Archaic Eretria: A Political and Social History from the Earliest Times to 490 BC

Archaic Eretria: A Political and Social History from the Earliest Times to 490 BC

Archaic Eretria: A Political and Social History from the Earliest Times to 490 BC

Archaic Eretria: A Political and Social History from the Earliest Times to 490 BC

Synopsis

This book presents for the first time a history of Eretria during the Archaic Era, the city's most notable period of political importance and Keith Walker examines all the major elements of the city's success.One of the key factors explored is Eretria's role as a pioneer coloniser in both the Levant and the West - its early Aegaen 'island empire' anticipates that of Athens by more than a century, and Eretrian shipping and trade was similarly widespread.Eretria's major, indeed dominant, role in the events of central Greece in the last half of the sixth century, and in the events of the Ionian Revolt to 490 is clearly demonstrated, and the tyranny of Diagoras (c.538-509), perhaps the golden age of the city, is fully examined.Full documentation of literary, epigraphic and archaeological sources (most of which has previously been inaccessible to an English speaking-audience) is provided, creating a fascinating history and valuable resource for the Greek historian.

Excerpt

The origins and history of the Euboians, as of all ancient Greek peoples, must be sought in myths and traditions going back into the mists of prehistory as well as in the reports of archaeologists, scientists, epigraphists, linguists and sociologists, since classical writers preserve only vague and disjointed details (often of dubious value) scattered throughout their works, seldom forming a coherent account with a Euboian focus. the island was largely neglected by the scholars of the nineteenth century, that great age of encyclopaedic collection and collation of ancient historical and mythological data, because, until the last half of the twentieth century, Euboia had been merely peripheral to the main concerns of classical historians, which were Athenian and, to a lesser extent, Spartan history and culture. When they did notice Euboia, it was generally because some particular detail had relevance to their central interest in the great cities of the Classical Age. Indeed, this neglect has persisted, especially in the English-speaking scholarly community, until the present. So we must search hard for the information that we require to attempt any kind of reconstruction of the prehistory (or even, for that matter, the later history) of the peoples of Euboia. Work by archaeologists and epigraphists in Euboia itself during the last century has added much to that knowledge of the earliest times, which is provided by the sparse literary record. Several sites have yielded artefacts and pottery (though few architectural remains), attesting to Bronze Age and even earlier settlements, especially in the Eretrias itself, going back to the late Neolithic Age. It is there, in fact, that the Greek archaeologist A. Sampson has undertaken the most thorough investigation of any Neolithic site on the island, that at the Skoteini cave near Tharrounia, some 15 km inland from Amarynthos. the current, ongoing excavation of Eretria itself by Swiss and Greek archaeologists began in the early 1960s, building on the pioneering work done at the end of the nineteenth century by the American School at Athens. Although work done at Eretria during the intervening period, in the first half of the twentieth century, was sporadic at best, the excavations since

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