About the Project Case Studies

Status Assimilation of Free Foreigners

Wealthy metics constitute a conspicuous group among foreign residents in many Greek cities. In spite of their economic means, which dwarfed those of most citizens of their host communities, they were, as non-citizens, excluded from sharing directly in the political life of their adopted cities. As inhabitants, however, they were free to participate in social and economic life (and to an extent in religious life) and on an equal footing with their citizen peers. Crucially, some cities, among them epigraphically rich Athens, Rhodes and Delos, allowed wealthy metics to participate in certain elite institutions such as gymnasia, ephebeia and liturgies with or alongside the citizen elite. 

Previous scholarship has interpreted this aspect of the membership regimes a symptom of a general decline of the polis. In accordance with the project hypotheses, however, it is possible to view these changes as the specific result of a negotiation over the meaning and implications of the status divide for an influential sub-section of the immigrant population. This individual project seeks to answer the questions of what the possibilities for status-assimilation were, and how change was effected.

Maja Rechendorff Møller

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