Zum Hauptinhalt springen

Twisted diplomacy in 4th century BC Athens

The subproject “Twisted diplomacy in 4th century BC Athens” investigates the discourses on the corruption of interstate relations. Considering the historiographical and the rhetorical sources in a comparative approach, it will be analysed the perception of negative transfers between Athens and other political entities, in order to reconstruct the ideal of a correct “interpolis” negotiation and that deviating from the norm, therefore corrupted. The Athenian political debate and the following historical reconstructions will be analysed: thus the 4th century orators, as Demosthenes and Aeschines, and the Greek historians, as Xenophon and Diodorus, but also Plutarch and Athenaeus. Looking at these sources, the material as well as the immaterial goods of transfer will be examined to identify the diplomatic relations described as bad deals for the city of Athens. The timeline will stretch throughout the 4th century BC, concentrating on the events preceding and those following the rise of Philip II until the rule of Demetrius Phalereus. Particular attention will be paid to the transition from the Persians king and his satraps to the court of the Macedonian king, as main mediator for the Athenian interstate politic. In this context, the King’s Peace (386 BC), the Susa peace conference (367 BC), the Peace of Philocrates (346BC), but also the Harpalus affair (324 BC), are all occasions for dispute on the corrupted behaviours of Athenian prominent figures: these events need to be investigated as moments for the construction of discourses on corruption in contemporary Athenian politics, as well as in the late historiographical reconstructions. The aim of the subproject is to apply the theory of “twisted transfer” to understand how the discourse on corruption has developed in matters well beyond the boundaries of the polis: were a third part, not belonging to the internal debate, is involved in creating imbalances in the political institution of Athens, using and abusing the transfer of goods, authority and influences.