Freedom of the Greeks in the early Hellenistic period (337-262 BC): a study in ruler-city relations
Wallace, Shane Christopher
This thesis treats of the use and meaning of the Greek concept of eleutheria (freedom) and the cognate term autonomia (autonomy) in the early Hellenistic Period (c.337-262 BC) with a specific focus on the role these concepts played in the creation and formalisation of a working relationship between city and king. It consists of six chapters divided equally into three parts with each part exploring one of the three major research questions of this thesis. Part One, Narratives, treats of the continuities and changes within the use and understanding of eleutheria and autonomia from the 5th to the 3rd centuries. Part Two, Analysis, focuses on the use in action of both terms and the role they played in structuring and defining the relationship between city and king. Part Three, Themes, explores the importance of commemoration and memorialisation within the early Hellenistic city, particularly the connection of eleutheria with democratic ideology and the afterlife of the Persian Wars. Underpinning each of these three sections is the argument that eleutheria played numerous, diverse roles within the relationship between city and king. In particular, emphasis is continually placed variously on its lack of definition, inherent ambiguity, and the malleability of its use in action. Chapter one opens with the discovery of eleutheria during the Persian Wars and traces its development in the 5th and early 4th centuries, arguing in particular for a increasing synonymity between eleutheria and autonomia. Chapter two provides a narrative focused on the use and understanding of eleutheria in the years 337-262. It emphasises continuity rather than change in the use of eleutheria and provides a foundation for the subsequent analytical and thematic chapters. Chapter three analyses eleutheria itself. It emphasises the inherent fluidity of the term and argues that it eschewed definition and was adaptable to and compatible with many forms of royal control. Chapter four looks at the role of eleutheria within the relationship between city and king. It elaborates a distinction between Primary and Secondary freedom (freedom as a right or freedom as a gift) and treats of eleutheria as a point of either unity or discord within a city‘s relationship with a king. Chapter five explores the connection between freedom and democracy and looks at how the past was used to create and enforce a democratic present, specifically in constructing both Alexander‘s nachleben as either a tyrant or liberator and the validity of Athenian democratic ideology in the 3rd century. Chapter six concludes the thesis by returning to the Persian Wars. It analyses the use of the Wars as a conceptual prototype for later struggles, both by kings and by cities. Exploring the theme of the lieu de mémoire, it also outlines the significance of sites like Corinth and Plataia for personifying the historical memory of eleutheria.