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Cosmopolitanism and EmpireUniversal Rulers, Local Elites, and Cultural Integration in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean$
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Myles Lavan, Richard E. Payne, and John Weisweiler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190465667

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190465667.001.0001

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Hellenism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Role of Babylonian Elites in the Seleucid Empire

Hellenism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Role of Babylonian Elites in the Seleucid Empire

Chapter:
(p.89) 4 Hellenism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Role of Babylonian Elites in the Seleucid Empire
Source:
Cosmopolitanism and Empire
Author(s):

Johannes Haubold

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190465667.003.0004

This chapter offers a case study of how Seleucid Babylonian elites experienced their place in an empire that was “universal in aspiration but exclusive in practice.” It focuses on the Babyloniaca, a fragmentary history of Babylon written in Greek by a member of the Babylonian priestly elite. Berossos’s failure to establish himself within the Greek canon illustrates the exclusivity of elite Hellenism, despite its apparent openness to outsiders. But Berossos’s text also propounds a sophisticated model of empire where success depends on the collaboration of multiple distinct aristocratic networks. The Babylonian “Chaldeans” may be distinct from the Greco-Macedonian elite that surrounded the king, but they make their own parallel and no less crucial contribution to the maintenance of empire.

Keywords:   Seleucid empire, Babyloniaca, Babylonia, Hellenism, Berossos, Chaldeans

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