Moving the Ancient Greek world

24 -25 June – University of Copenhagen

The ancient Greek world was a world on the move. Evidence from funerary inscriptions is a pertinent reminder that every Greek community was home to populations who had migrated from elsewhere from across the Mediterranean—and beyond—or were in turn the descendants of immigrants. For the inhabitants of Greek communities, migration directly or indirectly played a vital part in shaping their aspirations, opportunities, behaviors, beliefs, and outcomes.

For the post-Classical period in particular, the traditional view of migration as a force of disruption as well as a symptom of political decline has given way to new approaches that regard mobility and migration as important and ever-present components to understanding the social, religious and political dynamics of the polis. Even so, the polis as a conceptual tool continues to dominate discussions of social and cultural interaction that highlight its institutional integrative character. As a result, migration is sometimes perceived as having only a marginal impact on the history of both home and host communities.

The purpose of the conference, therefore, is to center the analytical focus on migration and on migration as a catalyst for change. We aim to explore those particular instances in which processes of migration set about changes to social, political, religious and economic institutions of ancient Greek communities, both within and beyond the polis and how those changes in turn affected the patterns, modes and experiences of migration. Migration, then, is understood to be shaped by the intersecting identities of class, ethnicity, gender and legal status of migrants, as well as by the embodiment of these in the membership regimes of both the home and the host communities.

Due to the ubiquity of movement in the ancient Greek world, but also due to the fragmentary nature of the evidence, we join papers that explore migration to, in, through and from various places in the ancient Greek and adjacent worlds between roughly the years 400 BCE and 100 CE.

Moving the Ancient Greek World will take place at The University of Copenhagen 24 and 25 June.

Titles and Speakers

Burying the Immigrant Dead: Phoenician Immigrants’ Attitudes towards 

Death and Burial Denise Demetriou (UCSD)

Tracing Women’s Movements in the Ancient Greek Mediterranean Rebecca Futo Kennedy (Denison) 

Migration and the Economy: a Balance Sheet Vincent Gabrielsen (Copenhagen)

Moving the Ancient Greek World: The View from Dodona Moritz Hinsch (Humboldt) 

Syrians and the Slave Trade in the longue durée  David Lewis (Edinburgh) 

Moving Ancient Greek Religion: ‘Foreign Gods’, Migration and Social Imaginary Sabine Neumann (Copenhagen)

Membership Regimes and the Negotiation of Burial for Immigrant  Communities in Classical Athens  Tim Shea (Chapel Hill) 

From the Community of the Citizens to the Community of the Inhabitants:  a Transformation of the Polis Christian Thomsen (Copenhagen) 

Unwelcome Guests: Social Hierarchies and the Challenge of Roman Migration in the Greek East

Paul Vădan (Copenhagen)

Mobility, Migration, Diaspora: The Dynamics of the Presence of Roman and Italian ‘Businessmen’ in Greece Sophia Zoumbaki (Athens)

Concluding Remarks Demetra Kasimis (Chicago)