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The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
THE ATHENIAN EXPERIMENT
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
THE
ATHENIAN EXPERIMENT
building an imagined
political community
in ancient attica,
508–490 b.c.
greg anderson
The University of Michigan Press
Ann Arbor
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
Copyright © by the University of Michigan 
All rights reserved
Published in the United States of America by
The University of Michigan Press
Manufactured in the United States of America
∞ Printed on acid-free paper
   
   
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise,
without the written permission of the publisher.
A CIP catalog record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Anderson, Greg, –
The Athenian experiment : building an imagined political community in
ancient Attica, – B.C. / Greg Anderson.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN --- (Cloth : alk. paper)
. Athens (Greece)—Politics and government. I. Title.
JC .A 
′.—dc

The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
For
Mum & Dad
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
PREFACE
The present study offers a revisionist approach to the history of preclassical Athens. It aims, above all, to show how, in a relatively small space of
time, the course of this history was dramatically altered. Entering the last
decade of the sixth century, Athens was a city-state of little more than middling
importance, plagued by chronic military vulnerability and recurring bouts of
political turmoil. By  B.C., this same state had been transformed almost beyond recognition: it was now guided by what would prove to be an exceptionally stable form of popular government, and it was poised to enjoy an unprecedented in×uence over the shape of Greek history and culture in the
decades to come. This book seeks to understand what happened in the meantime.
The ideas presented here have been long in gestation. Some I have lived
with since the late 1980s, when I µrst arrived in the United States from the
United Kingdom as a graduate student and began to take a serious interest in
the cultural and political history of Athens. The project took shape as a doctoral thesis, completed in 1997, and the core µndings of that work reappear
largely intact in this one. The presentation is, however, quite different. In the
hope of reaching an audience a little larger than the three who were lucky
enough to read my dissertation, I have tried hard to make the arguments accessible to those with only a general knowledge of Greek history. This has not
always been easy, given the intractable nature of some of the evidence. But at
least the reader’s patience will not be too exercised by Greek words, phrases,
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
viii
■
Preface
and quotations, which are all translated (by the author) and appear in transliterated form wherever possible. As for Greek names and places, I guarantee only
that each instance is spelled consistently throughout.
I am very grateful to the institutions that have sustained me over the last
thirteen years: to the Departments of Classics at Johns Hopkins and Yale, where
I did my graduate study, and to Elmira College and the Departments of History and Classics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where I have
since taught. The book was largely completed by Fall during my time at UIC.
In Fall , a new position in the Classics Department at Wright State University made it possible for me to join my wife and family in Dayton, Ohio,
where the manuscript was prepared for publication. Thanks are also owed to the
American School of Classical Studies in Athens. My experiences there during
the summer of  and the academic year – did much to make the realm
of archaeology less intimidating. For help with the comparative perspective that
informs this study, I am indebted to Alex Wendt and Juan Linz, professors of
political science and sociology, who supervised my independent researches into
nation building and political identity formation during my time at Yale. I feel
a particularly deep sense of gratitude to my dissertation advisors: to Victor Bers,
for his keen attention to detail and his all-purpose humanity; to Jerome Pollitt,
for his unstinting support of my nonspecialist efforts to grapple with archaeological evidence; and to my supervisor, Donald Kagan, for encouraging a project with which he was not initially too sympathetic and for pushing me to produce a piece of work more compelling than I thought possible.
Findings from the study have been presented in a variety of settings—conferences, workshops, symposia, and job talks—and all comments have been
much appreciated. For invitations to participate in very lively symposia at the
University of Chicago and Northwestern University, I am especially grateful to
Sara Fordyce and to Bob Wallace, my former teacher at Johns Hopkins, who
µrst stirred my interest in Greek history. No one has done more to help ease
the transition of this work from thesis to book than Kurt Raa×aub. It has
beneµted immensely from his matchless judgment and knowledge. His generosity to younger colleagues is exemplary, and I thank him sincerely. Thanks,
too, to the anonymous readers of the University of Michigan Press, for helping me to strengthen this book in numerous ways, and to the successive editors at the press, Ellen Bauerle and Collin Ganio, for their expertise and forbearance. Many have helped me with the burdensome task of assembling
permissions, plans, and photographs for the illustrations, particularly Jan Jordan and Craig Mauzy at the Agora Excavations in Athens. More generally,
among those who have taken an interest in my work over the years, I should
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
Preface
■
ix
acknowledge Michael Alexander, Ewan Anderson, Liam Anderson, Dave
Berkey, John Camp, Jonathan Hall, James Hanley, Peter Jones, Phil Kaplan,
Soo-Yeon Kim, Ann-Marie Knoblauch, Tom Marier, Nanno Marinatos, John
Ramsey, P. J. Rhodes, Vasily Rudich, Sevi Triantaphyllou, and David West.
The ultimate debt must always be to one’s family. My brothers, Linus and
Jim, remain the best friends that one could imagine. Alpana, my wife, means
more to me than I feel comfortable saying; without her sel×ess support and
love in the latter stages, this book would not exist. It is dedicated with love and
humble thanks to my parents, Sian and Ewan Anderson, who have given me
so much for so long.
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
CONTENTS
List of Figures xiii
Abbreviations xv
Introduction 1
part 1


political change
11
From City-State to Region-State 13
In Search of Popular Government 43
part 2


■
■
physical setting
85
The Agora: Showcase for a New Regime 87
The Acropolis: New Departures among Old
Certainties 104
part 3
■
imagined community

Tribes, Heroes, and the “Reuniµcation”
of Attica 123
 The New Order at War 147
 The Festival of All the Athenians 158
 Ritual Ties between Center
and Periphery 178
 Change and Memory 197
Conclusion 212
Notes 219
Bibliography
Index 299
Plates 309
281
121
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
LIST OF FIGURES
 Classical Athens
 Attica
 Find-spots of evidence for funerary kouroi and
korai in Attica, ca. – B.C.
 The “Anavyssos kouros,” ca.  B.C.
 The system of demes, trittyes, and tribes
after / B.C.
 Peisistratid structures in the southwest corner
of the Agora area
 The “Old Agora” northeast of the Acropolis
 Modiµcations to the west side of the Agora,
ca.  B.C.
 The Agora, ca.  B.C.
 The Old Bouleuterion, ca.  B.C.
 The Stoa Basileios, ca.  B.C.
 Reconstructed pediments of the “Bluebeard temple,”
ca.  B.C.
 Temples on the mid-sixth-century Acropolis
 The “Peplos” kore, ca.  B.C.
 Plan of the Old Athena Temple, ca. – B.C.
 Reconstruction of Gigantomachy pediment of
Old Athena Temple, ca. – B.C.
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
xiv
■
List of Figures
 Theseus and Prokrustes (?) from the Athenian
Acropolis, ca. – B.C.
 Theseus slays the Minotaur on black-µgure amphora,
ca. – B.C.
 Attic red-µgure cup showing six deeds of Theseus,
ca. – B.C.
 Theseus and the bull in a metope from the Athenian
treasury at Delphi, ca.  B.C.
 Pyrrhic dancer on a black-µgure pelike, ca.  B.C.
 Apobate–s on a black-µgure lekythos, ca.  B.C.
 Plan of the City Eleusinion with temple of
Triptolemos (erected ca.  B.C.)
 Telesteria at the sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis
 Triptolemos scene on a red-µgure hydria,
ca. – B.C.
 Statues of the Tyrannicides by Kritios and Nesiotes,
/ B.C.
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
ABBREVIATIONS
For ancient authors and their works, I generally used the abbreviations recommended in The Oxford Classical Dictionary3 (Oxford, ). The most notable exceptions follow.
A.
AP
Diod.
E.
Harpoc.
Hesych.
Lyc.
P.
S.
Aeschylus
[Aristotle] Athenaion politeia
Diodorus Siculus
Euripides
Harpocration
Hesychius
Lycurgus
Pindar
Sophocles
Since this book covers quite a wide range of subject areas, I include the following comprehensive list of abbreviations for periodicals, works of reference,
and museums.
AA
ABL
ABV
AC
Acrop.
Archäologischer Anzeiger
E. Haspels. Attic Black-Figured Lekythoi. Oxford, .
J. D. Beazley. Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters. Oxford, .
L’Antiquité classique
Acropolis Museum, Athens
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
xvi
Agora
AHB
AJA
AJAH
AJP
AM
■
Abbreviations
Agora Museum, Athens
Ancient History Bulletin
American Journal of Archaeology
American Journal of Ancient History
American Journal of Philology
Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts,
Athenische Abteilung
AntK
Antike Kunst
ArkhDelt Arkhaiologikon Deltion
ArkhEph Arkhaiologike Ephemeris
ARV 
J. D. Beazley. Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters. Oxford, .
AW
Ancient World
BCH
Bulletin de correspondance hellénique
BICS
Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies
BM
British Museum
BSA
Annual of the British School at Athens
CA
Classical Antiquity
Cab. Méd. Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
CAH
Cambridge Ancient History
C&M
Classica et Mediaevalia
CJ
Classical Journal
CP
Classical Philology
CR
Classical Review
CW
Classical World
DABF
J. D. Beazley. The Development of Attic Black Figure.
Cambridge, .
EM
Epigraphic Museum, Athens
FGrH
F. Jacoby, ed. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker.
Berlin and Leiden, –.
GRBS
Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
Hesp.
Hesperia
Hist.
Historia
HSCP
Harvard Studies in Classical Philology
HThR
Harvard Theological Review
IG
Inscriptiones Graecae
JdI
Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts
JHS
Journal of Hellenic Studies
LCM
Liverpool Classical Monthly
LIMC
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae
The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C.
Greg Anderson
http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=17798
The University of Michigan Press
Abbreviations
MEFR
MH
MM
NM
OpAth
Para.
Philol.
PMG
P. Oxy.
PP
RA
RE
REA
REG
RhM
SEG
TAPA
TGF
WS
ZPE
■
xvii
Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’École française de
Rome
Museum Helveticum
Metropolitan Museum, New York
National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Opuscula Atheniensia
J. D. Beazley. Paralipomena: Additions to Attic Black-Figure
Vase-Painters and Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters. Oxford,
.
Philologus
D. L. Page, ed. Poetae Melici Graeci. Oxford, .
Oxyrhynchus Papyri
La parola del passato
Revue archéologique
A. Pauly, G. Wissowa, and W. Kroll, eds. Real-Encyclopädie
der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft. Stuttgart and Munich,
–.
Revue des études anciennes
Revue des études grecques
Rheinisches Museum für Philologie
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum
Transactions of the American Philological Association
B. Snell et al., eds. Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta.  vols.
Göttingen, –.
Wiener Studien
Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik
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