The Demes of Attica and the Peloponnesian war. Community resilience

Start - End 
2015 - 2021 (ongoing)
Department of Archaeology
Department of History
Research group(s) 
Research Focus 
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Language 
Additional tags 
Ancient Greek social and economic history



How did rural communities cope with the devastations of war in the pre-modern world? The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), which pitched the maritime empire of Athens against the heavy infantry of the Spartan confederacy, is often compared to World War I due to the mass of combatant forces and the unprecedented scale of destruction. While the political context of the war has received considerable attention, this project seeks to examine the resilience of the rural communities of Attica in the face of the social and economic impact of the war. Epigraphical evidence and archaeological remains indicate that the traditional view that the countryside of Attica was depleted as a direct consequence of the war, needs to be questioned. Applying a multidisciplinary approach, this research project will investigate the long-term resilience of the countryside communities (demes) by looking into the significance of the number of residents, of adaptations in their main modes of subsistence and of factors sustaining social coherence, notably religion and political life. Analyzing the historical sources and archaeological remains of the period 450-350 BCE, this project aims at tracing the resilience of the Attic demes outside of Athens by examining how they found ways to sustain and reset their community lives.

PhD Project Amber Brüsewitz (assistant 2015-2021), supervisors A. Zuiderhoek, Roald Docter, Marloes Deene



Phd Student(s)