Marc Domingo Gygax

An excerpt from Marc Domingo Gygax’s entry, Benefaction and Rewards in the Ancient Greek City: The Origins of Euergetism

3. Proleptic Honors

Let us return to our initial question: how is it possible that at Hippucome and other Greek poleis significant honors were granted to individuals who had only promised contributions to public projects and had not yet accomplished them? Put another way: How can we explain the paradox of public subscriptions? An initial answer is that euergetism was a form of gift-exchange, and that in this typically Greek practice it was normal to outdo oneself, whether intentionally or not, in the counter-gift, to the extent of indebting the initial giver and forcing him to reciprocate with a new gift.

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