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"Hellenistic Living in the Aegean"

Abstract : Hellenistic living in the Aegean is a subject which implies many questions concerning housing and houses of this time and place. The expression requires, on the one hand, that the Aegean Sea can be isolated from the rest of mainland Greece, thanks to a particular and exceptional situation during this period. It implies, on the other hand, that the Hellenistic period shows characteristic and definite changes which can be identified both in the ruins of ancient houses and in the texts. These two aspects have often been dealt with in a traditional manner by historians and archaeologists, and I will first recall the historical and economic situation which led to the particular development of the Aegean Sea during Hellenistic times. But what seems more promising is that the expression ›Hellenistic living‹ implies the existence of a unified culture of the Greeks which could be identified in their houses. The reality of a linguistic κοινή has been recognised, but it is more complex to highlight the phenomenon in ways of life and domestic constructions. Through the Delian examples we will see how the cultural interactions and exchanges between people from different origins can be recognised, and how the cosmopolitism of the island generally amounts to a relative uniformity. Finally, the polysemy of the word ›living‹ reminds us that the subject implies to consider the house both as an architectural ensemble and as a home. Living is actually a social fact which is made up of many processes, activities and rules. Each of them requires more or less material equipment or techniques; their rules can be explicit or not. We will see through the example of storage areas how the processes of Hellenistic living in the Aegean can be enlightened by literary and archaeological evidence.
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Contributor : Hélène Wurmser <>
Submitted on : Saturday, May 2, 2020 - 7:12:58 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 3:24:16 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02560981, version 1


Hélène Wurmser. "Hellenistic Living in the Aegean". Städtisches Wohnen im östlichen Mittelmeerraum 4. Jh. v. Chr. – 1. Jh. n. Chr., Oct 2007, Wien, Austria. p. 13-25. ⟨halshs-02560981⟩



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