be seen in very concrete historical
contexts. The following remarks, therefore, only apply to the specific cases
that I discuss here. They are based on a few selected sources that show the
mechanisms through which main principles of democracy—the people’s
sovereignty and the possession of equal political rights by all citizens,
regardless of property or birth—were undermined; they also reveal the means
that were used to maintain the illusion of the rule of the people. I do hope
that they can stimulate thoughts concerning the dangers for democracy in
classical antiquity and beyond.
Before I discuss a few selected sources, I shall briefly summarize the main
factors that limited democracy in the Hellenistic cities.First, the rule of
the people was undermined by the direct or indirect control which
Hellenistic monarchies 
and later Rome exercised on Greek poleis
. Secondly, we can observe a discrepancy
between the image of democracy and the reality of rule by a small number of
wealthy men. Within this elite, wealth and social networks were inherited,
and with them the claim to political leadership. In the Hellenistic period
the political power of a small number of families resembled the rule of an
aristocracy—without, however, reaching the level of institutionalized
aristocratic rule. The transformation into a genuine hereditary aristocracy
only occurred at the end of this period and characterizes the imperial
The Castration of Sovereignty by Kings
The limitation of democracy by monarchical power was
straightforward. By appointing “overseers” ( epistatai, epi tēs poleōs
or tyrants, establishing garrisons, offering support to political friends,
and communicating their wishes through letters, Hellenistic kings exercised
close control of the cities in the areas under their influence. Nevertheless
an effort was made to save face and to retain the illusion of democracy and
The correspondence between King Philip V, ruler of the Antigonid kingdom of
Macedonia, and the nominally sovereign city of Larisa in Thessaly (217–215
BCE) is very instructive in this respect.
The Lariseans had sent an embassy
to Philip explaining that their city had suffered population loss because of
the wars.Responding to their embassy, Philip explained: 
Until I think of others who
are deserving of your citizenship, for the present I rule that you must
pass a decree to grant citizenship to the Thessalians or the other
Greeks who are resident in your city. For when this is done and all keep
together because of the favors received, I am sure that many other
benefits will result for me and the city, and the land will be more
Philip could not do more than request that the Lariseans vote the necessary
measures. The grant of citizenship, in other words the acceptance of new
full-rights members into the polis
community, was a decision that only the sovereign community could take,
through vote in the people’s assembly. No matter how great the king’s real
power, he could never, under any circumstances, award to anyone citizenship
in any polis
of his realm. What he could
do was to ask the community to take this decision following the
constitutional procedure of a vote in the assembly. And, of course, he could
make clear what his will was. Philip did this by using the very strong verb
(‘to rule’, ‘to pass a
judgment’); but he combined his ruling with arguments (“I am sure that many
other benefits will result for me and the city”), in order to allow the
Lariseans to pass the decree not as the result of his ruling but as the
result of persuasion, thus saving face. We know that Philip was a master of
theatrical behavior, who often wore the mask of the affable ruler, the
friend of the people.The historian Polybius reports that when a few years
later (209 BCE) Philip visited Argos “he laid aside his diadem and purple
robe, wishing to produce the impression that he was on a level with others,
a lenient individual, and a man of the people.” 
Philip used his dress as a costume
in which he could play a role and evoke a deceiving image; similarly, he
also used the words to mask a command as advice. The two verbs in the
expression krinō psēphisasthai humas
judgment is that you shall vote …”) contradict one another: a decree of the
popular assembly in a sovereign community can never be the result of the
ruling of a king. This phrase very characteristically shows the discrepancy
between the nominal sovereignty of Larisa and the true power of the king.
Philip’s recommendation was too strong to be ignored. The inscription reports
that “the city has voted to act in these matters as the king wrote in his
letter.” However, the story did not end there. When the king’s attention was
distracted by the first Macedonian war against Rome, the Lariseans recanted,
cancelled the decree that had been forced upon them, and deprived the new
citizens of citizenship. We learn this from Philip’s second letter:
hear that those who were granted citizenship in accordance with the
letter I sent to you and your decree, and whose names were inscribed on
the stele, have been erased. If this has happened, those who have
advised you have ignored the interests of your city and my
This time Philip explained in more detail the advantages
of this measure, and made clear what the city should do. Again, he could not
award citizenship himself; he could not pass a decree, but he could dictate
And yet I even now exhort you to approach the matter with
impartiality, and to restore to their citizen rights those chosen by the
He then asks the Lariseans to put off any decision on
persons who were regarded as not deserving citizenship, and concludes:
But warn in advance those who intend to lodge accusations against
them, that they may not be seen to be acting in this way for partisan
This second time the city complied. In this case the
negotiations between a sovereign city and a king are recorded in a document
which presents the king’s view (quoting his letter) and the official
response of the city (the decree passed by the assembly). What was the
contemporary perception of such external limitations on the free expression
of the assembly’s will?
A narrative by an anonymous Hellenistic historian of Athens, which has
indirectly survived in Plutarch’s life of Phokion, gives us an impression of
how a contemporary intellectual perceived such royal interventions. The
narrative describes how the Athenian general Phokion was put on trial
because of his opposition to the Macedonian king Philip Arrhidaios
(Alexander’s brother and successor) in 318 BCE.Plutarch’s Hellenistic
source, probably an eyewitness, describes the scene: 
Their transportation [of
Phokion and his associates] presented a sad spectacle, as they were
brought from Kerameikos to the theatre. After they had been brought
there Kleitos [a supporter of the king] put them under arrest, until the
magistrates called the assembly, allowing everyone access to the podium
and the theatre, not preventing anyone from attending, neither slaves
nor citizens who had lost their citizenship. Then the letter of the king
was read out, in which he said that as for his part, he regarded
( egnōsthai ) these men as
traitors, but since the Athenians are free and autonomous, they have the
right to pass their own judgment. After that, Kleitos presented the men. Then some covered their heads and others looked down shedding tears. Someone found the courage to stand up and say that since the king had
entrusted such an important decision to the people, it was proper that
the slaves and the foreigners leave.
As all historical narratives, this one is based on selection and composition. What the contemporary historian intended to show with his narrative is that
the popular assembly, the most important expression of Athenian democracy
and the people’s sovereignty, had become a show, a spectacle, a theatrical
performance. In order to show that this alleged expression of the will of
the people was no more than an illusion, the historian evokes in a subtle
way the image of a spectacle. He does this by mentioning details that at
first sight seem insignificant. Why did he decide for instance to describe
the route followed by the arrested men: “they were brought from Kerameikos
to the theatre”? For his readers, familiar with the topography of Athens,
the significance of this route was clear. The prisoners were brought from
Dipylon, the northwest gate of Athens at Kerameikos, to the theatre of
Dionysos, on the south slope of the Acropolis; in other words they followed
the processional route of the great Panathenaia, one of the greatest
Athenian spectacles. The historian also chose to mention that this assembly
took place in the theatre—not in the Pnyx, where the assembly usually met. Again, the mention of the venue, which would have been dispensable, serves a
purpose: it shows that the assembly that took place in the theater was a
parody of an assembly; not an expression but a show of democracy. This
assembly did not consist of the citizens alone, but also of the usual
audience of the theatre: men and women, citizens and foreigners, free and
slaves. During this spectacle, the letter of the king was read, in which he
recognized the right of the Athenians to pass their free judgment, but only
after he had informed them about his own judgment. In the theater—the usual
venue of spectacle, illusion, and deception—the illusion of democracy and
freedom was maintained. In the historian’s narrative the assembly functions
like a theatrical mask, to conceal the bitter reality of the loss of
Such externally imposed limitations of sovereignty and democracy were to a
certain extent acceptable, because monarchs not only adopted theatrical
behavior in order to save face, but they also offered the cities protection
and benefactions. Thus the relation between kings and cities was based on
Its most characteristic expression was the cities’ offering of godlike
honors to those kings who had served their interests.
We shall observe the same
interplay between reciprocity and theatrical behavior in connection with the
power of the elite in Greek poleis
“Local Heroes”: The Power of the Elite
The concentration of power in a circle of a few families,
whose claim on it was based on wealth, blood, or both, is more relevant for
the history of democracy than royal interventions. Prosopographical
studies—that is the study of individuals and their families—in cities from
which we have substantial data (e.g. Athens, Rhodes, and Kos) show that
certain individuals occupied offices repeatedly; political life was
increasingly the prerogative of wealthy individuals, who undertook liturgies
(obligatory contribution by wealthy people to state expenses for specific
tasks), proposed decrees in the assembly, occupied offices, won the favor of
the people with benefactions, took initiatives, bought priesthoods, and made
sure that their descendants inherited not only their wealth but also their
political influence. Similar phenomena—local political “dynasties”—are known
in modern democracies as well, not only in contemporary Greece, where a seat
in the parliament often passes from one generation of a family to the
In principle, inherited wealth also implies inherited status. But an elevated
status in itself does not necessarily mean that the scions of elite families
automatically inherit their parents’ or ancestors’ political role. This does
not happen automatically, and it does not happen in all societies. It needs
to be encouraged and facilitated. Precisely this was the case in Hellenistic
cities. The inheritance of political position was directly encouraged by the
members of the elite, and indirectly implemented through the honors offered
to benefactors by their grateful cities and through the exemplum of fathers
We may observe the heredity of political power even in Athens, the city with
the longest democratic tradition. As is true for most forms of specialized
knowledge, in antiquity political experience and military expertise—the
latter was very important in a period of continual wars—were also best
transmitted within the family or within the circle of friends. The family of
the Athenian statesman Eurykleides, who together with his brother Mikion
dominated Athenian political life in the second half of the third century,
is a good case in point.
An honorary decree for Eurykleides epitomizes what a
Hellenistic city expected from an efficient and dedicated leader; it also
makes clear that none of this could be achieved without enormous wealth. Only part of the text is preserved, but the content of this eulogy is more
or less clear: 
a treasurer of the military treasury Eurykleides spent a lot of his private
money while serving in this office. He organized contests during festivals,
spending the enormous amount of seven talents.
“When the land was lying fallow
and unsown because of the wars,” he procured the necessary money for
cultivation. “He restored freedom to the city together with his brother
Mikion” by procuring the necessary money for the withdrawal of the
Macedonian garrison from Piraeus. “He fortified the harbors and repaired the
walls of the city and of Piraeus, together with his brother Mikion.” He
concluded alliances with other Greek cities. He made sure that loans were
repaid to Athens. He proposed new laws. He organized spectacles to honor the
gods and introduced an athletic competition of armed men in order to
commemorate the restoration of freedom. Finally, he excelled in his building
activities. From another inscription we know that he had also served as
Eurykleides’ political and military activity may be extreme in duration,
intensity, and breadth, but on a smaller scale one finds men like
Eurykleides in almost every Hellenistic city with a substantial epigraphic
record (see below on Diokles of Kos).
Interestingly, the honorary decree for Eurykleides also reveals how he
introduced his son to political life.
After having served as treasurer
of military funds ( tamias stratiōtikon
for a year and unable to occupy this office for a second time, “he performed
this office ( tēn ton strati[ōtikon tamieian? die]
xegagēn ) through his son” ( dia
). He thus involved his son in his political
activities. He applied this method for a second time with regard to the
liturgy of agōnothesia
, that is the
financial responsibility for the organization of a contest: “he provided
again his son for this charge” ( kai palin ton huion
dous [eis tauten]
tēn epimeleian ). Eurykleides’ son Mikion,
who learned his duties under the guidance of his father, is known to have
served later as agōnothetēs
for the organization of contests) and member of a commission for the
purchase of grain; he also donated money.
Many members of this illustrious
family are known as winners of equestrian competitions, and these victories
gave them additional prominence.
I repeat that generalizations are not permissible. We
cannot determine the frequency of similar phenomena, but Eurykleides was
certainly not an isolated case.Helikon, commander of the guard in Priene,
was assisted by his son during his term in this office (late third century
introducing the next generation of his family to political life.
An example of another political leader who combined family traditions,
wealth, and personal skills is provided by a certain Diokles, one of the
most powerful men in Kos in the late third century BCE. Already his father
Leodamas had served as monarkhos
highest magistrate). Diokles’ career is described in an honorary decree of
his district (Halasarna, c.200 BCE), which reveals a man of great political
talent but also significant inherited power: 
Diokles, son of Leodamas,
acting in accordance with the virtue which has been handed down
to him by his ancestors , has continually shown every zeal and
care for the district of the Halasarnitai. During the wars he aimed to
secure the fort and those who inhabit the territory, showing the best
consideration and taking upon himself every danger for its sake. For
during the Cretan War, when it was announced that the site was
threatened, he arrived with many men, and making inspections together
with those who had been assigned to guard (the fort) he asked the
inhabitants to come together to the fort and to join its defense, until
it occurred that the enemies abandoned their plan to attack. In the
present war, as the enemies were often threatening (the fort), when many
naval and land forces were gathered in Astypalaia, he brought weapons
and catapult missiles in order to keep the fort safe.…
goes on to describe how Diokles showed initiative, leadership, and tactical
thinking.A second decree of Halasarna in his honor describes similar
achievements during the Cretan war: 
he took care of the construction
of fortifications, procured the necessary funds, arranged for guards and
their wages, and gave loans whenever necessary. Diokles is also known as the
man who proposed a public subscription ( epidosis
, see below) to improve the defense of Kos.With the
sum of 7,000 drachmas, 
he was also the largest sponsor.
Wealth was the necessary condition for all this. The significant words in the
first decree—words that reveal the mentality of the citizens in this city
and in such critical situations—are: “he acted in accordance with the virtue
which has been handed down to him by his ancestors.” In a society which not
only acknowledged the natural inheritance of wealth, but also believed in
the inheritance of virtue and in the obligation of descendants to follow in
the footsteps of their ancestors in their conduct in public life, a society
which primarily expected members of the elite to take initiatives, the
citizens could not be equal.
We may observe the interplay of exemplum and expectation, benefaction and
claim on power, in the honorary decree for a certain Harpalos, a prominent
citizen of Beroia in the late Hellenistic period (late second/early first
part of the text is preserved and can be translated: Harpalos, we are
renewed the glory inherited by his forefathers ,
even though their glory was smaller (than what they deserved) due to the
hard times in which they lived, and he zealously tried not to be left
behind with regard to virtue. As soon as he reached the age of
citizenship he did not stay behind the older men in making requests or
serving as an ambassador for the fatherland; and remembering
that his grandfathers had served as generals and having in mind
the expenses which they had undertaken and what they had constructed for
the adornment and the protection of the city, he courageously accepted
the greatest priesthood which involves the largest expenses [emphasis
Harpalos felt the obligation to follow the ancestral
exemplum. His forefathers could serve their community as generals, but a
young man living under the Roman rule did not have the opportunity to show
his courage in war; so Harpalos showed his courage by accepting the
challenge of a costly office. As in many honorary decrees of this period, in
this text it is stressed that Harpalos inherited his participation in public
life from his ancestors. The decree of his grateful fellow citizens enabled
Harpalos to pass this heritage on to the next generation. The decree that
honored Harpalos was to be read every year during the elections. Before the
citizens elected new magistrates, they were reminded what Harpalos and his
ancestors had done for them.
There was only a very small step from inherited status, inherited wealth,
inherited leadership, and inherited gratitude to the institutionalization of
a class of privileged citizens. From the late Hellenistic period (first
century) onwards, prominent citizens are characterized as the “first
citizens,” the “first class,” or the “leading families”.
An honorary decree of
Plarasa/Aphrodisias for one of the political leaders and benefactors of the
community during the wars of the Late Republic (first century BCE) is very
eloquent with regard to the institutionalized heredity of social
text begins with praise of the man’s ancestors:
… Since Hermogenes
Theodotos, son of Hephaistion, one of the first and most illustrious
citizens, a man who has as his ancestors men among the greatest and
among those who built together the community and have lived in virtue,
love of glory, many promises (of benefactions), and the fairest deeds
for the fatherland; a man who has been himself good and virtuous, a
lover of the fatherland, a constructor, a benefactor of the polis, and a
savior; a man who has shown benevolence and prudence/moderation in his
conduct towards the entire people and towards each one of the citizens;
a man who has always shown the utmost reverence towards the gods and the
fatherland; who has adorned the fatherland most generously by (the
execution of) the most noble promises and with dedications; who has been
elected to many and most crucial embassies and contests and has
accomplished everything in the best possible way; a man who having
accepted all the magistracies and having been elected in an outstanding
way many times has shown a just and clean conduct; a man who has
established relationships and has received appreciation (recommendation)
by the authorities and the officials (governors?) becoming a great
benefactor of the polis through these as well; who having been elected
as a stephanēphoros has fulfilled
this liturgy as well in the manner appropriate to a religious office and
in decency; whom the people has acknowledged for all these (services)
rewarding him with appropriate acts of gratitude; (since) he has now
passed away and it is the proper thing to conduct his funeral as well in
an outstanding manner, let the council and the people resolve that he is
to be praised also after his death and that he is to be crowned by the
council and the demos with the crown of merit, at an expense of one
hundred golden coins.
This aristocracy, to which Hermogenes and other “first citizens” belonged,
owed its existence to a great extent to the critical situations caused by
the continual wars. Not unlike kings, the members of the elite to which he
belonged had established their position with their services as military
leaders, peacemakers, and benefactors (see also §5 below on Kallikrates of
Aphrodisias); not unlike kings, they exploited their personal achievements
in order to set themselves apart from the rest of their community. The
differences between royal and nonroyal images were not fundamental, but of
What is also interesting in this text is the fact that two fundamentally
different concepts are confused: arkhē
the office which an individual occupied on the basis of election; and
, the financial
responsibility for a public task (e.g. contests, festivals, the gymnasium,
etc.), which was undertaken exclusively by wealthy citizens, and only on the
basis of their property. By stating that Hermogenes “was elected
and fulfilled this
” (my emphasis), the author of this text reveals that by
that time the office
of the stephanēphoros
could be understood as a liturgy exactly
because it was exclusively occupied by wealthy citizens. This text shows the
transition from the actual but not institutionalized rule of the wealthy
citizens to the institutionalized monopolization of power by a hereditary
elite of wealthy families. This new political regime characterizes the
following period—the imperial period. Despite this transition, even in the
imperial period, which I cannot treat here, nominally the people remained
sovereign—in fact the citizens were occasionally in a position to express
Another example of this de facto transformation of moderate democracies to
aristocracies is provided by Apollodoros of Berenike (early first century
King Ptolemy (IX?) died (80 BCE) and the lack of a central authority had
encouraged bandits to attack the city and to terrorize the countryside,
Apollodoros was appointed as commander of the young men “and taking upon
himself every danger he established the greatest peace.” The city had been
without a fortification wall and had already twice been the victim of
pirates. In this critical situation, the citizens entrusted him with full
authority over the city and the countryside, a unique position which he held
with such prudence that his fellow citizens praised him for safeguarding
concord in the city and demonstrating just judgment. These are kingly
qualities: peace and security, unlimited authority, justice, and good
judgment. The individual who demonstrated them filled a gap left by the
absence of a king; in many a small city, such a “local hero” might have
resembled a king.
Exactly as the decrees for Diokles of Kos, Harpalos of Beroia, and Hermogenes
of Aphrodisias, the honorary decree for Apollodoros of Berenike begins with
a reference to the fact that he belonged to a family with a tradition in
public service. Such references to the forefathers are stereotypical in
honorary decrees; they reflect the fact that men not only inherited their
father’s property and legal and social status, but also their moral
obligations and their ambitions.
The Visibility of Service for the Community
One of the most effective media for strengthening the power
of the elite and making it acceptable was the visibility of its services and
benefactions.Although recent research has shown that the public finances of
the Greek cities were quite advanced, 
public funds never sufficed to
cover all public needs. For this reason the Greek poleis
always needed the financial assistance of their
citizens, in addition to taking loans. The financial contributions imposed
on the citizens (taxes, liturgies undertaken by the wealthy citizens,
extraordinary contributions called eisphorai
, and leitourgiai
) are irrelevant for our subject; but the voluntary
contributions are not, since they were an ideal way for the wealthy citizens
to display their willingness to spend (part of) their private property for
the community—a willingness which was, however, combined with the
expectation that the community would accept their political leadership. Not
unlike the nature of the relation between kings and poleis
, the relation between the elite who monopolized power
and the mass of the citizens who accepted this monopoly was based on
reciprocity. We have already seen (§2 above) that Strabo attributed to such
a reciprocal relation the success of the Rhodians: the wealthy were willing
to spend for the community, and the poor citizens were willing to accept
their rule (Strabo 14.2.5 [C 652/653] ):
The Rhodians … wish to keep
the mass of the poor in good condition. And so the common people are
provided with food and the wealthy support those in need according to an
old tradition. They have liturgies for the provision of food, with the
result both that the poor receive sustenance and the city has no lack of
available manpower, particularly as regards the fleet.
Primarily, two types of voluntary contributions enhanced the political power
of the elite: the entirely voluntary donations or endowments ( doreai
) and the donations for a particular
purpose defined by the popular assembly (“subscriptions,” epidoseis
). Here, I shall focus on the
In Greek antiquity there is no such thing as the noble spender who wants to
retain his anonymity. Financial contributions for the city were visible,
transparent, and above all loud. At the beginning of the Hellenistic period
Theophrastos describes the behavior of the stingy man.
When he notices that a public
subscription ( epidosis
) is on the agenda
of the popular assembly, he leaves the assembly unnoticed, hoping that that
no one will observe that he had offered no money. Indeed, as we know from
many sources, the whole procedure of giving was a public performance that
was closely observed.The descriptions of epidoseis
in classical Athens in Plutarch’s Lives 
show the public nature of the offering, the loud demands on certain
citizens, and the loud response of the people. For instance, it is said that
Alcibiades once heard a lot of noise and asked what was going on. When he
was told that an epidosis
place, he came forward and made a donation under the applause of the people. It is also reported that the Athenian statesman and general Phokion
(mid-fourth century BCE) was asked repeatedly and with loud cries to
participate in an epidosis
, but to no
avail ( κληθεὶς πολλάκις, οὐκ ἐπαύοντο κεκραγότες καὶ
The behavior of a wealthy man was scrutinized by the other citizens, even in
a city as a large as Athens. In his speech On the
, Demosthenes criticizes Aeschines for not having
participated in an epidosis
In another speech
( Against Meidias
) he attacks his opponent using
similar arguments: 
although Meidias was present in the assembly, he did not contribute to an
. But when the news came that
Athenian troops were besieged at Tamynai and the authorities considered
sending the rest of the cavalry, Meidias, a coward, attended the next
assembly and made a money contribution in order to avoid taking part in the
war. As Demosthenes ironically remarks, even before the chairmen had taken
their seats, Meidias was already raising his hand to give money.Also Isaios
gives us a nice example, when he attacks an opponent in a lawsuit: 
he had promised to
give only 300 drachmas, less than a foreigner, and only after the danger had
increased. But then, to make things worse, he neglected to pay what he had
promised ( ἐπέδωκεν, οὐκ εἰσήνεγκεν
his name was inscribed in a list in front of the statues of the eponymous
heroes, under the heading “these men have voluntarily promised to give money
to the demos for the rescue of the city and did not pay the amount.”
It was precisely because these contributions were made publicly, in the
popular assembly, with all the citizens inspecting the behavior of the
prominent citizens, that the epidoseis
could serve as a sort of “social capital” of the elite. In Athens the
during the Chremonidean War
(267–261 BCE) was limited to the amount of 50–200 drachmas, probably in
order to avoid certain wealthy individuals’ exploiting the size of their
donation in order to acquire political influence. What in the early third
century appeared as a danger—the influence of persons because of wealth and
donations—had become a reality by the end of the Hellenistic period. The
competitive and performative character of contributions and donations
becomes clear when we study the lists with the names of the contributors. By
recording different amounts, the lists of contributors were public monuments
of inequality. It also becomes clear that these contributions could have a
substantial impact on public life.
Let us see an epidosis
concerning the reconstruction of towers.
The text begins with the phrase:
“These persons promised to contribute to the fortification of the city,
wishing to jointly safeguard the security of the demos.” This heading is
followed by a single name: “Hegesandros son of Mikion promised to construct
a tower.” Instead of donating a specific amount, Hegesandros promised to
cover the entire expense for the construction of a tower. It has been
estimated that a tower could cost between 5,000 and 20,000 drachmas.
Then some space
was left uninscribed, and the names of the remaining contributors are listed
under a separate heading (“These individuals promised to give money for the
construction of towers”). In this way, the name of Hegesandros was clearly
highlighted. We know that he was one of the most influential citizens of
Lindos. Ten years earlier he had held the office of the priest of Poseidon
Similarly, other lists highlight the contributions of certain individuals. In
list from Kolophon (late
fourth century BCE) we find first the names of nine members of a committee
of ten who had proposed the decree for the subscription; together they gave
9,600 drachmas, that is more than 1,000 each.
The tenth member of the committee,
a certain Leophantos, who could (or wanted to) give only 370 drachmas, is
named at the end. Then the text continues listing groups of men who gave
various amounts—the higher amounts first, the lower next, exactly as in the
list of sponsors of the Metropolitan Opera. In a list from Kalymna, the
beginning is not preserved, but at the end a single man is highlighted:
Dikaiarchos, son of Epistratos. He had given the highest amount (50
drachmas) and was also stephanēphoros
the highest magistrate of the city.
The visibility of donations is also clearly referred to in a Koan decree
concerning an epidosis
for the defense of
In order that it becomes visible that the citizens
take care of the common security in every difficult situation, may the
following decree be adopted: Those citizens, illegitimate children,
foreign inhabitants, and foreigners who come forward may make a promise. The names of those who make a promise should be announced immediately in
the popular assembly. The people shall take a decision through open vote
concerning the size of the donation and accept it, if it approves it.
Then the Koan decree makes provisions for inscribing the names of
those who made a promise and those whose offer was not accepted.
Substantial contributions to an epidosis
usually overlap not only with wealth but also with political influence. In
Kos, the man who proposed the epidosis
(Diokles) was also the greatest sponsor, paying 7,000 drachmas, and one of
the most powerful men in his city (see §5 above).Christian Habicht, who
studied the epidosis
lists in Athens,
observed that they consist of members of the wealthy and politically active
families in Athens, 
among them Eurykleides of Kephisia and his brother Mikion, whom we have
already met as the most influential Athenians of the late third century BCE. Members of this family continued to occupy a prominent position in the
public life of Athens for seven generations! Among the contributors one
finds seven arkhontes
magistrates), eleven members of families that undertook liturgies, and many
members of the class of the hippeis
wealthiest Athenians, who served in the cavalry).
“All Animals Are Equal but Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others”: The
Commemoration of the Elite and the Inheritance of Status
We have already seen a few examples of honorary decrees. As
they were inscribed in public places, often on the base of the statue of the
honored individual, they commemorated the contributions of members of the
elite for generations. The commemoration was also achieved with other
measures. For instance the decree in honor of Harpalos (§5 above) was to be
read every year before the elections of new magistrates, reminding the
voters what Harpalos and his ancestors had done for their city. The
descendants of benefactors and political leaders made sure that these
services were not forgotten, since they also profited from such a
commemoration (see below).
lists fulfilled a commemorative
function. They were read aloud, and more importantly they were part of the
political discourse—we have seen for instance that they were used by
Demosthenes in his speeches against Aischines and Meidias. They were social
capital for the members of the elite. The participation of the elite in the
was in part the result of
social pressure. But once they had donated money, their contributions placed
them above their fellow citizens and established personal prestige, on which
political power could be based. In the course of the Hellenistic period this
power often became hereditary.
The honors bestowed upon the members of the elite were of great symbolic
value, ensuring respect towards their leadership, their election to offices,
and the acceptance of their proposals in the council and the assembly. Their
statues decorated the public places as eternal memorials of their services
and as point of reference for their descendants.
Often the benefactors
themselves—or members of their families—covered the expenses as a further
expression of their munificence, but also because of the ideological value
of honorary statues.
The crown awarded to benefactors, and often proclaimed year after year,
was another means of commemorating individual achievement.
Finally two other
honors, the seat of honor in theatrical performances and athletic contests
and the free meal in the seat of the magistrates, symbolically placed the
honored individuals above the “normal” citizens, and put them on the same
level as the elected political leaders of the community.
Thus the communities factually
accepted the existence of a group of individuals who had an elevated
position in exchange for their services to the community.
Sometimes, the honors bestowed upon a prominent citizen were inherited by his
descendants. For instance, after the liberation of Athens from a Macedonian
garrison established by Demetrios the Besieger (287 BCE), the Athenians
decreed to honor the comic poet and statesman Philippides, a prominent
defender of democracy and political opponent of the friends of Demetrios. He
was to receive for all time free meals in the prutaneion
(the seat of the executive committee of the
council) and a seat of honor in all the contests organized. Thus he was
assimilated into the political leadership of the city. These honors were
also given to the eldest of his descendants.
Such measures perpetuated the
prominent position of the benefactor’s family.
A last example epitomizes the observations made above as regards wealth,
political leadership, heredity of status, and commemoration of services.Two
inscriptions from Aphrodisias, unfortunately both of them fragmentary,
narrate the achievements of Kallikrates, a member of the elite in the late
first century BCE: 
He preserved the common interest during the most stressful crises; he served
in the highest offices, including those of the stephanēphoros
, the director of the gymnasium ( gymnasiarkhos
), the priest of Hekate, and the
overseer of the market in a very difficult situation—during a serious
famine. During the wars he held offices that were not subject to account; he
represented his city as an ambassador to the authorities in Rome; he was a
great warrior, killing sixty enemies in battles; and he posted bail on many
occasions on behalf of many people.
To be sure, many of his services required personal skills, especially his
achievements in battles and in embassies. But equally important for
Kallikrates’ leading position was his wealth. His wealth gave him the
leisure to dedicate himself to political life and the opportunity to
increase his popularity by giving bail to poorer fellow citizens. His public
offices gave him prominence; his service as director of the gymnasium
allowed him to exercise his influence on the young men. His extraordinary
position is shown by the fact that he occupied military offices not subject
to account ( ἀρχαὶ ἀνυπεύθυνοι
), in direct
violation of a main principle of democracy: accountability.
The honors awarded to Kallikrates show how elevated his own personal position
was. He was given the extraordinary honor of burial in the gymnasium, where
his grave was visited by the young men of Aphrodisias for generations. During all festivals he was given an honorary portion of the meat of
sacrificial animals. And alone among all Aphrodisians he had the permission
to wear the crowns they had bestowed on him whenever he wished. All this
made his elevated position visible and permanent. Further inscriptions show
that the commemoration of this position was significant for his family,
which retained a prominent public position. More than a century later one of
his descendants, a certain Kallikrates, son of Molossos, who served as
priest of Mes Askainos and Hermes Agoraios and repaired the dedications made
by his ancestors and the statues set up in their honor, including the honors
for this Kallikrates.
Maintaining the Illusion of Democracy through Theatrical Behavior:
The discrepancy between the ideal of the rule and
sovereignty of the people, the reality of royal interventions—which
undermined sovereignty—and the monopolization of power by a hereditary
elite—which undermined the function even of moderate democracies—did not
escape the attention of contemporary scholars.Polybius commented for
instance on the efforts of Philip V to conceal his autocratic rule under the
mask of “the people’s king” (see §3 above); Strabo commented on the absence
of democracy in Rhodes, which was accepted by the people because of the
financial services of the aristocracy (§2); and the traveler Herakleides
commented on the discrepancy between the omnipresence of spectacles in
Athens and the poverty of its population: 
… festivals of all sorts;
intellectual enjoyment and recreation through all sorts of philosophers;
many opportunities for leisure; spectacles without interruption.…
Because of the spectacles and entertainments in the city, the common
people have no experience of hunger, as they are made to forget about
As I have already explained, these discrepancies were acceptable up to a
point, as long as a reciprocal, albeit asymmetrical, relationship could be
established between kings and poleis
between the elite and the mass of the citizens. The benefactions of both
kings and members of the elite served precisely this purpose.
awarded to the members of the elite, often by acclamation, attributed their
elevated position to their services and thus were indirectly justified. We
have already seen a fine collection of such titles in the case of Hermogenes
(§5 above): lover of the fatherland, constructor, benefactor, savior
( philopatris, ktistēs, euergetēs,
). Even his nickname, Theodotos ‘the gift of god’,
displayed gratitude—whether genuinely felt or theatrically displayed is
another question. While these titles highlighted an individual’s
contribution and placed him above the rest of the citizens, another set of
honorary titles, very common in the imperial period, created the illusion
that the whole community was just a big family, thus making inequality less
visible and assimilating the position of the members of the elite with that
of the father (cf. the modern Greek political acclamation “you are our
father,” eisai o pateras mas
). We can see
this mentality for instance in the funeral of Herodes Atticus, the
wealthiest Athenian of his time and a great benefactor.
The burial which was being
performed by his freedmen in Marathon was interrupted by the Athenian
ephebes, who marched from Athens to Marathon, seized the body with their own
hands, brought it back to Athens in procession, and buried it there, near
the stadium which Herodes had donated. Philostratos reports that all the
Athenians attended the funeral, lamenting the death of their benefactor
“like children who have lost a good father” ( hosa
paides khrēstou patros khereusantes
). Expressing their
relation to Herodes Atticus in this manner, the Athenians also proclaimed
their dependence on their benefactor and their acceptance of his “paternal”
authority. Similarly, the scions of the elite families were awarded by the
popular assembly the honorific title “the son of the polis” ( huios poleos
). This, again, expressed the
illusion that the community was a big family, and at the same time voiced
the expectation that the young members of the elite would take care of the
polis as good sons take care of their mothers.
Theatrical behavior was another medium which was extensively applied in the
Hellenistic period to support the rule of the elite.
By “theatricality” I mean the
effort of individuals or groups to construct an image of themselves which is
at least in part deceptive, either because it is in contrast to reality or
because it exaggerates or partly distorts reality. I understand it,
furthermore, to mean the effort to gain control over the emotions and the
thoughts of others, in order to provoke specific reactions, such as sorrow,
pity, anger, fear, admiration, or respect. To achieve these two aims, that
is to construct an illusion and to control the emotions and thoughts of
others, a variety of verbal and nonverbal means of communication may be
employed: a carefully composed text; a particular costume; images and
mechanical devices; the selection of the place and time where the
“performance” takes place; and the control of the voice, body language, and
Theatrical behavior is quite common in social and public life.At the
beginning of the Hellenistic period, Theophrastos, an attentive observer of
the behavior of men in public spaces, described the behavior of the
supporter of oligarchy: “He goes out at midday and struts about dressed in
his cloak, with his hair trimmed and his nails carefully pared.” 
We notice here the
importance of timing: going out in the morning is what the lower classes do. We also notice the the attention paid to the costume. In his
characterization of the man of petty ambition, Theophrastos comments on
appearance and posture: “After parading with the cavalry, he gives his slave
the rest of the equipment to take home, then throws back his cloak and
strolls through the marketplace in his spurs. In the popular assembly he
steps forward wearing a smart white cloak.He has his hair cut often, his
teeth are white.” 
In the Hellenistic period historians and intellectuals showed for the first
time a great interest in observing and describing theatricality in public
life. Interestingly, Cavafy, who has a better feeling for the Hellenistic
world and its culture than many modern historians, has perceived
theatricality as one of the predominant features of this period and has
dedicated several of his poems to theatrical behavior. For instance in his
“Philhellene” (composed in 1912), he presents an anonymous Oriental king,
giving instructions to the engraver of his portrait on coins to construct
the appropriate image:
See that the engraving is artistic.
serious and stately.
The crown had better be rather
I do not like those broad Parthian ones.
inscription, as usual, in Greek;
not exaggerated, not
Theatrical behavior was employed by both kings and statesmen in order to make
to make their elevated position acceptable and to create the illusion that
they were not distant from the ordinary citizens. I have already mentioned
the example of Philip V in Argos (see §3 above).Of Agathokles, the Sicilian
ruler of the late fourth century, it is said that in his drinking parties he
used to put off the pomp of kingship and show himself more humble than the
ordinary citizens: 
Being by nature also a buffoon and a mimic, not even in the
meetings of the assembly did he abstain from jeering at those who were
present and from portraying certain of them, so that the common people
would often break out in laughter.
Antiochos IV is said to have
joined common people in their revels by playing musical instruments.
At the end of the
great festival he had organized in Daphne (166 BCE), the king danced naked
and acted with the clowns.
One cannot help but compare this behavior with that of
Chavez, Berlusconi—or in Greece the Prefect of Thessalonike Psomiadis.
Theatrical behavior is recommended to kings by the author of a treatise on
kingship ( Peri basileias
). This treatise,
attributed to a certain Diotogenes and composed in the second century CE,
reflects Hellenistic ideas concerning monarchic rule.
The author recommends to the
monarch to “set himself apart from human failings” and to astonish onlookers
by his staged appearance and studied pose: 
The monarch should set
himself apart from the human failings and approach the gods, not through
arrogance, but through magnanimity and through the greatness of his
virtue, surrounding himself with so much trust and authority with his
appearance, his thought, his reason, the morality of his soul, the
deeds, the movement, and the posture of the body, so that those who
watch him shall be overwhelmed and shall be adorned with shame and
wisdom and the feeling of trust.
This passage regards the king as an actor, who performs on earth the part
played by the gods in heaven: “… And above all one should remember that
kingship is the imitation of the gods.” 
The author associates moral and
intellectual abilities with staged behavior, appearance, and the movement of
the body.In another passage, he stresses again the importance of
As regards public addresses the good king needs to take care of
the suitable position and appearance, forming a political and serious
image of himself, so that he appears to the multitude neither harsh nor
contemptible, but sweet and considerate. He shall achieve this if he is,
first, majestic to watch and to listen to and seems worthy of his rule;
secondly, if he is kind in conversation and in appearance and in
benefactions; thirdly, if he is fearsome in his honesty and in punishing
and in swiftness and, generally, in the experience and practice of
kingship. Majesty, being an imitation of the gods, will make it possible
that he will be marveled at and honored by the people; kindness will
make the people be favorably disposed towards him and love him; and
finally severity will terrify his enemies and make him invincible, but
to his friends it will make him magnanimous and confident.
Consequently, a very crucial issue in the public appearance and the public
image of a Hellenistic king was not to disturb the balance between
affability, necessary for his popularity, and remoteness, necessary for the
respect of his leadership. When the balance was disturbed, with too much
affability or too great a distance, the king was criticized and his behavior
was regarded as ridiculous or an expression of madness.King Antiochos IV,
Polybius tells us, used to hang around with simple people, attending their
and dressing up to play different parts: 
Many times he used to take
off the royal garment and to wear a toga, going around in the agora,
participating in the elections and asking the people for their vote,
embracing some and begging others, in order to be elected as overseer of
the market ( agoranomos ) or tribune
( dēmarkhos ).
behavior the king attempted to create the illusion of popular rule, but
ultimately his behavior was interpreted not as affability and respect of
popular rule, but as madness.
Similarly, statesmen in Greek poleis
employed theatrical behavior in their communication with the mass of
citizens. Based on the account of a Sicilian historian, Plutarch narrates
how meetings of the popular assembly were staged in the theater of Syracuse,
when the city was still governed by a democracy but was under the political
leadership of Timoleon ( Timoleon
Moreover, the proceedings in their assemblies afforded a
noble spectacle, since, while they decided other matters by themselves,
for the more important deliberations they summoned him [Timoleon]. Then
he would proceed to the theatre carried through the market place on a
mule-car; and when the vehicle in which he sat was brought in, the
people would greet him with one voice and call him by name, and he,
after returning their greetings and allowing some time for their
felicitations and praises, would then listen carefully to the matter
under debate and pronounce an opinion. And when his opinion had been
adopted, his retainers would conduct his car back again through the
theater, and the citizens, after sending him on his way with shouts of
applause, would proceed at once to transact the rest of the public
business by themselves.
Such carefully staged performances
elevated a single individual above the rest of the citizens. In the case of
Timoleon his elevated status was admittedly based on achievement and
political talents (comparable to that of Pericles in Athens). But this
passage can give us an impression of how members of the elite may also have
staged their appearance in the assembly.
Once on the tribune of the assembly, the political leaders had to rely on
complex performances in delivery and acting in order to receive its
enthusiastic approval for the proposals ( probouleumata
) that had been negotiated among the members of
the elite in the council. Unfortunately, information about Hellenistic
rhetoric is very limited, and we have to reconstruct the performance of the
political leaders indirectly from a variety of testimonia.
Delivery had always been very important in political oratory, 
and the relevant
handbooks paid great attention to the control of the voice and body
language, recommending the use of postures and gestures appropriate for
various occasions: for example leaning towards the audience when giving
advice (figure 3). Figure 3: Rhetorica ad Herrenium
Sin erit in demonstratione sermo,
paululum corpus a cervicibus demittemus
explicative conversational tone, we shall incline the body forward a
little from the shoulders”). Kostas Karamanlis in the Greek
parliament (February 8, 2008).
Unfortunately, the Hellenistic handbooks do not survive, but the
treatise Rhetorica ad Herennium
and the works of
Cicero and Quintilian ( Institutio Oratoria
) give us
an impression of the common practices in delivery. The repeated references
to Greek orators and the use of Greek terms show that the rhetorical habits
that they discuss apply, at least in part, to Greece as well.Taking lessons
from actors, the treatise says, political orators should learn how to
control the emotions of their audiences with the proper use of body
For the dignified conversational tone, the speaker must stay in
position when he speaks, lightly moving his right hand, his countenance
expressing an emotion corresponding to the sentiments of the
subject—gaiety or sadness or an emotion intermediate. For the
explicative conversational tone, we shall incline the body forward a
little from the shoulders, since it is natural to bring the face as
close as possible to our hearers when we wish to prove a point and
arouse them vigorously.… For the sustained tone of debate, we shall use
a quick gesture of the arm, a mobile countenance, a keen glance. For the
broken tone of debate, one must extend the arm very quickly, walk up and
down, occasionally stamp the right foot, and adopt a keen and fixed
look.… For the pathetic tone of amplification, one ought to slap one’s
thigh or beat one’s head, and sometimes to use a calm and uniform
gesticulation and a sad and disturbed expression.
Interestingly, we find here a convergence with the body language of modern
statesmen (figures 4–6), to whose theatrical behavior I shall return later
(§8).When the author of Rhetorica ad Herennium
observes that “good delivery ensures that what the orator is saying seems to
come from his heart,” 
the emphasis is on appearances ( videatur
), on the creation of an
In Hellenistic times political oratory had developed into a carefully staged
dramatic performance, through which the statesman controlled the emotions of
the assembly. Two examples demonstrate this.The first example is an
honorary decree of Olbia for the benefactor Protogenes, 
an extremely wealthy man of this
city on the Black Sea. The long decree is based on a speech delivered in the
assembly. The aim of the anonymous orator was to show that Protogenes
deserved extraordinary honors. In order to justify this and to elevate
Protogenes to the status of a savior, the orator continually recreates the
terror felt by the Olbians in the past, and the rescue provided by
Protogenes.For reasons of space I have only selected a short passage: 
part of the city along the river was not fortified, and (neither was)
the whole of the part along the harbor and the part along the former
fish market as far as the (sanctuary?) of the hero Sosias. Deserters
were reporting that the Galatians and the Skiroi had formed an alliance,
that a large force had been collected and would be coming during the
winter, and in addition that the Thisarnatai, Scythians, and Saudaratai
were anxious to seize the fort, as they themselves were equally
terrified of the cruelty of the Galatians. Because of this many were in
despair and prepared to abandon the city. In addition many other losses
had been suffered in the countryside, in that all the slaves and the
half-Greeks who live in the plain along the river bank had been lost to
us, no fewer than 1,500 in number, who had fought on our side in the
city in the previous war, and also many of the foreigners and not a few
of the citizens had left.
We notice the orator’s interest in details: He describes the exact length of
the unfortified perimeter of the city; he gives the number of the deserters
in the countryside (1,500); he lists all the barbarian tribes who were about
to attack the city. The anonymous orator chose to give all these details,
because they serve the vivid description of the past experience of fear and
despair. The long list of foreign names (Galatai, Skiroi, Thisarnatai,
Skythai, Saudaratai) brings to mind the greatness of the danger and the
strangeness of the enemy, who stands outside the border of civilized world. The list of the unfortified sections of the city underscores its
vulnerability. The next passage describes a scene in the assembly.
this the people met in an assembly in deep despair, as they saw before
them the danger that lay ahead and the terrors in store, and called on
all who were able-bodied to help and not allow their native city, after
it had been preserved for many years, to fall into the hands of the
I draw attention here not only to the emotional framing of the scene (the
fear expressed by the verb diēgōniakōs
but also the repeated references to the senses, to voices and images: the
people saw the danger ( δεινὰ πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν
), they called out ( παρεκάλει
). This is
the moment of total despair, the moment in which a city, whose very name
(Olbia ‘the blessed one’) raises the expectation of prosperity and bliss, is
faced with extinction.Exactly in this moment, a reversal occurs: 
When no one
would volunteer for all or part of the demands of the people, he
promised he would himself build both the walls and would advance the
whole cost of the construction.…
Exactly as the demos in the assembly had vividly depicted the future disaster
( δεινὰ πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν ποιούμενος
assembly our anonymous orator vividly describes the past calamities. After
this dramatic description had reminded the people how much they relied on
Protogenes, any honor for him could be justified.
In my second example, the Hellenistic historian Poseidonios describes how
Athenion, an Athenian statesman and supporter of King Mithridates VI, in 88
BCE manipulated the emotions of the assembly in order to win its support for
passage begins with a description of Athenion’s arrival in Athens. With the
selection of the appropriate vocabulary and images, Poseidonios creates a
stage full of theatrical connotations, thus characterizing Athenion’s speech
as a spectacle and a performance in acting, through which Athenion
controlled the emotions of the Athenian assembly.
For his return they
dispatched warships and a chair with silver legs. He had barely arrived,
and the largest part of the population was already out in the streets to
receive him. Many other spectators ( θεαταί ) also came together, wondering at the strange
reversal of fortune, that Athenion, who had acquired citizenship with
fraud, was now being brought to Athens on a chair with silver legs and
on a purple mattress.… So men, women, and children were running to this
spectacle ( θέαν ), expecting the best
With the words theatai
, Poseidonios turns Athenion’s arrival
into a spectacle. By distinguishing between spectators and statesman, he
also indirectly shows the relegation of the Athenians to spectators of
political life. Athenion enters the agora from the seat of the theater
artists (another allusion to the theater) wearing a costume which is
described in great detail.
He came out from this house dragging a
glamorous cloak and wearing a golden ring with the portrait of
Mithridates engraved on it. Many servants walked in front and behind
If one could recognize Mithridates’ portrait on his ring, it is probably
because Athenion was stretching his hand in such a way that everyone could
see it. He was not properly wearing, but dragging his cloak ( episuron
), which was obviously too large for
him. We observe that Poseidonios includes in his narrative details that
liken Athenion to an actor and his behavior to a performance. Arriving in
the agora, Athenion ascends the tribune and delivers his speech. Here, the
historian focuses on the description of body language, gestures, and pauses,
and on the artful exploitation by Athenion of unexpected elements ( paradoxon
) while interacting with the
He ascended the podium … he stood on it looking around
at the crowd, and then raising his head he said “Athenians, the affairs
and the interests of the city urge me to say what I know, but the
magnitude of the things that are to be said prevents me from saying
them, because of the unexpected nature of the events.” And when all who
stood around urged him by shouting to have courage and talk, he said “I
will tell you, what you had never hoped for.” Then he paused for a while
after this, giving the crowd the opportunity to talk about the
unexpected announcements. Then he scratched his forehead and said, “What
is then the advice that I give you?”
language—looking around, raising the head, scratching the
forehead—corresponds to the body language of contemporary comedians. With
his whole attire and staged behavior Athenion tried to create the illusion
of dignity and competence; his rhetorical delivery with its clear theatrical
overtones aimed to manipulate the emotions of the audience, to move from
anxiety to hope, and thus convince the Athenians to support the king.
Admittedly, we cannot tell how accurate the historian’s description of this
particular scene is, but on the basis of many parallels we can at least be
certain that it was inspired by contemporary practices.
Athenion was not a representative
of the elite, but a man of humble origins imitating the theatricality of
kings and members of the elite. While Athenion tried to elevate himself
through theatricality—and ultimately presented himself as a caricature of a
man of elevated status—the kings and the members of the elite tried to
present themselves as humble individuals and lovers of the people. We have
already see examples of royal behavior. To study the analogous behavior of
members of the elite we have to turn not to texts but to images. The
(statues of citizens wrapped in a
cloak) offer a characteristic example of how the members of the elite
constructed their image (figure 7).
Figure 7: Funerary statue of an anonymous public figure in Smyrna;
a slave is standing on the right.
They represent the men who had been honored by the popular assembly
with decrees such as the ones I have previously discussed.
They show them in
orderly draped cloaks, avoiding luxury—exactly the opposite of Athenion’s
extravagant robe. Also very different from Athenion’s gesticulation is their
body language, evoking self-control and reservation. Even when the arms are
freed from the cloaks’ drapery and are projected forward to indicate energy
and strain, they avoid the passionate gesticulation of the demagogues and
underline self-control, a virtue of the educated man of the elite (figures
Contemporary portraits encapsulate in their facial expressions the vigor and
the strenuousness with which these members of the elite carry out toilsome
civic duties, not as an exercise of power but as a service to the people
(figure 10). They represent the members of the elite with the mask of the
virtuous citizen, in the proper dress and with facial expressions indicating
exhaustion after the demanding efforts for public welfare. Figure 10: Left
: The statesman genuinely concerned
for the people. Head of a portrait statue of unknown provenance (c. 150 BCE), now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu,
California (inv. no. 91.ΑΑ.14). Right
: Tony Blair’s
photo accompanying an article, in which he speaks about his passion
for science (official site of the Prime Minister, November
This brings to mind the advice given by Quintilian to orators: 
demonstrate their exhaustion, by letting their dress fall in careless
disorder and their toga slip loose, by streaming with sweat, and showing
signs of fatigue, thus signaling that they had spared no strength for the
interest of their clients. Although the images of the self-controlled and
committed citizens differ from Athenion’s appearance, they are comparable
with Athenion’s theatricality because they also embody artificial and staged
behavior.I can not help but quote an account of George Bush’s congressional
campaign in Houston in the 1960s: 
Over and over again, on every television screen in Houston George
Bush was seen with his coat slung over his shoulders; his sleeves rolled
up; walking the streets of his district; grinning, gripping, letting the
voter know he cared. About what was never made clear.
Public life in the Hellenistic cities with their moderate democracies was
dominated by “protagonists”: kings, wealthy benefactors, and other
representatives of the urban elite. Given the assembly’s established
constitutional status in the cities, the Hellenistic statesmen had to rely
on delicate skills of performance in order to manipulate the masses in the
assembly and to preserve the fiction of the rule of the people. The kings’
role in the fragile balance of power between monarchic aspirations and the
pretensions of urban populations (in Greek poleis
and in capitals) was quite similar. The kings had to
construct an image of supremacy that would legitimate their rule, and at the
same time respect the fiction of civic autonomy.
Theatricality in Public Life: Modern Parallels
The structural features of mass democracies belong to the
subjects to which the Greek philosopher Panajotis Kondylis has dedicated
penetrating observations: 
consumption, division of labor, social mobility, and
populism. Among other things, Kondylis drew attention to a discrepancy
inherent in the mass democracies of our times: the discrepancy between the
principle of equality and the factual rule of the elite.
In mass democracies, the
potential of equality is more important and the feeling of equality stronger
than the reality of equality.
This asymmetry between reality and expectation can also
be observed in the manner in which the elite presents itself to the
“ordinary person” ( kleiner Mann
Populism needs to
continually satisfy psychological needs as well, creating substitutes
for equality where practically no equality exists. Such a substitute is
provided for instance by the advanced abolishment of the borders between
the private and the public, so that the “ordinary people,” but also the
“mature citizen,” can be persuaded on the basis of what is told him by
the mass media that this or that member of this or that elite generally
behaves in a “human” manner and is, generally, “one of us.” The inherent
populism of mass democracy makes it a principal duty of the members of
the elite to display on every occasion how close they are to the
In order to demonstrate such developments,
Kondylis studied the relation between sincerity
), a traditional bourgeois virtue, and
authenticity, that is the ability of an individual to act and speak without
taking into consideration conventions or habits.According to Kondylis
“authenticity” has become a play ( Schauspiel
reason authenticity often is only the mask, which is worn in a very old
play—a mask which in contrast to the bourgeois mask is not a construct
of education and practice but in many respects the changing product of
Although Kondylis did not use the
term “theatricality,” the mode of behavior he described is theatrical
behavior. The roots of such theatrical behavior should be seen in the
asymmetry between ideal (or expectation) and reality. This makes the elite
present themselves to the “ordinary people” wearing the mask of
authenticity, and so ultimately undermining all authenticity.
One can apply Kondylis’s observations to another aspect of mass democracy:
the relation between statesman and voter established through the use of mass
media. It is a commonplace that the invasion of the TV and other mass media
in public life has had an enormous impact on political discourse. The TV
set, and more recently the computer and the iPod screen, have become the
most important loci
for the exchange of
political arguments and the circulation of political ideas. Unavoidably,
political behavior is modified in order to suit the conditions and the
advantages of TV screen and cyberspace. And as the TV screen is associated
with entertainment and spectacle, political behavior also adopts features of
entertainment and spectacle.This phenomenon was already observed by
Plutarch (or his source) in connection with popular assemblies that took
place in theaters: 
When those who have come together gaze upon statues and paintings, or
proscenia of theaters, or extravagantly decorated roofs of council halls
during the assembly, they become foolish, vain, and
The statesman enters the house of every citizen, but this seemingly direct
communication between the politician and the citizen is only an illusion;
this communication is one-sided, turning the citizens into passive
audiences. Contemporary parliamentary debates and orations are shaped by the
fact that their protagonists know that they are being watched, or will be
watched, by audiences. Consequently, often the primary addressee of an
oration is not directly the parliamentarian with whom a member of the
parliament is engaged in a dialogue, but the spectator—indeed a spectator
who will watch the parliamentary debate under the same conditions under
which he watches other spectacles. Political debates in the parliament,
speeches in electoral campaigns, and political interviews are staged in
order to best exploit the possibilities offered by the media. The statesman
knows that what will reach the citizen will not be a complex and
differentiated political argument, but a “sound bite”—a short phrase, an
ironic comment, an impressive gesture, a facial expression, an image of only
a few seconds, which can be isolated from the context, highlighted, and
repeated again and again. An element of entertainment is expected by those
who turn their TV set on, and it is indeed generously offered by those who
know that they will appear on TV. All this enhances the theatrical behavior
of statesmen, a few examples of which are presented below.
A photo taken on the night of the Greek elections of 2007 is a characteristic
example (figure 11). It was selected from among thousands of photos made
that night for the Web site of Nea Demokratia
because it best presents the image of a successful statesman: a man who
controls his emotions and allows only a moderate smile to express his joy at
a narrow and unexpected victory; a man who inspires devotion—clearly
expressed in the way his wife, standing on a lower level, looks upon him; a
man who is more devoted to his (invisible) people, to whom his eyes are
fixed, than to his private life and his wife; a man who knows how to get
what he wants—we notice the possessive way in which he holds his wife. A
virtual diagonal line divides the image into two halves, making our gaze
move from the wife’s eyes up to the prime minister’s head and finally to the
upper right corner and to the photo’s ultimate message: to the sign of
victory—a success that results from moderation, harmony, and devotion. The
image evokes peace and tranquility—in direct contrast to the passionate and
loud campaign period. This photo was not staged; but if Kostas Karamanlis or
his PR managers were to stage a photo, this is most likely how it would
Harmony and devotion is the image promoted by the official Web site of the
William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum (figure 12). In this case
the image is staged and theatrical. Two individuals, mature but still young,
gaze devotedly into each other’s eyes. If they can do this after all their
prehistory, which is known to everyone, it is because they know how to set
priorities—family values (or their careers), because they know how to
control their emotions, because they know how to manage a crisis and can
show tolerance and indulgence.
In ancient drama, actors did not have faces. They wore masks appropriate for
a character or a role: the parasite, the courtesan, the stingy old man, the
cunning slave. In the modern drama of public life, statesmen certainly have
individual features and individual facial expressions, but as their public
activities resemble the performance of a part in a staged play, their public
images also resemble ancient theatrical masks, and one has the impression
that the individuals become interchangeable. One such public mask—a theme
with endless variations—is that of the statesman in the company of young
people (figure 13): innocent infants, smart-looking children, young boys and
girls full of hope—preferably multicultural. What we see is not Bill Clinton
and Gordon Brown as individuals, but two actors playing the part of the
statesman interested in education. You can have this image in variations,
seated or standing, with one child or many. Do not ask these statesmen about
details concerning education in their countries. Their audiences are willing
to believe that they know the big picture and applaud them for playing this
part successfully. Figure 13: Image with variations: the statesman who cares for the
Depending on the part, the mask can change from the Tony Blair’s
“Olympic smile” to the expression of concern and serious consideration
(figure 14). Figure 14: Left
: Tony Blair’s “Olympic smile.”
: The caring statesman.
In the Hellenistic period, elements of theatricality and illusion did not
remain unnoticed, at least by the intellectuals, as we can judge from the
critical remarks of contemporary authors. In modern times, a poem of
Cavafy’s best captures this Hellenistic mood: his “Alexandrian Kings” of 1912.
The Alexandrians are gathered together
Caesarion and his
Alexander and Ptolemy, whom they lead
for the first time to the Stadium,
proclaim them kings,
amid the brilliant procession of
The Alexandrians surely
that all these were theatrical words.
the day was warm and poetic,
the sky a lucid azure
the Alexandria Stadium
achievement of art,
the superb splendor of the
Caesarion all grace and
(Cleopatra’s son, blood of the Lagidae)
so the Alexandrians rushed to the ceremony,
and they grew
enthusiastic, and they cheered
in Greek and in Egyptian
and some in Hebrew,
enchanted by the gorgeous
knowing full well the worth of
what hollow words these kingships were.
The Alexandrians knew full well. What about citizens in contemporary
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Graf, F. 1991. “Gestures and Conventions: The Gestures of Roman Actors and
Orators.” In Bremmer and Roodenburg 1991:36–58.
Grieb, V. 2008. Hellenistische Demokratie. Politische Organisation und Struktur in
freien griechischen Poleis nach Alexander dem Großen.
Habicht, C. 1970. Gottmenschentum und griechische Städte. 2nd ed.
———. 1982. Studien zur
Geschichte Athens in hellenistischer Zeit. Göttingen.
———. 1995. “Ist ein
‘Honoratiorenregime’ das Kennzeichen der Stadt im späteren
Hellenismus?” In Wörrle and Zanker 1995:87–92.
———. 2006. “Eurykleides
III of Kephisia, Victor at the Anakaia.” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik
Hamon, P. 2005. “Le
conseil et la participation des citoyens: les mutations de la basse
époque hellénistique.” In Fröhlich and Müller
———. 2007. “Élites
dirigeantes et processus d’aristocratisation à l’époque
hellénistique.” In Fernoux and Stein 2007:79–100.
Hansen, M. H., and T. H.
2004. An Inventory of Archaic and
Classical Poleis. Oxford.
Kondylis, P. 1991. Niedergang der bürgerlichen Denk- und Lebensform.
———. 2007. Η παρακμή
του Αστικού Πολιτισμού. Από τη μοντέρνα στη μεταμοντέρνα εποχή και
από το φιλελευθερισμό στη μαζική δημοκρατία. 4th ed.
Le Guen, B., ed. 1997. De la scène aux gradins. Thêatre et représentations dramatiques
après Alexandre le Grand dans les cités hellénstiques. Actes du
Colloque, Toulouse 1997 (Pallas,
Lewerentz, A. 1993. Stehende männliche Gewandstatuen im Hellenismus. Ein Beitrag zur
Stilgeschichte und Ikonologie hellenistischer Plastik.
Ma, J. 2000. “Fighting
Poleis of the Hellenistic World.” In: van Wees
———. 2002. Antiochos
III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor. 2nd ed. Oxford.
Migeotte, L. 1992. Les
souscriptions publiques dans les cités grecques.
———. 1995. “Les
finances publiques des cités grecques: bilan et perspectives de
recherche.” Topoi 5:7–32.
———. 2000. “Les
dépenses militaires des cités grecques: essai de typologie.”
In Andreau et al. 2000:145–176.
———. 2003. “Taxation
directe en Grèce ancienne.” In Thür and Fernandez Niéto
Ober, J. 2009. “Can We
Learn from Ancient Athenian Democracy? Historical and Modern
Perspectives.” In Chaniotis et al. 2009:207–230.
Orth, W. 1977. Königlicher Machtanspruch und städtische Freiheit: Untersuchungen
zu den politischen Beziehungen zwischen den ersten
Seleukidenherrschern (Seleukos I., Antiochos I., Antiochos II.) und
den Städten des westlichen Kleinasien. Munich.
Parker, R. 1996. Athenian Religion: A History. Oxford.
Pfister, F. 1951. Die
Reisebilder des Herakleides. Vienna.
Pollitt, J. J. 1986. Art in the Hellenistic Age. Cambridge.
Postlewait, T., and T. C. Davis. 2003.
“Theatricality: an Introduction.” In
Postlewait and Davis 2003:1–39.
Postlewait, T., and T. C. Davis,
eds. 2003. Theatricality.
Price, S. R. F. 1984. Rituals and Power. The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor.
Quass, F. 1993. Die
Honoratiorenschicht in den Städten des griechischen Ostens.
Untersuchungen zur politischen und sozialen Entwicklung in
hellenistischer und römischer Zeit. Stuttgart.
Raeck, W. 1995. “Der
mehrfache Apollodoros. Zur Präsenz des Bürgers im hellenistischen
Stadtbild am Beispiel von Priene.” In Wörrle and Zanker
Reynolds, J. 1982. Aphrodisias and Rome. London.
Rhodes, P. J. 2007. “Διοίκησις.” Chiron
2000. Geschenke erhalten die Freundschaft.
Politik und Selbstdarstellung im Spiegel der Monumente.
Schuler, C. 2005. “Die
διοίκησις τῆς πόλεως im
öffentlichen Finanzwesen der hellenistischen Poleis.” Chiron 35:385–403.
Shipley, G. 2000. The
Greek World after Alexander 323–30 BC. London.
Sifakis, G. M. 2002. “Looking for the
Actor’s Art in Aristotle.” in Easterling and Hall 2002:148–164.
Sonkowsky, R. P. 1959. “An Aspect of Delivery in Ancient Rhetorical Theory.” Transactions of the American Philological
Steinicke, M., and S. Weinfurter,
eds. 2005. Investitur- und
Thür, G., and F. J. Fernández Nieto,
eds. 2003. Symposion 1999. Vorträge zur
griechischen und hellenistischen Rechtsgeschichte.
Tuci, P. A.
2003. “La democrazia di Polibio tra
eredita classica e federalismo.” In Bearzot et al.
Urso, G., ed. 2005. Popolo e potere nel mondo antico. Pisa.
van Wees, H., ed. 2000. War and Violence in Ancient Greece. London.
Veyne, P. 1976. Le pain
et le cirque. Sociologie historique d’un pluralisme
Wallace-Hadrill, A. 1982. “Civilis Princeps: Between Citizen and King.”
Journal of Roman Studies 72:32–48.
Wilson, P., ed. 2007. The Greek Theatre and Festivals. Documentary Studies.
Wörrle, M. 1995. “Vom
tugensamen Jüngling zum ‘gestreßten’ Euergeten. Überlegungen zum
Bürgerbild hellenistischer Ehrendekrete.” In Wörrle and
Zanker, P. 1995. “Brüche im Bürgerbild? Zur bürgerlichen Selbstdarstellung in den
hellenistischen Städten.” In Wörrle and Zanker
Wörrle, M., and P. Zanker, eds.
1995. Stadtbild und Bürgerbild im
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-lal2MUKw (accessed on January 27,
(accessed on February 9, 2008).
See Ober 2009, with earlier bibliography.
Overviews: Shipley 2000, Gehrke 2008. On the vigor of Hellenistic
poleis see Ma 2000, Chaniotis
For an inventory of poleis in the
archaic and classical periods see Hansen and Nielsen 2004. For the new
foundations see Cohen 1995 and 2006. For Crete see Chaniotis
See e.g. Hamon 2005 on the increased political power of the council
( boulē ) in the second and first
centuries BCE. General overview: Dmitriev 2005.
Hellenistic democracies: Grieb 2008, Carlsson 2010. Cf. Dmitriev
Control of the magistrates: Fröhlich 2004. Assembly and participation of
citizens: Quass 1993:353–373, Fröhlich and Müller 2005.
E.g. in Kos (third century BCE): SEG XLI 680; XLVIII 1110, 1112; LIII
846, 856, 860. In Kolohon (third century BCE): Gauthier 2003:90–100.
E.g. SEG XLV 1500 (Alabanda, first century BCE); Gauthier
Historical anniversaries: Chaniotis 1991:125.
Engelmann and Merkelbach 1973:no. 503: ἐ πειδ ὴ
ο ἱ ἐ ν τ ῆ ι
ὀ λιγαρχ ί αι τ ῆ ς ε ἰ κ ό νος τ ῆ ς Φιλ ί του
το ῦ ἀ ποκτε ί ναντος
τ ὸ ν τ ύ ραννον το ῦ ἀ νδρι ά ντος το ῦ ἀ νδρι ά ντος ἐ ξε ῖ λον τ ὸ ξ ῖ φος,
νομ ί ζοντες καθ ό λου τ ὴ ν
στ ά σιν καθ ᾿ α ὐ τ ῶ ν ε ἶ ναι…· ἐ γδο ῦ ναι τ ὸ ἔ ργον
διαστολ ὴ ν ποιησαμ έ νους μετ ὰ
το ῦ ἀ ρχιτ έ κτονος,
καθ ᾿ ὅ τι συντελεσθ ή σεται
ὡ ς πρ ό τερον ε ἶ χεν· … ὅ πως
δ ὲ καθαρ ὸ ς ἰ ο ῦ ἔ σται ὁ ἀ νδρι ὰ ς κα ὶ
στεφανωθ ή σεται ἀ ε ὶ
τα ῖ ς νουμην ί αις κα ὶ
τα ῖ ς ἄ λλαις ἑ ορτα ῖ ς, ἐ πιμελε ῖ σθαι
το ὺ ς ἀ γοραν ό μους.
SEG XXIX 116, line 18.
Bengtson 1969:581: εἴ τίς κα ἐπὶ πόλιν ἢ χώραν
στρατεύηται τὰν Ῥοδίων ἢ τοὺς νόμους ἢ τὰς ποθόδους ἢ τὰν
καθεστακυῖαν δαμοκρατίαν καταλύηι, βοαθεῖν Ἱεραπυτνίους … εἴ δέ τίς
κα τὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ δικαίου γινομένας πθόδους ἐκ θαλάσσας παραιρῆται
Ἱεραπυτνίων ἢ τὰν καθεστακυῖαν δαμοκρατίαν παρὰ Ἱεραπυτνίοις
καταλύηι καὶ συμμαχίαν μεταπέμπωνται Ἱεραπύτνιοι, ἀποστελλόντων
Chaniotis 1996:15 (with further bibliography).
Strabo 14.2.5 (C 652/653): δημοκηδε ῖ ς δ ᾿ ε ἰ σ ὶ ν ο ἱ Ῥ όδιοι καίπερ
ο ὐ δημοκρατούμενοι, συνέχειν δ ᾿ ὅ μως βουλόμενοι τ ὸ τ ῶ ν πενήτων
πλ ῆ θος. σιταρχε ῖ ται δ ὴ ὁ δ ῆ μος κα ὶ
ο ἱ ε ὔ ποροι το ὺ ς
ἐ νδε ῖ ς ὑ πολαμβάνουσιν ἔ θει
τιν ὶ πατρί ῳ , λειτουργίαι τέ τινές
ε ἰ σιν † ὀ ψωνιαζόμενοι, ὥ σθ ᾿ ἅ μα τόν τε πένητα
ἔ χειν τ ὴ ν διατροφ ὴ ν κα ὶ
τ ὴ ν πόλιν τ ῶ ν χρει ῶ ν
μ ὴ καθυστερε ῖ ν κα ὶ μάλιστα
πρ ὸ ς τ ὰ ς ναυστολίας . On the
Rhodian constitution see Gabrielsen 1997; cf. Grieb 2008:263–353, who
rather overestimates the democratic character of Rhodian politics.
Polybius 2.38.6: ἰ σηγορίας κα ὶ παρρησίας κα ὶ καθόλου
δημοκρατίας ἀ ληθιν ῆ ς σύστημα κα ὶ προαίρεσιν
ε ἰ λικρινεστέραν ο ὐ κ ἂ ν
ε ὕ ροι τις τ ῆ ς παρ ὰ
το ῖ ς Ἀ χαιο ῖ ς
ὑ παρχούσης . On the use of dēmokratia by Polybius see Tuci 2003.
Inscriptiones Creticae IV 176: διελέγ[ησαν ἐᾶ ν α ὐ το ὺ ς] ἐ λευθέρους ὄ ντας
κα ὶ [α ὐ τονόμους ἐ ν δα]μοκρατίαι
Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum 3 283.
The Antigonid kingdom of Macedonia; the Seleucid Empire that controlled
most of Asia Minor and the Near East; the Ptolemaic kingdom, which had
possessions in the Aegean and the coast of Asia Minor; and Pergamon.
For a treatment of these phenomena see Veyne 1976:110–118, 201–209
(“régime des notables”); Quass 1993 (“Honoratiorenschichte”); Chaniotis
2005a:29–41; Dmitriev 2005:140–188; Hamon 2007. Habicht 1995 points out
that elites played a similar role already earlier.
Kings and poleis : Orth 1977, Ma 2002.
Cf. Franco 1993.
Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum 3 543, Bagnall and Derow 2004:no. 32.
Lines 5–7: ἕ ως
ἂ ν ο ὖ ν ἑ τέρους ἐ πινοήσωμεν
ἀ ξίους το ῦ παρ ᾿ ὑ μ ῖ ν πολιτεύματος, ἐ π ὶ
το ῦ παρόντος κρίνω ψηφίσασθαι ὑ μ ᾶ ς, ὅ πως το ῖ ς
κατοικο ῦ σιν παρ ᾿ ὑ μ ῖ ν Θεσσαλ ῶ ν ἢ
τ ῶ ν ἄ λλων Ἑ λλήνων
δοθ ῆ ι ἡ πολιτεία etc.
Polybius 10.26.1–2: Φ ί λιππος
ὁ βασιλε ὺ ς Μακεδ ό νων μετ ὰ
τ ὸ ἐ κτελ έ σαι
τ ὸ ν τ ῶ ν Νεμ έ ων
ἀ γ ῶ να α ὖ θις ε ἰ ς
Ἄ ργος ἐ παν ῆ λθε κα ὶ
τ ὸ μ ὲ ν δι ά δημα
κα ὶ τ ὴ ν πορφ ύ ρα
ἀ π έ θετο, βουλ ό μενος α ὑ τ ὸ ν ἴ σον το ῖ ς
πολλο ῖ ς κα ὶ πρ ᾷό ν τινα
κα ὶ δημοτικ ὸ ν ὑ πογρ ά φειν. ὅ σ ῳ
δ ὲ τ ὴ ν ἐ σθ ῆ τα δημοτικωτ έ ραν περιετ ί θετο,
τοσο ύ τ ῳ τ ὴ ν
ἐ ξουσ ί αν ἐ λ ά μβανε
με ί ζω κα ὶ μοναρχικωτ έ ραν .
Plutarch Phokion 34: κα ὶ προσ ῆ ν τ ὸ
σχ ῆ μα τ ῇ κομιδ ῆ λυπηρόν,
ἐ φ ᾿ ἁ μάξαις κομιζομένων
α ὐ τ ῶ ν δι ὰ
το ῦ Κεραμεικο ῦ πρ ὸ ς
τ ὸ θέατρον· ἐ κε ῖ
γ ὰ ρ α ὐ το ὺ ς
προσαγαγ ὼ ν ὁ Κλε ῖ τος
συνε ῖ χεν, ἄ χρι ο ὗ
τ ὴ ν ἐ κκλησίαν ἐ πλήρωσαν
ο ἱ ἄ ρχοντες, ο ὐ
δο ῦ λον, ο ὐ ξένον, ο ὐ κ
ἄ τιμον ἀ ποκρίναντες, ἀ λλ ὰ
π ᾶ σι κα ὶ πάσαις ἀ ναπεπταμένον
τ ὸ β ῆ μα κα ὶ
τ ὸ θέατρον παρασχόντες. ἐ πε ὶ δ ὲ ἥ τε
ἐ πιστολ ὴ το ῦ βασιλέως ἀ νεγνώσθη, λέγοντος
α ὐ τ ῷ μ ὲ ν
ἐ γν ῶ σθαι προδότας γεγονέναι το ὺ ς
ἄ νδρας, ἐ κείνοις δ ὲ διδόναι τ ὴ ν κρίσιν
ἐ λευθέροις τε δ ὴ κα ὶ α ὐ τονόμοις
ο ὖ σι, κα ὶ το ὺ ς
ἄ νδρας ὁ Κλε ῖ τος ε ἰ σήγαγεν,
ο ἱ μ ὲ ν ἐ νεκαλύψαντο
κα ὶ κάτω κύψαντες ἐ δάκρυον, ε ἷ ς
δ ὲ ἀ ναστ ὰ ς
ἐ τόλμησεν ε ἰ πε ῖ ν ὅ τι, τηλικαύτην
κρίσιν ἐ γκεχειρικότος τ ῷ δήμ ῳ
το ῦ βασιλέως, καλ ῶ ς ἔ χει
το ὺ ς δούλους κα ὶ ξένους ἀ πελθε ῖ ν ἐ κ τ ῆ ς
ἐ κκλησίας .
E.g. Bringmann 2000, Schmidt-Dounas 2000, Ma 2002, Chaniotis
Habicht 1970; Price 1984, 23–53; Ma 2002; Chaniotis 2007b.
IG II 2 834.
43,000 drachmas. This roughly corresponds to the annual income of 120
mercenary soldiers (cf. note 41).
IG II 2 1705.
IG II 2 834 lines 1-6.
Inschriften von Priene 19.
SEG XLVIII 1104; emphasis mine.
Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum 3 569.
In this period one drachma is the daily honorarium of a mercenary
soldier. It is hard to determine the equivalent in contemporary sums of
money, but it is safe to assume that 7,000 drachmas corresponds to at
least 250,000 euros (probably more).
I. Beroia 2 = SEG XLVII 891, lines 5–17.
Chaniotis 2004:no. 1: ἐ πε ὶ Ἑ ρμογ έ νης Ἡ φαιστ ί ωνος
Θ̣ε ό δοτος, τ ῶ ν πρ ώ των
κα ὶ ἐ νδοξοτ ά των
πολειτ ῶ ν, προγ ό νων ὑ π ά ρχων τ ῶ ν μεγ ί στων
κα ὶ συνεκτικ ό των τ ὸ ν
δ ῆ μον κα ὶ ἐ ν
ἀ ρ̣ετ ῆ ι κα ὶ φιλοδοξ ί αις
κα ὶ ἐ πανγελ ί αις
πλε ί σταις κα ὶ το ῖ ς
καλλ ί στοις ἔ ργοις πρ ὸ ς
τ ὴ ν πατρ ί δα
βε < βι > ωκ ό των, κα ὶ α ὐ τ ὸ ς γεγον ὼ ς ἀ ν ὴ ρ καλ ὸ ς κα ὶ ἀ γαθ ὸ ς κα ὶ
φιλ ό πατρις κα ὶ κτ ί στης
κα ὶ ε ὐ εργ̣ έ της
τ ῆ ς π ό λεως κα ὶ
σωτ ὴ ρ κα ὶ ε ὐ ν ό ως κα ὶ σωφρ ό νως
ἀ νεστραμμ έ νος πρ ό ς τε τ ὸ ν
σ ύ νπαντα δ ῆ μον κα ὶ
το ὺ ς καθ έ να τ ῶ ν
πολ̣ειτ ῶ ν κα ὶ πρ ὸ ς
θεο ὺ ς ε ὐ σεβ έ στατα
διακε ί μενος κα ὶ πρ ὸ ς
τ ὴ ν [π]ατρ ί δα, φιλοδοξ ό τατα
κοσμ ή σας α ὐ τ ὴ ν
ἐ πανγελ ί αις καλλ ί σ[τ]α̣ις κα ὶ ἀ ναθ ή μασιν, ε ἰ ς
πολλ ὰ ς δ ὲ πρεσβ ή ας
κα ὶ ἀ νανκαιοτ ά τας
[πρ] οχειρισθε ὶ ς κα ὶ ε ἰ ς
ἀ γ ῶ νας κατ ὰ τ ὸ
κ ά λλιστον ἐ τ έ λεσεν
[π] ά ντα, τ ά ς τε ἀ ρχ ὰ ς π ά σας ἐ πιδεξ ά μενος κα ὶ χιροτονηθε ὶ ς
π̣λεον ά κις ἐ πισ ή μως
ἀ νεστρ ά φη δικα ί ως κα ὶ
καθαρ ῶ ς, παρ ά τε τα ῖ ς
ἐ ξουσ ί αις κα ὶ το ῖ ς
ἡ γουμ έ νοις πλε ί στην γν ῶ σιν
κα ὶ σ ύ στ[α]σιν σχ ὼ ν
ε ὐ εργ έ τησεν κα ὶ
δι ὰ το ύ των μ έ γιστα
τ ὴ ν π ό λιν· α ἱ ρεθε ὶ ς δ ὲ κα ὶ
στεφανηφ ό ρος ἐ τ έ λεσεν
κα ὶ α ὐ τ ὴ ν
τ ὴ ν λειτουργ ί αν [ ἱ ]εροπρεπ ῶ ς κα ὶ κοσμ ί ως·
ἐ φ ᾿ ο ἷ ς π ᾶ σιν
ἀ ποδεξ ά μενος α ὐ τ ὸ ν
ὁ δ ῆ μος ἀ π έ δωκεν
α ὐ τ ῶ ι τ ὰ ς
καταξ ί ας χ ά ριτας· τ ὰ
δ ὲ ν ῦ ν μετ ή ̣λλ̣ακχεν
τ ὸ ν β ί ον, καθ ή κει
δ ὲ ἐ π ί σημον
κα ὶ τ ὴ ν ἐ κκομιδ ὴ ν γεν έ σθ̣αι α ὐ το ῦ · δεδ ό χθαι τ ῇ
βουλ ῇ κα ὶ τ ῶ ι
δ ή μωι ἐ π ῃ ν ῆ σθαι α ὐ τ ὸ ν
κα ὶ μετηλλ̣α̣χ ό τα κα ὶ
στεφανωθ ῆ ναι ὑ π ὸ
τ ῆ ς βουλ ῆ ς κα ὶ
το ῦ δ ή μου στεφ ά νωι
ἀ ριστ ή ωι ἀ π ὸ
χρυσ ῶ ν ἑ κατ ό ν .
For this development in Aphrodisias see Chaniotis 2005b.
SEG XXVII 1540.
Migeotte 1995 and 2003; cf. Schuler 2005, Rhodes 2007.
Theophrastos Characters 22.
Plutarch Alcibiades 10.1 = Migeotte 1992:no. 1;
Plutarch Phokion 9 = Migeotte 1992:no. 5.
Demosthenes 18.312 = Migeotte 1992:no. 7.
Demosthenes 21.161-162 = Migeotte 1992:no. 4.
Migeotte 1992:no. 37.
Migeotte 1992:106 note 11.
Migeotte 1992:no. 69.
Migeotte 1992:no. 53.
Migeotte 1992:no. 50, Migeotte 2000:167–169.
Habicht 1982:26–33, 178–185.
See for example Raeck 1995.
Chaniotis 2005c and 2007a:54–59.
IG II 2 657, lines 64–66.
Reynolds 1982:nos. 28 and 29.
Reynolds 1982:nos. 29 and 32.
Herakleides Account of the Cities in Greece 1-2
(Pfister): ἑ ορτα ὶ παντοδαπαί· φιλοσόφων παντοδαπ ῶ ν
ψυχ ῆ ς ἀ πάται κα ὶ ἀ νάπαυσις· σχολα ὶ πολλαί, θέαι
συνεχε ῖ ς. Τ ὰ γινόμενα ἐ κ
τ ῆ ς γ ῆ ς πάντα ἀ τίμητα
κα ὶ πρ ῶ τα τ ῇ γεύσει,
μικρ ῷ δ ὲ σπανιώτερα. …
ἔ στι δ ὲ τα ῖ ς μ ὲ ν θέαις
ἡ πόλις κα ὶ σχολα ῖ ς το ῖ ς
δημοτικο ῖ ς ἀ νεπαίσθητος
λιμο ῦ , λήθην ἐ μποιο ῦ σα
τ ῆ ς τ ῶ ν σίτων
προσφορ ᾶ ς. Pfister 1951
dates this work to the late third century BCE; Arenz 2005 prefers an
earlier date (c. 270-260 BCE), but his arguments are not conclusive.
Benefactions by kings: Ameling et al. 1995, Bringmann 2000,
Schmidt-Dounas 2000. Benefactions by the elite: Gauthier 1985.
Philostratos Lives of the Sophists 15.20:
ἀ ποθαν ό ντος δ ὲ α ὐ το ῦ ἐ ν τ ῷ
Μαραθ ῶ νι κα ὶ ἐ πισκ ή ψαντος το ῖ ς ἀ πελευθ έ ροις ἐ κε ῖ
θ ά πτειν Ἀ θηνα ῖ οι
τα ῖ ς τ ῶ ν ἐ φ ή βων χερσ ί ν ἁ ρπ ά σαντες ἐ ς ἄ στυ
ἤ νεγκαν προαπαντ ῶ ντες τ ῷ
λ έ χει π ᾶ σα ἡλικία δακρύοις ἅμα καὶ ἀνευφημοῦντες, ὅσα παῖδες
χρηστοῦ πατρὸς χηρεύσαντες.…
Collection of the relevant sources: Canali De Rossi 2007.
For a more detailed discussion of various aspects of theatrical behavior
in the Hellenistic world see Chaniotis 1997 and 2009.
For the concept of theatricality, especially in connection with public
and social life, see Burns 1972; cf. Postlewait and Davies 2003,
Theophrastos Characters 26.4: κα ὶ τ ὸ
μ έ σον δ ὲ τ ῆ ς
ἡ μ έ ρας ἐ ξι ὼ ν
τ ὸ ἱ μ ά τιον
μεμελημ έ νως ἀ ναβεβλημ έ νος
κα ὶ μ έ σην κουρ ὰ ν
κεκαρμ έ νος κα ὶ ἀ κριβ ῶ ς ἀ πωνυχισμ έ νος.
Theophrastos Characters 21.8: καὶ πομπεύσας δὲ μετὰ τῶν ἱππέων… ἀναβαλόμενος δὲ
θοἰμάτιον ἐν τοῖς μύωψι κατὰ τὴν ἀγορὰν περιπατεῖν ; 21.11:
παρεσκευασμένος λαμπρὸν ἱμάτιον ;
21.12: πλειστάκις δὲ ἀποκείρασθαι καὶ τοὺς
ὀδόντας λευκοὺς ἔχειν. καὶ τὰ ἱμάτια δὲ χρηστὰ
Diodoros 20.63.1–2: ἀ πετ ί θετο δ ᾿ ἐ ν το ῖ ς π ό τοις
τ ὸ τ ῆ ς τυρανν ί δος
ἀ ξ ί ωμα κα ὶ τ ῶ ν
τυχ ό ντων ἰ διωτ ῶ ν
ταπειν ό τερον ἑ αυτ ὸ ν
ἀ πεδε ί κνυε … ὑ π ά ρχων
δ ὲ κα ὶ φ ύ σει
γελωτοποι ὸ ς κα ὶ μ ῖ μος
ο ὐ δ ᾿ ἐ ν
τα ῖ ς ἐ κκλησ ί αις
ἀ πε ί χετο το ῦ σκ ώ πτειν
το ὺ ς καθημ έ νους κα ί τινας
α ὐ τ ῶ ν ε ἰ κ ά ζειν, ὥ στε τ ὸ
πλ ῆ θος πολλ ά κις ε ἰ ς
γ έ λωτα ἐ κτρ έ πεσθαι,
καθ ά περ τιν ὰ τ ῶ ν
ἠ θολ ό γων ἢ θαυματοποι ῶ ν
θεωρο ῦ ντας .
Polybius 26.1.4 (= Athenaios X, 439a); cf. Diodoros 29.32.
Athenaios V 195f: ἀναπηδήσας γυμνὸς ὠρχεῖτο καὶ
ὑπεκρίνετο μετὰ τῶν γελωτοποιῶν .
Wallace-Hadrill 1982:34 .
Stobaeus 4.7.62:268, lines 2–12 (Hense): χωρίζοντα μ ὲ ν ἑ αυτ ὸ ν
ἀ π ὸ τ ῶ ν ἀ νθρωπίνων παθέων,
συνεγγ ί ζοντα δ ὲ το ῖ ς
θεο ῖ ς, ο ὐ δι ᾿ ὑ περαφαν ί αν, ἀ λλ ὰ δι ὰ μεγαλοφροσ ύ ναν
κα ὶ μ έ γεθος ἀ ρετ ᾶ ς ἀ νυπ έ ρβλατον,
τοια ύ ταν α ὑ τ ῷ ἐ πιπρ έ π ῃ αν
κα ὶ προστασ ί αν ἀ μφιβαλλ ό μενον κα ὶ καττ ὰ ὄ ψιν κα ὶ καττ ὼ ς
λογισμ ὼ ς κα ὶ καττ ὰ ἐ νθυμ ή ματα κα ὶ
καττ ὸ ἆ θος τ ᾶ ς
ψυχ ᾶ ς κα ὶ καττ ὰ ς
πρ ά ξιας κα ὶ καττ ὰ
κ ί νασιν κα ὶ καττ ὰ
θ έ σιν το ῦ σ ώ ματος,
ὥ στε τ ὼ ς ποταυγασμ έ νως α ὐ τ ὸ ν κατακοσμαθ ῆ μεν
καταπεπλαγμ έ νως α ἰ δο ῖ
κα ὶ σωφροσ ύ ν ᾳ τε
< κα ὶ > διαθ έ σει τε τ ᾷ
περ ὶ τ ὰ ν ἐ πιπρ έ π ῃ αν…. (cf. 42, 17–43, 9
(Delatte, who plausibly reads ἐ πιτρέπ ῃ αν ).
Stobaeus 4.7.62:270, lines 10-11 (Hense): ἐ π ὶ
π ᾶ σι δ ὲ τούτοις μναμονεύειν
δε ῖ ὅ τι θε ό μιμ ό ν ἐ ντι πρ ᾶ γμα
βασιλ ῄ α .
Stobaeus 4.7.62:266, 23–267, 16 (Hense): ποτ ὶ δ ὲ το ῖ ς
ἀ γορευομένοις δε ῖ κα ὶ θέσιας
κα ὶ ἕ ξιας ἐ πιπρεπέας
ἐ πιταδεύειν τ ὸ ν ἀ γαθ ὸ ν βασιλέα,
πολιτικ ῶ ς α ὐ τ ὸ ν πλάσσοντα
κα ὶ πραγματειωδέως, ὅ πως μήτε τραχ ὺ ς φαίνηται
το ῖ ς πλάθεσι μήτ ᾿ ε ὐ καταφρόνητος,
ἁ λλ ὰ κα ὶ ἁ δ ὺ ς κα ὶ ἀ μφιστραφής·
ταύξεται δ ὲ τούτων, α ἴ κα πρ ᾶ τον
μ ὲ ν σεμν ὸ ς ᾖ
κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ῶ ἰ δ ὲ ν κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ῶ ἀ κο ῦ σαι κα ὶ ἐ κ
τ ῶ ἄ ξιος ἐ πιφαίνεσθαι
τ ᾶ ς ἀ ρχ ᾶ ς, δεύτερον
δ ὲ χρηστ ὸ ς κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ᾶ ς ἐ ντεύξιος
κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ᾶ ς ποτιβλέψιος
κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ᾶ ς
ε ὐ εργεσίας, τρίτον δ ὲ δειν ὸ ς
κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ᾶ ς μισοποναρίας
κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ᾶ ς κολάσιος
κα ὶ ἐ κ τ ᾶ ς
ἐ πιταχύσιος κα ὶ ὅ λως ἐ κ
τ ᾶ ς ἐ μπειρίας κα ὶ
τριβ ᾶ ς τ ᾶ ς περ ὶ
τ ὸ βασιλεύειν. ἁ μ ὲ ν σεμνότας
θεόμιμον ὑ πάρχουσα πρ ᾶ γμα δύναται θαυμαζόμενον
κα ὶ τιμώμενον α ὐ τ ὸ ν παρέχεσθαι
το ῖ ς πλάθεσιν, ἁ δ ὲ χρηστότας
φιλεύμενον κα ὶ ἀ γαπαζόμενον, ἁ
δ ὲ δεινότας φοβερ ὸ ν μ ὲ ν
κα ὶ ἀ νίκατον ποτ ὶ πολεμίως,
μεγαλόψυχον δ ὲ κα ὶ θαρσαλέον ποτ ὶ
Polybius 26.1.3–5 (cf. Athenaios X 439): ἔ πειτα κα ὶ
μετ ὰ δημοτ ῶ ν ἀ νθρώπων
συγκαταβαίνων ὡ μίλει, ᾧ τύχοι, κα ὶ
μετ ὰ τ ῶ ν παρεπιδημούντων συνέπινε
τ ῶ ν ε ὐ τελεστάτων .
Polybius 26.1: πολλ ά κις
δ ὲ κα ὶ τ ὴ ν
βασιλικ ὴ ν ἀ ποθ έ μενος
ἐ σθ ῆ τα τ ή βενναν ἀ ναλαβ ὼ ν περι ῄ ει κατ ὰ
τ ὴ ν ἀ γορ ὰ ν
ἀ ρχαιρεσι ά ζων κα ὶ το ὺ ς
μ ὲ ν δεξιο ύ μενος, το ὺ ς
δ ὲ κα ὶ περιπτ ύ σσων
παρεκ ά λει φ έ ρειν α ὑ τ ῷ τ ὴ ν ψ ῆ φον,
ποτ ὲ μ ὲ ν ὡ ς
ἀ γοραν ό μος γ έ νηται, ποτ ὲ
δ ὲ κα ὶ ὡ ς
δ ή μαρχος .
Sonkowsky 1959; Graf 1991; Sifakis 2002, 152–158; Chaniotis 2009.
http://www.nd.gr/ (accessed on Feb. 9, 2008).
Rhetorica ad Herennium 3.15.26–27: nam si erit sermo cum dignitate, stantis in
vestigio, levi dexterae motu, loqui oportebit, hilaritate,
tristitia, mediocritate vultus ad sermonis sententias adcommodata.
Sin erit in demonstratione sermo, paululum corpus a cervicibus
demittemus; nam est hoc datum ut quam proxime tum vultum admoveamus
ad auditores si quam rem docere eos et vehementer instigare
velimus.… Sin contentio fiet per distributionem, porrectione
perceleri brachii, inambulatione, pedis dexteri rara supplausione,
acri et defixo aspectu uti oportet .
Rhetorica ad Herennium 3.15.27: hoc tamen scire oportet, pronuntiationem bonam id
proficere, ut res ex animo agi videatur .
IosPE I 2 32 (c. 200 BCE).
B LL 1–21: Ἔ τι
δ ὲ το ῦ πλείστου μέρους
το ῦ πρ ὸ ς τ ὸ μ
ποτ[α] μ ὸ ν τ ῆ ς πόλεως ἀ τειχίστου
ὄ ντος, το ῦ τε κα[τ ὰ ] τ ὸ ν λιμένα
παντ ὸ ς κα ὶ το ῦ
κατ ὰ πρότερ[ον] ὑ πάρχον ἰ χθυοπώλιον,
ἕ ως ο ὗ ὁ ἥ ρως
ὁ Σωσίας, τ ῶ ν δ ὲ α ὐ τομόλων
ἐ παγγελόντωγ Γαλάτας κα ὶ Σκίρους πεποι ῆ σθαι συμμαχίαν
κα ὶ δύναμιν συν ῆ χθαι μεγάλην
κα ὶ ταύτην το ῦ χειμ ῶ νος
ἥ ξειν ἐ παγγελόντων, πρ ὸ ς δ ὲ τούτοις Θισαμάτας
κα ὶ Σκύθας κα ὶ Σαυδαράτας ἐ πιθυμε ῖ ν το ῦ ὀ χυρώματος,
δεδιότας ὡ σαύτως κα ὶ α ὐ το ὺ ς τ ὴ ν τ ῶ γ
Γαλατ ῶ ν ὠ μότητα, κα ὶ
δι ὰ το ῦ το πολλ ῶ ν
ἐ χόντων ἀ θύμως κα ὶ παρεσκευασμένων
ἐ γλειπε ῖ ν τ ὴ μ πόλιν, ἅ μα
δ ὲ τ ῶ ι κα ὶ ἄ λλα γεγεν ῆ σθαι ἐ λαττώματα
πολλ ὰ κατ ὰ τ ὴ γ χώραν,
ἐ φθάρθαι μ ὲ ν τ ὴ ν ο ἰ κετείαν
ἅ πασαν κα ὶ το ὺ ς τ ὴ μ παρώρειαν
ο ἰ κο ῦ ντας Μιξέλληνας,
ο ὐ ἐ λάττους ὄ ντας
τ ὸ ν ἀ ριθμ ὸ ν χιλίων
κα ὶ πεντακοσίων, το ὺ ς ἐ ν
τ ῶ ι προτέρωι πολέμωι συμμαχήσαντας ἐ ν
τ ῆ ι πόλει, ἐ γλελοιπέναι δ ὲ
πολλο ὺ ς μ ὲ ν τ ῶ γ ξένων,
ο ὐ κ ὀ λίγους δ ὲ
τ ῶ ν πολιτ ῶ ν.
B LL 21–27: ὧ ν
ἕ νεκεν συνελθ ὼ ν ὁ δ ῆ μος
διηγωνιακ ὼ ς κα ὶ τ ὸ γ κίνδυνον
τ ὸ μ μέλλοντα κα ὶ τ ὰ
δειν ὰ πρ ὸ ὀ φθαλμ ῶ ν ποιούμενος παρεκάλει πάντας το ὺ ς
ἰ σχύοντας βοηθ ῆ σαι κα ὶ μ ὴ
περιιδε ῖ ν τ ὴ ν ἐ κ
πολλ ῶ ν τετηρημένημ πατρίδα ὑ ποχείριον
γενομένην το ῖ ς πολεμίοις .
B LL 27–31: ο ὐ δεν ὸ ς
δ ᾿ ἐ πιδιδόντος ἑ αυτ ὸ ν ο ὔ τ ᾿
ε ἰ ς ἅ παντα ο ὔ τ ᾿ ε ἰ ς μέρη ὧ ν
ἠ ξίου ὁ δ ῆ μος, ἐ παγγείλατο
α ὐ τ ὸ ς κατασκευ ᾶ ν
ἀ μφότερα τ ὰ τείχη κα ὶ προθήσειμ π ᾶ σαν
τ ὴ ν ε ἰ ς α ὐ τ ὰ δαπάνην etc.
Cf. Aristotle Poetics 1455:a23: πρὸ ὀμμάτων τιθέναι .
Poseidonios Histories fragment 247 (Theiler)
(Athenaios V, 212 b-e): ἔπεμψαν ἐπὶ τὴν
ἀνα κομιδὴν αὐτοῦ ναῦς μακρὰς καὶ φορεῖον ἀργυρόπουν. ἀλλ᾿ εἰσῄειν
ἤδη, καὶ σχεδὸν τὸ πλεῖστον μέρος τῆς πόλεως ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκδοχὴν αὐτοῦ
ἐξεκέχυτο· συνέτρεχον δὲ πολλοὶ καὶ ἄλλοι θεαταὶ τὸ παράδοξον τῆς
τύχης θαυμάζοντες, εἰ ὁ παρέγγραφος Ἀθηνίων εἰς Ἀθήνας ἐπ᾿
ἀργυρόποδος κατακομίζεται φορείου καὶ πορφυρῶν στρωμάτων… συνέτρεχον
οὖν πρὸς τὴν θέαν ταύτην ἄνδρες, γυναῖκες, παῖδες τὰ κάλλιστα
προσδοκῶντες παρὰ Μιθριδάτου… ἀπήντησαν δ᾿ αὐτῷ καὶ οἱ περὶ τὸν
Διόνυσον τεχνῖται, τὸν ἄγγελον τοῦ νέου Διονύσου, καλοῦντες ἐπὶ τὴν
κοινὴν ἑστίαν καὶ τὰς περὶ ταύτην εὐχάς τε καὶ σπονδάς. … ἀφ᾿ ἧς
(sc. οἰκίας) ἐξῄει χλαμύδα λαμπρὰν ἐπισύρων καὶ περικείμενος
δακτύλιον χρυσίου ἐγγεγλυμμένην ἔχοντα τὴν Μιθριδάτου εἰκόνα … ἐν δὲ
τῷ τεμένει τῶν τεχνιτῶν θυσίαι τε ἐπετελοῦντο ἐπὶ τῇ Ἀθηνίωνος
παρουσίᾳ καὶ μετὰ κήρυκος προαναφωνήσεως σπονδαί. … ἀναβὰς οὖν ἐπὶ
τὸ βῆμα… στὰς ἐπὶ τούτου καὶ περιβλέψας κυκληδὸν τὸ πλῆθος, ἔπειτ᾿
ἀναβλέψας «ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι» ἔφη «τὰ πράγματα μέν με βιάζεται καὶ τὸ
τῆς πατρίδος συμφέρον ἀπαγγέλλειν ἃ οἶδα, τὸ δὲ μέγεθος τῶν
μελλόντων λέγεσθαι διὰ τὸ παράδοξον τῆς περιστάσεως ἐμποδίζει με».
ἁθρόως δ᾿ ἐπιβοησάντων αὐτῷ τῶν περιεστώτων θαρρεῖν καὶ λέγειν,
«λέγω τοίνυν» ἔφη «τὰ μηδέποτε ἐλπισθέντα…»· μικρὸν δ᾿ ἐπισχὼν ἐπὶ
τούτοις καὶ ἐάσας τοὺς πολλοὺς συλλαλῆσαι περὶ τῶν παραδόξως
προηγγελμένων τρίψας τε τὸ μέτωπον «τί οὖν» εἶπε
For a more detailed analysis see Chaniotis 2009.
Zanker 1995; cf. Lewerentz 1993.
Zanker 1995:267 (figure 5).
See also Wörrle 1995.
Quintilianus Institutio oratoria 11.3.147.
Kondylis 1991:197: “Die Realität der Gleichheit ist für das
Funktionieren der Massendemokratie viel weniger wichtig als die
Potenzialität der Gleichheit.… Das Gefühl der Gleichheit ist stärker als
die Realität der Gleichheit.”
Plutarch Lycurgus 6: φλυαρ ώ δεις ἀ περγαζ ό μεναι
κα ὶ χα ύ νους φρον ή ματι
κεν ῷ τ ὰ ς διανο ί ας
τ ῶ ν συμπορευομ έ νων ὅ ταν
ε ἰ ς ἀ γ ά λματα
κα ὶ γραφ ὰ ς ἢ
προσκ ή νια θε ά τρων ἢ
στ έ γας βουλευτηρ ί ων ἠ σκημ έ νας περιττ ῶ ς ἐ κκλησι ά ζοντες ἀ ποβλ έ πωσι .