Page title

Benefactors and the Polis: The Public Gift in the Greek Cities from the Homeric World to Late Antiquity

Main page content


Arjan Zuiderhoek


Cambridge University Press

Publish Date



Historians generally study elite public gift-giving in ancient Greek cities as a phenomenon that gained prominence only in the Hellenistic and Roman imperial periods. The contributors to this volume challenge this perspective by offering analyses of various manifestations of elite public giving in the Greek cities from Homeric times until Late Antiquity, highlighting this as a structural feature of polis society from its origins in the early Archaic age to the world of the Christian Greek city in the early Byzantine period. They discuss existing interpretations, offer novel ideas and arguments, and stress continuities and changes over time. Bracketed by a substantial Introduction and Conclusion, the volume is accessible both to ancient historians and to scholars studying gift-giving in other times and places.