CHAPTER SIX

THE GREEK WORLD:
BRONZE AGE THROUGH THE HELLENISTIC PERIOD

A. Bronze Age

The Mediterranean area enjoys a generally consistent climate and vegetation, which, broadly speaking, apparently has changed little since antiquity. The winters, stretching between October and April, are generally wet and mild; the summer months, May through September, are hot and dry. Unlike in Egypt and Mesopotamia, where rivers seasonally provided (or not) ample water for irrigation agriculture, farmers throughout the Mediterranean region, like those in Anatolia, Northern Assyria, Syria, and Palestine, predominantly engaged in dryfarming and depended upon adequate supplies of rain for crops sown during the autumn and winter months. Cereals, legumes, and many fruits, vegetables, and nuts grow in abundance wherever fertile soil and moisture permit, while the lack of summer rains restricts the growth of most orchard crops. The notable exceptions are the olive, fig, and grapevine, which need relatively little water to thrive. Indeed, the Mediterranean triad, that is the cereals, both wheat and barley, the grapevine, and the olive tree—though some would include the legumes as well —made up the most important cash crops in the Bronze Age Aegean.1 The appearance of Bronze Age palace institutions on Crete and in southern Greece, according to some scholars, arose from the systematic exploitation of these and other crops predominantly restricted to particular regions. The palaces of the Minoans, and later the Mycenaeans who continued their bureaucratic system, served as redistributive centers for goods collected from surrounding rural areas and maintained in central storehouses. Other scholars argue that there is insuffi-

Mediterranean triad

1 Cary, Geographic Background, pp. 1–36; Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Don-
Ian, and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, Ancient Greece. A Political, Social, and Cultural History (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 1–4; Signe Isager and Jens Erik Skydsgaard, Ancient Greek Agri-
culture. An Introduction
(London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 9–18; Anaya Sarpaki, "The Palaeoethnob-
otanical Approach. The Mediterranean Triad or Is It a Quartet," in Agriculture in Ancient Greece.
Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium at the Swedish Institute at Athens, 16–17
May, 1990. Berit Wells, ed. (Stockholm: Paul Åströms, 1992), pp. 61–76; Andrew Sherratt,
"Cash-crops Before Cash: Organic Consumables and Trade," in The Prehistory of Food. Appetites for
Change
. Chris Gosden and Jon Hather, eds. (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 13–34.

-259-

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Ancient Food Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Sorori i
  • Technology and Change in History iv
  • Title Page v
  • Table of Contents vii
  • List of Abbreviations xi
  • List of Figures xiii
  • List of Plates xv
  • List of Maps xvii
  • Acknowledgements xix
  • Foreword xxiii
  • Part One - Prehistory 1
  • Chapter One - The Lower and Middle Paleolithic Periods 3
  • Chapter Two - Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic Periods 35
  • Summary and Conclusions to Part One 81
  • Part Two - Egypt and the Near East 91
  • Chapter Three - Egypt I 93
  • Chapter Four - Egypt II 142
  • Chapter Five - The Ancient Near East 178
  • Summary and Conclusions to Part Two 243
  • Part Three - Mediterranean Civilizations 257
  • Chapter Six - The Greek World: Bronze Age Through the Hellenistic Period 259
  • Chapter Seven - Roman World I 323
  • Chapter Eight - Attack on the United States 395
  • Summary and Conclusions to Part Three 420
  • Select Bibliography 435
  • I. Geographical Index 467
  • Ii. General Index 471
  • Plates 479
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