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Athenian proxenies of the fifth century B.C. Walbank, Michael Burke

Abstract

There is no exact parallel for the ancient office of the proxeny: the closest analogy is found in the modern consulate. Proxenoi were citizens of one state appointed by a second state to serve its interests in their home-state; in return for these services they received various honours and privileges. These were enumerated in the decrees appointing the proxenoi, or in subsequent decrees passed after a period of service. At Athens it appears that the inscription of such decrees, usually at public expense, upon marble stelai that were then set up on the Akropolis, was itself a privilege not granted to every proxenos. There is some evidence that, in the fifth century at least, these stelai were erected near the Erechtheion. One hundred and fourteen fragments have survived from the fifth century; this study contains critical editions of the sixty-nine proxeny-decrees that they comprise, including the first publication of four fragments, together with a survey of the privileges therein enumerated. Since it is seldom possible to date these documents upon other criteria, an analysis of the changes that occurred in Attic letter-shapes during the fifth century forms a major part of the study. Also included are photographs of all but five of the fragments studied, many of which have never before been photographed.

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