Immigration and Refugee Crises in Fourth-Century Greece: An Athenian Perspective

The European Legacy 23 (1-2):5-24 (2018)

The fourth-century B.C. was a period during which a large number of Greek cities were affected by civil wars, military conquests, and destruction, with the displacement of large numbers of men, women and children as a result. This has implications for the modern debate on Athenian attitudes to immigration, which normally focuses on just two groups of free non-citizens: adult, able-bodied men who moved to Athens voluntarily to take advantage of the city’s economic opportunities and on the free non-citizen population who had come to Athens as slaves and who stayed on after their manumission. This article argues that refugees were likely to have constituted a considerable component of the migration to Athens during certain troubled periods in the course of the fourth century. This means that the size of Athens’s immigrant population was likely to have fluctuated considerably, that many of the refugees would have been destitute, that women and children may have made up an even greater proportion of the non-citizen population than normally assumed, and, thus, that a considerable number of these immigrants would not have been able to contribute substantially to Athens’s grain trade or military. The implications of this for our assessment of the Athenian motives for admitting groups of refugees are discussed, and it is argued that the requirement that all male and all unaccompanied female immigrants had to find an Athenian sponsor and pay a special metic tax may have constituted a certain level of control over immigrant numbers.
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DOI 10.1080/10848770.2018.1423785
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References found in this work BETA

The Ideology of the Athenian Metic.H. W. Stubbs & D. Whitehead - 1979 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 99:196.
Un commentaire historique des Poroi de Xenophon.J. Roy, Xenophon & P. Gauthier - 1981 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 101:153.

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