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Greek Ethnic Terminology$
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P. M. Fraser

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264287

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264287.001.0001

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Ethnic Formations in Theory and Practice

Ethnic Formations in Theory and Practice

(p.61) 2 Ethnic Formations in Theory and Practice
Greek Ethnic Terminology

P. M. Fraser

British Academy

Our knowledge of the use of the local ethnic in early documents is limited not only by the scarcity of evidence, but also because by definition the ethnic form, was from the outset used almost exclusively as a means of external identification outside the individual polis or other unit to which the ethnic and its bearer belonged — whether in another city, or in a sanctuary, local or panhellenic, or any other external context. It is in sanctuaries, large and small, that are found most of the examples of texts from the Archaic period in which the ethnic is used. The basic function of the ethnic, regional or civic, was to indicate and identify ‘hereditary membership’, as a member either of a race or tribe, Greek or barbarian, or of a civic body. Where the ‘ethnic’ was recorded, attached to an individual or to a group, it represented the external criterion of identification, individual or collective, in the international world of regional groups and city-states.

Keywords:   local ethnic, ethnic form, sanctuaries, hereditary membership, identification, race, tribe

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