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Asunto: Sobre Alejandro
Fecha:Miercoles, 25 de Junio, 2003  17:59:50 (+0000)
Autor:Juan Antonio Sanz <jasanzrus>

He aquí un curioso artículo sobre Alejandro Magno que me recomiendo mi buen 
amigo Jasik.

Juan Antonio Sanz

How great was Alexander?

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations | 12 June 2003

BERKELEY – Alexander the Great may not have been so great after all.

A University of California, Berkeley-led group of researchers is challenging 
the common history that credits the Macedonian king with initiating the 
spread of ancient Greek culture throughout the Middle East during his 
conquest of the region during the 4th century B.C.

Backed by a nearly $234,000 collaborative research grant from the Getty 
Foundation, the team over the next two years will try to document a thriving 
Hellenized culture in the city of Dor, Israel, at least 100 years before 
Alexander marched in.

The birth of the Hellenistic period, when Greek culture began to spread far 
beyond its native territory, has long been set around 334 B.C. to 323 B.C., 
when Alexander and his troops began their 20,000-mile conquest, thundering 
from Macedonia south through what is now Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. 
The troops then set off for Persia and India.

"Our hunch is that at Dor, Hellenization - the wholesale importation of 
Greek material culture - begins in the 5th century B.C. and goes into high 
gear around about 400 B.C. So, it precedes Alexander," said Andrew Stewart, 
a UC Berkeley professor of art history and classics in the College of 
Letters & Science. He also is the project's principal investigator.

"There is, as far as we can tell, no boost given to this process by 
Alexander's conquests," said Stewart. "So, immediately we are challenging 
the view that it was Alexander who principally spread Greek culture 
throughout the Middle East."

One of Stewart's UC Berkeley colleagues and an assistant professor of Near 
Eastern Studies, Marian Feldman, said the Mediterranean sea has long brought 
peoples and cultures together. Particularly close ties between the Levantine 
coast - which includes present-day Israel, Lebanon and Syria - and Greece 
appear as early as 1,400 B.C., she said.

"Tel Dor, located directly on the sea, should have participated in these 
interactions," Feldman said.

Dor was most likely a Phoenician or Phoenician-related city in the early 
centuries of the first millennium, and the Phoenicians are renowned for 
their seafaring skills and merchantile entrepreneurship, as memorialized in 
Homer's "Odyssey," she said. "When the excavations at Dor go deeper," said 
Feldman, "these contacts will be probably be shown to reach further back in 

Stewart's team members will direct their attention to the wealth of 
materials found at the ancient Israelite seaport site of Dor, established by 
the Canaanites around 2,000 B.C. and once the harbor of King Solomon. 
Alexander the Great passed by Dor on his march from Tyre to Gaza and Egypt, 
by which time the city hosted a lively mixture of Phoenicians, Jews, Greeks 
and others.

In collaboration with teams from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and 
several American, Canadian and South African universities, Stewart has been 
digging at two sites at Dor for 20 years. These teams have uncovered more 
than 100,000 artifacts, close to 90 percent of them pottery, but also 
sculptures, figurines, lamps, coins, rings and other items representing all 
strata of society and dating back to the Iron Age.

One find was a headless statue of the Greek winged goddess Victory, together 
with fragments of a demolished Greek temple. Another was an elaborate and 
intricate mosaic floor, probably designed to help establish a party 
atmosphere in a banquet room. The mosaic - made with 10 to 15 cubes per 
square centimeter - features a masked young man from the Greek comic 
theater, wearing a fantastic party hat and set amid garlands of fruits and 

"You have a party animal here," said Stewart, gesturing toward a photo that 
shows a character known as the second young, wavy-haired man.

"He spends much, much too much time indoors partying, likes the girls," he 
said, "and tends to wake up in the morning with a hangover. That's why his 
face is white, and that's why we thought it was female to begin with, 
because it is so pale and its lips are rouged. Well, they're rouged because 
he goes to the 'Black and White Ball' every night!"

Stewart called the mosaic "high end, absolutely top quality Greek work" that 
rivals anything in Alexandria from the same period.

The temple, mosaic and Victory were found in pits where they may have been 
discarded in a revival of Jewish traditionalism around 100 B.C.

It may be that some of the Phoenicians, Jews and others living in Dor simply 
developed a fascination or a fondness for Greek culture and embarked on an 
importing spree, Stewart said. Yet, around the time of Alexander's conquests 
in the region, there was no increase in Hellenization.

Instead, the process seems to have stagnated or even - for a time - gone 
into reverse, he said.

"Did our little town stand aloof from these developments?" Stewart asked. 
"Or were they purely political and military? Were the early Hellenistic 
kings only interested in raising money and fighting each other, essentially 
limiting Hellenization to the major centers? We don't know."

But Stewart and his team hope to find out.

The researchers will investigate what has been uncovered that reflects the 
efforts of inhabitants of Dor in adopting Greek culture, resisting it, or 
combining it with their own to form something new. They will look at these 
interactions in terms of material culture at various levels of society, 
throughout time.

"The same people may have used local-type storage jars that they knew and 
loved at the same time as drinking from Greek-style symposium cups," Stewart 

Directing the Israeli part of the project will be Professor Ilan Sharon, an 
archaeologist and statistician from Hebrew University in Jerusalem with 
expertise in computer science as well as the archaeology of Israel and the 
Near East in the first millennium B.C. He has developed the immense data 
bases required for such an investigation and will direct the computer 

The researchers will construct matrices reflecting the estimated chronology 
of the architecture and artifacts in each area of the site in order to see 
how they relate to each other. They will be able to develop a more refined 
chronology, and artifacts of particular interest can be stratigraphically 
plotted and scanned for patterns of distribution. Maps of the distribution 
will be developed to help to show who lived where, and when.

"Different areas of the site, as always, might have been occupied by 
different folks," said Stewart. "In Berkeley, you're going to get a 
different material culture in the hills than you are down on the flats or in 
East Oakland."

Ultimately, the Dor research project is expected to produce at least one 
book and a dissertation.

Without a team, the work would take a lifetime, said Stewart.

Also participating will be Sarah Stroup, an assistant professor at the 
University of Washington and a specialist in Hellenistic and Roman 
literature and culture. Stroup received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2001 
and has worked previously with Stewart at Dor. The other two members of the 
investigative team will be Stewart's assistant director, Allen Estes, an 
Assyriologist and archaeologist who also earned his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in 
1997, and John Berg, the site architect and stratigrapher.

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