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Letters and CommunitiesStudies in the Socio-Political Dimensions of Ancient Epistolography$
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Paola Ceccarelli, Lutz Doering, Thorsten Fögen, and Ingo Gildenhard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804208.001.0001

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Powers in Dialogue

Powers in Dialogue

The Letters and diagrammata of Macedonian Kings to Local Communities

Chapter:
(p.121) 4 Powers in Dialogue
Source:
Letters and Communities
Author(s):

Manuela Mari

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198804208.003.0005

Building on a slate of recent discoveries and publications, the chapter investigates how the Macedonian kings employed letters and so-called diagrammata to interact with and to rule over cities within their reign and regions under their control. It thus brings to life the diplomatic activity between court and constituencies that defined the political culture of fourth-century BCE Macedonia: the different types of missives used by the kings yield important insights into the administrative hierarchies and institutional procedures (as well as the ‘styles’ of exercising power) that sustained royal rule. Specifically, Mari reconsiders the role and function of the epistatai (the local administrators who received the letters and were in charge of distributing the royal message): as initial addressees of the royal correspondence but frequently nominated by the local community, they mediated between centre and periphery and thus functioned as vital nodes in imperial administration.

Keywords:   royal letters, diagrammata, epistatai, fourth-century bce Macedonia, styles of power

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