The Folds of Parnassos

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The Folds of Parnassos

Land and Ethnicity in Ancient Phokis

By Jeremy McInerney

This book argues that for some Greeks the ethnos, a regionally based ethnic group, and the koinon, or regional confederation, were equally valid units of social and political life and that these ethnic identities were astonishingly durable.

2000

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Paperback

6 x 9 | 407 pp. | 20 halftones, 8 maps, 3 tables

ISBN: 978-0-292-75230-6

Independent city-states (poleis) such as Athens have been viewed traditionally as the most advanced stage of state formation in ancient Greece. By contrast, this pioneering book argues that for some Greeks the ethnos, a regionally based ethnic group, and the koinon, or regional confederation, were equally valid units of social and political life and that these ethnic identities were astonishingly durable.

Jeremy McInerney sets his study in Phokis, a region in central Greece dominated by Mount Parnassos that shared a border with the panhellenic sanctuary at Delphi. He explores how ecological conditions, land use, and external factors such as invasion contributed to the formation of a Phokian territory. Then, drawing on numerous interdisciplinary sources, he traces the history of the region from the Archaic age down to the Roman period. McInerney shows how shared myths, hero cults, and military alliances created an ethnic identity that held the region together over centuries, despite repeated invasions. He concludes that the Phokian koinon survived because it was founded ultimately on the tenacity of the smaller communities of Greece.

Jeremy McInerney is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

"There is considerable scholarly interest in those regions of Greece, including Phokis, where the poleis did not emerge as the principal form of community in the archaic period. I have no doubt that this study will make an important contribution to the field and will have a wide readership."
—Paula Perlman, author of City and Sanctuary in Ancient Greece: The Theorodokia in the Peloponnese