Salvatore Vacante

Salvatore Vacante (German Archaeological Institute, Munich): “Presbyteroi and Neoteroi: Alketas, the Pisidians and the Macedonian Rule in Southern Asia Minor”


The proposed paper focuses on the political relationships between Macedonians and Pisidians in the Age of Alexander the Great and the Diadochs. We know very little about the Hellenization of this population and its political conditions under the Macedonians. Nevertheless, some useful elements can be inferred from historical, epigraphic and archaeological evidence. Especially interesting is the excursus of Diodorus on Alketas, the brother of Perdiccas (Diod. 18. 45 – 47. 3; R.A. Billows, Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State, Berkeley – Los Angeles – London 1990, 79-80; W. Heckel, Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great, Malden (MA) – Oxford 2006, s.v. Alcetas). We do not know to what extent Alexander managed to subdue wild Pisidia. However, in 319 BCE Diodorus mentions the existence in this region of Cretopolis, a colony founded by Macedonians. In its vicinity, Alketas was defeated by Antigonus Monophthalmus and took refuge in Termessus. He was later betrayed by his Pisidian allies, and precisely the so-called faction of ‘the older men’ (presbyteroi) supporting Antigonus. The other faction of ‘the younger men’ (neoteroi) remained instead faithful to Alketas. They retrieved his body after his suicide and gave him burial (E.M. Anson, Eumenes of Kardia, Leiden 2004, 108 n. 110, 132 with n. 56, 133, 178 with n. 94; cf. J. Fedak, Monumental Tombs of the Hellenistic Age, Toronto 1990, 94-96; Ch. Marek, Geschichte Kleinasiens in der Antike, München 2010, 243). The existence within the same Pisidian community of two opposing political factions (‘the younger’ and ‘the older men’) in connections to different members of the Macedonian élite is particularly significant. This situation could point out that, just a few years after the passage of Alexander, groups of Pisidians were still able to decide for themselves in full autonomy and – from time to time – conclude agreements with various Macedonian officials. One of these, Antigonus, will even be an illustrious Successor of Alexander. The paper will focus both on the passage of Diodorus and other extant literary, epigraphic and archaeological evidences on the Pisidians in the Early Hellenistic Period. The aim is to better define political and cultural interactions between this population and the Macedonians, in order to gain better understanding of the wider historical dynamics of Southern Asia Minor in the late fourth / early third century BCE.


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