Independent states such as Athens have long been viewed as the most advanced stage of state formation in ancient Greece. By contrast, this book argues that for some Greeks, the eths, regionally based ethnic group, and the koin or regional confederation, were equally valid units of social political life and that these ethnic identities were astonishingly durable. The author sets his study in Phokis and explores how ecological conditions, land use, and external factors such as invasion contributed to the formation of a Phokian territory. Then, drawing on numerous interdisciplinary sources, he traces the history of the region from the Archaic age down to the Roman period. McInerney shows how shared myths, hero cults and military alliances created an ethnic identity that held the region together over centuries despite repeated invasions. He concludes that the Phokian koin survived because it was founded ultimately on the tenacity of the smaller communities of Greece.
Jeremy McInerney is Davidson Kennedy Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.