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Luca Mazzini (Exeter) - "'Triggered identity': the use of Macedonian ethnicity by Blaundos in confrontation with the Roman Empire."

Classics and Ancient History Research Seminar. The present paper analyses the importance of the Macedonian ethnic for the civic community of Blaundos, a Hellenistic settlement located in the ancient region of Phrygia, Asia Minor. The epigraphic and numismatic evidence indicates that the Macedonian ethnic started to be used in the civic coins and in the civic decrees by Blaundos only during the Roman imperial period and exclusively for political reasons. There is no trace of the Macedonian ethnic in the public inscriptions preserved, nor in the civic coins dated to the Hellenistic period. Moreover, the Macedonian ethnic seems to be claimed by civic institutions of Blaundos only in response to a Roman official authority that intervened directly in the administration. The initial settlers of Blaundos were likely Macedonian soldiers who arrived at the end of the IVrd century BC after Alexander’s conquest, but the Greek and Latin inscriptions of the Roman period reveal that the inhabitants usually referred to Blaundos simply as “fatherland”, without any ethnic connotation. I argue that the use of the Macedonian ethnic in Blaundos represents a case of “triggered identity”. The intervention of the Roman administration in the minting and in the building activity compelled the local authorities to affirm an ethnic that did not actually correspond with the components of Blaundos’ civic community at that time. Did Blaundos become proud of being Macedonian as a direct consequence of the Roman Imperial power, in order to symbolically claim its political autonomy?

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Amory B219