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Title: Perceiving the Past in the Early Hellenistic Period: The Uses of the Past in Remodelling Reality
Authors: Pagkalos, Manolis E.
Supervisors: Shipley, Graham
Stewart, Daniel
Award date: 20-Aug-2018
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis examines the use of the past as a medium for the articulation of claims of present political power during the early Hellenistic period. The Hellenistic period marks an era of major changes both in the political and geographical landscapes. The polis, which remains the centre of political life, struggles between autonomy and dependence among the emerging political formations (Kingdoms and Koina). In the fluid political environment, the past presents an excellent opportunity: it can be used as a (re)confirmation of a certain identity, be it civic or collective, or can help to construct a new one. In either way, its potential is enormous. In the contemporary world, the connection between the use of the past and politics has been confirmed. However, this relationship was also clearly realised in the ancient world. Due to the workings of memory, the past has a central role in the political life of communities; memory and the use of the past are social and cultural forces, effectively altering the modes of representation and contemporary worldviews. And vice versa, any political decisions are seen in the light of civic or communal traditions – the cultural memory of each society. In the cases of Athens and Sparta, the opposition between contemporary realities and cultural memory is prolific and leads to unprecedented acts. In the absence of such a glorious past, the prolific historian Polybios constructs one for the Achaian League. Samos and Priene, without such hegemonic traditions but with a strong local presence, use the past for direct benefits. The examination of the data allows us to draw some conclusions concerning the agents behind the active manipulation of the past. Within a civic context, the potential of the past and its uses are largely understood by an active and ambitious elite with personal and state expediencies. The extent of their success partly depends on the realisation of the power they held.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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