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mētropolis


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(‘mother‐city’). (a) The ‘mother‐city’ of a Greek colony (apoikia) usually nominated the founder, conducted rituals of divination and departure, organized a body of settlers, and formulated the charter of their individual rights. Major mother‐cities, such as Chalcis or Miletus, sometimes led mixed groups of settlers but would insist on their own founder and customs. The latter, nomima, would identify a colony either ethnically (‘Dorian’) or more specifically, as originating from a particular polis. Nomima could include cults, calendar, script, dialect, names and number of tribes (see phylai) and other social divisions, titles of office‐holders, and so on, and can aid modern research to determine colonial connections. Our sources in general are meagre, esp. for early mother‐cities (8th–7th cents. bc), but three salient facts of the civic identity of colonies seem to emerge, stressing the importance attached to the metropolis: the identity of the mother‐city, the date of foundation, and the name of the founder. The annual founder's cult in the colony probably commemorated, simultaneously, both the independence of the colony and its metropolitan, dependent origins. Taking sacred fire from the common hearth at the prytaneion of the mother‐city to light a new fire in the colony similarly stressed both continuity and new sovereignty. Most colonies were independent poleis (see polis); the Locrian foundation decree of Naupactus repeats the formula ‘when he becomes a Naupactian’. On the other hand, the articulation ‘as parents to children’, is also found in such decrees. The kinship‐links were both real and metaphorical: descendants could point out graves of ancestors in the mother‐city, and citizens from colonies could participate in cults and sacrifices in the metropolis, a right usually denied to strangers. Religion was often the only, albeit meaningful, expression of continuing relations. Whether or not a mother‐city controlled its colonies depended on distance or on ambition combined with maritime capacity. Corinth is known for its ‘imperial’ colonization in the Adriatic; its colony Corcyra fought wars against it from the 7th cent. on, sometimes fell under its domination, and argued before the Peloponnesian War that it was founded not to be a slave but an equal to its metropolis. (Corinthian art continued to dominate in Corcyra regardless of politics.) Primacy was naturally accorded to mother‐cities, expressing a common and consistent opinion in Greece. War between a mother‐city and colony was considered shameful, and alliance or military aid would rather be expected. Spartan generals kept appearing in Taras (see tarentum) centuries after its foundation in 706, and Sparta twice set out with esp. large contingents to help its motherland Doris in 457 and 426. Colonies often eclipsed the mother‐cities (e.g. Cyrene and Thera), reached more advanced forms of urban and country planning and political development (Achaean colonies were poleis before the polis‐form had reached Achaea), articulated law codes (see law in greece), and significantly contributed to the emergence and formation of the Greek polis in general.See also apoikia; colonization, greek; founders of cities; kinship.(b) In Roman times an honorary title granted to important cities.

(a) The ‘mother‐city’ of a Greek colony (apoikia) usually nominated the founder, conducted rituals of divination and departure, organized a body of settlers, and formulated the charter of their individual rights. Major mother‐cities, such as Chalcis or Miletus, sometimes led mixed groups of settlers but would insist on their own founder and customs. The latter, nomima, would identify a colony either ethnically (‘Dorian’) or more specifically, as originating from a particular polis. Nomima could include cults, calendar, script, dialect, names and number of tribes (see phylai) and other social divisions, titles of office‐holders, and so on, and can aid modern research to determine colonial connections. Our sources in general are meagre, esp. for early mother‐cities (8th–7th cents. bc), but three salient facts of the civic identity of colonies seem to emerge, stressing the importance attached to the metropolis: the identity of the mother‐city, the date of foundation, and the name of the founder. The annual founder's cult in the colony probably commemorated, simultaneously, both the independence of the colony and its metropolitan, dependent origins. Taking sacred fire from the common hearth at the prytaneion of the mother‐city to light a new fire in the colony similarly stressed both continuity and new sovereignty. Most colonies were independent poleis (see polis); the Locrian foundation decree of Naupactus repeats the formula ‘when he becomes a Naupactian’. On the other hand, the articulation ‘as parents to children’, is also found in such decrees. The kinship‐links were both real and metaphorical: descendants could point out graves of ancestors in the mother‐city, and citizens from colonies could participate in cults and sacrifices in the metropolis, a right usually denied to strangers. Religion was often the only, albeit meaningful, expression of continuing relations. Whether or not a mother‐city controlled its colonies depended on distance or on ambition combined with maritime capacity. Corinth is known for its ‘imperial’ colonization in the Adriatic; its colony Corcyra fought wars against it from the 7th cent. on, sometimes fell under its domination, and argued before the Peloponnesian War that it was founded not to be a slave but an equal to its metropolis. (Corinthian art continued to dominate in Corcyra regardless of politics.) Primacy was naturally accorded to mother‐cities, expressing a common and consistent opinion in Greece. War between a mother‐city and colony was considered shameful, and alliance or military aid would rather be expected. Spartan generals kept appearing in Taras (see tarentum) centuries after its foundation in 706, and Sparta twice set out with esp. large contingents to help its motherland Doris in 457 and 426. Colonies often eclipsed the mother‐cities (e.g. Cyrene and Thera), reached more advanced forms of urban and country planning and political development (Achaean colonies were poleis before the polis‐form had reached Achaea), articulated law codes (see law in greece), and significantly contributed to the emergence and formation of the Greek polis in general.See also apoikia; colonization, greek; founders of cities; kinship.

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Subjects: Classical Studies.


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