In Search of the Pontic Community in Antiquity


in Representations of Empire

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780197262764
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753947 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

In Search of the Pontic Community in Antiquity

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The geographical characteristics of the Pontus combined with the historical circumstances of the region's colonization by the Greeks were important factors which defined the nature of this ‘world apart’, and these have been the dominant themes of modern historical study. However, neither physical geography nor the colonial experience inevitably implied the emergence of a distinct Pontic world or a Pontic community. Nor do the facts of geography or the major developments of external political history help to explain the identities that the peoples of Pontus claimed for themselves, or that were ascribed to them by outsiders. Indeed, there is a need to ask in what ways, and at what periods, the inhabitants of Pontus themselves felt any sense of shared identity to correspond with the outside perception, that they inhabited a world of their own. Given the obvious problems of regional definition, this chapter is divided into four sections. The first and second look at the Pontic region defined in its earliest sense as the territories and communities associated with the Black Sea itself. The third is concerned with the Pontic regions of Asia Minor. The fourth deals more specifically with the kingdom of the Mithridatids, the so-called kingdom of Pontus. But the starting point, which has led to this structure, is an analysis of the region's name, and in particular of the adjectival form Ponticus Ποντικός, which was derived from it.

Keywords: Pontus; shared identity; Pontic region; Black Sea; Asia Minor; Mithridatids; Ponticus

Chapter.  14521 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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