Abstract–Paralia and Mesogeia: 'Coastalness' and 'Inlandness' in the Ancient Greek World

Scholarship has in the past few years dealt more systematically with connectivity and interaction in the ancient Mediterranean and in the Greek world, especially in terms of exchange and networks within the framework of maritime connectivity.

Through the study of the occurrence and employ of the terms paralia and mesogeia, as well as of other words expressing the ideas of ‘coastal’ and ‘inland’ in textual sources, this paper explores ancient Greek reflections about these two concepts: the typological distinction between coastal and inland territories and inhabitants and their distinctive features. Within this framework, a special emphasis is placed on Attica, which forms the focus of my ongoing broader research on the topic.

The paper comprises three parts: the first briefly illustrates the peculiarity of the case of Attica, with the territorial divisions that the region underwent over time and the different meanings attached to the words paralia and mesogeia. The second part delineates a more general study of the vocabulary of ‘coastalness’ and ‘inlandness’ in ancient Greek authors. The third part focuses on a few aspects and questions that emerged from my research on the concepts of ‘coastalness’ and ‘inlandness’.