1. to have an ability to know the current scientific trends, theories and methodologies for the study of the Ancient World.
2. to Know the current History of Research for the study of the Hellenistic Age.
3. to approach the meaning of the "system",tradition" and innovation,as the main characteristics of the Hellenistic Age
4.to approach the idea and the function of the 'centripetal"society of the polis-state and "centrifugal" society of the Hellenistic Age.
Course Content (Syllabus)
The Hellenistic age as a transitory period of antiquity offers a characteristic example of the attempt of humanity to release themselves from the suffocative limits of space, society and tradition. During the Hellenistic period a – without precedent – interference of populations is taking place. People of the Hellenistic era are characterized by dispersion and wandering. The Greek population is spread out at the boundaries of the Hellenistic oecumene and interferes with the native populations of the East. The signal is given by Alexander’s campaign towards the East.
The farraginous populations of the Hellenistic era are constantly moving in order to find a better fortune, and new sources of affluence. The foregoing situation is also directly connected to the great economic crisis that irreparably afflicts, during the 4th century BC, in the habitants of the Greek mainland, especially the members of the lower social classes. The difficult position of the Greek population becomes even harder during and after the end of the Peloponnesian War.
While the conquests of Alexander radically changed the traditional politico-economic scene and created a new reality centering to the Hellenistic kingdoms, a without precedent development of commerce is being noted in the broader ecumenical environment. So, many important transit centers are created (e.g., the city of Alexandria) that constitute the centers of attraction for the emigrating people of that era. At the same time, many of the old commerce centers of the Mediterranean (e.g., the harbor of Piraeus) retain – even during this period – their special importance.
People believe that they are no longer attached to a specific land or connected to the gods of their fatherland, and for this reason the traditional values of the religio-social life are intensely questioned, however without being thrust aside though. At this time people perpetually wander towards the unknown, in most cases without regard to the dangers and twists of life, and aim at reaching the boundaries of the world. They stand in an environment where there is no beginning or end, eventually lose the least connection with their initial point of departure. They face the concepts of infinite and inscrutable that give them an intense feeling of perplexity and insecurity; it is the forfeit for freedom and for the abrogation of the patrimonial environment and their ancestors’ collective way of living. Societies develop, distinguished by their “centrifugal” character from the so-called “centripetal”, due to their dynamic and open character.
During the Hellenistic period people’s way of thinking and the form the world takes change. The ecumenical dimension of the “world” conduces to the radical change of the human worldview. The concept of knowledge is no more shaped by the local but by the ecumenical ideals. Thus, they become ardent adherents of the ecumenical ideals, so as to at least acquire a social status in their new environment. Besides the above, the emigrating populations also contribute to this as they do not develop with the traditional values of the places where they settle. All these ideas are also more and more strengthened by the ideas that the representatives of different philosophical schools of the Hellenistic period proclaim. People of the Hellenistic period have also influenced by the Stoic way of thinking, whose teachings about “cosmopolitanism” contribute to their feeling the whole oecumene as their homeland.
Hellenistic Age, Wandering, Centripetal (society), Centrifugal (society), Syncretism-Acculturation, Ecumenism, "oriental deities" of the Graeco-Roman Age.
Additional bibliography for study
1. W. Burkert, Ancient Mystery Cults (Carl Newell Jackson Lectures), Cambridge, Mass:Harvard University Press, 1987.
2. L.H. Martin, Hellenistic Religions: An Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.
3. L.H. Martin, "The Anti-Individualistic Ideology of Hellenistic Age", Numen 41 (1994), 117-140.
4. Π. Πάχης, "Η περιπλάνηση του ατόμου κατά τη διάρκεια της ελληνορωμαϊκής εποχής", επιστημονικ΄ηεπετηρίδα Θεολογικής Σχολής. Νέα Σειρά. Τμήμα Θεολογίας, τομ. 12, Θεσσαλονίκη, 2002, σελ. 273-323.
5. Π.Παχής, Ίσις Καρποτόκος, τομ. Ι: Προλεγόμενα στον συγκρητισμό των ελληνιστικών χρόνων, Θεσσαλονίκη: Εκδόσεις Βάνιας, 2003.
6. P.Pachis, "Hominids vagis vitam: The Wandering of Homo Hellenisticus in an Age of `transformation", in: W. Braun-r. McCutcheon (eds.), Realting Religion. Essays in Honor of Jonathan Z. Smith,London-Oakville:Equinox, 2008, pp.388=405.
7. J.Z. Smith, Map is not Territory. Studies in the History of Religions, Leiden: Brill, 1978.
8. J. Z. Smith, "Here, There and Anywhere", in: J. Z . Smith, Relating Religion. Essays in the Study of Religion, Chicago:Chicago University Press, 2004.