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Philosophy Ancient & Classical

Cultures of Resistance in the Hellenistic East

edited by Paul J. Kosmin & Ian S. Moyer

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Ancient & Classical
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
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This collaborative volume examines revolts and resistance to the successor states, formed after Alexander the Great's conquest of the Persian empire, as a transregional phenomenon. The editors have assembled an array of specialists in the study of the various regions and cultures of the Hellenistic world - Judea, Egypt, Babylonia, Central Asia, and Asia Minor - in an effort to trace comparisons and connections between episodes and modes of resistance. The volume seeks to unite the currently dominant social-scientific orientation to ancient resistance and revolt with perspectives, often coming from religious studies, that are more attentive to local cultural, religious, and moral frameworks. In re-assessing these frameworks, contributors move beyond Greek/non-Greek binaries to examine resistance as complex and entangled: acts and articulations of resistance are not purely nativistic or 'nationalist', but conditioned by local traditions of government, historical memories of prior periods, as well as emergent transregional Hellenistic political and cultural idioms.

Cultures of Resistance in the Hellenistic East is organized into three parts. The first part investigates the Great Theban Revolt and the Maccabean Revolt, the central cases for large, organized, and prolonged military uprisings against the Hellenistic kingdoms. The second part examines the full gamut of indigenous self-assertion and resistant action, including theologies of monarchic inadequacy, patterns of historical periodization and textual interpretation, and claims to sites of authority. The volume's final part turns to the more ambiguous assertions of local autonomy and identity that emerge in the frontier regions that slipped in and out of the grasp of the great Hellenistic powers.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Paul J. Kosmin read Ancient and Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford, and took his PhD in Ancient History at Harvard University, where he is now Philip J. King Professor of Ancient History. The core of his work to date has focused on the political, cultural, and intellectual history of the east Mediterranean and west Asia in the Hellenistic period.

Ian S. Moyer studied Classics at the University of Victoria, and completed his PhD in the Committee on the Ancient Mediterranean World at the University of Chicago. He now teaches in the History Department at the University of Michigan, and his research traces political, cultural, and intellectual interactions between Egypt and the ancient Greek world.