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

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

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

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

Synopsis

The period between the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization around 1200 BC and the dawning of the classical era four and half centuries later is widely known as the Dark Age of Greece, not least in the eponymous history by A. M. Snodgrass published by EUP in 1971, and reissued by the Press in 2000. In January 2003 distinguished scholars from all over the world gathered in Edinburgh to re-examine old and new evidence on the period. The subjects of their papers were chosen in advance by the editors so that taken together they would cover the field. This book, based on thirty-three of the presentations, will constitute the most fundamental reinterpretation of the period for 30 years. The authors take issue with the idea of a Greek Dark Age and everything it implies for the understanding of Greek history, culture and society. They argue that the period is characterised as much by continuity as disruption and that the evidence from every source shows a progression from Mycenaean kingship to the conception of aristocratic nobility in the Archaic period. The volume is divided into six parts dealing with political and social structures; questions of continuity and transformation; international and inter-regional relations; religion and hero cult; Homeric epics and heroic poetry; and the archaeology of the Greek regions. Copiously illustrated and with a collated bibliography, itself a valuable resource, this book is likely to be the essential and basic source of reference on the later phases of the Mycenaean and the Early Greek Iron Ages for many years.

Excerpt

Supplied by the generosity of the A. G. Leventis Foundation the Third A. G. Leventis Conference 'From wanax to basileus' was organised by Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy and Irene S. Lemos at the University of Edinburgh, 22–25 January 2003. Sigrid Deger-Jalkotzy was at the time the third Leventis Visiting Professor. The subject of the conference was chosen first because the research interests of the organisers focus on the centuries between the collapse of the Mycenaean palace states (c.1200 BC) and the beginning of the archaic period of Ancient Greece (c.700 BC) which until recently have been called 'The Dark Age of Greece'. The term is still used by classical archaeologists, ancient historians and linguists, as well as by scholars of adjacent fields such as Near Eastern studies and European Prehistory. The second reason for organising this conference was the fact that many significant discoveries made during recent decades together with new approaches and intensive research on various aspects of cultural developments require a fresh and comprehensive revision of the period. Obviously the new state of research has rendered the term of a 'Dark Age of Greece' highly questionable. Yet since the seminal surveys by A. Snodgrass, V. Desborough and F. Schachermeyr no monographic treatment covering the entire period and all its cultural aspects and developments has been published. The organisers felt that it might not be possible any longer for a single author to perform such a task. Therefore distinguished scholars from all over the world were invited to gather in Edinburgh in order to re-examine old and new evidence on the period. The subjects of their papers were chosen in advance so that taken together they would cover the field with an interdisciplinary perspective, approaching the period under consideration from various disciplines.

On these premises the papers cover a wide range of themes. They compare, as well as contrast, aspects of the Mycenaean palace system with the political and social structures emerging after its collapse. Archaeological papers are offered by scholars who have been working and specializing in specific areas of Greece, a number of whom are involved with sites which have changed the study of the period, such as Lefkandi, Knossos, Dimini and regions such as central and western Greece. There are moreover studies of the linguistic developments of . . .

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