The Naupaktos Decree: East Lokrians and Religious Community

Author: ORCID icon
Woram, Kevin, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Meyer, Elizabeth, Department of History, University of Virginia

This paper discusses the foundation decree of the east Lokrian settlement at Naupaktos (ML 20), which has provided the basis of most knowledge about the east Lokrian federation in the early Classical and Archaic periods. The religious elements of the decree have received little attention in scholarship, but this paper uses them to challenge two predominant schools of thought in studies of Greek religion and federations: the polis-religion school and the “ethnicity school.” Both of these schools focus on how centralized institutions shaped Greek religion and ethnic federations. The Naupaktian settlers, however, do not fit into a centralized political or religious structure, but instead have connections to various communities, which are expressed through access to religious organizations and rituals. The decree thereby offers evidence of decentralized religious networks defining ethnicity and facilitating the political and legal institutions of the federation. Moreover, the decree suggests that in the case of these east Lokrian settlers, religious ties preceded, and provided the foundation for, the subsequent political and legal aspects of their relationship with the east Lokrians. The three points of discussion are as follows: the religious status of the Naupaktian settlers as xenoi; the role of hearths (the centers of domestic religion) in facilitating a settler’s return to the east Lokrians; and the use of atimia as a form of religious exclusion against both settlers and east Lokrians who break the terms of the decree.

MA (Master of Arts)
Naupaktos, ML 20, Greek Religion, Network
Issued Date: