Why Empires Matter: A Postcolonial Archaeology of Cultural Identity in Hellenistic and Roman Cyprus

Starts:
5:30 pm on Thursday, March 28, 2013
Ends:
6:30 pm on Thursday, March 28, 2013
Location:
Gabel Museum of Archaeology, 675 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 253
URL:
http://www.bu.edu/archaeology
Dr. Jody Gordon, Visiting Researcher, to give talk. For most of its history, expansionist empires have coveted the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This imperial interest has been influenced by the island’s “permanent values,” including its insular nature, strategic location, natural resources, and various forms of cultural continuity. The importance of these values to a given empire often moderated its interest in Cyprus, which affected how imperial agents altered local power relations, social practices, and ultimately, material culture. This lecture presents a comparative, archaeological case study of how two empires, the Ptolemaic and the Roman, diversely affected Cypriot society based on their unique imperial agendas. By “reading” a “material culture text” of coins, sculptures, and architecture for changes in cultural identities, I show that Cypriot culture was not always unilaterally altered from above, but could also be negotiated between imperial and local agents.