The island of Athens

Christy Constantakopoulou

in The Dance of the Islands

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199215959
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706868 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

The island of Athens

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Athenian control over the Aegean islands did not only have an effect on the concept of insularity; at same time, it also affected the very way Athens portrayed itself. Athens' adoption of the position that Delos held as the centre of the Delian League after the transfer of the treasury may have resulted in Athens being viewed as the central ‘island’ of the Aegean. At the same time, the adoption of the rhetoric of the ‘safe’ island was linked to the new programme of Athenian fortification through the construction of the Long Walls. This chapter traces four distinct stages in the process of the transformation of Athens into a conceptual ‘island’. The image of ‘island Athens’ is aptly advocated in Thucydides and the Old Oligarch, but may also be the reason for the adoption of an insular location for Plato's utopian narrative of Atlantis.

Keywords: Long Walls; fortifications; Plato; Atlantis; utopia; Thucydides; Old Oligarch

Chapter.  16520 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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