Early History of Elis and Pisa: Invented or Evolving Traditions?

Mait Kõiv


The article discusses the development of ethnic and political identities, and the related traditions concerning the past, in Archaic and Classical Elis and Pisa. It shows that the earliest signs of Pisatan identity can be traced to the sixth century BC, and that the Eleans of the valley of Peneios on the one hand, and the people dwelling in the valley of Alpheios (i.e. the Pisatans) and the so-called Triphylia farther south on the other, nourished distinct traditions about their heroic past, which reflect distinct ethnic identities. Instead of assuming that the Pisatans as a group was intentionally constructed and its ‚history‘ invented during the political disturbances of the fourth century BC, we must accept that the Eleans and the Pisatans had since an early period developed and mutually re-negotiated the traditions confirming their identities and promoting their interests in the changing historical conditions.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.

Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

Klio is one the oldest journal in the German Altertumswissenschaften. It publishes articles on the history of ancient Greece and Rome, including their relations to the ancient Near East, and also covers specialist areas such as epigraphy, papyrology, archaeology, and numismatics. Brief book reviews provide an overview of the latest publications in the field.