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Roman Edessa: Politics and Culture on the Eastern Fringes of the Roman Empire, 114-242 C.E.

Roman Edessa: Politics and Culture on the Eastern Fringes of the Roman Empire, 114-242 C.E.

Hardback

By (author) Steven K. Ross

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Paperback $51.67
  • Publisher: ROUTLEDGE
  • Format: Hardback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 216mm x 16mm | 426g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2001
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415187877
  • ISBN 13: 9780415187879
  • Illustrations note: 1 black & white tables

Product description

Roman Edessa offers a comprehensive and erudite analysis of the ancient city of Edessa (modern day Urfa, Turkey), which constituted a remarkable amalgam of the East and the West. Among the areas explored are: * the cultural life and antecedents of Edessa * Edessene religion * the extent of the Hellenization at Edessa before the advent of Christianity * the myth of an exchange of letters between a King Abgar and Jesus.

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Back cover copy

What was the 'first Christian kingdom' in the Roman Empire like, before Christianity?The ancient city of Edessa (modern day Urfa, Turkey), well-watered and located on a trade route, underwent major urban development in the Seleucid period and came under Parthian influence at the end of the second century. Its rulers -- the Abgarid dynasty with Arab/Nabatean connections -- pursued a semi-independent policy until Edessa came permanently within the Roman orbit under Septimius Severus. Steven K. Ross examines the process of absorption into the empire employing epigraphic, numismatic and historical material, some recently discovered. Among the areas explored are the Edessan culture and religion, the myth of an exchange of letters between a King Abgar and Jesus Christ and the philosophical works of Bardaisan.ROMAN EDESSA offers a comprehensive and erudite analysis of the ancient city of Edessa, which constituted a remarkable amalgam of the East and the West.

Flap copy

As the Roman Empire expanded around the Mediterranean in the first three centuries of this era, it grew strong not only by conquering neighbouring peoples but by absorbing them, adapting their cultures to Rome, and by assimilation. In the Near East, Rome encountered ancient civilizations with deep roots in the culture and history of the region, as well as a link to the Greek civilization of the Hellenistic conquerors. Edessa in Osrhoene was one such civilization, and it made a unique contribution to the Roman Empire.ROMAN EDESSA tells the story of the encounter between Rome and Edessa, the little kingdom in northern Mesopotamia that the western empire found to occupy a strategic position as it encountered the Parthian and Persian empires. From being a subject state of the Parthian overlords, Edessa worked its way into a position of semi-independence, and confronted the armies of Rome itself, eventually settling into a position as a client kingdom of the Romans, and finally, a provincial city within the Roman frontier system. At the same time, the book explores the question of Edessan culture, and asks how and in what sense Edessa, a colony founded by Alexander the Great's generals, was Greek or Hellenized.ROMAN EDESSA explores and solves the questions of the events that surrounded the end of the Edessan monarchy in the mid-third century, a time of grave danger for the Roman Empire as a whole. At the same time, it returns to the question of the relationship between Edessans -- a Semitic people speaking Syriac -- and Greek culture. It also examines the thriving intellectual life that characterized the "first Christian kingdom".