Ethnography and the Colonial World in Theocritus and Lucian
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Scholars of migration, colonization, and cultural interaction in antiquity have increasingly turned towards a variety of concepts (such as hybridity, negotiations, and middle grounds) developed by postcolonial theorists to describe the dynamics of ancient civilizations beyond the major centers of Athens and Rome. Whereas older models of identity saw the ancient world as a series of geographically distinct cultural units with attendant language, religion, and practices--that is to say, a model of identity rooted in the modern concept of the nation state-- recently classicists have come to see ancient identities as abstractions of a series of individual choices that take place over long periods of time and that are always mediated by contact with different groups. Focusing on two authors from what I shall define as the `colonial worlds' of antiquity (Theocritus from Sicily and Lucian from Syria) this study will explore how representations of physical difference and cultural practice negotiate the presence of non-Greek peoples into Greek literary culture.