By Jeremy McInerney
A significant other to Ethnicity within the historic Mediterranean offers a entire selection of essays contributed by way of Classical reports students that discover questions on the subject of ethnicity within the historic Mediterranean world.
- Covers themes of ethnicity in civilizations starting from old Egypt and Israel, to Greece and Rome, and into overdue Antiquity
- Features state-of-the-art examine on ethnicity in relation to Philistine, Etruscan, and Phoenician identities
- Reveals the specific relationships among old and glossy ethnicities
- Introduces an interpretation of ethnicity as an lively part of social identity
- Represents a basic wondering of officially authorized and stuck different types within the field
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Extra info for A companion to ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean
However, the practice is characterized by an unusual degree of fluidity. Persian tribes are mentioned near the heartland, but farther afield ethnic terms are employed that may point to identification by language or geography. Here, ethnicity resides on a continuum in which variations occur depending on whether one self-ascribes an ethnic identity or has it ascribed by others. This complexity—my label or yours—mirrors the problems identified by Bernard Knapp in imputing ethnic characteristics or meaning to objects that may represent trade but not necessarily ethnicity: taste is not identity.
In such a discursive engagement through description, “ethnicity” is not just legitimate but necessary, since it is no less than the observer's tool for describing to his audience what we no longer are. Thus, Herodotus describes the murderous Scythians who lived on the edges of the Black Sea, killing shipwrecked Greeks and adorning their houses with the skulls of their unlucky victims. Their savagery was thrilling to Athenian audiences, who took great satisfaction in watching Euripides' depiction of the difference between Barbarians and Greeks in his Iphigenia in Tauris.
However, as de Grummond notes, tying DNA to historical events is highly problematic. ) has been cited in support of ancient literary traditions that the Etruscans were descended from the Lydians, whose territory lay in what is now Turkey. Hence, the discussion of ethnicity is at a peculiar juncture: the people who deal primarily with historical processes and events, namely professional historians, are increasingly uncomfortable using the very labels the scientists take for granted. ” Clearly then, ethnicity remains a problematic issue, pitting observer against observed, and observers against each other.