22 January 2021 Start
22 January 2021 End
5.00 pm (GMT) Time
Online Event


Building Phocian Group Identity: Genealogies, Ambitions, and Sacred Wars

Friday, January 22, 2021

Thomas Husoy (Swansea University) will present his paper entitled: “Building Phocian Group Identity: Genealogies, Ambitions, and Sacred Wars in the first half of the Fifth Century BCE”.

A Postgraduate Work-in-Progress Seminar (Institute of Classical Studies)


The Phocian ethnos had formed as a grouping, with a firm base in the resistance to Thessalian pressure in the sixth century. Yet, in the early fifth century, the Phocian suffered severely from the Persian Wars, as Xerxes’ army destroyed all the Phocian poleis and sanctuaries on his way to Boeotia. In this paper, I will first look at the mythical genealogical connections the Phocian based their identity upon. A common concept within the study of ethnicity is the idea of a supposed common kinship; for the Greeks they constructed links like these with heroic and divine myths. Hence, I will examine the most important mythical genealogies which we can fit into an early fifth century Phocian group identity. Second, I will briefly look into what the Battle of Thermopylae can tell us about the Phocian group identity during the invasion.Over the following few decades after the Persian Wars the Phocians rebuilt, and by the First Peloponnesian War they showed ambitions for a localised hegemony in central Greece. By the mid-fifth century, the Phocians invaded both Doris and Delphi; forcing a reaction from the Spartans who intervened to aid Doris and Delphi. Hence, the Phocians found themselves involved in the greater affairs of the Hellenic Mainland, especially since Athens blocked the Spartans from returning across the Gulf of Corinth. Thus, I will investigate the evolution of the Phocian ethnos, their rising ambitions, which correlated with the First Peloponnesian War and the Athenian presence in Phocis and how this affected the idea of Phocian group identity in the first half of the mid-fifth century. Last, I will investigate the fragmentary records of the Second Sacred War as an identity building conflict in the evolution of both the Phocian ethnosand Koinon.