Metics and identity in democratic Athens

Kears, Matthew John (2014). Metics and identity in democratic Athens. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis investigates the metics, or resident aliens, in democratic Athens and how they affected ideas of identity, with a particular focus on the fourth century BC. It looks at definitions of the metics and how the restrictions and obligations which marked their status operated; how these affected their lives and their image, in their own eyes and those of the Athenians; how the Athenians erected and maintained a boundary of status and identity between themselves and the metics, in theory and in practice; and how individuals who crossed this boundary could present themselves and be characterised, especially in the public context of the lawcourts.

The argument is that the metics served as a contradiction of and challenge to Athenian ideas about who they were and what made them different from others. This challenge was met with responses which demonstrate the flexibility of identity in Athens, and its capacity for variety, reinvention and contradiction.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
D History General and Old World > DF Greece


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