Ancient Greece: From the Mycenaean Palaces to the Age of Homer

By Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy; Irene S. Lemos | Go to book overview

12

ETHNE IN THE PELOPONNESE AND
CENTRAL GREECE

Catherine Morgan

Until quite recently, the nature and early development of ethne barely merited mention in scholarly accounts of early Greece.1 In so far as ethne were discussed, it was in terms of geographically extensive networks of low-level ties, traceable via material traits such as regional pottery styles or the ethnic plurals attested from Homer onwards - a simpler but more durable alternative to poleis, and the primitive products of post-palatial socio-political simplification.2 Such assumptions have lingered far longer than they merited either on theoretical or archaeological grounds. Theoretically, they represent little more than social-evolutionism and a somewhat crude approach to archaeological 'cultures' (Shennan 1989: 5–14; Morgan, Early States: ch. 1 n. 64, 17–8, 165–8). Materially, it is clear that the more we know of the so-called ethnos-regions, the more complex and varied their archaeological records appear. This is not only the result of new fieldwork, although such work has transformed our knowledge of regions like East Lokris,3 wrongly assumed to have been near-deserted during the Early Iron Age. Projects centred on the reappraisal of old data, such as those from Isthmia and the area of Olympia, have also had a major impact.4 This is true not only of the Early Iron Age, but also of the Late Bronze Age, especially as attention has turned to epigraphical and archaeological evidence for the territorial aspects of Mycenaean states.5 A further

1 Warm thanks are due to Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy and Irene Lemos for their invitation to partici-
pate in the Edinburgh symposium, and patience thereafter. I thank John Bennet and John Killen
for valuable discussion of some of the issues raised, and my fellow participants for much useful
comment in the course of a highly convivial occasion.

2 Snodgrass, Archaic Greece: 25–6, 42–4, 85–8; Osborne, Making: 286, both taking a position
barely changed from that of Larsen 1968: 308, 11, and Ehrenberg 1969: 22–5. For reviews of
scholarship, see McInerney 1999: 8–25; Morgan, Early States: 4–9.

3 Mostly due to the activities of the 14th EPKA, until recently under the direction of Dr Fanouria
Dakoronia (see Dakoronia, this volume): for summaries with bibliography, see Lemos,
Protogeometric Aegean: 171–2; Morgan, Early States: 28–31, 115–19.

4 Isthmia: Isthmia; Morgan 2002a. Olympia: Kyrieleis 2002; Eder 2001b; Eder 2003; Eder, this
volume.

5 Lakonia: Cavanagh 1995. For Pylos, see Stavrianopoulou 1989: chs 2 and 10, for the state of
knowledge before the Pylos Regional Archaeological Project (PRAP), and Bennet 1995, 1998a
and b for the contribution of PRAP; see also De Fidio 2001.

-233-

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