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Belonging and Isolation in the Hellenistic World

Belonging and Isolation in the Hellenistic World

Volume: 51
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 416
  • Book Info
    Belonging and Isolation in the Hellenistic World
    Book Description:

    With a range of social, artistic, economic, political, and literary perspectives, the contributors provide a lively exploration of the tensions and opportunities of life in the Hellenistic Mediterranean.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9944-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Belonging and Isolation in the Hellenistic World: Themes and Questions
    (pp. 3-16)

    For much of the history of classical scholarship, the time from Alexanderʹs death in 323 BC until Romeʹs mastery of the Mediterranean in the first century AD was regarded as a period of slow cultural decline following the glorious achievements of fifth-century Athens. Greek civilization and culture, though spreading far and wide across the empire Alexander had carved out, seemed fragmented, decadent, and individualized. In recent decades, however, scholars have reassessed this view and applied the more positive criteria of differentiation, change, and renewal.

    The current view holds that the Hellenistic period was a time of innovation, resurgence, and transition....

  6. Part One: Intercultural Poetics and Identity

    • [Part One: Introduction]
      (pp. 17-18)

      One distinguishing feature of the literary production of the Hellenistic era is the wide range of authorsʹ geographical origins. Kallimachos was a native of Cyrene, west of Egypt; Theokritos hailed from Syracuse, in Sicily; and Poseidippos was born in Macedonian Pella. The writings of the Graeco-Syrian epigrammatist Meleager, whose poetry is the subject of two contributions in this section, reveal sensitivity to the cross-cultural social, religious, and linguistic forces that were in play at the time. Born in Gadara (modern-day Umm Qais in Jordan) on the margins of the Greekoikoumene, Meleager lived for some time in Phoenician Tyre, and...

    • 1 ʹIf I Am from Syria – So What?ʹ: Meleagerʹs Cosmopoetics
      (pp. 19-32)

      This text is one in a series of four, possibly five, self-epitaphs by the Hellenistic poet Meleager, which were once included in hisStephanos, a four-book anthology of epigrams edited around 100 BC.³ It has long been noted that theAnthologia Palatinacontains several large sequences of theGarlandthat more or less preserve the poemsʹ original arrangement.⁴ The collectionʹs remnants thus permit us to gain a fairly good picture of its intricate design, as has been brilliantly demonstrated by Kathryn Gutzwiller.⁵ Based on her structural analysis, we may observe that Meleagerʹs self-epitaphs formed part of the first section in...

    • 2 Invective from the Cultural Periphery: The Case of Hermeias of Kourion
      (pp. 33-46)

      The reputation of Hermeias of Kourion hangs on a slender thread: his work survives in only a single fragment, a mere five choliambic lines preserved by Athenaios from a work entitledIambi. Perhaps we can attribute to him a further single line in cretic-paeonics (Suppl. Hell. 484), which is cited by Hephaistion as being by a certain Hermeias. As there is no indication of ethnicity, however, we cannot be sure. No one else breathes a word about Hermeias. We know nothing of his life, such as his parentage, dates, education, career, titles of other works.² Still, amongst the vestiges of...

    • 3 Genre and Ethnicity in the Epigrams of Meleager
      (pp. 47-70)

      The biography of Meleager, the erotic epigrammatist and anthologist of the Garland (ca 100 BC), is known from four self-epitaphs.² Born in Syrian Gadara to a father with the Greek name Eukrates, he spent his young manhood in Phoenician Tyre and his declining years as a citizen of Kos. His life thus illustrates the experience of moving from a Syrian town where Greeks and Hebrews intermingled with the indigenous population to a once-powerful Phoenician city, now largely Hellenized, and then to a Greek city with a proud literary and cultural tradition, and this during a period of increasing Roman domination...

  7. Part Two: On the Margins?: Ethnicity and Hellenicity

    • [Part Two: Introduction]
      (pp. 71-72)

      The papers in this section all deal with populations that were in some way isolated – whether geographically, ethnically, or culturally – from thekoineof the Hellenistic world. If ʹHellenicityʹ is to be defined primarily in cultural terms, rather than ethnic ones, the diffusion of Greek language and culture throughout the Mediterranean and the Near East in the Hellenistic period provided multiple opportunities for the adoption of Hellenic identity. As Altay Coçkunʹs paper demonstrates, the Galatians – once the terror of Asia Minor – eventually assimilated to such a point that they could even be addressed as ʹgenuine Romans.ʹ...

    • 4 Belonging and Isolation in Central Anatolia: The Galatians in the Graeco-Roman World
      (pp. 73-95)

      When Lysimachos had to confront Seleukos I near Koroupedion in western Asia Minor in 281 BC, Celtic tribes from the Balkan region seized the opportunity to attack Macedon. The death of both kings encouraged further invasions. In his attempt to stop them, Ptolemy Keraunos, the new ruler of Macedon, was killed in 279 BC. Immediately thereafter, the warlord Brennos gathered more than two hundred thousand warriors to intrude into central Greece. Their bloody traces can be followed all the way up to the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, where, under the lead of the Aitoloi, the Greeks inflicted a terrible...

    • 5 The Importance of Being Aitolian
      (pp. 96-110)

      The political community of the north-central Greek mainland known as ʹthe Aitoliansʹ (oἱ Aἰτωλoί) occupies a middle ground in regard to the overarching theme of this collection and to the specific experiences of the other two communities featured in this section. While Athenians of the Hellenistic era experienced a progressive contraction in their military power, reach, and political independence, they never relinquished their claim to the normative cultural status they had established during the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Thekoineculture of the Hellenisticoikoumenewas at its core Athenian culture, albeit spread – ironically – through the agency...

    • 6 Democracy in the Hellenistic World
      (pp. 111-128)

      This paper addresses the question of the survival of democratic institutions in the Hellenistic world. The city of Athens and the Greek colonies on the north and west coast of the Black Sea offer a comparative case study from two distinct regions of the Greek world, one an old mainland site, the home of democracy, and the others on the periphery of the Greekoikoumene. Does the sense of isolation among a sea of barbarians diminish or strengthen traditional political institutions in the Black Sea, and are they different for Athens embedded within a purely Hellenic landscape? Whatever differences may...

  8. Part Three: Symploke:: Mediterranean Systems and Networks

    • [Part Three: Introduction]
      (pp. 129-130)

      The polities of the Hellenistic Mediterranean were remarkable for their number and variety:poleis, leagues, kingdoms, empires, and of course Rome. Such diversity was emblematic of the anarchy of a multipolar system; yet at the same time, as the papers in this section show, these polities were bound together in a complex network of interaction, or rather in a series of such networks. Mutual political and economic interests, ties of kinship, diplomatic relations, and of course conflict brought the states into contact with one another. It was in the Hellenistic age, Polybios argues, that the affairs of the two isolated...

    • 7 Polybios and International Systems Theory
      (pp. 131-142)

      Allow me to begin this chapter with a statement of the obvious: Polybios was not a modern political scientist. He was a Hellenistic intellectual, and Hellenistic culture and the course of Hellenistic history led him to be impressed with the impact of Tyche (Fortune) in human affairs.¹ And Tyche is an idea – or a phenomenon – that makes modern political scientists, searching for their law-like patterns in interstate relations, shudder. Polybios wrote too with a moral as well as a pragmatic purpose. But this is a moral engagement that modern political scientists, who don the mask of cool objectivity,...

    • 8 Networks in the Hellenistic Economy
      (pp. 143-154)

      In 1967 the sociologist Stanley Milgram published a short paper reporting the results of a clever experiment. Milgram gave individuals living in Boston, Massachusetts, and Omaha, Nebraska, copies of a letter addressed to a stockbroker in Boston. He instructed his subjects to try to pass the letter to the stockbroker not directly but by sending it to someone they knew on a first-name basis with a request to pass the letter on to another person that person knew on a first-name basis. The idea was to test a proposition that had been circulating in the sociological community: that the social...

    • 9 Diplomacy and the Integration of the Hasmonean State
      (pp. 155-166)

      Questions of integration and isolation are applicable to many aspects of Hellenistic literature, society, and history, as can be seen in the other contributions to this volume. They are important, too, in the case of Jews, for whom the Hellenistic age was marked both by increasing Hellenization of various parts of their state and society and by strong reactions against it.

      My paper will focus on two documents quoted by Josephus in hisJewish Antiquities. Both also illustrate an important point about Josephusʹs handling of documentary material that his readers should understand at the outset: he is not very good...

  9. Part Four: Alexandria:: The Invention of a City

    • [Part Four: Introduction]
      (pp. 167-168)

      Alexandria was an ʹinventionʹ an artificial construct founded by a Macedonian general near the Egyptian settlement of Rhakotis on the Nile River. Unlike many Greek and other Mediterranean cities that boasted mythical origins, Alexandria had been established in the living memory of its Hellenistic inhabitants. This unique characteristic permitted the fabrication of a self-representation that reflected the diversity of people who constituted the population. It was a multicultural city of native Egyptians, North Africans, Jews, and other Semitic groups, mercenaries from Macedonia and elsewhere, and Greek-speaking people.

      Andrew Erskine argues that the inconsistencies in Alexandriaʹs foundation accounts reveal the interests...

    • 10 Founding Alexandria in the Alexandrian Imagination
      (pp. 169-183)

      The foundation of Alexandria in 331 BC is one of the best-documented foundation stories that survives from antiquity. Unlike that of its Mediterranean rival Rome, the story occurs in historical time with known historical figures involved, primarily Alexander but also other secondary characters such as Kleomenes of Naukratis and the architect Deinokrates. Rome, in contrast, offers figures whose very existence is questionable, as is the case with Romulus and Remus.¹ Contemporary or near-contemporary records of the foundation of Alexandria, however, are now lost with the result that scholars must rely on accounts written much later, none earlier than the closing...

    • 11 The Birth Myths of Ptolemy Soter
      (pp. 184-198)

      How did the Ptolemies present themselves as belonging to or with the dynasty of Philip and Alexander on the one hand, and as belonging in Egypt on the other? The principal means was the generation of a rich birth mythology for the dynastyʹs founder, Ptolemy Soter. Alexander had been the son of Philip and the son of Zeus. If Ptolemy wished to emulate Alexander and claim some of his aura, then he would be obliged to appropriate at least one of these for himself – or those writing on his behalf had to do it for him. In fact, he...

    • 12 ʹAlexandrianismʹ Again: Regionalism, Alexandria, and Aesthetics
      (pp. 199-222)

      It has been a long-held belief on the part of many classical art historians that the diversity that so characterizes the art and aesthetic of the Hellenistic period can be analysed by examining certain regions of production that are the prime champions of any given element of a panhellenic ʹstyle.ʹ Thus, while one can understand the multiplicity of styles under the umbrella term ʹHellenisticʹ (in fact, this multiplicity defines Hellenistic style), any one style was often seen as emanating from one particular region. This was, perhaps, most famously espoused in the late nineteenth century when Heinrich Brunn postulated a Pergamene...

  10. Part Five: Integration:: Social In-Groups and Out-Groups

    • [Part Five: Introduction]
      (pp. 223-224)

      During the Hellenistic era the movement of people from one civic community to another strained the traditional criteria for membership within theoikosand thepolis. And as the public expression of a personʹs bond with household or community shifted, opportunities arose for gaining entry into a particular social group; so too did the risks of being removed from one.

      Christina Vester draws attention to the discourse in Menanderʹs play about the difference between the norms and customs encoded in the cityʹs laws and the behaviour of the human beings who are expected to uphold and promote them. Even those...

    • 13 Staging the Oikos: Character and Belonging in Menanderʹs Samia
      (pp. 225-244)

      In arguing that Menander¹ is more important than wine at a symposion, a character in PlutarchʹsMoraliamusters an impressive array of evidence.² He cites the playwrightʹs pleasant style, judicious mixture of gravity and levity, and carefully calibrated storyline carrying both sober and tipsy along (Mor. 712b). A lack of homoerotic desire and the provision of marriage for violated virgins make the plays fitting fare for married men. Sex workers do appear in Menandrean dramas, but relationships with them are governed by suitable endings. Erotic entanglements withhetairai(ʹcourtesansʹ) conclude swiftly in the case of an overbold one, or humanely...

    • 14 Making Yourself at Home in the Hellenistic World
      (pp. 245-267)

      Home is a place where we define ourselves. More or less consciously, we use the architecture, decoration, and contents of our homes to express our status and affiliations, to show others what kind of person we are, or would like to be. But at a deeper level, home is also where we first learn who we are, what our role in society is, and how to behave appropriately for that role; the household is one of the central contexts in which we articulate fundamental social distinctions of gender, age, and status. Our homes are therefore designed not only to show...

    • 15 Mère-patrie et patrie dʹadoption à lʹépoque hellénistique: Réflexions à partir du cas des mercenaires crétois de Milet
      (pp. 268-292)

      Lʹépoque hellénistique fut une période dʹinnovations, de changements, de transition, pour reprendre la formule des éditeurs du présent ouvrage. Période importante pour la suite de lʹhistoire occidentale et complexe en raison des proportions que prit alors le monde de culture hellénique, elle fut parfois rapprochée du monde actuel, notamment lorsque le concept de mondialisation (globalization) a suscité lʹintérêt des historiens.¹ Marqué par la mobilité des personnes dʹabord, mais également des biens, des idées, etc., le monde hellénistique présente en effet des caractères qui font que lʹhistorien dʹaujourdʹhui peut sentir une proximité avec certains des phénomènes qui le composèrent. À l’heure...

  11. Part Six: Insulae:: Geopolitics and Geopoetics

    • [Part Six: Introduction]
      (pp. 293-294)

      The idea of insularity links the papers in this section. Islands – like the sea in which they float – are symbolic of both isolation and belonging. The sea both divides and facilitates movement; islands are set apart, and yet act as hubs of human contact. The island of Delos in the southern Aegean is a particularly striking example of this paradox. Small and politically insignificant, yet centrally located, and important in both religious and economic terms, Delos brought together the traders of the Mediterranean and inspired the imagination of the poets.

      Ephraim Lytleʹs essay challenges conventional notions of belonging....

    • 16 ʹEntirely Ignorant of the Agoraʹ (Alkiphron 1.14.3): Fishing and the Economy of Hellenistic Delos
      (pp. 295-315)

      Both with regard to its role in the Hellenistic economy and specifically in relation to this volumeʹs themes, marine fishing poses a number of fundamental problems. On the one hand, as Mikhail Rostovtzeff long ago noted, the Greeksʹ knowledge of seafood and how to procure it seems to have been well developed from an early date, and it is doubtful that technological innovation could have contributed much to the growth of fishing industries during the Hellenistic period.¹ On the other hand, the viability of ancient Greek fishing economies depended not only on Aegean ecologies but also on social factors such...

    • 17 De lʹouverture au repli: Les prêts du sanctuaire de Délos
      (pp. 316-324)

      Le sanctuaire dʹApollon, à Délos, a pratiqué pendant plusieurs siècles différents types de crédit, dʹabord durant la période classique, lorsque les Athéniens contrôlaient lʹadministration des biens sacrés, ensuite pendant les 150 ans de lʹIndépendance de lʹîle (314–167 a.C.), enfin au temps de lʹoccupation athénienne, non seulement jusque vers 145 avant J.-C., date à laquelle les documents commencent à nous faire défaut, mais sans doute encore au-delà. Il y a plus de quarante ans, R. Bogaert a analysé en détail lʹensemble de ces opérations et, tout récemment, V. Chankowski est revenue sur celles de la période classique.¹ Ces études conservent...

    • 18 Connections, Origins, and the Construction of Belonging in the Poetry of Kallimachos
      (pp. 325-340)

      Of all the major third-century poets, Kallimachos may have had the best claim to ʹbelongʹ to Egypt and the culture established by the Ptolemies. In his secondHymnhe proudly refers to his Cyrenaean, and thus Spartan, heritage, even as he acknowledges that Cyrene is now ʹEgyptian.ʹ¹ He was a favoured member of the court, and was commissioned to catalogue the great Libraryʹs collection. As if aware of his privileged status and point of view in Alexandria, in various passages throughout his poetry Kallimachos represents himself – or the poemʹs implied speaker – as someone who has either never left...

    (pp. 341-386)
    (pp. 387-390)
  14. General Index
    (pp. 391-400)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 401-403)