Hellenicity

Hellenicity : Between Ethnicity and Culture

By (author) Jon Hall

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Jonathan M. Hall explores questions of ethnic and national identity in the context of ancient Greece in Hellenicity, drawing on an exceptionally wide range of evidence to determine when, how, why, and to what extent the Greeks conceived themselves as a single people. Hall argues that a subjective sense of Hellenic identity emerged in Greece much later than is normally assumed. For instance, he shows that the four main ethnic subcategories of the ancient Greeks - Akhaians, Ionians, Aiolians, and Dorians - were not primordial survivals from a premigratory period but emerged in precise historical circumstances during the eighth and seventh centuries BC. Furthermore, Hall demonstrates that the terms of defining Hellenic identity shifted from ethnic to broader cultural criteria during the course of the fifth century BC, chiefly due to the influence of Athens, whose citizens formulated a new Athenocentric conception of "Greekness."

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  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 163.6 x 237.7 x 24.9mm | 635.04g
  • 10 Jun 2002
  • The University of Chicago Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL
  • English
  • 5 maps, 6 line drawings
  • 0226313298
  • 9780226313290

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Author Information

Jonathan M. Hall is professor in the Department of History and the College and professor and chair of the Department of Classics and the Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity, which received the 1999 Charles J. Goodwin Award for Merit from the American Philological Association.

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Review quote

"This book represents a very valuable addition to the literature on the ancient Greeks' conceptualization of their own ethnic identity and its relation to their culture....An important and stimulating book." - Kathryn Lomas, Bryn Mawr Classical Review; "Hall's scholarship is throughout deeply impressive, thoroughly informed by the latest theory and expressed in vigorous prose. He writes accessibly for intelligent general readers." - Paul Cartledge, London Magazine"

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Flap copy

In today's cosmopolitan world, ethnic and national identity has assumed an ever-increasing importance. But how is this identity formed, and how does it change over time? With "Hellenicity," Jonathan M. Hall explores these questions in the context of ancient Greece, drawing on an exceptionally wide range of evidence to determine when, how, why, and to what extent the Greeks conceived of themselves as a single people. Hall argues that a subjective sense of Hellenic identity emerged in Greece much later than is normally assumed. For instance, he shows that the four main ethnic subcategories of the ancient Greeks-Akhaians, Ionians, Aiolians, and Dorians-were not primordial survivals from a premigratory period, but emerged in precise historical circumstances during the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. Furthermore, Hall demonstrates that the terms of defining Hellenic identity shifted from ethnic to broader cultural criteria during the course of the fifth century B.C., chiefly due to the influence of Athens, whose citizens formulated a new Athenoconcentric conception of "Greekness."

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