Geometric Greece: 900-700 BC

By J. N. Coldstream | Go to book overview

9

Eastern Greece and Anatolia

A loose unity links the sites of the East Greek world during the eighth century. Over a wide area, extending from Rhodes to Chios and from Caria to the river Hermus, the local LG pottery shares many features in common; the same is true of some bronzes, especially fibulae. Most of our evidence comes from Rhodes, Cos, Samos, and Chios, partly because many of the most flourishing centres are to be found there; but we must also remember that these large offshore islands have been more fully explored than the Greek sites of western Anatolia.

We begin with Rhodes, where the East Greek LG style was probably invented. Its full development can be followed through a sequence of some thirty grave groups from Ialysos, Camirus, and the Lindian village of Exochi. These places supply information about the local burial customs, and about small offerings in gold, silver, and bronze. Metal objects are also well represented among the votives of Athena at Lindos, as are local terracottas and oriental ivories. The Geometric cemeteries of Cos, under the modern capital town, come to an abrupt end in the middle of Rhodian LG. On Samos, as before, virtually all the material is from the Heraion; a local school of pottery combines East Greek and Atticizing ideas, and there are also plenty of terracottas and bronzes, both local and oriental. Two small sanctuaries on Chios, at Kato Phana and Emporio, afford a glimpse of the local LG pottery and bronzes.

The Greek cities of western Anatolia were by now well established. Several Carian sites, too, were producing LG pottery under Rhodian influence; some are semi-hellenized towns on the coast (e.g., Halicarnassos, Iasos), while others lie deep in the native hinterland. Our knowledge of southern Ionia is based on scattered finds from the city of Miletus, supplemented by a few pieces from Melia and Ephesus. The north Ionic town of Old Smyrna offers much evidence of domestic architecture, and a local LG style related to Chiot but also open to influence from mainland Greece. Aeolis and Lesbos imported a good deal of LG ware, mainly East Greek; but for some mysterious reason their local pottery was made in a grey monochrome fabric, in the Anatolian tradition. From c. 750 B.C. onwards the north-east Aegean began to receive Greek settlers; Troy, after lying desolate for over three centuries, was repeopled by a party of Aeolians.

Compared with the Corinthians and Euboeans, the eastern Greeks showed little enterprise as travellers or as traders. Yet, with the general improvement in communications, it was natural that they should become better acquainted with the peoples of the Anatolian hinterland, and especially with the powerful kingdom of Phrygia. These exchanges will be briefly considered towards the end of this chapter.

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