Mario C. D. Paganini (Austrian Archaeological Institute) will address the topic “ˈGreeksˈ in Hellenistic Egypt: A Complex Affair”, in the framework of the Lecture Series »Austrian Studies In Egyptian Archaeology« (ASEA).
Immigrants from the Greek-speaking world flocked to Egypt in Hellenistic times, to a land of opportunity much advertised in the Greek world. These immigrants were a minority in the land but, unlike most cases of migration, this foreign minority occupied a privileged position in the newly established Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Their status in society produced a theoretically reversed pattern between incoming and welcoming groups. Beyond a simplistic dichotomy of resistance-assimilation, locals and newcomers negotiated and developed complex strategies of interaction, which have left their traces in the documentary evidence and in material culture. After presenting the possible problematics of migration and the challenges for a critical evaluation of these ‘foreigners’ in the sources, focus will be given to cases that exemplify the migrants’ turn towards a more complex outlook and the long-term impact that this had on the migrants themselves and on the local environment. This research is a work-in-progress showing how greatly the migrants adapted themselves and the local socio-cultural environment in the process of making Egypt their new home and how they in fact became—consciously or unconsciously—‘insiders’ as constitutive components of the multifaceted society of the longest-lasting Hellenistic Kingdom.
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