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2 - Nationhood: Was There Such a Thing in Antiquity?

from Part i - The Politics of Ethnicity, Nationhood, and Belonging in the Settings of Classical Civilizations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2023

Cathie Carmichael
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Matthew D'Auria
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Aviel Roshwald
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Washington DC
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Summary

Did the ancients have the concept of nationhood? To raise that question is to enter a minefield. The issue of what counts as a nation has generated a flood of articles and monographs, mostly by anthropologists and sociologists, with a smattering by historians.

The very idea of a nation or nationhood has been preeminently associated with modern history. Its relevance for antiquity is not obvious and has prompted much debate. Those who see it as an exclusively modern phenomenon tend to associate it with the creation of new polities in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century as nation-states. Others, however, and they have been growing in number, argue that the existence of a unifying consciousness of affinity, kinship, and shared history goes back to antiquity and amounts to nationhood or whatever one wishes to call it.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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References

Further Reading

Cornell, T. J., The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars, c.1000–263 bc (London: Routledge, 1995).Google Scholar
Goodblatt, David, Elements of Ancient Jewish Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gruen, E. S., Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).Google Scholar
Hall, Edith, Inventing the Barbarian (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).Google Scholar
Hall, J. M., Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hall, J. M., Hellenicity: Between Ethnicity and Culture (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2002).Google Scholar
Malkin, Irad, Ancient Perceptions of Greek Ethnicity (Washington, DC: Harvard University Press, 2001).Google Scholar
Mendels, Doron, The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism: Christian and Jewish Ethnicity in Ancient Palestine (New York: Doubleday, 1992).Google Scholar
Salmon, E. T., The Making of Roman Italy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982).Google Scholar
Schwartz, Seth, The Ancient Jews from Alexander to Mohammad (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).Google Scholar
Schwartz, Seth, “Were the Ancient Jews a Nation?”, in Greenspahn, F. E., Early Judaism: New Insights and Scholarship (New York: New York University Press, 2018), 7196.Google Scholar
Sherwin-White, A. N. The Roman Citizenship, 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973).Google Scholar

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