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date: 05 December 2020

Athens, Historylocked

  • Simon Hornblower

Extract

Tradition held that *Theseus was responsible for the *Synoecism , in the political rather than physical sense, of the Athenian (Attic) state. More prosaically put, this would imply a unified kingdom, centred on Athens, in the late bronze age. But if there was any such kingdom it did not survive the collapse of Mycenaean civilization, and the synoecism is now generally put c.900bce, after a tumultuous period in which refugees from Attica settled in Ionia (see ionians ) from c.1050 bce onwards. Athenian imperial *Propaganda later exaggerated the organized character of this process, turning it into a movement of *Colonization which would justify the *Metropolis making hegemonical demands of the ‘daughter-cities’. Another later propaganda item was the myth of ‘autochthony’ (Attica had ‘always had the same inhabitants’). This was false, but useful for scoring off the *Dorian ‘newcomers’. See autochthons .The Attic countryside was settled from the centre in the 8th cent. by ‘internal colonization’: Athens was not among the first genuinely colonizing states. The early Attic state was aristocratic and politically hardly distinctive. There was nothing even embryonically democratic about the annual *archontes who began in 684/3 bce and were the chief officers of state: Thuc.

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