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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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The Koinon Dogma, the Mercenary Threat and the Consolidation of the Democratic Revolutions in Mid-Fifth-Century Sicily

The Koinon Dogma, the Mercenary Threat and the Consolidation of the Democratic Revolutions in Mid-Fifth-Century Sicily

Chapter:
(p.455) 16 The Koinon Dogma, the Mercenary Threat and the Consolidation of the Democratic Revolutions in Mid-Fifth-Century Sicily
Source:
Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science
Author(s):

David A. Teegarden

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421775.003.0017

This chapter provides a partial explanation for the apparent success of the many democratic revolutions in mid 5th century Sicily. It makes three primary points. First, the presence of mercenaries and displaced peoples constituted an existential threat to each of the new Sicilian democracies. For example, mercenaries – all of whom previously worked for the then recently deposed tyrants – might support an aspiring tyrant simply for pay. Second, no city could solve the problems posed by mercenaries and displaced peoples by itself. If City A, for example, does not welcome home its former residents currently living in City B, City B might not be able to welcome home its former residents currently living in City C, and so on. For the third point it draws upon the work of Michael Chwe and Barry Weingast and argues that the promulgation of a koinon dogma (Diod. Sic. 11.76.5) helped the citizens of the relevant poleis solve their “inter‐polis coordination problem” and thus helped consolidate the several democratic revolutions in Greek Sicily.

Keywords:   Sicily, Mercenaries, Tyranny, Democratic revolutions

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