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Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science$
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Mirko Canevaro, Andrew Erskine, Benjamin Gray, and Josiah Ober

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421775

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421775.001.0001

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Hegemonic Legitimacy (and its Absence) in Classical Greece

Hegemonic Legitimacy (and its Absence) in Classical Greece

(p.433) 15 Hegemonic Legitimacy (and its Absence) in Classical Greece
Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science

Polly Low

Edinburgh University Press

A recurring concern of Greek writers on hegemony and empire (and of modern commentators on those writers) is the problem of securing the willing – or at least, not actively hostile – consent of those led. But ancient approaches to this question are often fragmented in their focus and limited in their perspective; modern historical analyses have likewise tended to grapple more with specific instances or themes than the wider picture. The aim of this chapter, therefore, is to see if it is possible to develop a more systematic framework for assessing the legitimacy (or lack of legitimacy) of Greek hegemonic systems. In particular, it explores the theoretical models for interstate and hegemonic legitimacy developed in recent work in International Theory, especially in reaction to the (alleged) ‘crisis of legitimacy’ of the early years of this century, and assess their applicability (or lack of it) to a deliberately broadly‐ defined set of Classical Greek hegemonies. In doing so, it illuminates the various ways in which legitimacy was developed and defended by these hegemonies; the challenges to legitimacy each faced; and the extent to which the successful cultivation of hegemonic legitimacy correlates with the success of hegemony more broadly.

Keywords:   Empire, Hegemony, Greek interstate relations

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