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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 Portable Polis

The Portable Polis

(p.56) 4 The Portable Polis
Wandering Greeks

Robert Garland

Princeton University Press

This chapter studies the portable polis. It is easily overlooked that the polis was inherently portable, since literary sources emphasize the predilection for permanence and continuity. However, permanence and stability were not invariably the norm. The portability of the polis is indicated by the fact that those seeking to relocate continued to identify themselves as citizens of their original polis until they had succeeded in establishing new roots elsewhere, at which point they would usually assume a new name. In other words, a polis remained intact so long as there were citizens to identify themselves with it, irrespective of whether it existed in a fixed location. This practice—which might be called sense of ownership—tells much about the nature of Greek citizenship and Greek identity.

Keywords:   portable polis, polis, relocation, ownership, Greek citizenship, Greek identity

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