Constructing Identities: Greek names as a marker of Hellenizing identity


  • Laurie E. Pearce
  • Paola Corò


Babylonia, cuneiform archives, Hellenistic period, Uruk, Greek, Akkadian, iconography


Even as Babylonia came under foreign rule, cuneiform documentation continued to record traditional activities. In the transition to the Hellenistic period, it is assumed that Greek practices became more prevalent, although documentary evidence for them remains limited. Cuneiform legal texts documented a narrower range of transactions. In Uruk, these were primarily real estate transactions and prebend sales, which continued to be framed in traditional Babylonian formulaic language. However, in those texts, some actors display personal attributes and/or form networks suggesting they are promoting Hellenizing identities. The attributes include the adoption of Greek names, the use of polyonymous Akkadian-Greek names, and of Hellenistic motifs in the iconography of their seals. These practices appear in the records of three groups of individuals, including members of the elite Ah’ūtu family; the Dumqi-Anu/Arad-Rēš family, which held a share in the atû (porter) prebend; and of the ēpiš dulli ša ṭīdi (clay workers) class. The evidence suggests active construction of a Hellenizing identity is most apparent among members of the ēpiš dulli ša ṭīdi, who belonged to the lowest stratum of the groups considered, while the social networks of members of the Dumqi-Anu/Arad-Rēš family often attest to individuals who bridge communities grounded in Babylonian culture and to those who adopt features of Hellenizing identities.

How to Cite

Pearce, L. E., & Corò, P. (2023). Constructing Identities: Greek names as a marker of Hellenizing identity. Studia Orientalia Electronica, 11(2), 72–108.