Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Ethnicity and Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean World

  • Naoíse Mac Sweeney
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1756

Introduction

Ethnicity and identity are important fields of research within the study of the ancient Mediterranean world. They are crucial social issues within the modern world, and it seems that they were also vital in Classical antiquity. Many different types of identity are evident in the ancient Mediterranean world – gender, age, religion, rank status, legal status, professional, regional, ethnic and cultural identities being perhaps the most notable. This entry will focus on the last two forms of identity in this list, ethnic and cultural. Ethnic and cultural identities are closely linked, and it is easy to get them confused. Yet they are distinct from each other, and constitute two separate types of social categorization.

Definition

Ethnicity is generally understood as a form of large-scale social group identity, where it is believed that group members share a common descent or ancestry (Emberling 1997: 307; Hall 1997: 19-33). It is important to note that it is beliefin a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Archaeology and Ancient HistoryUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK