Aegina was one of the major centers of the Aegean Bronze Age. This article discusses the most important information about the site of Kolonna, the main settlement known on the island. The importance of both the site and the entire island is mainly the result of its location in the center of the Saronic Gulf, at the maritime crossroads between central mainland Greece, the northeast Peloponnese, the Cyclades, and Crete. The material culture of Kolonna is generally associated with the Greek mainland, but foreign influences from the Cycladic islands and Crete also played a significant role. Kolonna flourished for almost a millennium as its impressive fortifications and wealth of material remains show. Kolonna seems to be the earliest example of a ranked society in the Aegean, outside Crete, and a large commercial and perhaps political center in the Saronic Gulf.
During the fifth and sixth centuries
Forty years of continuous and systematic geological and archaeological investigations at Akrotiri on the island of Santorini (Thera) have yielded ample evidence for reconstructing the history of the site and filling gaps in the history of the wider Aegean region. This small, Late Neolithic coastal village, whose economy was based mainly on farming and fishing activities, was related culturally to other contemporary settlements in the Cyclades, namely Saliagos near Antiparos, Grotta on Naxos, and Ftelia on Mykonos. Investigation of the rock-cut chambers at Akrotiri has revealed that by the end of the third millennium
This article argues that the centrality of Alexander the Great to the study of imperialism and cultural transfer can scarcely be in doubt. Indeed, the subject of Alexander is so heavily studied that people might well demand a justification for any new discussions of the Macedonian conqueror. Historiography proves to be one element in the scholarship that has been relatively neglected, a situation which is exemplified by the lack of any systematic account of Alexander studies from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. A long-term view of the historiography would show that Droysen's picture of Alexander was less original than previously believed, and that it was prefigured in some significant respects by Montesquieu. The discussion also argues that progress in the field is likely to come when historians better account for the Achaemenid and Near Eastern milieux in which Alexander flourished and ruled.
This article emphasizes that no ancient artefact can speak to people in isolation; rather, one has to consider the ‘patterns’ of occurrence, and the dialogue they establish with other forms of evidence, such as textual evidence. The artefacts people have are partly determined by the decisions of archaeologists, and so is the knowledge of the context in which they were discovered. Archaeology is a particular form of historical enquiry. However, what the word ‘archaeology’ actually entails in the field of Hellenic studies is far from clear. There are three areas of ambiguity: the range of material objects that archaeology examines; the question of whether ‘classical archaeology’ is a distinct sub-discipline, an archaeology apart; and the question of the spatial and temporal scope of archaeology within the field of ‘Hellenic studies’.
The Argolid is one of the most intensively investigated and best-documented regions of the Aegean. Due to its fertile soils and its geographic position at the crossroads of communication routes, the area played an important role in social and cultural development throughout the Bronze Age. The Argolid, as this article defines it on the basis of modern administrative divisions, is divided into natural subregions that witnessed different types of development throughout the Bronze Age. The fertile Argos plain and the mountainous periphery that drains into it was—all through the Bronze Age—the heart of the Argolid, where the most important settlements were located. The valleys to the southeast, around Asine and Kandia, are reasonably fertile and had good anchorages. The Epidauria, the Methana peninsula with Troizenia, and the southern Argolid are less productive; these areas were separated from the Argos plain by mountains and were oriented more toward the Saronic Gulf.
Monetary exchange in Asia Minor started with barter and continued with the use of a wide range of commodities as money. Coinage originated in the middle of the seventh century. In Anatolia and parts of the Near East, precious metals had long been in general use for commercial purposes before the advent of coinage, and constituted the usual means of payment. Gold and especially silver were saved and transacted by weight in the form of cut and broken vessels and jewelry, as well as whole and fragmentary ingots of various shapes and sizes. In the years following the Persian conquest, many of the major city-states of western Asia Minor started to produce their own civic silver coinage. With coinage, an issuing authority, usually the state, weighed the pieces of precious metal to a recognized standard in a system of denominations and marked them with an official stamp to guarantee their value in the area of influence of that authority.
This article argues that problems of terminology also plague the study of the Athenian Empire, drawing attention to the many ancient Greek words that have been translated as ‘empire’. Arriving at the right terms to describe Athenian ‘imperialism’ would go hand in hand with the larger process of understanding other features of Athens' hegemony. For example, while the financial aspects of the Athenian Empire are heavily discussed, the cultural imperialism of the city-state still needs to be analysed more fully. Further study may well show that the major importance of the empire lies in its role as the transmitter of Hellenic culture during the period of Athens' dominance and not in its place as a decisive moment in the history of imperialism.
Vincenzo La Rosa
Ayia Triada was first explored in May 1902 by F. Halbherr and was originally thought to be a necropolis of Phaistos. Halbherr bore in mind the crucial issue of the relationship between the two sites from the start and hypothesized a single political entity divided between an “Ano polis” (Phaistos) and a “Kato polis” (Ayia Triada), with a hierarchy between the two sites. Episodic or occasional excavations took place in the 1970s by C. Laviosa and D. Levi, and a new systematic cycle of excavations was begun by the Italian archaeological school at Athens in 1977, which aimed to clarify a series of chronological, architectural, and planimetrical problems left unsolved by the old excavations. The new excavations have led to explanations of the parallel histories of Ayia Triada and Phaistos in terms of a “complementarity of roles.”.
Boeotia, is located in central mainland Greece and a number of surveys have taken place in it to date. Other surveys have taken place as part of the Ohio Boeotia Thisbe Expedition, the Stanford Skourta Plain Project, the Grimadha-Tanagra Project, the Plataies Survey, and the Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project. More specialized surface investigations have clarified Boeotian topography. At least fifty-six Early Bronze Age sites are known in Boeotia, though few have been excavated systematically. Most of the known sites established in this era are located along the eastern coastline or roads to major ports which suggests the importance of maritime resources. Evidence of cave habitation may be connected to transhumant pastoralism. This article discusses imported material, such as Aeginetan ware, which provides a basis for interregional comparison and is helpful in this direction.
George F. Bass
The Cape Gelidonya shipwreck lies at the western side of the mouth of the Antalya Bay in southern Turkey. The current between these islands, especially when a calm allows water backed up in the Eastern Mediterranean by the summer's prevailing northwest wind to flow back westward, is as strong as any in the Mediterranean. Around 1200
William G. Cavanagh
The Peloponnese, the heartland of Mycenaean civilization, covers about 19,000 square kilometers. Of this, the Argolid, so prominent in accounts of the Bronze Age Aegean, forms only eleven percent, while the region considered here is four times larger than the Argolid and only slightly smaller than the whole of the island of Crete. In a later period its agricultural wealth underwrote Sparta, the dominant Classical power: it occupies the wetter, western part of Greece, making it less subject to drought and unpredictable harvests. In addition to the farming base, there are mineral resources, notably metals in the area of Neapolis. This article stresses that at no time in prehistory was this a unified territory, and imposes generalizations that mask important regional differences.
Sturt W. Manning
This article argues that scholarship that is concerned with the discovery, creation, and interpretation of Aegean prehistory has, throughout its history, been intimately associated with the allocation and categorization of time. Chronology has become framework and constraint, friend and problem. How one chooses to see the framework entirely creates prehistory. The early nineteenth-century
General loss of faith in “invasion theories” as explanations of cultural change, doubts about the value of the Greek legends as sources for Bronze Age history, and closer dating of the sequence of archaeological phases have undermined the credibility of this reconstruction, and other explanations for the collapse have been proposed. This article recalls that the general impressions given by the material suggest a relatively prosperous and stable world dominated by a few major centers, the capitals of the “palace societies”; the best known are Mycenae, Thebes, and Pylos. These are the sites, along with Khania in Crete, that have produced almost all of the evidence from the thirteenth century
In comparing the symposium to a Männerbund (brotherhood), this article reflects on its role as a backdrop to the discourse of social ‘initiation’ in a broader discussion of ‘rites of passage’ – rituals that more or less explicitly sacramentalize and define the development of the individual as a social being in ancient Greece, as in other societies. It discusses the rites of passage for groups of adolescents, initiation processes for young people, choral education for young girls, and narrative logic and aetiology.
This article discusses the history of Late Minoan Crete as a period of many changes. It finds the flourishing time of the Minoan palaces with the first real urban society on European soil. This palatial society was destroyed by conflagrations all over the island. Of the palaces, it seems that only Knossos survived. Toward the end of the Bronze Age, almost all coastal towns and settlements were abandoned, and people either moved to the mountains or emigrated. Three different systems describe the relative chronology of the Late Minoan period: the traditional chronology, based on stratigraphy and typology of pottery; a chronology based on palatial periods; and a chronology based on administrative issues. The only one of the three where there is a reasonable agreement among scholars today is the first the traditional, relative chronology based on pottery.
Peter Tomkins and Ilse Schoep
This article states that traditionally, the story of the Early Bronze Age of Crete has been one constructed between two pivotal points of change. The first, at the Neolithic period—Early Minoan I transition, is viewed as the birth of a culture considered to be definably Minoan, fostered by a major impulse from the east, conventionally modeled as a migration. The second, at the transition to the Middle Bronze Age (MM IB), is seen as the emergence of Europe's first civilization—a redistributive theocracy of kings or princes, cities and palaces, art and writing—which in subsequent millennia spread to the rest of Europe. In the later language of neoevolutionism, the emergence of the palaces in MM IB marked the transition from an egalitarian to a more complex, statelike society with a clear hierarchical structure crowned by a central, administrative elite authority that resided in the palaces.
This article suggests that the emergence of the “First” or “Old” Palaces is generally considered to be the main event of the Middle Bronze Age on Crete. These “palaces” are widely believed to have emerged in Middle Bronze Age in several places on Crete (Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, Petras). In the last couple of years it has become clear, however, that some of these structures have a much older biography and in fact go back to the Early Minoan period. The designation “palace” and its interpretation as the residence of a king, as with many of our ideas about Minoan society, go back to Arthur Evans. The traditional definitions of “palace” were created on the basis of a single palace and a single phase, and any variation in time, form, and scale were not taken into account, thereby generating confusion as to whether some buildings should be identified as palaces or not.
Robin L. N. Barber
This article states that the excellent recent survey of Penelope Mountjoy employs a slightly different approach, taking the phases of the Mycenaean pottery sequence as the framework and setting for cultural and historical developments in the Cyclades. It incorporates new evidence and provides some corrections to the former, and shows that the two can profitably be used in combination. Divergences between their methods are most evident from middle Late Cycladic III onward. Evidence cited here is chiefly from the major sites—Akrotiri on Thera, Ayia Irini on Kea, Phylakopi on Melos, and Grotta on Naxos. The sequence at Phylakopi still provides a useful key for much of the period—not least because of its primary role in the history of research. To this, developments at other sites can be generally, if not always precisely, related.
This article argues that the Cyclades have played a central role in the prehistory of the Aegean. Even in the late Upper Palaeolithic period, before there is evidence of permanent settlement in the islands, the volcanic glass known as obsidian—and very suitable as a raw material for chipped stone tools—was being brought from its principal Aegean source on the island of Melos to Franchthi Cave in the Argolid. From the Neolithic period onward, interactions between the Cycladic Islands and neighboring lands were frequent. The Cyclades were significant in the Archaic period of Greece's civilization. In the Early Bronze Age, the inhabitants of the Cyclades took an active part in the trade and commerce of the time. Cycladic sources of lead and copper were economically significant. The influence of the Early Cycladic cultures was felt in settlements, and notably in cemeteries, in northern Crete and in Attica and Euboea.