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Pourdavoud Lecture Series: Elspeth Dusinberre
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States + Google Map
The Collapse of Empire: Gordion’s Transition from the Achaemenid to the Hellenistic World
This talk will highlight the huge changes that characterized Gordion’s transition from the Achaemenid to the Hellenistic periods. Gordion, ancient capital of Phrygia, was a large and thriving city of secondary importance during the period of the Achaemenid Persian empire (ca 550–333 BCE), a period when it participated in the network of interactions and practices that bound the empire together. When Alexander’s conquest led to the collapse of Achaemenid administrative infrastructure, the impact on Gordion’s economy and cultural circumstance was profound. Its population plummeted, the architectural and spatial organization of the site changed dramatically, and new directions and means of trade and cultural interaction developed. Gordion’s archaeological remains reflect and emphasize the tremendous historical and political changes attending the end of the Achaemenid empire and the beginning of the Hellenistic period.
About the Speaker
Elspeth Dusinberre (AB Harvard 1991, PhD Michigan 1997) is Professor of Distinction at the University of Colorado and a current Getty Villa Research Scholar. She is interested in cultural interactions in Anatolia. Her work has investigated the ways in which the Achaemenid Persian empire (ca. 550-330 BCE) affected local social structures in the give-and-take between Achaemenid and other cultures and has delved into pre-Achaemenid matters at the sites of Gordion and Sardis. Her first book, Aspects of Empire in Achaemenid Sardis (Cambridge 2003), examines the impact of Achaemenid hegemony from the vantage of the Lydian capital. Her second and fourth books focus on the Phrygian capital: Gordion Seals and Sealings: Individuals and Society (Philadelphia 2005) and (with Ellen Kohler) The Lesser Phrygian Tumuli: The Cremations (Philadelphia 2023). Dusinberre’s third book, Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia (Cambridge 2013), considers all of Anatolia under Persian rule and proposes a new model for understanding imperialism. She has co-edited a Festschrift for Margaret Cool Root, The Art of Empire in Achaemenid Persia (Leiden 2020), and at the moment is co-editing a volume on Middle and Late Phrygian Gordion.