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COLONIZATION AND ORIENTALISM
Hellenic and Hellenistic
‘Hellenic’ means Greek. ‘Hellenistic’ refers to the expansion of Greek culture
following the conquests of Alexander the Great. It also refers to the rich style of art and architecture associated with this period.
Hellenism in Modern History
Hellenism and the Hellenic past can not be
understood without an understanding of European colonialism in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century.
Is it really a Hybrid Culture?
Hellenistic civilization represents a fusion of the
Ancient Greek world with that of the Near East, Middle East and Southwest Asia. It represents hybrid Greco-Asian cultures. But it is pragmatic cultural adaptation by the elites of society, for much of the populations, life probably continued as it before.
Hellenism and Colonization
The Hellenistic period was characterized by a new wave of
Greek colonization. But it was distinguished from the colonization in the 8th6th centuries BC which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa. Those new cities were composed of Greek colonists who came from different parts of the Greek world. But they were not from a specific "mother city". The main cultural centers expanded from mainland Greece to Pergamon, Rhodes, and new Greek colonies such as Seleucia, Antioch and Alexandria.
Characteristics of new Hellenistic cities
Hellenistic assumptions and attitudes unified social elites throughout the Mediterranean World (Carthaginians, Romans, Egyptians, Jews). “All embraced Greek culture” whether in Greek states or not… Elites, merchants, bureaucrats spoke a common language (koine Greek) They were cosmopolitan, multiethnic, immigrant cities. All shared aspects of Hellenistic architecture, art, religion, philosophy, drama, entertainment. They were the members of a broader world, not just of the city.
The “ Known ” World – 3c B . C . E .
It is the blend of Greek culture
with Egyptian, Persian and Indian influences.
city which was the center for trade and Hellenistic culture.
became an international community with a mix of customs and traditions.
Library at Alexandria ( 333 B . C . E .)
Ancient Library of Alexandria
collection of 500,000 papyrus scrolls and masterpieces of ancient literature. Was the first true research library in the world. Scholars produced commentaries on ancient worlds of literature.
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT: 1. Stoicism:
belief that there was a divine power that controlled the universe. Believed everyone should live in harmony with natural law.
2. Epicureanism: - Taught that the universe was made of atoms and
ruled by gods who didn’t care about humans.
Pergamum : A New “Hellenis tic ” City
Cosmopolita n Culture
Trade in Hellenistic
Science and Technology
estimated that the sun was 300 times bigger than Earth and that the sun was the center of the universe. Nobodyaccepted this theory. Instead they thought the Earth was the center of the universe.
Math and Physics
Euclid – Opened
the school for geometry in Alexandria. Archimedes accurately estimated the value of pi( ).
Hellenism and Orientalism
Orientalism refers to the Orient or East, in contrast to
the Occident or West. Orientalism can be regarded ‘as a Western way of looking to East. But it is style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient’. In the late eighteenth century Orientalism became ‘something more historically and materially defined’. It was closely linked to European and, later, American imperialism.
Orientalism and Edward Said
A central idea of Edward Said is that Western
knowledge about the East is not generated from facts or reality, but from preconceived archetypes. This view accepts that all "Eastern" societies are fundamentally similar to one another, and fundamentally dissimilar to "Western" societies. This ‘a priori’ knowledge establishes "the East" as opposing to "the West". Such Eastern knowledge is constructed with literary texts and historical records that often are of limited understanding of the facts of life in the Middle East.
In the nineteenth century, when more artists travelled
to the Middle East, they began representing more numerous scenes of Oriental culture. In many of these works, they portrayed the Orient as exotic, colorful and sensual. Istanbul is an Oriental city for many tourists. Many tourists only visit Grand Bazaar.
Anonymous Venetian orientalist painting, ‘The Reception of the Ambassadors in Damascus', 1511, the Louvre. The deer with antlers in the foreground is not known ever to have existed in the wild in Syria.
West and the Rest
Still, we see that the modern West has constructed
itself as separate from the Orient. The world was divided as “the West and the Rest”. In the time of colonization from the 18th century onwards, this division became more visible and dominant in the western thought. The origin of this division goes back to Ancient Greece.
Greek and Barbarian
Ancient Greece is inseparable from two hundred years
of European colonialism. There was a similar division like “Greek and barbarian”. Barbarian is a term for an uncivilized person, often used pejoratively. The term originates in the ancient Greek civilization, meaning "anyone who is not Greek". Comparable notions are found in non-European civilizations.
The Greeks used the term as they encountered scores
of different foreign cultures, including the Egyptians , Persians, Celts, Germans, Phoenicians, Etruscans, and Carthaginians. It, in fact, became a common term to refer to all foreigners. Barbarians are like children, unable to speak or reason properly, cowardly, effeminate, luxurious, cruel, unable to control their appetites and desires, politically unable to govern themselves.
The End of Hellenistic Period
In the 2nd to 1st centuries BC, Rome conquered
Greece piece by piece. With the conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, the Roman Empire controlled the Mediterranean. Roman art and literature were copied upon Hellenistic models. Koine Greek remained the dominant language in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. In the city of Rome, Koine Greek was in widespread use among ordinary people, and the elite spoke and wrote Greek as fluently as Latin.