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Jerome Ruddick, Newcastle University

This Postgraduate-work-in-progress seminar will be held online via Zoom and in person in room 102, Senate House. Booking is required.

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The island of Crete has always remained unique within the Greek world, from its lack of collective identity to the lack of monumental architecture found on the island. It was an insular community, but this conservative nature was fractured in the Hellenistic by the influx of Ptolemaic influence. A question that remains unanswered is how Cretan conservatism continued to be enforced against mercenary travel (who brought new traditions) and the influx of foreigners? How does Crete attempt to maintain its traditional identity, and how does myth and material culture factor into this? In this short talk, the discussion will focus upon the role of sanctuaries, their representations of territory and identity, and the associated material culture within them. How does the material culture, sometimes not overt in its meaning or connection to the particular mythology accurately convey identities and implications to foreigners (from the island or outside), unaware of local traditions? And do these methods of conveying identity, and continuing Cretan conservatism, hold up with the occupation of Cretan space by Egyptian and Roman mercenaries, whose own cults were being worshipped on the island?   The information discussed here ties into the larger debate of Greek identity’s evolution and attempts to understand how material culture and myth contribute to this over time.