Undeniably, in the course of time, texts and readers became more prominent. Yet, as this article explains, all ancient texts remain part of a larger cultural context that is different from today's culture in many important ways. When that wider context is explored, our sense of closeness to the Greeks becomes less secure, and the impression of a Greek ‘miracle’ begins to fade. For instance, the Homeric poems are sometimes presented as a literary big bang: they are thought to have brought European literature into existence out of nowhere.
Peter G. Van Alfen
When the Athenians began to strike coins in the sixth century
The existence of Bronze Age literacy in the Aegean was first recognized thanks to Arthur Evans's insightful study of seals and other inscribed objects that he saw or purchased while traveling through Crete. The seals bore signs of a script thereafter called Hieroglyphics or Pictographs—the name was based on Evans's interpretation of the appearance of the signs but was also influenced by his awareness of other Bronze Age hieroglyphics known at the. Evans established the existence of two other linear-looking scripts, Linear A and Linear B. Although the very first inscriptions are of Prepalatial date and may have had symbolic value which enhanced power of élites, wider use of Cretan Hieroglyphics and Linear A is best explained as a result of expanding economic activities that accompanied the growth of Cretan palatial centers and a consequent need for a well-structured administrative system.
This article shows that there are approximately 200 identified Cypro-Minoan inscriptions. They are impressed, incised, or painted on a variety of objects and materials in an assortment of lengths and formats and are found in a diversity of contexts widely dispersed across the island of Cyprus and at Ras Shamra-Ugarit on the mainland. They span the entire Late Bronze Age and perhaps continue into the very early Iron Age. The earliest discoveries were made at the end of the nineteenth century; most recently, Cypro-Minoan has been recognized at Ras Shamra-Ugarit and perhaps at Ashkelon. The script has not been deciphered, and any claims to have done so are premature, for the extant corpus is too limited, and there is no bilingual. The greatest concentration of Cypro-Minoan writing has been found at Enkomi.
Slaves are ubiquitous, yet nearly invisible: central to the functioning of the polis, but ‘outsiders’ to it as well. In this sense, there is something else that they symbolize: the relationship between the polis and other peoples and races. This relationship is often conceived in terms of actual or potential hostility. This article deals with how the Greeks saw foreigners, and, in particular, the nature of their negative views of non-Greeks. It shows that the Greeks might not have known colour prejudice, a defining feature of modern racism, but were no less racist for that. The highly institutionalized character taken on by travel in the Greek world may be explained in part by this suspicion of foreigners and foreign lands. The article defines racism as an attitude towards individuals and groups of peoples that posits a direct and linear connection between physical and mental qualities.
Euclid reads like a modern mathematician, not just because he explores inevitable, mathematical truths, but because he expresses them in a style which resembles very closely that of modern mathematics. And yet, as this article points out, mathematical science is not at all inevitable: nobody forces a mathematician to study this rather than that, to express it this way, or to have that ultimate goal in mind. Mathematicians too are shaped by historical contingencies, and, in investigating the context of ancient mathematics, some unlikely connections emerge: the Hellenistic exact sciences, with their emphasis on surprising juxtapositions; the hybridization of genres; and exclusive readerships – closely resemble the aesthetics of Alexandrian poetry.
A feature of mainland Greece from the fourth to first centuries
This article describes maritime identities. The sea is a standpoint offering a neglected perspective on ancient Greek life, neglected partly because it symbolized for the city dwellers who dominate the evidence the threat of the foreign: a means of travel, yet a means that presented a constant danger to life and liberty. It has played a key role in shaping the physical and cultural identity of Greece over millennia. In the field of Hellenic studies, the impact of the sea on the culture of Greece has been investigated from several angles, and particular attention has been paid to seafaring, trade, and warfare.
Greece is adequately endowed with stones (non-precious), clays, timber, and plant products; metals are somewhat more localized, indeed effectively lacking in Crete. Overseas contacts, thus, were always crucial; “trade networks” catered to the material needs in the more complex societies and developed periods but arguably existed in less centralized forms long before. The roots of such procurement and the fundamentals of all crafts utilizing local products reach down into the Neolithic period; the utilization of obsidian is a clear case, but, as is becoming ever more apparent, so is metalworking. The factors behind increased use and acquisition/dissemination of materials, skills, and knowledge have varied. The later Minoan “colonies” on the Asia Minor coastline could have tapped into the resources of the hinterland or existing trade routes—the lack of a translator knowing “Minoan” is referred to in the tin trade. The same root cause is true for Mycenaean contacts with Italy.
This article attempts to characterize a secular tradition of medicine, and focuses on approaches to the body and theories of causation. It seems that, just like the street philosophers, magicians were more individualistic and charismatic than the writers of systematic treatises, and yet they too sometimes relied on texts. It is important to remain open to possible connections between magic and medicine. For example, in the course of medical history, dissection and investigation of the interior of the body gradually became more prominent; similarly, ancient curses, spells, and binds became increasingly specific about the body parts and internal organs they targeted. The wider context of society is relevant here: magical and medical texts are affected by the history of torture, and of vivisection.
Among other institutions important for displaying and shaping social identity, one thinks particularly of the formalized drinking-party, the sumposion, structured as a microcosm of polis life. This article notes that the symposium provides a safe context for what might otherwise be potentially subversive reflection on the city itself, but also, and at the same time, for the individual's reflection on himself as a member of the city. As it happens, the institution also illustrates in microcosm the way in which the historical polis perpetuates itself as an idea, or ideal of hellenicity: for it is quickly elevated from historical contingency to an enduring literary genre, still alive and well in the period of Roman occupation through writers such as Plutarch and Athenaeus.
This article starts by presenting the textual, iconographical, ethnographical, archaeological, experimental archaeology, and environmental evidences of shipbuilding or navigation. The earliest evidence for sail appears on a vase from Naqada of about 3100
David J. Blackman
This article discusses the harbor design. From the late sixth century
Andrew Meadows, Karin Tybjerg, and Charlotte Wikander
This article first divides the various categories of measurements (volumes: dry or wet, etc.) over a wide geographical and chronological span. The close connection between the coinage system and daily weighing activities is reflected in the names for denominations of coins. The carefully calculated weight standards behind Athenian coinage in the fifth century