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The Edges of the Roman World

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  • The Edges of the Roman World

  • The Edges of the Roman World

    Edited by

    Marko A. Jankovi5, Vladimir D. Mihajlovi5 and Staa Babi5

  • The Edges of the Roman World,

    Edited by Marko A. Jankovi5, Vladimir D. Mihajlovi5 and Staa Babi5

    This book first published 2014

    Cambridge Scholars Publishing

    12 Back Chapman Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2XX, UK

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

    Copyright 2014 by Marko A. Jankovi5, Vladimir D. Mihajlovi5, Staa Babi5 and contributors

    All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,

    or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or

    otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

    ISBN (10): 1-4438-5899-4, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-5899-1

  • Table of contents

    List of illustrations viiList of tables ix

    Foreword: Edges of the Roman world, imperialism and identitiesXncfkokt"F0"Okjclnqxk5"("Octmq"C0"Lcpmqxk5" xIntroduction Tkejctf"Jkping{ 1

    Roman-barbarian interactions and the creation of Dutch national identity: The many faces of myth Ugtikq"Iqpng"Upejg" 5

    The Peoples protests: Accounts of resistance from Cassius Dio to Bashir-Al-AssadN{fkc"Ncpigtygth" 19The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeologyKxcp"Xtcpk5" 33Violent ethnicities: Gladiatorial spectacles and display of powerOctmq"C0"Lcpmqxk5" 48

    Religion and identity in the Roman Empire: Strategies of civic consolidation in the 2nd century ADTqeq"Iqtfknnq"Jgtxu" 61

    Knowing your neighbour: Considering some social implications of layouts of Roman military basesCppc"J0"Ycncu" 72Xkpwo"xktgu: Trier Black-Slipped wares and constructive drinking in Roman BritainUjcwp"Cpvjqp{"Owff" 86

    Kpfkecvkpi" dqtfgtu" qt" fgpkpi" urjgtg" qh" kpwgpegA"Vjg"Ectvjcikpkcp"position in the westerm Mediterranean in light of its treaties with Rome Cpftgl"FwfkMumk" 105Headhunting on the Roman frontier: (Dis)respect, mockery, magic and the head of Augustus from Meroe Wtq"Ocvk5" 117The Empire of friends and the house of the father: Celtic and Canaanite elite under Imperial ruleCctqp"Ktxkp" 135

  • The Edges of the Roman Worldvi


  • The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeology


    The concept of Hellenization is a versatile theoretical perspective that considers numerous identity changes emerging from all forms of contacts with the ancient Greece or with the Greek culture which have been taking place in different (past or present) social settings. It is fair to say that pwogtqwu"cwvjqtu"jcxg"dggp"wukpi"vjg"eqpegrv"ykvjqwv"engctn{"fgpkpi"kv."i.e. without considering its coherent meaning, chronology and theoretical backgrounds. Nevertheless, the term directly implies some references to modern European perception about others who are, supposedly, becoming Greek or Greek-like by means of passive acceptance of the superior material culture, language, customs or other characteristics of the ancient Greek way of life which were incorporated into their local and previously less developed social settings (Dietler 1997: 296-297; Hodos 2006: 11). It is widely believed that the ancient Hellenization process, traditionally perceived as a simple and unilateral spreading of Itggm" kpwgpegu."ykvjqwv"cp{"tgeqipkvkqp"qh" tgekrtqekv{." tgukuvcpeg."cpf"non-Greek agency in the Mediterranean, begins with the initial colonial encounters in the Archaic period. This process varies depending on the later social and historical contexts, subsequently resulting in some differences in the presupposed intensity of the identity changes. As a result, researchers usually focus on the Hellenistic period as a historic era characterized by the widespread Greek imperial domination, where the Hellenization is believed to be the most extensive and intensive aspect of this period. (Rostovtzeff 1941; Momigliano 1971).

    The reasons for this unilateral perspective are numerous and conclusive. Beginning with the eighteen-century Philhellenism and remaining prominent ever since, the enduring importance of the ancient Greek culture and material heritage as a form of symbolic capital has held a prominent role in the political development of modernity and social construction of the Western world. Starting from the Enlightenment period, this phenomenon has allowed for a possibility of discussing different aspects of the modern Hellenization. This perpetual interest in classical antiquity has allowed for the western Hellenism a modern social construction of the classical antiquity as the genealogical foundation, the birthplace and the cradle of Western civilization as well as for the ultimate appreciation of the emerging European upper and middle classes as heirs to this classical heritage (Morris 2000: 37-76; Hamilakis 2007: 27, 76-83).

    Conceptual similarities and the same intellectual background with the traditional view on Roman heritage and Romanization (see Hingley 2000; 2005) are visible in every step. Romanization and Hellenization are two related and comparable European narratives that focus on the ancient Greece and Rome, which are both perceived as the beginning

  • The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeology34

    of the Western civilization and the starting point for the evolution of our distinctive history (Shanks 1996; Dietler 2005; Diaz-Andreu 2007: 105-110; Morley 2009). Undoubtedly, both narratives are Eurocentric; they are also Hellenocentric and Romanocentric. Consequently, the theories related to the ancient Hellenization should be perceived as European scholarly vtcfkvkqpu" vjcv"oquvn{" tggev"oqfgtp"eqnqpkcn"dgnkghu" kpvq" vjg"eqpuvtwevgf"images and representations of the ancient past (Cartledge 2002; Hodos 2006).

    By scrutinizing the academic and wider social constructions and political usage of the Hellenization concept in the case of the Balkan Iron Age archaeology, this paper deals only with some of the socio-political and interpretative issues related mostly to the south-eastern European context. However, it also aims to position these local scholarly traditions within the wider European intellectual background. Simultaneously with the introduction and employment of the Romanization concept, which is a more prominent and widely known Eurocentric academic tradition kp" vjg" tgikqp" *Okjclnqxk5" 4234+." vjg" qvjgt" eqnqpkcn" cpf" gorktg" dwknfkpi"perspectives have found their way into the culture-historical archaeology of the south-eastern Europe, sometimes quite directly and sometimes altered and adjusted for the local academic and political consumption. The Hellenization concept is just one of the examples.

    The Iron Age Archaeology in the Balkans: ewnvwtgu"cpf"kpwgpeguThe most prominent characteristic of the prehistoric archaeology practice in the south-eastern Europe is a long-lasting domination of a branch of culture-historical archaeology that, in most cases, stemmed from central European cpf"Igtocp"cecfgoke"vtcfkvkqpu"*Rcncxguvtc"4233="Pqxcmqxk5"4233+0

    Primarily, this theoretical approach sets sights on a pursuit for relative and absolute chronologies of archaeological cultures characteristic groups of stylistically similar artefacts equated with different peoples, which, supposedly, may be noticeable as abrupt or more subtle changes in the ocvgtkcn"ewnvwtg."fkuvkpevkxg"hqt"uqog"tgikqpu"cpf"vkog"rgtkqfu"*g0i0"Xcuk5"3;95="3;:9="Dgpce"3;:9="Vcuk5"3;;7+0"Kp"ceeqtfcpeg"ykvj"vjku"rgturgevkxg"on culture and ethnicity as permanent and determined categories, culture-historical archaeology through its evolutionary character, which is another European narrative related to modern colonialism (see Gosden 1999: 15-32), has initiated the quest for ethnogenesis the presupposed evolution of tangible and stable ethnicities (Kaiser 1995; Kurta 2001: 6-35; Dzino 4232c

  • Kxcp"Xtcpk5 35identities may have existed in a more-or-less stable form for millennia prior vq" vjgkt" tuv" tgeqtfgf" gpeqwpvgtu"ykvj" vjg"Greeks and Romans, and that culture-historical archaeology retains the proper methodological tools for following and documenting these changes (Garaanin 1988). Within the former Yugoslavias archaeological traditions, the Iron Age was perceived as a period when the ethnogenesis of numerous archaeological cultures/the ancient peoples had reached a point when their differences became strict and easy to recognize in ocvgtkcn"ewnvwtg"*g0i0"Xcuk5"3;;3+0"Uwdugswgpvn{."the main objective for most researchers in the region remains to search for the ethnonyms of the Iron Age cultures and to argue their supposed origins, previous phases and cultural continuity, deriving at the very least from the Bronze Age (e.g. Illyrian Autariatae the Glasinac-Mati complex, Dardani the Brnjica culture, Triballi the supposedly united Early Iron Age culture in the Velika Morava valley).Cpqvjgt" rtqokpgpv" hgcvwtg" qh" vjg" crrtqcej" ku" c" urgeke" vjgqtgvkecn"perspective on cultural changes alterations in the material culture of the supposed ethnicity, which, unsurprisingly, have been constantly reoccurring over this long period. Traditionally, archaeologists have interpreted these ejcpigu" cu" kpwgpegu" cpf" okitcvkqpu" urtgcfkpi" dgvyggp" vjg" Paleo-Balkan peoples from some more developed cultures and centres. Hence, vtcekpi" vjg" qtkikp" qh" vjgug" kpwgpegu" cpf" guvcdnkujkpi" uqog" uwrrqugf"historical references that may lead to the introduction of the material culture of a new style has become another important element of culture-historical archaeology in the Balkans. As a direct consequence, some early 1st millennium BC changes that are documented as the emergence of the incrusted pottery in the Danube region (i.e. Basarabi complex), are often rgtegkxgf" cu" gcuvgtp" *Vjtceq/Ekoogtkcp+" okitcvkqpu" *Vcuk5" 3;93="1983: 109-136), whereas the middle 1st millennium BC changes, which ctg"pqvkegcdng" cu" vjg"crrgctcpeg"qh" urgeke" hqtou"qh"ogvcn" ctvghcevu." ctg"ncdgnngf" cu" Ue{vjkcp" kpwgpegu*Rctqxk5/Rgkmcp" 3;;6+0" Vjg" material culture changes that are stylistically comparable to the pre-Roman Iron Age Italy, which are also visible in the Western Balkans from the 7th century BC, ctg"kpvgtrtgvgf"cu"Kvcnq/Gvtwuecp"*Rctqxk5/Rgkmcp"3;:7+."yjkng"uwrrqugf"Itggm"kpwgpegu"ctg"urqvvgf"kp"vjg"Jgnngpkgf"ocvgtkcn"ewnvwtgu"qh"vjg"southern and costal parts of the peninsula. This Hellenized regions are located in the modern-day FYR Ocegfqpkc" *Uqmqnqxumc"3;:8="Okmwn7km"3;;;+."vjg"uqwvjgtp"egpvtcn"Ugtdkc"cpf"Mquqxq"cpf"Ogvqjklc"*Rctqxk5/Rgkmcp"3;:7="R0"Rqrqxk5"4225+"cpf"c"pcttqy"uvtkr"qh"ncpf"kp"vjg"Adriatic hinterland neighbouring the Greek colonies from the 4th century BC (Papazoglu 1967; Wilkes 1992: 156-180). A similar process of Hellenization is visible on the territory of modern-day Bulgaria (e.g. Archibald 1998) and Albania (e.g. Wilkes 1992: 156-180).

    Hellenization: an evolutionary and civilizing perspective

    Researchers interested in the Balkan Iron Age have ultimately managed to construct one more-or-less widely accepted but not thoroughly consistent culture-historical narrative that considers different intensity levels of the

  • The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeology36

    urtgcfkpi"qh"vjg"Itggm"kpwgpegu0"Vjg"eqooqp"vjtgcf"qh"vjku"crrtqcej"ku" vjcv" vjg" uwrrqugf" korcev" qh" kpwgpegu" wrqp" vjg" uvtkevn{" fgpgf" Iron Age cultures, which should be archaeologically measurable according to vjg"rtgugpeg"qh"nqqugn{"fgpgf"Itggm"cpf"Itggm/nkmg"material culture, varies considerably depending, in most cases, on the distance from the Greek sources. Other factors can include a regional historical context or some urgeke" *cpf" fgvgtokpgf+" ejctcevgtkuvkeu" qh" vjg" Iron Age archaeological ewnvwtgu"cpf"vjgkt"uwrrqugf"tgcfkpguu"vq"ceegrv"vjg"kpwgpegu0"Wnvkocvgn{."most culture-historical authors agree that some cultures have only begun the process, which should be similar and archaeologically comparable in all regions and cultures, while others have reached the level of the fully developed Hellenized early states (Papazoglu 1967; 1988; Delev 1998). Consequently, disagreements emerge about the level of Hellenization. The common thread of the approach, most certainly due to the general importance of Greek culture in the western European intellectual traditions (see Shanks 1996; Morley 2009), is that traditional researchers have been very keen to regard Hellenized cultures of the south-eastern Europe as if they had reached the level of civilization and stepped into the historic gtc"*Xtcpk5"4234c+0"

    Traditional archaeology explores different ways of spreading of the Itggm" kpwgpegu"qp" vyq"htqpvu

  • Kxcp"Xtcpk5 37vjku"tgikqp"&"kpenwfkpi"vjg"oquv"rtqokpgpv"8th and 5th century BC necropolis htqo"Vtgdgpkvg"vjcv"ku"ykfgn{"tgeqipkcdng"d{"vjg"pfu"qh"uqwvjgtp"Kvcnke"ogvcn"xguugnu"*Nl0"Rqrqxk5"3;78="Exklgvk5cpkp"4233+"cdqwpf"ykvj"korqtvu"htqo"vjg"Itggm"yqtmujqru"*Xcuk5"3;:9
  • The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeology38

    of these later changes are the introduction of the 4th and early 3rd century BC black and red glazed Athenian pottery followed by the 3rd and 2nd century BC Hellenistic imports, including the moulded Megarian bowls and the West Slope ware (Bitrakova-Grozdanova 1987). This vast continental region, which became Hellenized starting from the 5th century BC, encompasses the territories supposedly belonging to the Paeonians and the Thracians. These territories extend beyond the Vardar valley all the way to the central parts of the modern-day Bulgaria (Maritza and Tundza valleys) (Archibald 1998) at the same time leaving aside the entire Glasinac-Mati complex embedded in prehistoric traditions.

    Most traditional authors argue that Hellenization leads toward civilization and perceive these changes as the end of the Iron Age and the beginning of the historic era (Papazoglu 1967; 1980; 1988; Sokolovska 3;:8="Xcuk5"3;;3="Okmwn7km"3;;;+0"Vjg"uwrrqugf"jkijnkijvu"qh"vjg"rtqeguu"are visible in the territory conquered and incorporated in the Mediterranean political sphere of interest by Philip II in the middle of the 4th"egpvwt{"DE"&"regions which interestingly correspond to the area of the earlier (5th century) Hellenization. The ultimate outcome, or as culture-historical archaeology yqwnf"jcxg"kv."vjg"pcn"rtqqh"qh"ekxknkkpi"cevkxkvkgu"kp"vjg"jkpvgtncpf."ku"the Hellenistic-like socio-political context in this area which is established during the middle of the 4th" egpvwt{" DE" &" ugxgtcn" fgecfgu" gctnkgt" vjcp"Alexanders Persian campaign. Perceived as the result of the large-scale Ocegfqpkcp"rqnke{." vjku" urgeke" korgtkcn" eqpvgzv" ngcfu" vq" cp" codkxcngpv"idea that Philip IIs conquest could be labelled as the beginning of the Hellenistic period in the Balkans (Delev 1998). This historical landscape is often compared with the situation emerging in the East after Alexanders conquest. It is important to emphasize that this academic discourse and theoretical position strikingly resembles the culture-historical perspective on the local identity changes resulting from the Roman conquest a few centuries later. This short-term imperial domination of the Macedonian cto{."gxgp"yjgp"kpwgpekpi"vjg"nqecn"eqoowpkvkgu."ku"c"urgeke"cpf"xgt{"elusive historical context structurally different from the Hellenism in the East and from the later Roman imperial endeavours in the Balkans.

    The consequences of the traditional theoretical perspective, when yg" eqpukfgt" vjg" jkuvqtkecn" tcokecvkqpu" qh" vjg" ujqtv/nkxgf" Ocegfqpkcp"domination as the unquestionable beginning of the civilization and the end of prehistory, are especially visible in the interpretation of the social context emerging after the collapse of Alexanders empire. Local socio-political Paeonian and Thracian entities emerging in the late 4th and early 3rd century in these parts of the Balkans, are usually interpreted as barbarian Hellenized or even Hellenistic monarchies or kingdoms (Papazoglu 1967; Delev 1998). Researchers in the south-eastern Europe are very mggp" vq"ctiwg" vjcv" vjgug"gpvkvkgu"ctg" hwnn{"ciigf"uvcvg/ngxgn" uqekgvkgu"dwknv"after the supposed Hellenistic role-models, which is an opinion that needs to be approached from another perspective bearing in mind the numerous Jgnngpqegpvtke"kpvgtrtgvcvkxg"rqukvkqpu."urgeke"nqecn"eqpvgzvu"cpf"vjg"tggzkxg"nature of the archaeological work. Paeonian, Illyrian or Odrisian kingdoms ctg" xgt{" urgeke" uqekq/rqnkvkecn" gpvkvkgu" qh" vjg" ncvgt"Dcnmcp" rtgjkuvqt{" cpf"their appearance has still not been comprehended to a satisfactory level (see Papazoglu 1988; Wilkes 1992: 156-180; Archibald 1998).

  • Kxcp"Xtcpk5 39Roman conquest and the Hellenization narrative

    The complex entanglement of the different European narratives, including the Hellenization and the Romanization concepts in the local archaeology, becomes even more prominent in the case of these same Paleo-Balkan communities after the Roman conquest. The supposed importance of the Hellenization process as the initial civilizing movement retains its prominent position even within the Roman Empire. It is widely accepted that because of the importance of the Greek culture those regions that had already became Hellenized had never accepted Roman culture to the same extent as it was the case with other uncivilized areas. An appropriate example is the dividing line between Greek and Latin during the Roman reign which more-or-less follows the previously established northern line of the Iron Age Hellenization (Papazoglu 1980).

    This position, which argues that the Greek culture kept its dominance in the eastern Mediterranean for centuries, is also consistent with the traditional European academic perspective on ancient Greece after the Roman conquest (i.e. the paradox of Roman Greece). Up until recently, this very complicated issue of what happened with Greek identities in the Roman period has remained either neglected or answered following the established picture of the ancient Greece as a culturally superior, but morally and politically inferior entity that had passed the torch of leadership to the successor state of Rome (Alcock 2002: 36-40). Archaeologists and historians in the south-eastern Europe took the similar interpretative path.

    In accordance with the argument related to the eternal importance of Greek culture stands an interpretation of some material culture changes, which are often labelled as Hellenistic in style, that appear in the Balkans after the Roman conquest, ultimately leading to the hypothesis of the Tqocp" Jgnngpkuo" *Ocpq/kuk" 3;79." Rqrqxk5" 3;:9+0" Vjku" kpvgtguvkpi"interpretative perspective which argues for the importance of the Greek culture (original or one already Hellenized) is so pervasive that the Roman rule in Greece and other places of the Balkans is perceived to be resulting in yet another spreading of the Greek material culture into the previously uncivilized regions.

    Nationalism and European civilization: culture-historical archaeology of the Balkan Iron Age

    This interpretative path discussing the Hellenization (or Romanization) qh" vjg" uvtkevn{" fgpgf" archaeological cultures and supposed ethnicities from the past, represents an important local segment of the wider European culture-historical narrative, characteristic for the late 19th"cpf"vjg"tuv"jcnh"of the 20th century. Modern national movements as well as the general importance of the concept of nation-state played a pivotal role in the recognition and subsequent construction of cultures and ethnicities from vjg"rcuv"cu"fktgev"tggevkqpu"qh"vjg"oqfgtp"Gwtqrgcp"uqekcn"eqpvgzv"yjkej"ultimately gave birth to the discipline itself (Jones 1997; 2007; Meskell 2002; Lucy 2005). Importantly, this ethnocentric perspective was the tuv" eqjgtgpv" ctejcgqnqikecn" vjgqt{" vq" crrgct" kp" uqwvj/gcuvgtp" Europe,

  • The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeology40

    simultaneously following, shaping and determining the emergence of the tuv" oqfgtp" pcvkqpcn" kfgpvkvkgu" *Fkpq" 4232c=" Pqxcmqxk5" 4233=" Xtcpk5"2011). The concepts of the Paleo-Balkan peoples as stable ethnicities with the long-lasting ethno-cultural traditions were constructed within this socio-political context granting the newly formed nations with a urgeke"hqto"qh"eqnngevkxg"rcuv"identity which played an important role of providing for the mythic ancestry in the construction of modern imagined communities (cf. Anderson 1983).

    The second ethnocentric standpoint of culture-historical archaeology, yjkej"cnuq"tggevu"oqfgtp"kfgcu"cpf"eqpegrvu"kpvq"vjg"eqpuvtwevgf"rkevwtg"of the past, is the perspective on cultural changes, e.g. the spreading of Itggm" kpwgpegu" cpf" vjg" uwrrqugf" ekxknkkpi" qh" vjg" Paleo-Balkan peoples. This other feature of the traditional European archaeology has cnuq"hqwpf"kvu"yc{"kpvq"vjg"nqecn"ctejcgqnqikecn"vjgqt{"cu"c"urgeke"rtcevkeg"stemming, in the most general sense, from the western colonial approach (cf. Gosden 2004; 2007). Probably the most prominent colonial standpoint is the view that Philip the IIs conquest in the middle of the 4th century BC changed the local context and initiated the Hellenistic period (and consequently a local form of modernist Hellenism) in the Balkan hinterland several decades prior to Alexanders conquest of the east.

    The pitfalls of the colonial narratives in archaeology usually affect the European academic environments interested in the Greek and Roman period (Hingley 2000; 2005; Goff 2005; Dietler 2005; Hurst, Owen 2005). In the case of Hellenization in the Balkan Iron Age, the concept of civilized dctdctkcpu" cpf" vjg" uwrrqugf" gogtigpeg" qh" vjg" tuv" Jgnngpkgf" uvcvgu"resulting from the contacts with the ancient Greeks are the most visible example of the local usage of the same narratives. These evolutionary and deterministic concepts equip the culture-historical archaeologists in the south-eastern Europe with a theoretical means to pinpoint the exact historical moment when the stable and recognizable archaeological cultures/the ancient peoples became civilized. Once Hellenized, these Iron Age cultures became an inseparable part of the wider Mediterranean history a region so important in the construction of different and changing Gwtqrgcp"kfgpvkvkgu"*ugg"Oqttku"4225+."cpf"vjgkt"ukipkecpeg"ujqwnf"dg"gcukn{"recognizable by other scholars educated in the same European traditions. At the same time, the Iron Age cultures became a more visible locally constructed heritage of the modern Balkan nation-states. Consequently, the entire Iron Age heritage of one country becomes more valuable and European form of mythic ancestry an interpretative perspective theoretically embedded in the local application of the two related modern European narratives: colonial and imperial perspectives about the Classical world on the one hand, and modern nationalism, on the other.

    The Iron Age identities and the Hellenization concept: concluding remarks

    This culture-historical perspective on the Iron Age identities does not withstand contemporary theoretical scrutiny emerging from the postmodern and poststructuralist approaches. All forms of identity, including ethnic and

  • Kxcp"Xtcpk5 41ewnvwtcn" qpgu." ujqwnf" dg" rgtegkxgf" cu" wgpv." ejcpigcdng" cpf" fgxgnqrkpi"within some local habitus (Graves-Brown gv"n. 1996; Diaz-Andreu gv"n. 2005; Insoll 2007). As a result, examples of the imported Archaic and Early Classical Greek pottery and subsequent expansion of the Hellenized material culture in the 5th and 4th century BC in some parts of the Balkans are manifestations of conscious activities of the agents who are habituated within the local Iron Age contexts. Consequently, the Hellenized material culture does not necessarily represent the introduction of Greek customs; it does not have the same role and meaning as it may hold within the Classical or Hellenistic Greek world. Even though there is an increasing number of korqtvu" &"oquvn{" htqo" vjg" ncvg"Encuukecn" cpf"Gctn{"Jgnngpkuvke"Cvjgpkcp"yqtmujqru"&" vjg"oclqtkv{"qh" vjg"pgy/uv{ng"Jgnngpkgf"material culture is produced locally, and for the local consumption. This expansion of the similar Hellenized material culture within the previously distinctive Iron Age cultures speaks about contacts and social changes that may not be related to ethnicity at all, but to construction of some new hybrid forms of different identities.

    The European Iron Age in general is a prehistoric period when the most visible form of identity is status kfgpvkv{"*Ygnnu"3;:2="Dcdk5"4227+."cpf"vjg"case from the Balkans is no exception (Palavestra 1995; Archibald 1998; Dcdk5"4224+0"Vjg"tuv" crrgctcpeg"qh" vjg"Itggm"cpf" Kvcnke" korqtvu" kp" vjg"Princely graves in the hinterland symbolizes the importance of these foreign artefacts in the construction of the local Iron Age status identities. Subsequently, the appearance of the vast amount of Hellenized and imported material in the regions that during the 4th century BC became rctv" qh" Cpekgpv" Ocegfqpkcp" rqnkvkecn" kpwgpeg" fqgu" pqv" fkokpkuj" vjg"prominence of this form of identities. Today, more researchers point out the importance of status identity and its transformations emerging from the old warrior elites new practice of enrolling into the Greek and Macedonian mercenary activities and creating a new form of Hellenized status group *Pcpmqx"4233="Xtcpk5"4234d+0""

    This new hybrid form of identity may be the most probable agency behind the process of Hellenization. The developed taste for Greek products including vine and glazed pottery is an appropriate context for the widespread appearance of the Greek material culture. The emergence of the Mediterranean forms of architecture may be explained in the same way. This form of local consumption does not necessarily denote the introduction qh" vjg" Itggm" ewnvwtcn" eqpvgzv." yjkej" ku" vjg" oquv" rtqokpgpv" cy" qh" vjg"culture-historical archaeology. In addition, the traditional perspective has placed enormous importance on the cultural and ethnic identities which are supposedly becoming Hellenized and Greek-like, at the same time keeping their previous ethnic distinctiveness, whereas other forms of group and individual identities remain a neglected topic.


    The traditional concept of Hellenization in the Balkans, which pertains to the process of civilizing the strictly determined ethnicities and cultures, is a theoretical perspective that has developed locally, but in accordance with the modern European colonial and national narratives. Adjusted to the

  • The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeology42

    local historic but also modern socio-political context, this concept continues to serve as an interpretative framework in the traditional archaeological practices designed for understanding the process of identity changes during the Iron Age. It is informative about the modern nation building, global image of the Balkans and the positioning of the local nations and their heritage within the wider European political history.

    This is by no means the only western perspective incorporated into the local archaeological traditions. Numerous conceptual similarities with the traditional theoretical perspective of Romanization, which plays an even more prominent role in the local academic discourse and derives from the same European socio-political context of the development of the discipline, speak about the importance of shared practices of archaeology as a discipline on the continent. As two sides of the same coin, both concepts are modern, colonial, imperial, Eurocentric, evolutionistic narratives related to contemporary picture of the Classical past, and they have both found their way into the local archaeological practices. A possible deconstruction of social aspects related to the application of these two narratives into the archaeological discipline of the different Balkan countries should shed different light on the past identities in the region, but also on the establishing of local academic practices.

    The region, which is already perceived by that same Western world as the other, semicolonial, incomplete self, ambiguous, or a bridge and crossroad toward the Orient (Todorova 2009), abounds in Greek, Hellenized or Roman material culture, leading the local scholars kp"c"rqukvkqp" vq" vt{" vq"pf"c"rtqrgt" vjgqtgvkecn"rgturgevkxg"yjkej"yknn"dg"understandable to a wider European community. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the local researchers apply the same modernist thoughts and European narratives. However, these are local perspectives and they focus primarily on the classical Greek and Roman stereotypes about the Paleo-Balkan people as barbarian and uncivilized other pointing out that these peoples are more developed than they have been given credit for. At the same time, these viewpoints try to show the Western world that valuable and civilized heritage exists in the Balkans, even in regions far away from Greece and in a period prior to the Roman conquest. It is fair to say that Western narratives about Romanization, Hellenization and the emergence of the European ekxknkcvkqp"jcxg" uwduvcpvkcnn{" kpwgpegf"the local archaeological schools in a manner that appropriates some heritage as more valuable and presentable to the global and local audience. To put it differently, maybe western Balkanism has shaped the local archaeological responses in a way to prioritize the question of when and how the civilizing process of the different local Iron Age cultures takes place, supposedly allowing their admittance into the wider European history and heritage. A question remains, though, whether the western and local cultural histories are really confronted in this case (cf. Morris 2000). We should consider whether this civilizing position appears solely as an outcome of the western prejudices, or the reason for the strong endurance of these approaches lies in the fact that local researchers were educated in western universities, or according to western academic traditions, and, consequently, they were keen to use the same approach. The most accurate answer to these questions would require, I believe, accounting for and considering both of these perspectives.

  • Kxcp"Xtcpk5 43Acknowledgments

    The paper is a result of the research project of the Institute of Archaeology Serbian Archaeology: Ewnvwtcn" kfgpvkv{." kpvgitcvkqp"hcevqtu." vgejpqnqikecn"rtqeguugu"cpf"vjg"tqng"qh"Egpvtcn"Dcnmcpu"kp"vjg"fgxgnqrogpv"qh"Gwtqrgcp"Rtgjkuvqt{ (OI177020), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

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  • The Hellenization process and the Balkan Iron Age archaeology44

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