session 9

DIVERSITY AND IDENTITY IN ROMANIUDAEA / SYRIA PALAESTINA

Organised by: Adi Erlich

The province of Iudaea, becoming Syria Palaestina after 135 C.E., was the home for various ethnicities and religions: Jews, Samaritans, Christians, local pagans of different origins, and Roman officials and soldiers. The land was occupied by pagan poleis, Roman colonies, Jewish towns and villages and Samaritan settlements. Worship was conducted in temples, shrines, synagogues and Christian prayer halls and it left a record in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Samaritan and Latin inscriptions. Some of the people, from diverse backgrounds, lived side by side in the cities, others in separate communities, but they all traded and negotiated with each other. Normally the relations between the groups were peaceful and based on coexistence, though sometimes they turned into hostility and struggle. But even during peaceful times of coexistence the boundaries between the communities remained clear and religious conversions and mixed marriages were uncommon. The diversity of communities in Roman Palestine is further emphasized by their strong and distinct self-identity.

The diversity and strong identity is echoed in both historical sources and the archaeological data. In our session we would like to present new studies on the archaeology of Roman Iudaea/Syria Palaestina, rendering the province as multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and presenting its inhabitants as preoccupied with their identity that is mirrored in others. 

Space and Identity in Iudaea - The Test Case of Masada, Guy Stiebel

Reflections of Jewish Identity in the Art of Early Roman Judaea, Orit Peleg-Barkat  

What can We Learn from Gardens about Identity in Roman Iudaea/Syria Palaestina?, Rona Evyasaf

Roman Urban Space before the Emergence of Christianity in Hippos (Sussita) of the Decapolis, Michael Eisenberg

Roman Jews, Jewish Romans: the Sarcophagi from Beth She'arim between Two Worlds, Adi Erlich