Cultures > Edom



"Hellenistic Edom" refers to the historical region of Edom during the Hellenistic period, which lasted from the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE to the emergence of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BCE. Edom, also known as Idumaea, was located in the southern Levant, south of the Dead Sea, and encompassed parts of modern-day southern Israel and Jordan. Here's an overview:Geographical Location:Edom was situated in the southern part of the Levant, bordered by the Dead Sea to the north and the Arabian Desert to the east and south.The region was characterized by rugged terrain, with mountains, cliffs, and desert landscapes, making it suitable for pastoralism and trade routes.Ancient Inhabitants:The Edomites were an ancient Semitic people who inhabited the region of Edom since ancient times.The Edomites are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob (Israel), and were considered a neighboring nation to ancient Israel.Interactions with the Hellenistic World:During the Hellenistic period, the southern Levant, including Edom, came under the influence of Hellenistic culture and the successors of Alexander the Great.The conquests of Alexander brought Greek influence to the region, leading to the establishment of Greek-speaking cities and the spread of Greek customs, language, and institutions.The Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt and the Seleucid Empire, two of the major Hellenistic kingdoms, vied for control over the southern Levant, including Edom, as part of their struggles for regional dominance.Archaeological Evidence:Archaeological excavations in the region have uncovered evidence of Greek influence, such as Greek-style pottery, coins, and architectural remains, indicating the presence of Hellenistic culture in Edom.The ancient city of Petra, located in present-day Jordan and once part of the region of Edom, contains Hellenistic-style rock-cut tombs and other structures, suggesting cultural exchange with the Hellenistic world.Legacy:The interactions between Edom and the Hellenistic world likely contributed to the cultural and religious diversity of the region, leaving a legacy of mixed cultural influences.While the specific extent of Hellenistic influence in Edom may vary, it's clear that the region was part of the broader network of trade, diplomacy, and cultural exchange that characterized the Hellenistic period in the Near East.In summary, "Hellenistic Edom" refers to the period when the region of Edom in the southern Levant came under the influence of Hellenistic culture and the successors of Alexander the Great, leading to the spread of Greek influence and the establishment of Greek-speaking communities in the area.

During the revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucid kingdom (early 2nd century BE), II Maccabees refers to a Seleucid general named Gorgias as "Governor of Idumaea"; whether he was a Greek or a Hellenized Edomite is unknown. Some scholars maintain that the reference to Idumaea in that passage is an error altogether. Judas Maccabeus conquered their territory for a time around 163 BC.[38]

They were again subdued by John Hyrcanus (c. 125 BC), who forcibly converted them, among others, to Judaism,[39] and incorporated them into the Jewish nation, despite the opposition of the Pharisees. Antipater the Idumaean, the progenitor of the Herodian Dynasty along with Judean progenitors, that ruled Judea after the Roman conquest, was of mixed Edomite/Judean origin. Under Herod the Great, the Idumaea province was ruled for him by a series of governors, among whom were his brother Joseph ben Antipater, and his brother-in-law Costobarus.

The evangelist Mark[40] includes Idumea, along with Judea, Jerusalem, Tyre, Sidon and lands east of the Jordan as the communities from which the disciples of Jesus were drawn. According to Josephus, the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, 20,000 Idumaeans, under the leadership of John, Simeon, Phinehas, and Jacob, helped the Zealots fight for independence from Rome, who were besieged in the Temple.[41] See Zealot Temple Siege for more information. After the Jewish Wars, the Idumaean people are no longer mentioned in history, though the geographical region of "Idumea" is still referred to at the time of St. Jerome.


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