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Interculturality in Image and Cult in the Hellenistic East: Tyrian Melqart Revisited

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Chapter Summary

The interchange between Greek and Semitic traditions of religious practice has long been one of the more fascinating aspects for scholars of the Hellenistic East. In order to highlight the ambiguity of the visual evidence for questions of religious acculturation as well as to draw attention to the importance of context, physical, historical, and political as well as cultural, this chapter looks at the images related to one of the most well-documented cases of interpretatio graeca of a Near Eastern divinity: Herakles and Melqart. There is a tendency to explain the Greek character of visualizations of Tyrian 'Herakles' as an indication (or result) of the general 'Hellenization', more or less deep, of Phoenician culture generally or the Tyrian god specifically.

Keywords: Hellenistic East; Herakles; interculturality; Phoenician culture; religious acculturation; Tyrian Melqart



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