Pontus in Antiquity: aspects of identity


The purpose of this thesis is the presentation of the interaction between the successive inhabitants of Pontus in antiquity, indigenous Anatolians, Greeks, Persians and Romans. Limited archaeological evidence cannot determine the precise extent of interaction, although the available information substantiates the notion of a slow, but steady amalgamation. Initially, the intermingling was based on mutual trading links. Although the Hellenic cultural element tended to surface, Eastern factors remained visible. The Mithridatic dynasty was established around the vicinity of Pontus, creating the 'Kingdom of Pontus' which reached its height under Mithridates VI. His administrative and military policy appears to have placed the foundations for the later, Roman corresponding structures. His policies-propaganda reflected the GraecoEastern image of a king, which appealed to the Greek and Persian-Eastern inhabitants of his kingdom, Asia Minor and, to a lesser extent, mainland Greece. This GraecoEastern image might have nourished the concept of a shared history among the inhabitants of Pontus. Their interactions appear to have given rise to an unnamed, local culture, which was enriched with the relevant Roman practices. Around the third century A.D., the Roman administrative patterns might have established an externally defined appellation. During Roman times, Christianity started to be established in Pontus. Although it was not yet a socio-political factor, its non-racial nature prevailed in later centuries. The influence of the Roman-Christian elements can still be observed in the modern Ponti an identity. In antiquity, (lack of) evidence indicates that no group defined themselves as 'Pontics' or 'Pontians' and an internally defined Pontic identity is unlikely to have existed. However, people associated themselves with the geographical area of Pont us, cultural and religious concepts were frequently amalgamated, while the notion of a common descent and a shared history might have been unconsciously fostered. These factors can assist in the understanding of the 'Pontians' today

    Similar works