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

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

15

ASPECTS OF THE 'ITALIAN CONNECTION'

David Ridgway

In his now classic article [Blakeway 1935a], Alan Blakeway developed the theory that trade precedes and invites colonisation…. In the present monograph [Taylour 1958] Lord William Taylour has collected the evidence for a much earlier phase of Greek commercial expansion, that of the Mycenaean period. The recent decipherment of the Linear B script has proved that the Mycenaeans were Greeks. Ought we therefore to view these two phases of Greek commerce with the West as completely separate phenomena? The combined evidence collected by Taylour and Blakeway shows that this trade began during the seventeenth century BC, quickened during the period of greatest Mycenaean commercial expansion (fourteenth and thirteenth centuries), slackened in the troubled centuries following the raids of the Sea Peoples, but was being slowly resumed in the Protogeometric and Geometric periods, increasing in momentum immediately preceding the foundation of the historic Greek colonies of the late eighth and seventh centuries. To the reviewer these are the full implications of Taylour's monograph, although the author only hints at such a continuity. (Immerwahr 1959: 295)


1. INTRODUCTION

My subject is the Italian side of the relationship between the Aegean and the central Mediterranean (usually regarded by Hellenists as 'the West', a term that

I am most grateful to Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy and Irene Lemos for inviting me to speak at the dis-
tinguished (and exceptionally pleasant) conference on which this book is based. Space, time and
human frailty (mine) did not permit full treatment of the 'Italian connection', itself the subject of
major conferences in the past – among them Taranto 1982 (Vagnetti 1982; Peroni 1985); Palermo
1984 (Marazzi, Tusa and Vagnetti 1986); Naples 1996 (Euboica) – and more recently of an excel-
lent general treatment of south Italy and the Mycenaean world (Bettelli 2002). I accordingly concen-
tratedon those aspects that are currently emerging more clearly from the work of Italian
scholars; and I do so again here, with the addition (more selectively than may perhaps appear at
first sight) of appropriate bibliography. I hope that it will be as apparent to readers as it is to me
that my debt to Fulvia Lo Schiavo and Lucia Vagnetti now defies computation: but they should
not be blamed for the shortcomings in this result of their generosity over many years.

-299-

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