We are happy to announce our second presenter for March, Louis Polcin, with his presentation “Diplomacy and Security in the Ancient World: Hasmonean-Roman Relations.” Louis is a graduate student in the interdisciplinary Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies department at the University of British Columbia. His research interests include Greco-Jewish cultural interactions in the Hellenistic period, and Judean political institutions in the Hellenistic and early Roman eras. He was a History and Classical Studies double major as an undergraduate at Willamette University. Today’s presentation stems from his History thesis, which seeks to re-evaluate perhaps the earliest interactions between Jews and Romans: the military alliances between the Hasmonean Dynasty and the Roman Republic. You can follow him on Facebook (@Louis Polcin).
His presentation focuses on Hasmonean-Roman relations and geopolitical strategies in the 2nd century BCE.
He has provided us with the following abstract:
“Scholars have long been puzzled by the treaties between the Hasmonean Dynasty of Judea during the second century BCE, and the Roman Republic, which ruled much of the Western Mediterranean during the same period. The geographic, political, religious and cultural differences between the two states, as well as the enormous power differential between them, has caused skepticism over their mutual cooperation. Yet placed within the larger geopolitical context of the ancient Mediterranean, these treaties become quite sensible. This study argues that Hasmonean-Roman relations illustrate the geopolitical strategies of each regime; while Rome sought to use the Hasmoneans as a buffer against their rivals, the Hasmoneans attempted to use the backing of Rome to intimidate both internal and external opponents. Far from victims of Rome manipulation, the Hasmoneans overdramatized the threat that their own enemies could pose to Rome, allowing them to obtain sweeping rhetorical concessions from the Roman Senate.”