Shifting Social Imaginaries in the Hellenistic Period

Narrations, Practices, and Images


There is a long tradition in classical scholarship of reducing the Hellenistic period to the spreading of Greek language and culture far beyond the borders of the Mediterranean. More than anything else this perception has hindered an appreciation of the manifold consequences triggered by the creation of new spaces of connectivity linking different cultures and societies in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. In adopting a new approach this volume explores the effects of the continuous adaptations of ideas and practices to new contexts of meaning on the social imaginaries of the parties participating in these intercultural encounters. The essays show that the seemingly static end-products of the interaction between Greek and non-Greek groups, such as texts, images, and objects, were embedded in long-term discourses, and thus subject to continuously shifting processes.

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Eftychia Stavrianopoulou, D.Phil. (1987, Heidelberg) and Habilitation (2003, Heidelberg), is professor of Ancient History and member of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe” at the University of Heidelberg. She has published monographs and articles on Greek epigraphy, social history and ritual studies.

Contributors: Heather D. Baker, Omar Coloru, Andrew Erskine, Eleni Fassa, Gilles Gorre, Sylvie Honigman, Andrea Jördens, Deniz Kaptan, Rachel Mairs, Christian Marek, Christoph Michels, Jessica L. Nitschke, Eftychia Stavrianopoulou, Rolf Strootman, and Onno van Nijf.
" Stavrianopoulou suggests the use of the idea of a “social imaginary” (...) This is an effective theoretical model for discussing intercultural relations in the ancient world, and the application of this line of thinking is utilized admirably and consistently by the authors in this volume, who use the concept of the “social imaginary” to understand the ways in which community identities are changed and reinterpreted based on interactions with each other and with other cultural influences during the Hellenistic period." Jennifer Finn, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.03.63.
List of Figures
Note on Abbreviations and Transliteration

Eftychia Stavrianopoulou

Déjà vu? Visual Culture in Western Asia Minor at the Beginning of Hellenistic rule
Deniz Kaptan

The Image of the City in Hellenistic Babylonia
Heather D. Baker

Babylonian, Macedonian, King of the World: The Antiochos Cylinder from Borsippa and Seleukid Imperial Integration
Rolf Strootman

A Religious Continuity Between the Dynastic and Ptolemaic Periods? Self-Presentation and Identity of Egyptian Priests in the Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BCE)
Gilles Gorre

Shifting Conceptions of the Divine: Sarapis as Part of Ptolemaic Egypt’s Social Imaginary
Eleni Fassa

Andrea Jördens

Hellenistic World(s) and the Elusive Concept of ‘Greekness’
Eftychia Stavrianopoulou

‘Jews as the Best of All Greeks’: Cultural Competition in the Literary Works of Alexandrian Judaeans of the Hellenistic Period
Sylvie Honigman

Political Institutions and the Lykian and Karian Language in the Process of Hellenization be¬tween the Achaemenids and the Early Diadochi
Christian Marek

Interculturality in Image and Cult in the Hellenistic East: Tyrian Melqart Revisited
Jessica L. Nitschke

The Spread of Greek Polis Institutions in Hellenistic Cappadocia and the Peer Polity Interaction Model
Christoph Michels

Ceremonies, Athletics and the City: Some Remarks on the Social Imaginary of the Greek City of the Hellenistic Period
Onno van Nijf

The View from the Old World: Contemporary Perspectives on Hellenistic Culture
Andrew Erskine

The Hellenistic Far East: From the Oikoumene to the Community
Rachel Mairs

Alexander the Great and Iskander Dhu’l-Qarnayn: Memory, Myth and Representation of a Conqueror from Iran to South East India Through the Eyes of Travel Literature
Omar Coloru

Notes on Contributors
Indices (compiled by R. Cengia)
a) Index of Primary Sources (Literary Sources, Inscriptions, and Papyri
b) General Index
Scholars and students interested in the history, epigraphy, archaeology and religions of the Hellenistic period as well as in cultural studies.