Guest lecture "Contacts between the West Pontic Greek cities and the Near East in the Archaic period" on March 12


The guest lecture "Contacts between the West Pontic Greek cities and the Near East in the Archaic period", by Dr Liviu Mihail Iancu (the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Levant Culture and Civilization of Bucharest), visiting researcher at the Centre for Oriental Studies.
On March 12 at 16:15, Ülikooli 16, room 214

Abstract: The Greek colonies on the western and northwestern Black Sea, such as Istros at the Danube mouths, Berezan/Borysthenes and Olbia at the mouths of the Bug and Dnieper, or Apollonia and Messambria near the southern foothills of the Balkans, are usually overlooked in the study of the complex interactions between the Greeks and the ancient Near East, although the distance on land from the Levant and Mesopotamia to Istros, for example, is several hundred kilometers shorter than that to Athens. This situation might be explained by a lack of historical written records and a long-standing academic divide between East and West brought on by earlier (but regrettably more recent) geopolitical conflicts.

Nonetheless, archaeological discoveries from these cities show that certain mediated and direct connections were established between them and the Oriental world in the Archaic period. In the late 7th and early 6th centuries BC, Levantine objects reached these shores of the Black Sea, whereas at least several worshippers of Levantine deities visited the local sanctuaries or perhaps even settled in these cities. At the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th century BC, these same communities were entangled in the international turmoil sparked by the Persian imperial project. The discussion of these pieces of material evidence and their underlying historical phenomena can help in drawing a more accurate picture of the connectivity between East and West in antiquity. 

Bionote: Liviu Mihail Iancu is a Romanian ancient historian and classical archaeologist who works as a researcher at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Levant Culture and Civilization of Bucharest. He defended his Ph.D. dissertation on the archaic Greek mercenaries in the Mediterranean at the University of Bucharest, in 2018. He has excavated since 2010 at several archaeological sites in Romania and Turkey, particularly in the ancient Greek city of Istros, near the Danube Delta. His research focuses on war and international relations in the ancient Mediterranean and the Black Sea region, the Greek colonization of Pontos Euxeinos, ancient metallurgy, and the use of textiles by the ancient armies. His latest studies are Grain and Mercenaries. A reappraisal of the relationship between Arkadia and Bosporos in the time of Leukon I (Cluj, 2023); “Who is Gyges?”: Assessing the Carian connections of the first Mermnad king of Lydia once again (Besançon, 2023); The Great Conflict over the Levant (612 – 562 BC) and its consequences for the Greeks (Vienna, 2022). 

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