Celts, Persians, and Amazons: Smaller statues of fighting and dying “barbarians” associated with Attalos of Pergamon (third-second century BCE / second century CE)
Dacians and Sarmatians: Reliefs on Trajan’s Trophy at Adamclisi, Romania (early second century CE)
Sarmatians: Tacitus on ferocity and laziness in military situations (early second century CE)
Celts: Statues of dying Gauls / Galatians associated with Attalos I of Pergamon (late third century BCE / second century CE)
Scythians and other northern peoples: Ephoros (mid-fourth century BCE)
Celts: Ephoros (mid-fourth century BCE)
Indians, Ethiopians, Celts, and Scythians: Ephoros on a four-fold division of the known world (mid-fourth century BCE)
Barbarian wisdom: Ephoros on inventors (mid-fourth century BCE)
Kretans, Spartans, Carthaginians, and Romans: Polybios on superior and inferior societal organization (second century BCE)
Parthians: Poseidonios on royal banquets (first century BCE)
Arabians and Aramaians: Poseidonios on relations between eastern peoples (first century BCE)
Mysians / Moesians: Poseidonios on their identification and customs based on Homer (first century BCE)
Celts: Phylarchos and Poseidonios on banqueting and violent customs (first century BCE)
Illyrians: Theopompos on banquets (fourth century BCE)
Carthaginians: Appian of Alexandria (mid-second century CE)
Iberians: Appian of Alexandria (mid-second century CE)
Illyrians: Appian of Alexandria (mid-second century CE)
Persians and Medes: Herakleides of Kyme, Klearchos of Soloi, and others on royal banquets (fourth century BCE)
Mediterranean peoples: Claudius Ptolemy on astrological effects on peoples (second century CE)
Mediterranean peoples: Vitruvius on the effects of climate (first century BCE)
Barbarian wisdom: Dio of Prusa on barbarians’ innate knowledge of god (late first century CE)
Germans and Scythians: Seneca on enduring hardships and on anger (first century CE)
Judeans: Pliny the Elder and Julius Solinus on the Essenes beside the Dead Sea (first / third centuries CE)
Judean wisdom: Philo on the Therapeutists’ lifestyle (first century CE)
Judean and Indian wisdom: Philo on the freedom of Essenes and Kalanos (early first century CE)
Thracians: Tacitus on their uncivilized and wild nature (early second century CE)
Ethnic diversity on Rhodes island: Inscriptional evidence
Ethnic diversity in Egypt: Inscriptional and papyrological evidence
Scythian and Thracian diasporas: Inscriptional evidence
Celts / Galatians: Polybios on the Celts’ encounter with Rome and on his method in dealing with distant peoples (second century BCE)
Egyptians: Herodotos on customs and legendary kings (fifth century BCE)
Egyptian wisdom: Plato on Solon, the Egyptian priest, and Atlantis (mid-fourth century BCE)
Britons: Julius Caesar (mid-first century BCE)
Judean perspectives: Philo on the superiority of Moses and Judean ancestral customs (first century CE)
Britons: Tacitus (late first century CE)
Libyans / Africans: Sallust (mid-first century BCE)
Arkadians: Polybios theorizes environment and peoplehood (second century BCE)
Pontic peoples: Tertullian on the Pontic “barbarian” Marcion (late second century CE)
Syrian perspectives: Lucian of Samosata on The Syrian Goddess in full (mid-second century CE)
Scythian wisdom: Letters of Anacharsis (mid-third century BCE)
Iapygians and Tarentinians: Klearchos of Soloi (fourth century BCE)
Lydians: Xanthos of Lydia and Klearchos of Soloi (fifth-fourth centuries BCE)
Scythians: Klearchos of Soloi (fourth century BCE)
Barbarian wisdom: Poseidonios on inventors of the golden age (first century BCE)
Egyptians: Josephos on animal worship (late first century CE)
Iberians: Artemidoros, Poseidonios, Strabo, and others (second century BCE to first century CE)
Germanic peoples: Tacitus’ Germania in full (late first century CE)
Europeans, Asians, and Greeks: Aristotle on environment, ethnic hierarchies, and slaves (fourth century BCE)
Persian wisdom: Plutarch’s story about Kleombrotos’ journeys (early second century CE)
Egyptian wisdom: Lucian’s story about Eukrates and Pankrates (late second century CE)
Italian and Roman diasporas: Inscriptional evidence
Scholarly articles on ethnic relations and migration
Welcome to Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World (edited by Kotrosits and Harland)
[For Phil’s other websites or courses, please navigate using the main menu at the top.]
*In Progress* (so far over 325 posts)
The purpose of this website is to collect, organize, and make public resources for the reconstruction of ethnic relations and ethnographic culture in the ancient Mediterranean and near eastern worlds (fifth century BCE-sixth century CE). Please use the accordion-style arrows and categories in the right sidebar to navigate the site.
“Ethnographic culture,” as we intend it, moves beyond the idea of “ethnography” (literally “representing peoples” or “writing about peoples”) as a Greek and Roman literary genre describing non-Greek and non-Roman peoples (“barbarians”). Instead, ethnographic culture refers to the ways in which the imagination, classification, description, and representation of “other peoples” actively played out in large-scale and small-scale ways across societies and among many different peoples. This is especially the case in connection with conquest and colonization, but also in local social interactions and within diasporic communities of immigrants. Judeans (Jews) and Jesus adherents (Christians) were very much a part of this larger sphere of ethnic encounters, so they have a place here too (see especially categories one and five to your right).
This website, then, combines literary, papyrological, epigraphic, numismatic, and other visual data in order to aid students and researchers in a fuller understanding of ethnographic culture and interactions between peoples. It also facilitates the reconstruction of minoritized ethnic groups spread across time (from the fifth century BCE to the sixth century CE) and geography (across the Mediterranean and near east).
There are times when the organization of material mimics or uses terms from the ancient material. This is not to naturalize those categories or terms, but rather to more clearly demonstrate the categories with which ancient people were working.
Highlighted contributors: > Maia Kotrosits > Daniel Mitchell > James Adam Redfield (coming soon)
Who did it?: This website reflects the ongoing work of Maia Kotrosits and Phil Harland (along with voluntary scholarly contributors) supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) under the rubric of “Ethnicity, Diaspora, and Ethnographic Culture in the Greco-Roman World.” Many thanks to the Research Assistants from York University who have helped with inputting or checking translations: Amy House (Strabo), Victoria Muccilli (Diodoros), Daniel Mitchell (Herodotos, Lucian), and Rosalie Reis (detailed proof-reading). Special thanks also go out to several websites that have already taken the time to clean up and convert to html public domain sources, including Lacus Curtius (led by Bill Thayer), Attalus (led by Andrew Smith), and Topostext (led by Brady Kiesling).
Who are those guys shaking hands at the top?: Aglibol and Malakbel. The monument is from Rome and is a dedication to the Palmyrene gods Aglibol (Moon) and Malakbel (Sun) by Iahari son of Haliphi from Palmyra in Syria (IGUR I 119-120; 236 CE). The inscription is bilingual, in both Greek and Palmyrene. That is not a giant asparagus in the middle. (Currently in the basement of the Capitoline museum in Rome; photo by Harland).
What about the people traveling in the wagon? This is a depiction of a family of northern peoples (Sarmatians or Dacians) pictured as nomads by the creators of “Trajan’s trophy” (link to discussion; photo by Cristian Chirita, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0).
How to cite this website: Maia Kotrosits and Philip A. Harland, eds., Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World, accessed 2023, http://philipharland.com. For citing individual posts, see the short link citation at the top of each post.