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

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the transformative effects of intercultural encounters in the Hellenistic period. Any analysis of interaction between the various societies of this period must entail not a fixed concept of Greekness but rather one perceived as a constant process shaped by all parties involved through acts of cultural appropriation. The chapter discusses the impact of intercultural encounters on the social imaginary of Greek and non-Greek societies on the basis of some examples and sketches a model that might offer a coherent interpretative framework. The phenomenon of syngeneia is an excellent example of the sorts of transformations that occurred in the third century BCE. The discourses on the idea of kinship that grew out of the interactions between Greeks and local communities in Asia Minor led to reciprocity and provided a framework for reverse cultural flow.

Keywords: concept of Greekness; Greek colonists; Hellenistic period; syngeneia



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