Parallels of Diaspora Processes in Ancient Greece with Contemporary Greek Diaspora Centres: The Case of the Greek-Australian Diaspora

  • Graeme Hugo
  • Steve Bakalis
  • Therese Joiner


In antiquity, many Greeks migrated to new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander the Great’s wake. The power of these cities was based on the spirit of Alexander’s Oath at Opis, as it was based on their ability to be connected more by language, culture, and history than by law or a hierarchical relationship (Burn 1948). Homonoia, the pursuit of order and unity, which had been a growing preoccupation among the Greeks for some time is the central axon of Alexander’s Oath at Opis. Xenophon’s statement that Homonoia was the greatest virtue inside a City is known to have prompted Isocrates to use the word to urge Philip of Macedonia to unite the Greeks against the barbarians (De Mauriac 1949). Alexander, Philip’s son, universalized the meaning of the word Homonoia by acting on his Oath at Opis. This approach was a significant contributor for Hellenistic cities in ancient times for the creation of social cohesion and the mobilisation of diversity, and paved the way for globalisation.

Today, important centers of the Greek Diaspora exist in New York, Chicago, London, Melbourne, Toronto, and other parts of the world. Multiculturalism, a significant contributor to diversity, is at the forefront of policy debates, including in Australian policy circles, driven largely by the Federal government’s objective of social cohesion (Parliament of Australia 2010). In this paper, we argue that the Greek Diaspora in the Australian multicultural landscape mirrors mechanisms that were developed in the ancient Greek states, and that there is considerable scope to utilise today’s dynamics of the Greek Diaspora more effectively by considering ancient developments and context, especially in the presence of the crisis of values emerging from the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. This crisis has presented challenges for the irresistible forces of globalization, very much alike with challenges that Alexander the Great confronted when faced with the Mutiny at Opis in his pursuit of Homonoia consistent his Oath at Opis.


Social Cohesion Global Financial Crisis Kinship Network Ancestry Group Greek Origin 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geographical and Environmental StudiesAdelaide UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.School of Business and EconomicsMonash UniversityChurchillAustralia

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