lecture 8b: dark ages

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Dark age and rise of 8

th

century Ancient Greece

Dark age

• • • >1100bc – 700bc< Devastation at fall of Bronze Age reduced the Mycenaean civilization and its palatial economy The terminus ad quem for the dark age is the Archaic period, marked by the rise of the city state (polis)

Dark age

• • • • Some locations continued (e.g. Athens) Communities on Aegean recover within a couple generations Technological innovation: ~1050 – Pottery (protogeometric period 1050-900) – IRON Population shifts to the east; Aegean is the “Greek sea”

Dark age

• Iron age reflection on the Bronze: an age of heroes – Basileus: the chieftain of a house or village (cf. Wanax) – Chieftain’s house (Lefkandi)

• • Protogeo metric period (1150-900) gives way to … Geometric period (900-700)

Dark age

Dark age

• Poetry – Oral: Homer and the cycles – Instrumental accompaniment – 16000 lines of Iliad; 12000 lines of Odyssey • Details of poetics: formulaic orality • Advent of writing fossilizes formulae • Plots and major themes – What the epics can tell us about Bronze Age Greece – What the epics can tell us about Dark Age Greece

Dark age

• “Homeric” society – Demos: space and people • Basileus • Farm and village • Demos and polis (=main town of demos) • Oikos (household): smallest unit of Dark Age society – Men and women and oikos • Marriage and paternal anxieties • Labor – Thetes

Dark age

• “Homeric” society – Governmental institutions • • Boule (council that met in megaron) Ecclesia (assembly that met in agora) • Basileus’ role confirmed by Zeus – Foreign relations • Xenia – Social values • • Agathos vs. Kakos Time • Aristos (cf. Hesiod’s Eris – Strife)

Dark age

• “Homeric” society – Women • • Strong women in Homeric epic Nevertheless dependent on males • • Contributed to public opinion, but no political rights Enjoy protection as members of oikos – Gods and mortals • Pantheon set by Homer and Hesiod • Theogony; Naturism; Anthropomorphism • • Divine attributes; Belief; Sin and punishment; afterlife Cultus

Dark age

• End of the Dark age: 8 th century – A Greek “renaissance”: • Rise of landowning aristocracy • Colonization • Alphabet and writing • Art and architecture • Panhellenism

Dark age

• End of the Dark age: 8 th century – Rise of landowning aristocracy • • Population growth affects relative size of kleros Another option is colonization – Colonization • Accompanied by growth of trade abroad – Alphabet and writing • • Contact with the east: the (Phoenician) phonetic alphabet Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω

• End of the Dark age: 8 th century – Art and architecture • Late geometric period (750-700) • Images burst onto the scene • Orientalizing elements • Monumental temples

Dark age

Dark age

• Panhellenism – Religious sanctuaries = festivals = athletics – – – – Zeus & Hera at Olympia Apollo & Artemis at Delos Zeus at Dodona Apollo at Delphi • 776: first Olympic Games • Greek sense of identity: heritage, language, religion • Cult heroes

Dark age

• • Panhellenic Games – Olympic: near Elis (Zeus: olive) – Pythian: near Delphi (Apollo: laurel) – Nemean: near Nemea (Zeus: celery) – Isthmian: near Corinth (Poseidon: pine) Events -- Glory for the competitor; glory for the polis

Dark age

• Legacy of the Dark age – A literature that starts a tradition – A population that grows a polis – A world around the Aegean that is common in language and religion – A civilization about to grow into the Archaic Period

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