Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Version at BMCR home site
Klaus Scherberich, Koinè symmachía: Untersuchungen zum Hellenenbund Antigonos' III. Doson und Philipps V. (224-197 v. Chr.). Historia Einzelschriften 184. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2009. Pp. 254. ISBN 9783515094061. €58.00.
Reviewed by M. Weiskopf

Delayed by unfortunate optimism (pp. 9, 15, 15 n.2-3), Scherberich's work, based upon its collection and analysis of data, should remain the standard work on the Antigonid Hellenenbund pending the physical publication of new epigraphic and papyrological documentation. The initial chapters (1-4, each concluded with a proposed chronology) represent the historical inquiry, the final chapter (5), an examination of the Bund's structure. A summary, two appendices, and a nearly complete bibliography finish the presentation.

Chapter One, the longest (pp. 15-79), subdivided into geographical sections, places Doson's establishment of the Bund in Fall 224 (following Polybius 2.54.4, 4.9.4) and surveys the fragmentary epigraphical and historical data along with its treatment by modern scholars. Scherberich is able to clarify these often intractable data (a difficulty increased by Polybius' use of non-juridical terminology). Although I have high respect for Doson as the restorer of his nation (cf. p. 90) and concur with Scherberich that Cleomenes' grasping represented no 'sozial Revolution', I find puzzling Scherberich's statement that Doson's long-planned Bund merely awaited Achaean willingness in the face of Cleomenic supremacy (p. 77). I recommend that Scherberich again take up his analysis in the light of the work carried out by Eckstein on the Hellenistic state system (works listed at the end of this review), particularly in light of Scherberich's apt characterization of the Bund as a 'supranationale Ordnungsstructure'. Eckstein's 2006 work on Mediterranean anarchy and interstate war (if not his 2008 work, released 2 May 2008) was extant when Scherberich wrote his Vorwort (11/2008).1

The next two chapters treat the Cleomenic and Social Wars respectively (pp. 81-102, 103-156). What emerges here is the parallel existence of the Bund and bilateral treaties between the Antigonids and individual states plus the dual demands upon the dynasty to manage two sets of instabilities, Hellenic and the regions above Macedonia proper. I find attractive Scherberich's view that Philip permitted the (ultimately temporary) entry of Skerdilaidas into the Bund (pp. 133-134)--a means of reining in the unstable (cf. pp. 120-121 on Sparta, and appendix 2)? Chapter 4 (pp. 157-175) traces Philip's lessening interest in the Bund and the organization's decline, a chapter which would have been strengthened by consideration of Eckstein's treatment of the so-called Roman protectorate in Illyria and related putative Roman interest in the east.

The final chapter outlines the structure of the Bund (pp. 177-194): an admirable collection and analysis of data, although many specifics cannot receive definitive answers. The lengthy and valuable discussion of the possible influence of the Bund on coinage practices (pp. 189-193) is representative. In sum, Scherberich has done the best he can with the available evidence, providing a solid foundation for further work.


1.   Arthur M. Eckstein Mediterreanean Anarchy, Interstate War and the Rise of Rome. Berkeley, 2006; Arthur M. Eckstein Rome Enters the Greek East. From Anarchy to Hierarchy in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, 230-170 B.C. Blackwell, 2008.

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