Athlete and polis : the relationship between athletes and cities in the epigraphic record of the Late Hellenistic and Imperial periods
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This thesis presents a comprehensive study of the epigraphic record for athletes from the Late Hellenistic and Imperial periods. It argues that if we examine the athletic source material in full, we will see that there is great variety in the styles of athletic self-representation, and that often different aspects of athletic identity are emphasized in different kinds of honorific evidence. Chapter 2 examines inscribed athletic epigrams: it aims to shed light on the many facets of athletic identity that they construct, and explores the many artful techniques they use in order to project the various personas of their honorees more effectively. Chapter 3 moves on to examine prose athletic inscriptions, and more specifically a new kind of inscription, involving extensive listing of victories and citizenships, that emerges during the Imperial period, and demonstrates how this body of evidence gives us a taste of the experience of being Greek under Rome. Chapter 4 examines how textual portrayals of athletics varied significantly across different regions of the empire, and argues that athletic victory in Macedonia did not have the same strong impact on the civic life of the polis as in other regions of the Greek speaking world, for example Ionia. The thesis also aims to illustrate, more broadly, the way in which epigraphic portrayals of athletes are intertwined with important contemporary debates about elite self-representation, political culture, and issues of the negotiation of Hellenic identity in the Roman Empire. Throughout, inscriptions are examined not just as sources of information, but for their rhetoric, as texts that project powerful views of the world in their own right, in the process shedding new light on the many different roles played by athletes in their interactions with their cities and other communities during the Late Hellenistic and Imperial periods.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2025-12-11
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic copy restricted until 11th December 2025
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