Symplokê, a term usually translated as “interconectedness” in The  Histories of Polybius, explains how regional and international powers rise and fall during Hellenistic times.

The aim of this international conference, which will take place in Barcelona on 23-25th May 2013, is to advance in our knowledge and also encourage the scholarly debate, both from a theoretical and a more practical perspective, on two interconnected issues within the history and the archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean for the last four centuries BCE:

1. ‘Multipolarity’ in international relations

2. Interstate warfare and ‘warlordism’

This conference intends to address traditional issues such as the nature of interstate violence in the Classical World and the interconnections and networks with a new set of historical and archaeological interpretative tools which may respond to some of our most present concerns. That is assessing, from a ‘multipolar’ perspective, the impact of war and interstate relations on global hegemonies in our modern world.

As we all know, we live in a ‘multipolar’ world fully dominated by ‘connectivity’ and networking. The bipolarity inherited from the worst years of the Cold War does not exist anymore.

Inevitably, such a present global reality pours in our modern interpretation of the past, even the distant and remote past, such as the Classical Antiquity. Recent books from two of the conference participants, Arthur Eckstein and Peregrin Horden & Nicholas Purcell have posed stimulating but also controversial questions regarding the theoretical debate on ‘multipolarity’, connectivity and interstate warfare. Also, the role of ‘warlords’ or ‘condottieri’ in the promotion of interstate war efforts has hardly been applied to the Classical World. Such a debate needs to be extended to earlier periods, such as the Fourth Century and the Hellenistic Age in Greece and Asia Minor, or the Carthaginian and Roman Republican expansion over the West.


For registration to the conference you should send us your personal details (full name, e-mail and the institution to which he belongs) to the following address: .
Later, we will send you the bank details to make payment (40 euros for the general public, 20 euros for students)
We recall that due to space constraints the capacity is limited to 50 seats.

The conference will take place in the MAC

The ICREA conference on Multipolarity and Warlordism in the Ancient Mediterranean (cent. IV-I BCE) will take place in the historical headquarters of the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya (MAC), in Passeig de Santa Madrona, 39-41 (Barcelona). This building is located in the Parc de Montjuïc (Montjuïc Park), in a very cultural zone of the city where you could find interesting museums, like Fundació Joan Miró, MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya), and many others. You can visit the website of the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya here:

Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya

Museu d'Arqueologia de Catalunya

Conference program

23rd May

8.30 – 9.15 h: Registration

9.15 h: Presentation: Fernando López-Sánchez / Toni Ñaco del Hoyo (organizers), Xavier Llovera (MAC director), Jaume Bertranpetit (director of ICREA, Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies)


FIRST SESSION: A theoretical approach

9.30 h: Arthur Eckstein (Maryland University, USA) “What is an Empire?: Unipolarity, Hegemony in the Roman relations with the Greek states after 188 BC

9.50 h: Nicholas Purcell (Brasenose College, Oxford University, UK) “Nervi belli: what sort of body? War, connectivity and the concentration of economic resources

10.10 h: Discussion

COFFEE BREAK: 10.40 – 11 h

SECOND SESSION: Greece, Persia and the Fourth Century BC

11 h: Christopher Tuplin (Liverpool University, UK) “Mercenaries and the Achaemenid Empire

11.20 h: José Pascual (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) “Warlordism in mid-fourth century continental Greece

11.40 h: Polly Low (Manchester University, UK) “State and warlord in Classical Greece: from bipolarity to multipolarity”

12 h: Daniel Gómez-Castro (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) “A Spartan Warlord: Lysander and the construction of a new Greek Empire

12.20 h: Discussion


LUNCH:  12.45 – 15 h (discussants only)


THIRD SESSION: The Hellenistic East

15 h: Vincent Gabrielsen (Copenhagen University, Denmark) “Seaborne warlords: between monopolistic and oligopolistic state cultures in the Greek-speaking world (750-30 BC)

15.20 h: Nicholas Sekunda (Gdansk University, Poland) “Raising armies in the Hellenistic kingdoms

15.40 h: Altay Coskun (Waterloo University, Canada) “Warlords in Late Hellenistic Anatolia

COFFEE BREAK: 16 – 16.20 h.

16.20 h: Craige B. Champion: (Syracuse University, USA) “Conquest, Liberation, Protectionism, or Enslavement?: Mid-Republican Rome from a Greek Perspective

16.40 h: Discussion

18.00 h: TOUR (1): ROMAN & MEDIEVAL BARCELONA (discussants only)


24th May

FOURTH SESSION: The Carthaginian koinè

9.30 h: Manuel Alvarez Martí-Aguilar (Málaga University) “Blood ties: War in the Phoenician Far West

9.50 h: Philip de Souza (University College Dublin, Ireland) “Sea powers in the Punic Wars

10.10 h: Discussion

COFFEE BREAK: 10.40 – 11 h

FIFTH SESSION: Gaul, Spain, Sicily and Italy

11.00 h: James Thorne (University of Manchester, UK) “Caesar’s Gallic War in the development of the Roman imperialism and empire

11.20 h: Jonathan Prag (Merton College, Oxford University, UK) “Republican auxiliaries – the exploitation of local warlordism in the Republican Empire

11.40 h: Michael P. Fronda (McGill University, Canada) “Highlighting minor powers in the Hannibalic War

12.00 h: Discussion


LUNCH: 12.25 – 14.30 h (discussants only)


SIXTH SESSION: Crossing the boundaries, East & West

14,40 h: Fernando López-Sánchez (Universitat Jaume I & Wolfson College, Oxford) “Galatians in Macedonia (279 BC): invasion or invitation?

15.00 h: Ian Leins (British Museum, London, UK) “Coins and tribal societies in Britain

15.20 h: Discussion

COFFEE BREAK: 15.40 – 16.00 h

17.00 h: TOUR (2): GAUDI’S BARCELONA (discussants only)


25th May

SEVENTH SESSION: Warlordism and the Roman armies

9.30 h: Nathan Rosenstein (Ohio State University, USA) “War wealth and warlords in the Roman Republic

9.50 h: John Rich (Nottingham University, UK) “Warlordism and the Roman Republic

10.10 h: Sophia Zoumbaki (KERA, Athens, Greece) “Sulla and his generals in First Century Greece

COFFEE BREAK: 10.30 – 11 h

11 h: Boris Rankov (Royal Holloway London, UK) “Warlordism and the making of the Roman Imperial Army

11.20 h: Jordi Principal  (Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, Barcelona) and Toni Ñaco del Hoyo (ICREA and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) “Military connectivity integration: the NE of Hispania Citerior (c125-100 BCE)

11.40 h: Discussion



FINAL LUNCH: 13.00 h (discussants only)



Confirmed discussants:

Paul Erdkamp (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)

Josephine Quinn (Worcester College, Oxford, UK)

Saskia Roselaar (Nottingham University, UK)