Modern Greek people from the Black Sea region (Pontic Greeks) trace their lineage, and perhaps even their dialect of the Greek language in some cases, back to the first Greek settlers in the region who arrived in the seventh century BC. But is this sort of cultural continuity possible in the face of significant cultural and political disruptions? This capstone addresses this question by investigating the Greek presence in the Black Sea region from the first Greek settlements in the 7th century BC to the rise of a new Greek empire in the Byzantine period and the legacy of modern Pontic Greeks. Students will engage with archaeological data, literary texts and historical sources to help answer the question ‘What did and does it mean to be Greek in the Black Sea?’

The discussion will be interwoven with the case study of Sinop, an important city on the south coast of the Black Sea. First settled by the Greeks c. 630 BC and continuously occupied to the present day, Sinop encapsulates key themes of the capstone, which will be explored through a consideration of textual and archaeological evidence drawn from current work being undertaken at the site.