Of Archetypes and Special Cases: Colonization in Greek and Roman Antiquity
Pre-modern forms of colonization readily come to mind when “comparing colonialism”. Among them, the colonization undertaken by the Greeks and the Romans stands out, because of a longstanding assumption about their special relationship to modern European colonization. Greek colonization and Roman colonization were not merely seen as distinct exemplars of colonization, but also as inherently “European” phenomena and therefore as forerunners of Europe’s more recent exploits overseas – a perception which imposes an anachronistic interpretative framework. Consequently, the paper calls into question these well-established modern perceptions and examines the peculiarities of Greek and Roman colonization, which consisted, above all, in the establishment of cities, which were, however, not necessarily adjacent to “Others” or aimed at political domination.