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6 - Creating Identities at the Great Panathenaia: Athenian Men

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2021

Julia L. Shear
Affiliation:
Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington
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Summary

This chapter is the first of two chapters examining the identities created at the Great Panathenaia. It asks what identities were created for Athenian men. For these men, the processes were particularly complex, and they had to take part in a variety of different aspects of the festival. The more often a man participated, the more complex his identities became. A man could also have further identities as a member of specific subgroups of Athenian men: as a member of the cavalry, as benefactor of the city, as a member of a genos, a (Kleisthenic) deme and a (Kleisthenic) tribe. Different aspects of a man’s overall identity would have been salient at different moments in the festival and depended on how exactly any individual man participated. Especially in the games during the classical and Hellenistic periods, the definition of what it meant to be an Athenian male mapped quite closely on to a very political and Aristotelian understanding of citizenship. Consequently, the identities of Athenian men were particularly sensitive to political change in the city, and they quickly reflected developments in other areas of the city’s life.

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Chapter
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Serving Athena
The Festival of the Panathenaia and the Construction of Athenian Identities
, pp. 212 - 252
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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