Citizenship, Identification and the Metic Experience in Classical and Early Hellenistic Greece

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According to a long-standing view, metics (free resident foreigners) had severed all ties with their native cities and led lives unaffected by their ostensible status as citizens of the cities they or their forebearers had left to settle elsewhere. This chapter argues that citizenship for many metics of the late classical and Hellenistic periods played an important role and brought very tangible benefits even in a life spent abroad.

The chapter first documents the privileges offered by Greek poleis to the citizens of other, specific, poleis who visited or settled within their territories, and it argues that the states were conscious of the effects that such policies had on migration and sought to encourage it. Next, the chapter addresses the problem of verification of foreigners’ citizenship and argues that Greek cities were willing to issue documents verifying identity and citizenship. The last section considers migration and distance in the late classical and early Hellenistic world and argues that most metics had, in fact, not migrated very far and that many metics kept close contact with their home cities and may have visited quite regularly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCitizenship in Antiquity : Civic Communities in the Ancient Mediterranean
EditorsJakub Filonik, Christine Plastow, Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz
Number of pages12
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)9780367687113
ISBN (Electronic)9781003138730
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesRewriting Antiquity

ID: 282091934