This book examines foundation myths told about the Ionian cities during the archaic and classical periods. It uses these myths to explore the complex and changing ways in which civic identity was constructed in Ionia, relating this to the wider discourses about ethnicity and cultural difference that were current in the Greek world at this time. The Ionian cities seem to have rejected oppositional models of cultural difference which set in contrast East and West, Europe and Asia, Greek and Barbarian, opting instead for a more fluid and nuanced perspective on ethnic and cultural distinctions. The conclusions of this book have far-reaching implications for our understanding of Ionia, but also challenge current models of Greek ethnicity and identity, suggesting that there was a more diverse conception of Greekness in antiquity than has often been assumed.
Naoise Mac Sweeney is Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Leicester, specialising in the study of ethnicity, identity and migration. She has published widely in the fields of ancient history, archaeology, race relations, international development and peacebuilding studies, and she is the author of Community Identity and Archaeology (2011). Naoise has also pursued her research interests through archaeological fieldwork in Turkey, in particular as part of the Kilise Tepe Archaeological Project.
1. Introduction: identity and the construction of cultural difference; 2. Foundation myths and politics; 3. Ionia; 4. Miletus: violence and bloodshed; 5. Chios and Samos: land and island; 6. Colophon and Ephesus: founding mothers; 7. Being Ionian: the Ionian League, Ionian migrations, and Smyrna; 8. Conclusions.