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D6 Antithesis EAST - WEST (project completed)

The Origins of the Antithesis EAST - WEST Before and After Alexander the Great

Coordination: Kai Trampedach, Jonas Grethlein, Tonio Hölscher, Reinhard Stupperich

Abstract

Image: Palace of Darius at 
Persepolis, privat Photography 
by Nicolas Zenzen

Image: Palace of Darius at
Persepolis, privat Photography
by Nicolas Zenzen

The 'eternal' antithetical concept of "East" vs. "West" originated in Greek antiquity. The concept was 'invented' in the period from the Persian Wars to Alexander the Great (5th - 4th cent. B. C.), and revised in the Greek-Oriental kingdoms of Hellenism (3rd - 1st cent. B. C.).

While former research tried to define consistent concepts and practices regarding the 'other' , this projects aims at exploring this antithesis by a new, comprehensive approach, investigating the multiple, often divergent and even contradictory ideologies and attitudes that prevailed in the various fields of interaction: from hostility and opposition in policy and ethics, to receptiveness and admiration in religion, lifestyle, material culture, and knowledge.

For this purpose, political interaction, cultural memory, religion, images and material culture on both sides are to be exploited. The project will analyze the fundamental ambivalence, discrepancy and 'shifting asymmetries' that are inherent in the ideological fabrication of 'Asia' and 'Europe'.

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