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Proxeny and PolisInstitutional Networks in the Ancient Greek World$
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William Mack

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713869

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713869.001.0001

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The Anatomy of an Ancient Institution

The Anatomy of an Ancient Institution

The Proxenos-Paradigm

(p.22) 1 The Anatomy of an Ancient Institution
Proxeny and Polis

William Mack

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a new model for understanding proxenia as an institution, as based on a shared paradigm of proxenos behaviour. It argues that the characteristic features of this paradigm were communicated in the stereotypical, formulaic language used to describe individuals named proxenoi. These defined the proxenos as a non-citizen friend of the polis in an external community who had proved his affection for it over a prolonged period by performing services for its citizens. The chapter goes on to explore how far we can identify the specific sorts of service particularly associated with the role of proxenos and its connection with ideas of civic euergetism. It shows that the proxenos paradigm remained widespread and stable until the end of the first century BC, and draws on theories developed by New Institutionalist scholars to explain its resistance to change.

Keywords:   proxenos-paradigm, epigraphic formulae, honorific language, euergetism, New Institutionalism

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