Lagging, Uneven Hellenism in the Hellenistic East

Author(s): Peter Stone

Year: 2016


Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Persian Empire ushered in the Hellenistic period, so called because of the ostensible spread of Greek culture across a vast landscape. Such a characterization is supported by the presence of Greek inscriptions and Greek style art and architecture at cities founded by Alexander and his successors. But this picture becomes complicated the further one moves from the centers of power. I Maccabees, an account of a Jewish revolt against the Seleucid dynasty written in the late 2nd century BCE, bemoans a rash of Hellenism in Jerusalem that manifested not in the immediate wake of Alexander’s conquest when we might expect culture shock to be most severe, but in the 170s BCE. The archaeological record from the southern Levant provides some context for this unexpected framing of the era. Many of the “Hellenic” hallmarks of the Hellenistic world: including Greek inscriptions, iconography, and elaborate table settings and décor only became popular in the southern Levant in the 2nd century BCE. This paper draws upon the material record to show how this newly available cultural currency had different purchase among groups whose histories had been shaped by centuries of imperialism in the region: Phoenicians and Jews.

Cite this Record

Lagging, Uneven Hellenism in the Hellenistic East. Peter Stone. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403785)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;