Lana Radloff (Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellow, The Canadian Institute in Greece; Ph.D. candidate, Department of Classics, University at Buffalo, S.U.N.Y.), “Ideology, Identity, and Power: Harbor-Agora Connectivity at Hellenistic Miletos”
Sacked by the Persians in 494 BC, Miletos was rebuilt on a regular orthogonal grid, prospering once again in the 4th century BCE and Hellenistic period, when extensive building took place around the Lion Harbor and North and South Markets. Coinciding with the rise of the Macedonian kingdoms after the death of Alexander the Great, the fact that building focused on harbors and marketplaces demonstrates their fundamental role as physical spaces. In order to establish Asiatic cities as military and economic power bases, Alexander’s successors exchanged royal patronage for civic goodwill at cities such as Miletos. Consequently, urban environments became a mechanism for negotiating socio-political relationships between the Hellenistic kings and local inhabitants.
In terms of connectivity, I view the agora and harbor as liminal spaces that function as nodes within the ‘maritime cultural landscape,’ connected with each other, the broader settlement, sea, and outside world. Drawing on scholarship from urbanism, the maritime environment, and social space theory, I examine the harbor-city matrix of Hellenistic Miletos in order to explore the physical relationship between the agoras at Miletos and the role its harbors played as nodes of connectivity and separation in the negotiation of socio-political relationships within the city and between the city and the outside world.