Under and/or through the Border: Proxeny across Federal Borders in the Hellenistic Peloponnese
Although the conferral of proxenia in the Hellenistic Period has often been viewed as a primarily diplomatic gesture that served to create a link between two communities separated by long distances, in recent years our perspective has shifted to the smaller, more local scale on which proxenia often operates. This shift in perspective also entails a shift in our understanding of how the institution operates: in the local or regional environment the privileges associated with the status of proxenos such as asylia, ateleia or isoteleia, and enktesis would have been highly beneficial and practical perks rather than mere honorifics. This smaller-scale use of proxenia comes with intriguing implications for our understanding of federal borders in the Hellenistic Mainland: many communities are attested as having granted proxenia to individuals who hailed from communities belonging to other koina. How did this cross-federal proxenia operate in practice? Was it something that was done as a means of circumventing federal borders, or was it an acknowledged mechanism of facilitating cross-border exchange? This paper will use the Hellenistic Peloponnese and its rich federal landscape as a case study for considering the dynamics of proxenia across federal borders as a means of casting some light on these questions which in turn have broader ramifications for our understanding of Hellenistic federalism.
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Scientific responsibility and organization: Elena Franchi