Athenian political voluntary exiles, 650-322 B.C.
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 13:52 authored by Maxine Frances Flavel
No significant work on exiles has been undertaken since Balogh in 1943, and the extent of the scholarship in the fifty years since that work has provided sufficient new material to make a study of at least the Athenian exiles, a worthwhile and revealing project. This study covers the period from the 600s BC to the death of Alexander of Macedon (Alexander the Great) in 322. The study has two main objectives, the first being to identify and catalogue those Athenians whose exiles were politically based or motivated, and who chose to flee from Athens or stay away from Athens, that is to proceed voluntarily into exile. The second objective is to recognise such decisions in their human context, rather than purely in the political or historical sense. To this end the study seeks to identify how such decisions to abandon their homes and city affected these people personally. This aspect canvasses questions of destination of exiles, how they survived, what happened to their families, and what conditions prevailed to effect return to Athens or recall by Athens. The study provides a prosopographical table, with biographical studies of these more than one hundred Athenians who abandoned Athens. The conclusions drawn from the extant evidence have been grouped in summary chapters. These cover aspects of the law as it affected exiles; destinations and the observable trend away from the mainland and 'old Greece' as the period progressed; how exiles survived, and the importance of xenia relationships, mercenary service and commerce, and the noticeable shift towards 'self-help' amongst the kaloi h'agathoi, replacing international relationships which defied current political realities; family, religion and relationships, and the problems of inheritance, property and assets show the destructive forces which work upon a community; the surprising resilience of individuals faced with the loss of their social framework; and the opportunities for return to Athens. This last aspect of the study illustrates the determination of the demos throughout the period to retain and jealously guard the franchise, to the extent that some returnees were only able to do so with the assistance of foreign arms. Although the details of the exile of most individuals are relatively paltry, overall there has been enough evidence which has survived in the literary and epigraphical traditions to produce a picture of the political factors at work within Athens which made life in Athens no longer a viable option for those in this study.