Web for the Research Project

Reference: FFI2015-63956-P (MINECO/FEDER, UE)

Principal investigator 1: MARIA-PAZ DE HOZ

Requesting entity: University of Salamanca

Title: Hellenization in the Greco-Roman East: processes of assimilation and perception in local cultures.

Center: FACULTY OF PHILOLOGY. Department of Classical and Indo-European Philology

Principal investigator 2: LUIS ARTURO GUICHARD ROMERO

Contact information

Address: Facultad de Filología. Plaza de Anaya, s/n, 37008 Salamanca

Opening Hours: L-V 8:00 – 21:00

Phone: 923 29 44 45


Project Goals

The main goal of this project is to study the cultural region of the Greco-Roman Orient in Hellenistic and Imperial times, situating these three geographical areas (Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor) in the same context. These three areas share common cultural dynamics: the relation between Greek culture and pre-existing cultures. We are interested in a study of how the confluence of hellenization with native remains surfaced in new cultural products in the areas of religion, literature and science. In order to reconstruct this “oriental” substratum perceived and assimilated by the Greeks the native elements persisting in the contact zones will be studied, as well as the specific type of Greek identity triggered by these contacts, and the role that both the Greek cultural elite and the rural interior natives play during the whole process. The epigraphic and literary documents bring about numerous keys to understand the process in each of the regions, with different characteristics because of the substratum. Our research will be focused, then, in the analysis of the peculiarly Greek elements adopted by the local cultures and converted into their own identity traits; in the survival of ancient elements of these cultures, and in how both cultures, Greek and local, modify each other. When comparing the three areas, we find a certain graduation of the incidence of Greek culture and in how this penetrates local cultures. In Egypt, this incidence triggers the appearance of a mixed religion, with both pre-Greek and Greek elements, and to a literature that is transplanted in all its aspects, but that in some occasions does have a truly local content, specially in areas of Higher Egypt such as Heracleiopolis and Panopolis. In Asia Minor the local content, intense in the interior, hellenized at a relatively late stage, is object of a particular apogee in imperial times even in more deeply hellenized zones as a result of an identity-forming process. In Syria, finally, the impact of the Roman educational system brings about the transfer of the local intellectuals to international cultural centers (Rome in particular). This study will be done on epigraphic and literary sources, analyzing historical, literary, religious, social and in sum cultural aspects, taking advantage of recent methodological steps forward brought about by research approaches of typological, anthropological and social character, on ethnicity, bilingualism and cultural contacts. The project will focus particularly in the idea that, at the same time as related to continental Greece, these three “peripheral” areas are interrelated and conform a certain unity of cultural interchange and hybridity through which the Greek perception of that common “oriental” substratum is formed. This type of research will allow the team members to better value the local, periphery or frontier cultural forms, particularly in the field of religion and literature, and will allow the publication of articles and books on texts and authors that show a markedly hybrid culture as well as about religious phenomena
that are better understood starting from this hellenization – local culture dynamics. In sum, this project offers an interpretation space for phenomena that share Greek and non-Greek cultural characteristics, but that undoubtedly belong to the Greco-Roman cultural heritage.

Monographies by the team

-L. A. Guichard, J. L. García-Alonso, M. P. de Hoz (eds.), Interactions between science, religion and literature. The Alexandrian tradition, Berna: Peter Lang 2014.

-J. L. García Alonso, Mª P. de Hoz, S. Torallas, Estrabón. Geografía XV-XVII: Introducción, traducción y notas (BCG), Madrid 2015.

-M. P. de Hoz, J. P. Sánchez, C. Molina (eds.), Between Tarhuntas and Zeus Polieus: culture crossroads in the temples and cults of Graeco-Roman Anatolia (Colloquia Antiqua 17), Leuven: Peeters 2016.