Reaffirming regional identity : cohesive institutions and local interactions in Ionia 386-129 BC
This thesis is a study in intra-regional dynamics which seeks to clarify the ways in
which the poleis of Ionia interacted with each other in the period 386-129 BC. It does
so by means of two main studies, which are set in their historical context in chapter 2,
in which it is shown that the poleis that constituted Ionia were free and autonomous
for only brief stretches of time, and that it was more normal for them to be
individually aligned to one or other of the higher powers of the Graeco-Roman world
that periodically took an interest in the region. In spite of this mixed political context,
in which these alignments split the region into separate camps rather than preserved it
as a single unity, the Ionian poleis maintained and developed a series of cohesive
institutions that linked them together as an externally and internally defined group.
The creation of joint religious sites at a variety of locations, the group celebration of
festivals and sacrifices, and the existence of a religious amphictiony (the Koinon of
the Ionians), all served to preserve this exclusive identity throughout this period.
This picture of regional identity and harmony contrasts with the evidence for
local interactions between the Ionian poleis, and between the Ionian poleis and their
non-Ionian neighbours, which attests occasional outbreaks of warfare, raiding, and a
need for arbitration and external judgements, although the general situation was one
of calm. No distinction can be made in the forms of interaction that occurred between
the Ionian poleis and between the Ionian and non-Ionian poleis, and the regional
identity thus seems to have had little importance in local politics. Comparison of the
regional and local forms of interaction shows that each performed a specific purpose
that did not impact on the other, although both were, and continued to be, of great
importance to each of the Ionian poleis.