Recent work on the formation of regional identity in the ancient world has focused on the importance of 'bottom-up' factors, such as long-term collaboration and interchange between neighbouring population groups, or cooperation to resist external interference. While such work has produced important insights, it may underestimate the importance of 'top-down' factors, particularly in the monarchic states of the ancient world where autocrats had broad capabilities to intervene in the political and social geography of a region. This talk will investigate these issues in ancient Epirus, a region in the northwest of the Balkan peninsula around the modern Greece-Albania border. It will argue that royal policy played a crucial role in the formation of a regional identity in Epirus in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
Dr Ben D. Raynor is the Moses and Mary Finley Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge.