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Wandering GreeksThe Ancient Greek Diaspora from the Age of Homer to the Death of Alexander the Great$
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Robert Garland

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161051

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161051.001.0001

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The Wanderer

The Wanderer

(p.15) 2 The Wanderer
Wandering Greeks

Robert Garland

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the centrality of wandering to the experience of being Greek. From earliest times, the Greeks were in restless movement, propelled from their familiar habitat either by human force or by the exigencies of their environment. Wanderer refers to the tens of thousands of men, women, and children who left their homes without a settled route or fixed destination. A wanderer in this sense was not only apolis (without a city-state), but also aphrêtôr (without a phratry), and anestios (without a hearth). In other words, he or she was stripped not only of civic and political identity, but also, even more fundamentally, of social and familial identity. Without attachment to a phratry, a Greek was denied membership of one of the primary divisions of Greek society, and without attachment to a hearth, he or she was estranged from that most basic unit of Greek life, namely the oikos or oikia (home, household).

Keywords:   wanderer, apolis, aphrêtôr, phratry, anestios, civic identity, political identity, social identity, familial identity, oikos

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