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City and Empire in the Age of the SuccessorsUrbanization and Social Response in the Making of the Hellenistic Kingdoms$
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Ryan Boehm

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520296923

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520296923.001.0001

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Consensus, Community, and Discourses of Power

Consensus, Community, and Discourses of Power

(p.184) 4 Consensus, Community, and Discourses of Power
City and Empire in the Age of the Successors

Ryan Boehm

University of California Press

The final chapter explores the ways in which competing interests and social groups of the polis potentially threatened the unity of the synoikized city. It first discusses potential causes for disunity (competing founder cults and claims to religious and social prerogatives, the challenges of social organization). It then focuses on the ways in which these challenges were addressed and negotiated. The chapter stresses the functional role of ritual activity and symbolism in binding together communities of disparate backgrounds while simultaneously accommodating distinctiveness within a unified political community. In this context, religious and civic traditions could constitute a challenge to the authority of the Hellenistic kings, but the potential for using religious symbolism and ritual to forge a collective political identity also represented an opportunity for building consensus. The chapter engages sociological and anthropological perspectives on ritual and ritual activity, myth, symbolism, and memory to address issues of consensus, legitimacy, dialogue, and social response.

Keywords:   city founders, ethnicity, social organization, priests, ritual, ritual action

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