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Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece

Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece

Anthony Snodgrass
Copyright Date: 2006
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  • Book Info
    Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece
    Book Description:

    This book brings together twenty-five papers by A. M. Snodgrass covering four decades of work on pre-Classical and Classical Greece.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3004-2
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vi-x)
  5. Part I A Credo

    • CHAPTER 1 Archaeology
      (pp. 4-44)

      Nowhere are the distinctive assets and liabilities of archaeology as a source shown up so conspicuously as in Greek and Roman history. While the decisive theoretical battles of archaeology have long been fought out on other fields and between bigger battalions, it is in the closer encounters of Classical archaeology that the more continuous attrition of empirical testing takes place. The experience has not had much influence on wider archaeological thought, but it has revealed certain assets on the part of archaeological evidence in an historical context: four of these, which I would single out as the most important, are...

    • CHAPTER 2 Greek Archaeology and Greek History
      (pp. 45-62)

      At certain points, the disciplines of history and archaeology converge; and some of the closest rapprochements have traditionally taken place in the field of Classics. I am concerned here with one quite specific form of close relationship that can exist only between certain kinds of historical and archaeological approach. These must be defined at the outset.

      The historian who bases his account fairly and squarely on the ancient sources will tend to construct a narrative account that deals in concepts similar to theirs: an account, that is, couched mainly in terms of political, constitutional, and military events. To this view...

    • CHAPTER 3 The New Archaeology and the Classical Archaeologist
      (pp. 63-77)

      Originally delivered as a lecture to a New York audience, this paper wears a more dated look today, if only because the ‘New Archaeology’ has since lost its vogue for many prehistorians. The general expectation of a brighter future for Aegean Bronze Age studies, voiced near the end of the paper, has found a measure of fulfilment in the diminishing concern with ‘events’. This has not, however, resulted from any definitive solutions to the old controversies, where hopes were once again revealed as naive. Twenty years on, radical differences of opinion persist on the chronology, the significance and, in some...

    • CHAPTER 4 A Paradigm Shift in Classical Archaeology?
      (pp. 78-104)

      The first half of my title comes, of course, from that non-scientist’s bible of the operations of the physical sciences, Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, first published in 1962 and since hailed, by the Times Literary Supplement, as one of ‘The Hundred Most Influential Books since the Second World War’. I said ‘of course’, but that may have been a mistake. Note that I called the book ‘the non-scientist’s bible’, and that it was The Times Literary Supplement that rated it so highly. These are hints that, quite apart from the fact that Kuhn’s central propositions have...

    • CHAPTER 5 Separate Tables? A Story of Two Traditions within One Discipline
      (pp. 105-114)

      Two non-Mediterranean countries – yours and mine – only remotely linked with ancient Greek culture, were each brought partially into the Classical world through Roman conquest. In both cases, the territory of the modern nation-state was only partly under Roman rule (though the proportions are very different). The territory of each is therefore traversed by a limes which, on its own account, has absorbed a substantial proportion of the research into the Roman province – in Britain, I would put it at something like 20%; in Germany, the greater length of the limes and the much shallower depth of the...

  6. Part II The Early Iron Age in Greece

    • CHAPTER 6 Metalwork as Evidence for Immigration in the Late Bronze Age
      (pp. 118-125)

      The great wave of destruction and abandonment of Mycenaean sites at or near the end of the Late Helladic iiiB period is one of the inescapable landmarks of the Aegean Late Bronze Age. For the past twenty years and more, however, many scholars have also seen it as something else: as the occasion of a mass-immigration and permanent settlement in Greece of non-Mycenaean peoples.

      The prime basis for this conclusion is the occurrence of new metal types in Greece at this time; it is true that much other evidence has been adduced as well, but this supporting evidence is not,...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Coming of the Iron Age in Greece: Europe’s Earliest Bronze / Iron Transition
      (pp. 126-143)

      The concept of an ‘Iron Age’ is one of the least analysed in European prehistory, though as an expression it is constantly on the lips of every prehistorian of Europe. There are many reasons for this. In the first place, the replacement of bronze by iron for a specific range of practical purposes, important change though it was, was clearly a less fundamental step than the original introduction of metallurgy; so it is hardly surprising that only a small proportion of the amount of research devoted to that earlier process has gone into the study of the bronze/iron transition. A...

    • CHAPTER 8 The Euboeans in Macedonia: A New Precedent for Westward Expansion?
      (pp. 144-157)

      The Euboeans are the great discovery of early Greek archaeology since World War II – a discovery that might conceivably never have happened but for Giorgio Buchner’s decision to begin excavation at Pithekoussai in 1952. Long before that time, the insistent appearance of the Euboeans in the literary record of early colonisation had pointed to either a gap or a failure of recognition on the archaeological side. But the 1950s were the watershed for archaeology: in the syntheses of this time, the Euboeans as yet scarcely exist,¹ but the primary research was already under way, and not only through the...

    • CHAPTER 9 The Rejection of Mycenaean Culture and the Oriental Connection
      (pp. 158-172)

      This paper fitted a little awkwardly into the agenda of a 1998 Mainz conference devoted to Greco-Oriental contacts at the turn of the second and first millennia bc. For the second time, I must apologise for the overlap between its opening paragraphs and the closing passage of ch. 4 above. This time, the central concern is with continuities and discontinuities: essentially with the question of the ancestry of the Greek world of the Early Iron Age and thus, less directly, of Archaic and Classical Greece. It will become clear that there is a profound incompatibility in the rival views as...

    • CHAPTER 10 An Historical Homeric Society?
      (pp. 173-194)

      I begin with two modern texts, both as it happens printed on the first page of earlier issues of this journal, and each, I think, expressive of a strong body of opinion in Homeric scholarship, at least in the English-speaking countries, at the time of their writing. First, Miss Dorothea Gray in 1954: ‘Belief in an historical Homeric society dies hard’.¹ Secondly, Professor Adkins in 1971: ‘I find it impossible to believe … that the bards of the oral tradition invented out of their own imaginations a society with institutions, values, beliefs and attitudes all so coherent and mutually appropriate...

  7. Part III The Early Polis at Home and Abroad

    • CHAPTER 11 Archaeology and the Rise of the Greek State
      (pp. 198-220)

      Humility, which people in my situation always profess, is in this case sincere and unforced. I stand before you as a newcomer to Cambridge, the first to invade this particular sanctum since the Laurence Chair was founded in 1931; as a specialist in none of the traditionally central fields of Classical Archaeology; as a late-comer, even, to the subject as a whole. It is impossible to take on unabashed a mantle once worn by A. B. Cook and Alan Wace, men who were so much more than Classical Archaeologists, but their breadth of interests is stimulating as well as daunting....

    • CHAPTER 12 Heavy Freight in Archaic Greece
      (pp. 221-233)

      The larger aim of this paper is to convince historians that archaeological evidence can truly be brought to bear on problems that are of central concern to them, and that it can be perilous to ignore it. In public, of course, most historians would indignantly deny that they needed any such convincing; but in the heat of discussion a deeper stratum of scepticism and downright mistrust sometimes comes to the surface. I choose the topic of sea-borne freight as just such a central problem, omitting land-transport, partly because it has been effectively dealt with by Burford (1960), partly because the...

    • CHAPTER 13 Interaction by Design: The Greek City State
      (pp. 234-257)

      Peer polity interaction, like many concepts recently under discussion in archaeological circles, is by no means the exclusive property of archaeology. On the contrary, one could argue that its best chances of validation will be found in cases like that dealt with in the present chapter, where it can be in part documented by historical evidence, which can show certain stages of the process in more or less unquestioned operation. Yet the presence of documentary evidence, in this case at least, no more brings about an immediate dissolution of the difficulties than does that of material evidence. An important stage...

    • CHAPTER 14 The Economics of Dedication at Greek Sanctuaries
      (pp. 258-268)

      Many excavators, and even more readers of sanctuary excavation reports, must have observed the phenomenon which gives rise to this paper. Whether at Panhellenic sanctuaries – Olympia, Delphi, Delosor at city and ethnos sanctuaries – Lindos, Perachora, Isthmia, the Argive and Samian Heraea, the Athenian Acropolis, Pherae – there is a very marked preponderance in the number of small dedications of Geometric and Archaic date, by comparison with those of later times. In some cases, ‘decline’ is too weak a word to describe the change in frequency: the lists of finds show a fall-off from hundreds or even thousands of...

    • CHAPTER 15 Archaeology and the Study of the Greek City
      (pp. 269-289)

      This is perhaps best treated as an updating of Ch. 11, published fourteen years earlier – but with a little more attention paid to the developed polis. It reports progress in some areas – the potential contribution of intensive survey is first recognised here (pp. 278–80) – and lack of progress in others; one or two over-emphatic claims have been toned down. There is a glimpse (p. 284) of the impending controversy which forms part of the discussion in Part IV below.

      For well over a hundred years, people studied the Greek city as an entity without making more...

    • CHAPTER 16 The Nature and Standing of the Early Western Colonies
      (pp. 290-304)

      In an important paper of a decade ago, Jean-Paul Morel identified ‘the motives for Greek colonisation’ as one of a series of ‘subjects of research that have become less important’ (Morel 1984, 123–24). This was one of the reasons why I declined the editors’ request to take that as my subject. The rather awkward title that I have chosen reflects an intention to concentrate instead on the immediate results of the colonising movement, especially as they affected the colonists themselves. This will be a contribution too partisan to masquerade as a bilan de recherches: rather, it is stating a...

  8. Part IV The Early Polis at War

    • [PART IV Introduction]
      (pp. 305-308)

      We come first to the earliest paper in the book (Ch. 17), with its rather different sequel, Ch. 19. Because of the central part played by the heavy infantrymen or hoplitai in the Greek city, both on and off the battlefield, their study has always been a less specialised field than one might expect, attracting at least as much interest from literary scholars, anthropologists and sociologists (see recently Runciman 1998) as from historians or archaeologists.

      Because of this interest, the questions dealt with in the 1965 paper were not new; and they have since been taken up by many others....

    • CHAPTER 17 The Hoplite Reform and History
      (pp. 309-330)

      I have tried to analyse elsewhere¹ the archaeological evidence for Greek armour and weapons, and their possible effects on tactics, in the critical period of the eighth and seventh centuries bc. There, I was of necessity concerned with the monumental evidence, and did not look far beyond it. But there are historical implications which should be faced and also, I think, some further historical support for the conclusions there reached.

      The conclusions were briefly these. The equipment of arms and armour, which modern writers tend to group together as the ‘hoplite panoply’, was originally a motley assemblage. Certain of its...

    • CHAPTER 18 The Historical Significance of Fortification in Archaic Greece
      (pp. 331-343)

      If the study of Archaic Greek fortification is at present in an untidy state, this is at least in part because its first chapter has yet to be satisfactorily written. Indeed, only in the last decade or so has enough evidence been collected by recent excavation for us to begin writing that chapter. In addition, the writers of the text-books on Greek fortification have a natural bias away from the Archaic period and towards the latter end of their story: towards the epoch of the great siege-narratives, from Thucydides on Plataea to Polybius on Syracuse; to the epoch of the...

    • CHAPTER 19 The ‘Hoplite Reform’ Revisited
      (pp. 344-360)

      It is a rare feat for an author, writing within one field of study, to bring about a complete revision of the accepted doctrine in a quite different field. Yet that is what Joachim Latacz achieved with the publication, in 1977, of his Kampfparänese, Kampfdarstellung und Kampfwirklichkeit in der Ilias, bei Kallinos und Tyrtaios.¹ Whatever its impact has been within Homeric philological scholarship, it can hardly match the transformation of thought which the book has brought about in early Greek military and social history. To some extent, that transformation only began to take effect from 1985, when W. K. Pritchett...

  9. Part V Early Greek Art

    • [PART V Introduction]
      (pp. 361-364)

      Art history and archaeology are not the natural allies that they might appear. Even when they are dealing with identical subject matter, their objectives are often poles apart, while their interests – in both senses of the word – are always different and sometimes directly conflicting. Yet there are a few fields in the study of the past, among which Classical archaeology is prominent, where it has been traditional to merge the two disciplines together, and indeed to expect the same people to practise both at once. Critics of this tradition have argued that it produces a kind of hybrid...

    • CHAPTER 20 Poet and Painter in Eighth-century Greece
      (pp. 365-380)

      The relationship between poetry and the visual arts is seldom close and never simple. But special difficulties attend the study of it in the eighth century before Christ in Greece, when evidence is not only in excessively short supply but, when it does come, is almost by definition ambiguous. On the whole question of the interpretation of Late Geometric vase-painting and other eighth-century art, there are well-established opposing positions: each new discovery finds a different interpretation on the part of what may be called the optimists – those who seek for correspondences between the Homeric epics and the visual arts...

    • CHAPTER 21 Narration and Allusion in Archaic Greek Art
      (pp. 381-406)

      A recurrent theme of Sir John Myres’ writings was the extended analogy between poetry and the visual arts. In describing painting and other visual media, we all tend to use words which in their strict and original sense are applied to the spoken or written word: terms like the ‘narration’ and ‘allusion’ in my title, ‘reading’, ‘episode’ or even ‘syntax’. Myres was not afraid to reverse the process too, and to write of ‘frieze-composition’ in Homer, and of ‘economy of essential figures’ in Homeric similes. He was in fact one of the few writers in English who have ventured into...

    • CHAPTER 22 The Uses of Writing on Early Greek Painted Pottery
      (pp. 407-421)

      ‘Just as in the case of the paintings of olden days, unless they were inscribed, one did not know what each thing was.’ Whatever the ‘old paintings’ that Aristotle had in mind, the reference is certainly to large-scale work; and we know from Pausanias’ detailed descriptions that the practice of inscribing still prevailed when Polygnotos and Mikon were executing their famous murals, something over a hundred years before Aristotle’s time of writing. In fourth-century parlance, their work could perhaps already be counted as ‘ancient’. The analogy that Aristotle is making is with definitions which are insufficiently precise and exclusive to...

    • CHAPTER 23 Pausanias and the Chest of Kypselos
      (pp. 422-442)

      Sightseeing is a notoriously tiring activity. Every user of a guidebook will hope and expect that, from time to time, there will be occasions when the author will call a halt and describe what can be seen from a more or less stationary position. The user of Pausanias’s guide will know that he provided a few such occasions for his ancient readers, by offering long and detailed descriptions of objects or groups of objects. This, I suggest, is his counterpart for the ekphrasis, in which his more demanding literary forerunners and successors so revelled.¹ Pausanias’s passages have not hitherto been...

  10. Part VI Archaeological Survey

    • CHAPTER 24 Survey Archaeology and the Rural Landscape of the Greek City
      (pp. 446-467)

      ‘For all scholars’ good intentions the study of the ancient city has remained the study of the town.’¹ This chapter is addressed to those (surely the great majority) who think that this statement is true, and especially to those – still I think a majority – who think that it ought not to be true. Most studies of the polis at least pay lip service to the axiom that it formed an indissoluble union between town and countryside but, when and if they move from the abstract level to the physical, they find that they have embarrassingly little to say...

    • CHAPTER 25 Rural Burial in the World of Cities
      (pp. 468-478)

      Without careful definition, a concept such as ‘rural burial’ is nothing. The first and most obvious point is that it has no meaning except in eras where there is an opposition between an urban and a rural sector. In a society without sizable nucleated settlements, there can be no ‘rural sector’ and the urban/rural contrast in burial location, as in much else, gives way to other polarities with a different significance, such as intramural and extramural, or single and grouped. This is the significance of the second half of my title: it is only in a ‘world of cities’ that...

  11. Index
    (pp. 479-486)