Narratives in the landscape: Political discourses of authority and identity in the Armenian Highland, ca. 200 B.C.E.- 200 C.E /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Fagan, Elizabeth G. A., author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (257 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Jonathan M. Hall; Adam T. Smith Committee members: Alain Bresson; Michael Dietler.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:Throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods (ca. 200 B.C.E. -- 200 C.E.) in the eastern Mediterranean region, the balance of power shifted frequently and rapidly as various kingdoms and empires sought control of the area now known as the Armenian Highland. The dissertation places the ancient kingdom of Armenia within its sociopolitical context by focusing on the relationships whose creation and maintenance would have constituted the regional context. In the case of the Hellenistic- and Roman-period Armenian Highland, those relationships include the interactions of Armenian leaders with their would-be subjects; relations between the states of Armenia and Rome, as evidenced by interactions amongst leaders in the elite strata of both; and also the connections between Armenian and Roman subjects and their societies. The specific question that drives the investigation into these relationships is the question of how some rulers managed to convince subjects or other leaders to recognize their legitimate authority in this volatile political climate, while other ambitious leaders failed.
The dissertation examines how Romans and Armenians communicated with one another through the media of texts, inscriptions, monuments, coins, and even architecture, in service to political projects like the legitimation of authority. These data are critical to the analysis because they can be interpreted as narratives designed by their producers to initiate or engage in discourses that would lead to the desired relationships. Narratives mediate the relationship between the subject-producer and the object-audience. In other words, they can be considered constitutive elements of the discourse between the subject and object. As the foundational components of discourse, narratives can thus play a significant political role, because leaders, subjects, and states must engage in discourses to establish and maintain their connections with one another.
Leaders who successfully established their authority in the Hellenistic- and Roman-period Armenian Highland frequently deployed narratives that laid claim to a particular identity, or that communicated a specific version of the past. Narratives about the past can also be used as the groundwork for declarations and performances of specific identities. The frequent repetition of these themes of identity and temporality in the narratives discussed in this analysis shows that, in the Hellenistic- and Roman-period eastern Mediterranean, authority and identity were inextricably intertwined.
The analysis begins with the establishment of the Artashesean dynasty in the early second century B.C.E. It also examines the slow disintegration of the reign of the Artashesean rulers in the late first century B.C.E. and early first century C.E. The analysis ends with the final indisputable evidence of Roman occupation in Armenia, in the late second century C.E.