Temporal layers within Strabo’s description of Coele Syria, Phoenicia and Judaea

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Abstract

One of the central problems inherent in the study of all ancient works is that authors used earlier works, most of which are now lost, and wove sources from different periods into their compositions. Sometimes they did mention earlier writers, but the system of scientific footnotes was not, of course, in use. The character of the author and his familiarity with his subject influenced the way in which he combined the sources and the way in which he used his own first-hand knowledge. In the <italic>Geography</italic>, various authors are mentioned as sources for details but it is unclear whether the entire description relies on them or only specific details. In my opinion, we should not look for one writer or one text which influenced Strabo, but should rather examine the nature and period of these sources. Strabo's description of Judaea and Phoenicia is an especially interesting case in point and I shall examine the temporal layering in Strabo's text through this particular case-study. Strabo lived between the second half of the first century <small-caps>bce</small-caps> and the second decade of the first century <small-caps>ce</small-caps>. Before and during his lifetime the regions of Judaea and Phoenicia underwent a series of changes. During the fourth decade of the second century <small-caps>bce</small-caps>, the Hasmonaean revolt broke out, and beginning in 112 <small-caps>bce</small-caps> – according to archaeological findings in the past decade – Judaea gained formal independence.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrabo's Cultural Geography
Subtitle of host publicationThe Making of a Kolossourgia
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages250-258
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780511616099
ISBN (Print)9780521853064
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2005 and 2010.

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