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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hellas Eschate : the interactions of Greek and non-Greek populations in Bactria-Sogdiana during the Hellenistic period Jassar, Gurtej


This study deals with the syncretism between Greek and non-Greek peoples as evidenced by their architectural, artistic, literary and epigraphic remains. The sites under investigation were in the eastern part of the Greek world, particularly Ai Khanoum, Takht-i-Sangin, Dilberdjin, and Kandahar. The reason behind syncretism was discussed in the introduction, which included the persistence of the ancient traditions in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Bactria even after being conquered by the Greeks. The Greeks highly respected these ancient 'repositories of wisdom', and the fluidity and adaptability of Greek culture was not particularly restrictive to foreign elements. Religious freedom and the identification of Greek gods with the local gods by the Greeks appears to have been a primary impetus in some aspects of syncretism, while functionality appears to have been important in the architectural adaptations to the climatic and environmental conditions of Bactria. It was ultimately found that Greek/non-Greek interactions in Bactria- Sogdiana were more complex than originally thought. Syncretism occurred in many cultural and biological aspects, in more than the simple Greek/non- Greek manner. The various non-Greek cultures (viz. Achaemenids, Scythians, Indians, and neo-Babylonians) also had interactions with each other. There was also a coexistence of the various cultures and peoples. Further evidence can only come from renewed excavations in Afghanistan.

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