Cultural Contact and Appropriation in the Axial-Age Mediterranean World

A Periplos


Karl Jaspers dubbed the period, 800-400 BCE, the Axial Age. Axial it was, for out of it emerged the idea of Greek culture, with its influence on Roman and later empires. Jaspers’ Axial Age was the chrysalis of culturally-meaningful modernity.

Trade expands intellectual horizons. The economic and political effects permeate such social domains as technology, language and worldview. In the last category, many issues take on an emotional freight – the birth of science, monotheism, philosophy, even theory itself.

Cultural Contact and Appropriation in the Axial-Age Mediterranean World: A Periplos, explores adaptation, resistance and reciprocity in Axial-Age Mediterranean exchange (ca. 800-300 BCE). Some essayists expand on an international discussion about myth, to which even the Church Fathers contributed. Others explore questions of how vocabulary is reapplied, or how the alphabet is reapplied, in a new environment. Detailed cases ground participants’ capacity to illustrate both the variety of the disciplinary integuments in which we now speak, one with the other, across disciplines, and the sheer complexity of constructing a workable programme for true collaboration.

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Baruch Halpern (Harvard ’74) holds the Covenant Professorship in Religion at the University of Georgia, and was formerly Chaiken Family Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and of Ancient History, at Penn State. His publications center on ancient history, literature, language and archaeology.

Kenneth S. Sacks is professor of History and Classics at Brown University. He works on the ancient Greek world (especially historiography and intellectual thought), classical reception in the United States, and American Transcendentalism.
Introduction by Baruch Halpern & Kenneth S. Sacks
Zeus and Prometheus: Greek Adaptations of Ancient Near Eastern Myths by Kurt A. Raaflaub
The Theogony and the Enuma Elish: City-State Creation Myths by Stephen Scully
Achaemenid Propaganda and Oral Traditions: A Reassessment of Herodotus’ Early Persian Logoi by Jonathan David
Evidence of Peace and War in Persian Period Yehud by John W. Betlyon
Alphabetic Writing in the Mediterranean World: Transmission and Appropriation by André Lemaire
The Name of the Prophet ḥăbaqqûq by David S. Vanderhooft
ἀμόργη/Amurca: A Semitic Loanword? by Eric Lee Welch
Twin Peaks: From Mt. Saphon to the Pillars of Herakles by Assaf Yassur-Landau
A Cache of Terracotta Votives From Mendes: Elements of Popular Religion in the Axial Age by Susan Redford
The Origin and Termination of the Foreign Colony-Garrison at Elephantine by Donald Redford
When Chimaeras were Chimaeras by Baruch Halpern
Medicine and Mathematics in Fifth-century Greece and the Question of Near Eastern Influence by Markus Asper
Who Markets Ideas?: Elite and Non-elite Transmission of Culture and Technology by Kenneth S. Sacks
All interested in the development and history of the Mediterranean during the Axial Age (800-400 BCE) including the influence of trade on language, myth and religion, and culture.