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This book is concerned with a region, and a regional culture, which in antiquity neither formed a distinct political unit nor served as a focus of local identity; the region is therefore designated with an invented name, ‘Hieradoumia’. The boundaries of Hieradoumia in time and space are defined on the basis of a distinctive shared set of commemorative practices. The institutional history of the region in the pre-Roman period is described in detail, with emphasis on the unusual political organization of the region in the later Hellenistic period into two large federal associations of villages (the koinon of the Maionians in the Katakekaumene and the dēmos of the Mysoi Abbaitai). The polis was a late and marginal development in Hieradoumia, and the village continued to be the primary focus of local identity and loyalty down to the end of antiquity. The difficulty of disentangling ethnically Lydian, Mysian, Macedonian, Phrygian, and Greek elements in the region’s population and cultural practices is emphasized.
Several small towns in Hieradoumia received polis-status between the Augustan and Flavian periods. None of these communities seem to have had an especially dense or elaborate urban fabric, and all had a relatively limited roster of civic magistrates. There is little sign that the local civic elite was strongly distinct either in wealth or cultural horizons from the ordinary rural population, and Roman citizenship was not widespread before the constitutio Antoniniana; the largest private landholdings in the region seem to have been in the hands of wealthy non-resident landowners from Sardis, Philadelphia, or further afield. The polis remained a marginal phenomenon in Roman Hieradoumia, where the chief focus of communal life was instead the self-governing village. Villages overlapped strongly with cult-associations, and in a few cases, we have good evidence for segmentary organization of villages by kin-groups. The chapter concludes with a defence of the conception of Roman Hieradoumia as a fundamentally kin-ordered society.
This chapter addresses those social ties beyond the kin-group which seem – to judge from commemorative practices – to have been of most importance for the inhabitants of Roman Hieradoumia. Fellow members of small-scale local cult-associations (phratrai, symbiōseis, speirai, doumoi) are very prominent in funerary commemoration, as are religious officials, neighbours, friends, and (for unfree persons) groups of fellow slaves. At Saittai, men are often commemorated by trade guilds and professional associations, probably reflecting the existence of guild-based burial-clubs; there is some reason to think that these trade guilds were unusually prominent in the civic organization of the polis of Saittai. Finally, civic communities fairly often participate in the commemoration of deceased members of the civic elite; such men and women’s tombstones can include lengthy extracts from post mortem honorific decrees which systematically conflate the deceased’s public and private virtues.
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