By engaging with recent developments in the study of empires, this book examines how inhabitants of Roman imperial Syria reinvented expressions and experiences of Greek, Roman and Syrian identification. It demonstrates how the organization of Greek communities and a peer polity network extending citizenship to ethnic Syrians generated new semiotic frameworks for the performance of Greekness and Syrianness. Within these, Syria's inhabitants reoriented and interwove idioms of diverse cultural origins, including those from the Near East, to express Greek, Roman and Syrian identifications in innovative and complex ways. While exploring a vast array of written and material sources, the book thus posits that Greekness and Syrianness were constantly shifting and transforming categories, and it critiques many assumptions that govern how scholars of antiquity often conceive of Roman imperial Greek identity, ethnicity and culture in the Roman Near East, and processes of 'hybridity' or similar concepts.
Nathanael J. Andrade is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Oregon.
Introduction: signification and cultural performance in Roman imperial Syria; Part I. Greek Poleis and the Syrian Ethnos (2nd century BCE-1st century CE): 1. Antiochus IV and the limits of Greekness under the Seleucids (175-63 BCE); 2. The theater of the frontier: local performance, Roman rulers (63-31 BCE); 3. Converging paths: Syrian Greeks of the Roman Near East (31 BCE-CE 73); Part II. Greek Collectives in Syria (1st-3rd centuries CE): 4. The Syrian Ethnos' Greek cities: dispositions and hegemonies (1st-3rd centuries CE); 5. Cities of imperial frontiers (1st-3rd centuries CE); 6. Hadrian and Palmyra: contrasting visions of Greekness (1st-3rd centuries CE); 7. Dura-Europos: changing paradigms for civic Greekness; Part III. Imitation Greeks: Being Greek and Being Other (2nd and 3rd centuries CE): 8. Greeks write Syria: performance and the signification of Greekness; 9. The theater of empire: Lucian, cultural performance, and Roman rule; 10. Syria writes back: Lucian and On the Syrian Goddess; 11. The ascendency of Syrian Greekness and Romanness; Conclusion.