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Shaping civic identity over time: Seleucid cities in the Near East and their stories of beginnings and foundation

GRIGOLIN, CHIARA (2018) Shaping civic identity over time: Seleucid cities in the Near East and their stories of beginnings and foundation. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 12 June 2021.

Abstract

This work examines the transmission and reception of civic origin myths of some Seleucid cities in the Near East from the Roman period until the first half of the Middle Ages. It focuses primarily on five cities founded by Seleucus I – Antioch the Great and Apamea in Syria, Seleucia on the Tigris, Edessa and Karka de Beth Selok in Mesopotamia and it uses their stories of foundation and mythical beginnings to explore how their cultural identity was re-shaped in various ways in the post-Seleucid world. It argues that memories of Seleucus I and his empire were claimed by a variety of agencies, from both the Greek-speaking and the Syriac-speaking worlds; they were used to negotiate the identity of the Seleucid cities and communities while engaging with cultural memories of Greek archaic and classical past, Alexander the Great and the Achaemenids, which characterised cultural discourses in the empires of the post-Seleucid world. The first chapter focuses on Antioch and examines how the local historian Pausanias, the rhetor Libanius, and the chronographer John Malalas recalled stories concerning the Antiochene mythical founders and Seleucus I in order to interact in wider cultural discourses within the Greco-Roman and Byzantine worlds. The second chapter looks at third-century AD Apamea and investigates how the poet Ps. Oppian adapted its origins to respond to Caracalla’s Alexander-mania. The third and fourth chapters consider Seleucid cities in Mesopotamia. The third chapter focuses on Seleucia on the Tigris and explores how memories of its Seleucid foundation were used by Appian to engage with the cultural propaganda of the Roman emperors during the Parthian wars. The fourth chapter analyses the Syriac Christian communities and how they intertwined foundation stories claiming Seleucus I as a founder with memories of Alexander and Darius III to elaborate their new cultural identities. Then, the last chapter discusses memories of the Seleucid past and Seleucus I in post-Seleucid Seleucia Pieria, Laodicea, Dura Europus and Daphne.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Syria Mesopotamia foundation myths origin myths Seleucus I Tetrapolis Edessa Karka de Beth Selok
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Classics and Ancient History, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Jun 2018 12:23

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