founders, city

Antony Spawforth

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics

Published online December 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI:

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Founders were chiefly important before *Alexander (3) the Great in the case of colonies (see apoikia), founded under the leadership of an oikist (οἶκιστής), whose achievements frequently led to his posthumous worship as a hero (see hero-cult). In 5th-cent. bce Athens oikists were state officials who returned home after completing their task, as with Hagnon at *Amphipolis. Among Hellenistic founders of cities (ktistēs was now the preferred term) kings naturally loomed largest, although not all attended in person the founding rituals like Alexander the Great (Arr.Anab. 3. 1. 5). As a device for asserting a Hellenic ancestry compatible with the cultural and ethnic preferences of the ruling power, city-founders acquired a new significance in the Hellenistic and Roman empires: thus Cilician Mallus gained tax-exemption from Alexander (Arr. Anab. 2. 5. 9) on the strength of mutual kinship through *Argos (1).

Article.  292 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Greek History ; Classical Reception

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