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RA 1B: Perceptions of the Black Sea region

This part of the programme focus on the meeting og cultures  and coexistence between Greeks and local groups of people, and will discuss the perceptions of the local peoples as reflected in the ancient sources. The Greek cultural tradition has furnished us with a wide range of literary sources, making it possible to analyse the images of the Black Sea peoples from changing viewpoints. The Scythian excursus of Herodotus, ca. 425 BC, combines, in a way frustrating to us, reliable ethnographic facts and stereotypic, novelistic fiction, in which the Scythians play the role of the noble savage. Xenophon's Anabasis, written shortly after 400 BC, describes the local inhabitants as peripheral and semi-barbarous. This image was later replaced by the conventional cliché of quaint, parochial backwardness evoked by the Roman writers Ovid and Dio Chrysostomus. Do these sources represent literary variations over a standard perception of 'others' as the opposite of oneself? Or is it possible that the reported images of the Black Sea nomads are stereotypes in our modern eyes only, but that a thorough analysis will reveal them as dependent on flexible historical contexts and on political and economic strategies? The cultural and economic centre moved closer to the Black Sea when the Roman Empire established imperial residence, first at Nikomedia and subsequently at Byzantium. Did this result in a change in the identification of the Black Sea region as the eternal periphery?

Responsible: George Hinge

Main activity: Annual meeting 2002; publication of På randen af det ukendteSortehavsstudier 1. Udgivet af Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen og George Hinge. Århus 2003

Further contributions by George Hinge:

  • Scythian and Spartan Analogies in Herodotos’ Representation: Rites of Initiation and Kinship Groups
    In: The Cauldron of Ariantas. Studies presented to A. N. Ščeglov. Black Sea Studies 1. Edited by Pia Guldager Bilde, Jakob Munk Højte and Vladimir F. Stolba. Aarhus 2003, 55-74.
  • Herodots skythiske nomader
    In: På randen af det ukendte. Sortehavsstudier 1. Udgivet af Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen og George Hinge. Århus 2003, 13-33.
  • Sjælevandring Skythien tur - retur
    In: Mennesker og guder ved Sortehavet. Sortehavsstudier 2. Udgivet af Pia Guldager Bilde & Jakob Munk Højte. Århus 2004, 11-27.
  • Dialect Colouring in Quotations of Classical Greek Poetry.
    In: Dialetti, dialettismi, generi letterari e funzioni sociali. Atti del V Incontro Internazionale di Linguistica Greca (Milano, 12-13 settembre 2002). A cura di Giovanna Rocca. Edizioni dell’Orso 2004, 303-311.
  • Herodot zur skythischen Sprache: Arimaspen, Amazonen und die Entdeckung des Schwarzen Meeres
    In print in: Glotta. Zeitschrift für griechische und lateinische Sprache.
  • Völkerwanderungen in Herodots Geschichtswerk: Griechen und Skythen
    In print in: Language and Prehistory of the Indo-European Peoples. Edited by Erzsébet Jerem. Archaeolingua: Budapest.
  • Dions Borysthenitiske Tale: et zoroastrisk opgør med skythervæsenet
    In print in: Dion af Prusa. En græsk intellektuel mellem Sortehavet og Rom. Sortehavsstudier 4.  Redigeret af Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen og Jesper Majbom Madsen. Århus 2006 .
  • Dionysos and Herakles in Scythia: The Eschatological String of Herodotos Book 4. 
    In: Black Sea Studies 7. Edited by Pia Guldager Bilde & Jane Hjarl Petersen (under preparation)

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