University of Leicester
2016KaczmarekCRPhD.pdf (17.52 MB)

A Name and a Place: Settlement and Land Use Patterns, Identity Expression and Social Strategies in Hellenistic and Roman Thessaly

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posted on 2016-03-17, 14:48 authored by Crysta Kaczmarek
Theories that presented decline and depopulation as defining characteristics of Greece at the transitions from the Hellenistic to the Roman period have been challenged by recent regional studies that investigated landscape, political, economic and social change. This thesis adds to this growing discourse by investigating the impact of, and responses to, increasing Roman hegemony in Thessaly from the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE. This thesis focuses on quantitative and qualitative evidence for change in three inter-related aspects, (1) settlement and land use, (2) identity expression and (3) reciprocal benefactions. The results highlight the complex and regionally specific impact of Roman hegemony as well as the discrepant responses of local elite members of the population. Urbanization, a decrease in small settlement site numbers and a rise in the number of large rural estates, villae rusticae, and imperial estates, all indicating changes in land ownership patterns, are characteristic of the middle Hellenistic and early Roman periods in Thessaly. Epigraphic data demonstrate that honorary grants, particularly citizenship and land ownership rights, peaked in the 2nd century BCE followed by a gradual decline. This suggests that during the transitional period towards Roman rule, elite citizens increasingly engaged in the system of euergetism in order to accumulate property and obtain citizenship in poleis other than their own as part of their strategies for social advancement. With the advent of the Principate, elite members of society engaged more frequently with the Roman authority through honouring members of the imperial family and participating in the imperial cult. In addition, the increasing number of local elite members of society who obtained Roman citizenship and adopted Roman nomenclature, while maintaining their Greek personal name in place of the cognomen highlights how the local elites became Roman but stayed Thessalian.



Mattingly, David; Shipley, Graham

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Archaeology and Ancient History

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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