Identities in the Coastal Hellenistic Levant: Adaptive and Non-Adaptive Traits

Mediterranean Resilience - Collapse and Adaptation in Antique Maritime Societies - Assaf Yasur-Landau

Eleonora Bedin [+-]
University of Haifa (PhD candidate)
Eleonora Bedin has graduated in Classics at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and currently is doing her PhD at the University of Haifa, focusing on cultural identities placed in the Eastern basin of the Mediterranean during the Hellenistic Times. Interested in Greek Epigraphy and Mediterranean history, she recently published a paper on the recurrence of religious patterns and their dependence on the human experience of the sea itself. Currently, she is working on cultural and religious self-definition within the Levantine coastal cities, with a particular focus on Greco-Roman Ascalon and Gaza.


Throughout antiquity, coastal Mediterranean societies were regularly inclined to adapt their cultural constructs in response to challenges in their routine and changes in their environment. Most of the crises displayed in this volume, and the modes of adaptability devised to meet with them, would have found representation in the religious systems of contemporary societies. Not all aspects of identity and self representation were open for change, though. In the Hellenistic Levant, for example, two complementary tendencies seem to coexist. On the one hand, the maritime medium, in its overwhelming presence and influence, appears to have served as a significant motivator for adaptation, traceable most distinctly within mutable pantheons and religious practices. Various techniques of syncretism, assimilation, the recruitment of universal deities and the adoption of well-spread rituals, are present in society’s constant struggle against the perils of the sea. On the other hand, a distinct element of self-differentiation and distinction of identity emerges from individual political entities, consisting of unique religious practices and allegedly autochthonous cults and rituals. Both tendencies appear to exist simultaneously, and it is the purpose of this article to study the relationship between them, whether complementary, competitive, responsive, or otherwise; this by analyzing sources of epigraphic, literary, and numismatic nature, originating in Akko- Ptolemais, Dora, Joppa, and Ascalon.

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Bedin, Eleonora. Identities in the Coastal Hellenistic Levant: Adaptive and Non-Adaptive Traits. Mediterranean Resilience - Collapse and Adaptation in Antique Maritime Societies. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2022. ISBN 9780000000000. Date accessed: 13 Jul 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41506. Mar 2022

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