Athletes, citizenships, and Hellenic identity during the Imperial period

Georgios Mouratidis

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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During the Hellenistic and Imperial periods, Greek populations coexisted with several other cultures, which were very often more multitudinous. Those ‘Hellenes’, however, came together in big Panhellenic and smaller, local festivals to honour their gods and celebrate their common Hellenic culture. As a result, numerous new festivals and contests were founded (and older ones grew bigger or were even re-founded) after the third century BC, gradually forming a large festival network. Even though this festival network has repeatedly been at the centre of scholarly attention – and still is – the rhetoric of athletic inscriptions, i.e. how athletic Panhellenism is demonstrated and what it is prompted by still remains largely unexplored. The main contribution of this paper is to demonstrate how the accumulation of citizenships by athletes contributes to Panhellenic self-representation, by showing another way that this association with Hellenic culture was communicated and negotiated in the public discourse. The portrayal of citizenships by an array of ethnic names along with the name of the honoree, presented the athlete as a larger-than-city figure and an essential part of that Hellenic community. One of the other aims of this paper is to suggest two factors in the development of these conventions of athletic representation, whose significance has not been understood in full: the athletic synod and the formation of Panhellenion. It is a central tenet of this paper that the study of citizenship in athletic inscriptions cannot only help us reveal more ways that Hellenicity was projected, but also better understand how all these different textual images helped shape views about what Hellas was.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-703
Number of pages28
JournalKlio. Beiträge zur Alten Geschichte
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2021


  • Ancient athletics
  • Citizenship
  • Epigraphy
  • Identity
  • Hellenism
  • Athletic Synod
  • Panhellenion
  • Imperial period


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