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Ancient Science and Technology (TSES 4010 A&V)

TOPIC 1:  Formation of Landscape




IMAGE 1:  Rackham and Moody (1996).  The Making of the Cretan Landscape

ü to understand the ecology one needs to be aware of the geology

à nature is not uniform and so ‘one size fits all’ to the environment do not work

  • failure of Western banking institutions trying to monetize African economies
  • coming of European Union to Greece with consumer debt and mortgage economy
    • perhaps largest contributor to Greek economic problems; certainly the genesis of the problem



IMAGE 2:  Antarctic ice core from Dome A

ü Lew Hotz, authority on Antarctic ice core

  • ice core from Dome A extremely important
  • bottom left shows one of the cores extracted from ice
  • top left is histogram with darker areas showing concentrations of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in core
  • histogram sequences with earliest dates (the deepest part of core) starting from left
  • ice cores inform significantly about CO2, NO, and methane by subjecting the various segments of the core to tests
  • help determine what was normal in different epoch


àPROBLEM: histogram on lower right comprehends such a long time that all of antiquity is collapsed into a sliver

  • what this means is that it can tell us that at some time in antiquity there was a period of high ash density (the reasonable explanation for simultaneous high levels of CO2, NO, and methane)
  • it cannot tell us exactly when in antiquity
  • and it is irresponsible to suggest that the histogram is proof of the Thera earthquake



IMAGE 3:  Thera and Krakatoa earthquakes

ü nor can the ecological cost predict the cultural cost

  • one as the cause of the other can only be known in hindsight
  • the cultural re-action cannot be predicted
    • a book famously compared end of Roman Crete with a boxer finally incapable of answering the bell – Crete had many times before rose to challenges of rebuilding; why 365 AD was different could not have been known at the time


two examples:

Thera and Krakatoa are the two largest known volcanic eruptions although there is still debate about which one was bigger

  • the eruption of Krakatoa submerged the northern 2.3 of the island
    • 36,000 killed
    • ships at sea sunk by tsunami as far out as 200 miles
    • fall of Christianity and rise of Muhammadism in Indonesia tied to Krakatoa eruption
    • rise of independence movements in Indonesia tied to Krakatoa eruption

à Michael Avallone (1969) Krakatoa, East of Java



IMAGE 4:  Thera + GISP 2 Greenland Summit Core

  • the eruption of Thera left imploded the caldera with the result that 2/3 of the island was submerged
    • heat from eruption was so intense that no skeletal remains have been found
      • skeletons vaporized
        • contrast eruption of Vesuvius (AD 79) with skeletal remains at Pompeii
      • ash layer in sea and land cores was 4” at nearest the explosion
      • ash layer was 1” as far away as modern Cairo
      • tsunami at source has been estimated as high as 300’ (183 m)
      • tsunami caused the Nile to flow backwards for 200 miles (322 km)
      • ash + tsunami caused crop failures in Crete, western Turkey and northern Egypt
        • fall of Minoan 1st Palatial period tied to Thera eruption
        • fall of Egyptian Middle Kingdom tied to Thera eruption


à neither of these culturally significant events can be proven on Antarctic ice cores:

the appearance of Thera on the Greenland Summit core is a matter of some

controversy; cf. Sturt Manning in Eric Cline (2010)



IMAGE 5:  Geomorphological map of Crete

ü culture exists within the topography

  • solutions as well as problems are part in parcel of the terrain
    • three major mountains (all higher the eastern US/Canada mountains)
    • rich in endemic plants
    • aquifers + underground streams



ü pattern for use of landscape typical of other areas

  • evidence that area of Mediterranean was once dry
    • large animals walked from Europe and Africa to Crete
    • by 6000 BC most large animals wiped out
      • cause unknown – hunting is possible
    • limestone formations
      • trap water in aquifers
      • course through rock in underground streams
      • tapped by humans in hillsides
      • settlements grow around available water
      • when earthquakes change course of underground sources, settlements move to other areas with water
    • permanent human settlement means introduction of items most important to humans
      • cereal cultivation (wheat, barley) seems to predate introduction of animals for meat and for animal parts (wool, hides, bones and hooves for glue…)
      • animals introduced early are for meat and for animal parts; large farm animals inefficient in small farm holds + few large fields; prestige animals (horses) come much later
      • olive cultivated by late Neolithic
      • grape last of ‘Mediterranean triad’ (grain, grape, olive) to be introduced



IMAGE 6:  Mt Juktas + reconstruction of peak sanctuary

  • evidence of unbroken religious activity post-dates establishment of animal and crop agriculture
    • would seem that need to establish farming and animal husbandry and into small communities pre-dated conception of a religious power that wanted to be thanked or needed to be placated
  • earliest permanent structures with a non-contested religious character are on top of peaks in Crete
    • 23 peak sanctuaries of 60 known have been explored
      • sanctuaries conveniently positioned where habitation would have been inconvenient and on (generally) surfaces of exposed rock with no agricultural or browsing value
    • Juktas in NOT highest peak in Crete (4th highest at best) but it dominates (still) the northern approach to Crete in the central part of the island
    • primacy of Juktas in turn argues that earliest known Cretan extensive trading was to the north and not to the south or east

Cf.  E. Kyriakdis (2006).  Ritual in the Aegean:  The Minoan Peak Sanctuaries



IMAGE 7:  Map of Interconnectedness of Middle Minoan Peak Sanctuaries

ü establishment of religion in Crete seemingly tied to rise of some degree of centralized control of settlements on Crete

  • all 60 peak sanctuaries
    • are visible from the sea
      • geographical markers for sea-borne trade = ‘beacons’ (but NOT illuminated like light houses)
      • that the siting of the peak sanctuaries also seems tied to constellations raises the possibility (or at least interesting line of investigation) that it was tied to navigation
        • all early navigation by stars
        • presumes, also, that navigation could and did take place after dark (controversial of earliest sailing)
      • are visible to several other peak sanctuaries
        • tie areas of island together in some sort of social fabric (how far this connection can be pushed is debatable)
      • some archaeologists consider that peak sanctuaries used for making calendric calculations on basis of astronomy
      • seem to take advantage of the fact that visual space in Crete is easier and quicker to traverse than land travel and safer than travel by sea
        • travel by sea in antiquity almost impossible for the period from about the middle of October to the middle of March


à  assumption is that a shared religious form of observance (need not have been

to same deity/deities) was a manifestation of a state apparatus that wanted

to control the landscape

  • rise of the peak sanctuaries is also time of the rise of the first palaces
  • each of earliest palaces within walking distance of an early major peak sanctuary


à some archaeologists, as MacGillivray at Palaikastro, make claim that presence

of a peak sanctuary indicates that their settlement was at the least a ‘radial palace’

Cf. G. Henriksson and M. Blomberg (1996).  Evidence for Minoan Astronomical Observation from the Reak Sanctuaryof Petsophas and Trastalos

Cf. S. Soetens, J. Driessen, A. Sarros, and S. Topouzi (2002).  “The Minoan Peak Sanctuary Landscape through a GIS Appoach”, Archeologia e Calcolatori 13, 161-70.



IMAGE 8:  Minoan palace periods and landscape events

  • the landscape gives opportunities to human activity but it equally takes away at a whim and in a second whatever it has allowed man to build
    • cores indicate an aridity period in the seven centuries before the peak sanctuaries
    • the rise of the sanctuaries can be a political event tied to the political coalescence that led to the palaces but it can equally be either (a) an attempt to find succor from the aridity or (b) thank offering at the end of the aridity period
    • the rise of the first palaces (Knossos, Phaistos, Zakro) cements the importance of the peak sanctuaries which were always multi-functional
    • heightened earthquake activity in both number and severity cause the decline of the first palace period
    • with the decline of the first palaces, the peak sanctuaries fall into disuse never to return
    • just as the earthquake of AD 62 ‘re-awakened Vesuvius (which ultimately blew in AD 79), so the earthquakes that brought the end of the first palace period may well have re-activated Thera, which blew in 1645 BC
    • after the dust (or in this case ‘ash’ settled) the increased fertility of the ash promoted the organization of the second palace period
    • a wetter climate (proven by plants that require substantial amounts of water in cores) at a minimum contributed to failures of crops that prefer drier soil
    • the weakened social fabric of second palace period Crete was overwhelmed by Mycenaeans
    • the Mycenaeans, for reasons still not understood abandon Crete 75 years after conquest

à the most major event in Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean is the near simultaneous fall of Mycenaeans, Egypt New Kingdom and Hittites in the period c. 1100 BC – c. 1000 BC.  It is tied to the development of weapons made of iron wielded by invaders

See E. Cline 2014).  1177 BC:  The Year Civilization Collapsed.  Princeton; esp. 140-70.



IMAGE 9:  IMAGE 3:  Mithras, Erichthonius, Cadmus

  • activity vs. settlement
    • raises issues of
      • petrogenesis (born from a rock)
        • establishes connection between physical and cultural landscape
        • birth of Mithras (Rome: originally from Mithraeum below St. Stephano Rotondo; AD ii)  Mithras shown rising from rock with sword and torch
          • point of petrogenesis was a secret birth to give Ahura Mazda edge in conflict with his brother Ahiram
            • gave no special claims to land or explain how land use developed in way it did
          • autochthony (born from the land itself)
            • establishes connection between physical and cultural landscape
            • story of the rise of Athenians where Hephaistos attempted to rape Athena, semen missed her, fell on earth (which to Greeks was Gaia, ‘mother earth’); child was born called Erichthonius (‘from the earth’) which established Athenian claims to the area
              • Used shamelessly and repeatedly by Athenians in political posturing, of which pots are part of propaganda –BritMus E182 [= Beazley 206695; c. 500 BC – c. 480 BC), that some Greeks (ie., Spartans were outside invaders but they (Athenians) were original to the land
            • snake killing (heroism + winning title for land)
              • most original inhabitants of areas in Greek myth were snakes, or creatures whose bodies ended in snakes
                • to kill snakes/dragons established title to land in myth
              • to be aboriginal in Greek myth, in this regard, was to rid earth of odd or monstrous creatures
                • aboriginal was thus ‘first settlers’ to Greeks and not ‘original inhabitants
                  • Heroes are civilizers and as civilizers destroy monsters which gets them the land as a reward on which they found cities
                    • (more than 110 ancient cities claimed foundation from Hercules)  The first part of taming the land was taming the creatures on it; Python painter c. 360 BC – c. 340 BC Louvre N3157



IMAGE 10:  birth of Athena + birth of Hephaistos

ü Parthenogenesis in ancient art and belief is problematic because it rarely is intended to mean ‘virgin birth’ but birth or conception that in some ways is so outside the norm that the child has serious issues/problems/defects

  • Children of parthenogenesis, like children born (sometimes on purpose) from incest normally could not be married and generally were assigned roles of assassins, special guards (like the famous Boeotian band of 300 soldiers), ‘canon fodder’ or scapegoats
    • parthenogenesis (male)
      • virgin birth only to extent that Athena was born from her father’s head (and not mother’s vagina), wearing full armor
        • Zeus became angry at nymph he impregnated
        • killed nymph
        • in act of contrition, swallowed the fetus, and gave birth to Athena
          • Athena was at once goddess of wisdom, domestic art, female war deity, and only deity to be bested by a mortal in a contest
        • parthenogenesis (female)
          • in anger that Zeus gave birth to Athena, Hera (Zeus’ wife) determines her own ‘virgin conception and birth
          • has Hephaistos who is born lame (in one version) and constantly drunk
          • has the least elegant jobs among deities of being a smith
          • is the one god who is cheated on constantly by his wife


à in most Near Eastern countries and Egypt, virgin conception was generally thought of as happening when pre-married couples engaged in oral sex.  Belief was that woman swallowing semen could become pregnant



IMAGE 11:  Herakleion Museum AMH 144707; obsidian from Melos

  • most earliest settlements were visitors to areas who stayed
    • animals in landscapes predate humans
    • earliest records of human activity are not found in places to be associated with permanent habitation
    • objects like obsidian are imports and so material, and humans carrying it, must come from elsewhere
      • earliest objects are found scattered, i.e., not from habitation areas = there were not habitation areas



IMAGE 12:  Trenches dug through Minoan palace at Knossos to find Neolithic

  • the first changing of the landscape is hard to prove because the earliest settlement in Crete (7000 BC – 6000 BC) is before pottery (aceramic) and so clusters of koprolites (human excrement) or changes/clustering of plants or importation of plants are the evidence of earliest permanent habitation of Crete from about 6000 BC
    • endemic = naturally occurring/non-cultivated; import = plants brought in from elsewhere
      • easy to prove import
        • not known elsewhere
        • generally near habitation
        • occur in some kind of order or with protection

Nikos Efstratiou, Alexandra Karetsou, and Maria Ntinou (eds.) 2013.  The Neolithic Settlement of Knossos in Crete; esp.  Liora Kolska Korwitz “The Earliest Settlement:  An Archaeological Perspective”, 171-92.



IMAGE 13:  Periscope drawing for International Women’s Day + Jenny/Ollie book

  • what I mean to say is that there are precise and applicable ways in which the ancient world, and especially the ancient Mediterranean still shapes the world in which we live and shapes the terms of debate in cultural and ecological disquisition. Because these are constants they make the material dependable and thus worth adducing.




IMAGE 14:  David Moore Robinson (1880-1958)

  • further scholarship sometimes changes its mind and for compelling reasons
    • not consulting experts in the field is a mistake as experts will know what has been revised and by how much; what is a popular take as opposed to what is provable


  • EXAMPLE: David Moore Robinson on the “Niobid” hydria once in Baltimore and now in Mississippi
    • his article has slipped from fact to factoid

For a revisionist (and unflattering) view of Robinson, see Kaiser, Alan 2014. Archaeology, Sexism, and Scandal: The Long-Suppressed Story of One Woman’s Discoveries and the Man Who Stole Credit for Them. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.



IMAGE 15:  Evans and Knossos

  • some categories are worth adducing for their value but also have limitations
    • cities more than anything else exert ownership of land
    • cities more than anything else show human insistence that cultural landscape takes priority over physical landscape
  • success of reconstruction makes accessible to lay person but at cost of subtleties and provisos
  • museums and sites do not change tags on exhibits more than once a generation (easier to get money for buildings [which can be named for someone’s vanity] than for repair and infrastructure) and so even when something is known to be wrong, it is unlikely to be replaced
    • Francis on Bronze Age bee hives – desire to have oldest, biggest, best often leads to errors
    • ‘Cretan pirates’ still in general text books even though no expert believes in them anymore
  • site set in concrete can never be changed
  • when one level is the best represented on a site, it is to exclusion of all others
    • Evans and Knossos
      • notebooks have notation ‘Roman’ ‘some Roman’
      • Peter Warren and sherd grinder on site for all non-Minoan material


IMAGE 16:  Spiralizer and carrots

  • Archaeology can never recover trends and fads

à it can observe the facts but causes are speculation

  • EXAMPLE: carrots had irregular shapes but produce stores like to sell uniform shapes and sizes > long skinny carrots because they are though to be sweeter and tasties > barrel shaped carrots a minimum of 5 cm. in diameter for use in spiralizer (which makes subsitutes for pasta in sauces)

à the archaeological record is unlikely ever to recover carrots themselves but if it finds representations, it is still unlikely to be able to say why the observed change




IMAGE 17:  deer browsing damage in Quebec + maggots

ü their ‘cultural activity/appropriation’ of their landscape is less drastic than human but no less dramatic or visible

  • changes in wild vegetation one of the best indicators of climate and so climate change
  • differences in response to
    • browsing
    • burning
    • woodcutting
  • recovery of vegetation is often sign of pace and scope of change-over of an abandoned site
    • sequence of plants and animals moving back in and so species present says how long
  • plants and pests
    • areas with hastas do not have slugs
    • lettuce means slugs are present somewhere in the environment




IMAGE 18:  Phaistos disc; firman of Mustafa III (between 1757 – 1774); transfer of Cretan property, 1182); Antonino di Vita; Heinrich Schliemann

ü human habit of writing gives unique window into motives (‘why’) for cultural appropriation of physical landscape, as well as who, what, where, when, how

à for Crete alone are:

  • Linear A
  • Linear B
  • Greek alphabets (are several versions)
  • Latin inscriptions, historical records
  • Byzantine Greek church records, histories
  • Venetian archives
  • archives of the Sultans
  • journals and publications of archaeologists
  • family records


à what you can get:

  • drawings of animals, plants, trees in margins of documents or as pictograms
  • economic records/lists of land and produce
    • Linear A and Linear B concerned with grain output and sheep and wool
  • Bandi e Proclami
    • register of marriages and wills and Venetian decrees (= ‘bands’)
    • weekly record (= ‘proclamations’)
    • decrees cover
      • protection of buyers from sellers
      • pirates
      • Sphakiots (intractable region of Crete)
      • murder
      • pollution
      • edible plants
      • unusual weather
      • bad harvests
      • pollution of waterways
      • rebellions
      • rubbish disposal
      • runaway slaves
      • sheep-bells [theft was a serious matter as it established ownership]
      • state lands
      • straying animals
      • gambling and other illegal games
      • weddings
      • buying at auction
      • status change by land acquisition
      • land registers
      • place names


  • perambulatori (officials sent out to establish cadasters (field boundaries)
    • definitions of boundaries of land through geographical markers
  • travellers
  • officials tied to the Venetian bureaucracy in Crete – a surprising number turn out to be dentists or doctors
  • relazione
    • reports of the Venetian governor and regional governors
  • maps
  • Venetian and Turkish censuses
  • photography
  • place names
    • often give clue to importance of a place: Skopi from Episcopi = had a major church
      • to the question how many bishops did Crete have, the answer is 22 towns named Skopi/Episcopi


  • but requires a tremendous amount of digging

useable information from all of the digging is usually very disappointing

BUT the nuggets gleaned make the effort worthwhile

  • sometimes best (or most interesting) information comes from the oddest places
  • family journals
  • letters
  • oral history surrounding family curios or heirlooms
    • shepherd and his goat bell/escaped murderer
  • just because it is written down does not mean it is true

Crete consistently portrayed as not having snakes or owls

  • just because it is written down does not mean it can be translated

Phaistos disc

  • just because it is written down does not mean it is intelligible

Sicilian dialect of di Vita or fraktur in Schlieman’s journals

  • just because it is written down does not mean it is legible

complaint of Enrico Dandalo, Patriarch of Grado in 1182 about transfer of Cretan goods from control of Ca’ del Papa in Venice to the church of San Silvestro in Venice – had to consult letters in three languages in archives in order to prove that a tax privilege had been transferred from Pope to church of San Silvestro in Venice

]looks hardly less Arabic than firman of Mustafa III to his governor in Crete]

  • intractability of locals
  • papas in Monelevi (VK, Crete) not wanting to talk to Barbara and Oliver
  • locals afraid if artifacts are found, their land will be confiscated



ü all of the documents indicate the physical and cultural history of a region which can limit or suggest what can be done

  • more one knows, the more one can individualize responses to disasters that are more likely to succeed with the local population and what kinds of crops the land can support
  • some of the most detailed drawings of a place can be compared to its vegetation today




IMAGE 19:  Chania, corner of Dimitri and Carmella’s shop

à theory of Ruined Landscape cannot be maintained

  • plays into an image of the over-all degradation of man
  • Seneca is almost unique among ancient writers in seeing progress in humankind



what is left is a view of antiquity that cannot be maintained by the facts but more importantly is one that is so distorted that it is of no value in assessing the relationship of the past to the present or how present circumstances differ from the past in ways that can or should be mediated



IMAGE 20:  7 points on the ‘way forward’


  • do not over-generalise – Mediterranean is not unified geologically
  • key to the past lies in the functioning of the present landscape (and primary observation) – one should not assert goats eat everything without watching goats
  • do not rely entirely on written evidence
  • verify any and all evidence
  • consult the original texts
  • use all the evidence, pulling it together into a synthesis of the material but realize that to be accurate it will not lay neatly on the page
  • do not be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’


IMAGE 21:  White Mountains (Crete); last month

  • mountains in Crete rise quickly and dramatically
  • comparable to Alps and Rockies
    • sharp ridges and steep climb = newer mountain range



IMAGE 22:  Limestone in Samaria gorge + phyllite/quartzite outside Siteia

  • limestone
    • igneous
    • range in date from 345 – 55 million years ago
    • bands of green
    • white chert inclusions
    • limestone holds and channels water


  • phyllite-quartzites
    • metamorphic
    • at least 300 million years old
    • vary in colour
    • mixed with shale and schist and sandstone and gypsum
    • phyllite holds iron, copper, minerals



ü the geology and soils and soil cover has not changed since antiquity so ancient uses and care of the land are still applicable to how to manage and optimize landscape

  • there is just so much one can do with limestone, to limestone, or on top of limestone and post-antique farming has not added much to the list
  • rocks have much to do with soil cover and the kinds of trees that can grow
    • phyllites have more drainage than limestones which olives prefer
    • some trees, like fig, like crushing limestone to get deep holds in the channels the roots create
    • pines with radial roots do well with thin soil cover but have little to offer in the way of crops.





IMAGE 23:  platy limestone and karst limestone

à first most important fact:

  • settlement follows accessible drinking water
    • farmer will walk miles to his fields but no one will walk far to fetch water
      • settlements mean drinking water available in significant amounts


kartsification:  rain water (even the purest) is slightly acidic, so rain water will bore into karst limestone


à movment of underground water causes movement of villages

  • similar events and population movement compare AD 409 law (Theodosian code) in which grain trade from Alexandria was changed from Rome to Constantinople (Istanbul) because his capital was there and his army was operating in the east
    • caused major population loss in Rome



IMAGE 24:  Skoteino Cave (Crete near Herakleion)

ü because of unique formation of caves, along with their coolness + (usually) spring water, they often became focus of religious observation

à cave of birth place of Zeus in eastern Crete (Dikte) and place of where Zeus was hidden (Ida), plus many other similar stories in myth

  • fascinating aspect is how long and by how many different peoples caves were thought to be sacred
  • for Skoteino associated with Eilythuia and Ariadne there are dedications by:
    • Minoans – pre-Greek Semites on Crete
    • Greeks – figurines from Hellenistic period
    • Romans – mainly lamps


  • modern – mainly US feminists and goddess worship

à cult continuity = still being used for rituals today [does that mean some places are inherently sacred?]



IMAGE 25:  Samaria gorge narrows + beginning

IMAGE 26:  Samaria gorge – underground water action

IMAGE 27:  Samaria gorge – underground water action detail

ü go back to Pleistocene period (c. 2 million years ago)

  • cannot go back to formation of the island because do not go to bottom of stratigraphy
  • action of work of millennia shown in wave notches
    • are caused by massive flooding events where small stones and gravel carried in water gouged gorge deeper and deeper

à gorges are proof that Pleistocene was a period of sustained greater rainfall than now

  • gorges most frequent because of greater frequency of earthquakes in Crete than elsewhere
    • the earthquakes ripped fissures in rock and hastened process by which water ground down making gorge



IMAGE 28:  Upland Plains of Lassithi, Omalos and Sphakia

ü are 25 upland plains in Crete alone

  • all have karst floors, usually with phyllites on sides
  • scree and gravel from walls form drainage and water retention under soil
    • small pebbles still used for drainage around houses
  • all have at least one river running in centre of plain which empties into a cave that the water has carved
    • leaves collecting in mouths of caves function as sand paper for accelerating growth of hole
  • many have their own special, isolated plant species
  • different vegetation zone from land outside
  • greater number of endemic plants
  • deeper soil
  • higher amount of capture rain
  • greater crop yields
  • only parts of Crete with clear evidence of grid field divisions – earliest traces are Roman and most visible are Venetian

à empires change land use (and have a real and long term impact on that landscape):

  • Venetians turned Cyprus over entirely to growing sugar and so Crete was required to grow wheat for both Crete and Cyprus
  • but are best areas (because of soil depth) for potatoes and wheat



IMAGE 29:  John Wayne (1951) Operation Pacific

ü why Rackham and Moody works is that it takes ancient geological material that has passed through unchanged up to now

  • why it works also is that the more simple structure of antiquity makes an easy over-lay on modern agricultural societies, whether they are mechanized or traditional
  • why Rackham and Moody work for industrialized and post-industrial societies is that antiquity, because of its distance, is a more straightforward comparison than other pre-industrial but more recent societies


ü what this means is that the comparison going the other way – from top of the stratigraphy (ie., modernity) — is less useful because complex structures of modernity such as banking and the prevalence of monied economies are so different from antiquity that retrojecting modern theories onto antiquity must fail; the only result will be to inform us about the preconceptions and wished for outcomes of the researcher than about the past


ü modern treatments also often lose themselves in jargon and construct such contorted definitions that they can apply only to the result they wish to achieve

ü they are equally prone to fasten on what supports their case to the exclusion of all other material – either choosing one or two pre-modern civilizations that fit or even within a society ignoring any uncomfortable evidence


à Globalizations and the Ancient World is a good example

  • more appropriately about pre-Columbian societies of the Americas than about the ancient world as understood
  • chose two societies for the modern model for which he was seeking pre-modern confirmation
  • expanded definition – plural of globalization – to give flexibility to his evidence
  • selected peaks of prosperity confusing prosperity with empire building and empire building with globalization
  • makes the mistake of not taking the pre-modern societies according to their own terms and stated views of themselves
    • Greek greatest need was self-sufficiency (autarkheia) and expansion stopped when that goal was achieved
      • Greece achieved this with the most restrictive definition of citizenship in the ancient world
        • freedom (eleutheria) in essence defined by extreme repression
      • Roman fetish was security (pax) within well-defined defensible borders, preferably natural borders of sea, sand, river, and mountain
        • Rome achieved this with the most generous definition of citizenship in the ancient world


à The Spanish experience of the New World was that of neither the ancient Greeks or Romans


jargon police (heard in a lecture in Athens):  ‘foot motored kinetic energy’ = kicking (accidentally or on purpose) sherds on surface that move them elsewhere and so lessen their value as evidence



IMAGE 30:  map of Mediterranean + Greek trireme + Roman grain ship

à all is not desperate – to make antiquity applicable to the modern world requires that it is first be explicable to the modern world, and that means showing how matters of current concern would be viewed in the prism of the ancient world


ü (1) time – space compression

comparing categories, rather than all-embracing frameworks, is more successful because it does not depend on definition.  When and how (and if) ‘globalization’ applies depends on your definition of globalization

By time-space compression, Justin Jennings means that there are increased demands, and from those demands, increased expectations that more goods will be moved greater distances and will cover those distances in a shorter time


à to this I would add that there are substantive (and provable) measures taken to make sure the goods transit safely.


Time – space compression can be proven for antiquity:

  • Greek trireme, for example, was invented by the Athenians as an oared warship
    • original intention was not to engage Spartan or Corinthian or Persian warships in battle
    • first intention was to protect the grain ships that plied the grain route from Athens’ rich grain fields in the Black Sea from pirates acting on their own or piracy sponsored by the enemies of Athens
    • as Athens grew, it needed more and more grain and the ‘need to feed’ meant protecting the grain routes and establishing secure ports of call along the way
    • tied together a whole series of settlements, each a sailing day apart but together linking an Athenian world and shrinking the west coast of the Aegean


  • correlation between the increase in population in Rome and the size of grain ships
    • when Rome was smaller, it could feed itself from Lazio and Tuscany
    • by 200 BC conquest of Sicily was necessary to secure its grain fields
    • as ancient Rome approached its maximum population of 1 million, the conquest of Egypt became inevitable
    • as inevitable were corresponding increases in the size of grain ships, measured by the navy based north of Naples to keep the Mediterranean free of pirates and serious studies of routes and currents that would move the grain most quickly and safely.


  • when new enemies of Rome came into the Empire from the Russian Steppes (off map to upper right)
    • army moved east as did the emperor as did population
    • in a process that cross-fed, grain from Egypt was diverted to Constantinople (Byzantium on map; now Istanbul)
    • with more grain, Constantinople grew – Rome shrunk
    • with the shrinking of Rome even more grain was diverted to Constantinople.



IMAGE 31:  deterritorialization + tea party + Vogue cover

ü (2) deterritorialization

à If time-space compression expressed itself – in at least one way – in strategic colonization, deterritorialization, was an expression of how those places were unconnected (and superior) to the local cultural context

  • at its simplest is an attempt to break the linkage between a place and its surroundings
  • urban mega shopping mall is the example Jennings suggests in which they structure a fantasy that merchants work hard to get people to purchase
    • same can be said of commercials on TV, glossy ads in magazines (about 65% of pages in Vogue are adverts)
    • they all try to induce people to buy on the implied promise that it will make one more sexually attractive and superior to anyone who does not have that product
  • easy target = are ex-pat communities like the Brits in India
    • try to recreate their home cities in far away lands on the assumption that their culture was superior and so preserving it proved their superiority*
    • photo shows an odd twist – Brits in India preserved the tradition of the English tea party but being in India they were served by staff in Indian formal dress
      • Victoria was so taken with the image that she insisted her tea parties have Indian waiters and footmen
      • when in Nice (1895) she gave a tea party to remind the French how extensive British power was.


à British taste for tea changed the landscape of India and Ceylon, especially, since much of land was given to that cash crop.


*Gandhi famously said, though, that every Indian spoke Hindi and English but the Brits only English – who was smarter?



IMAGE 32:  Agrigento temple + Epidaurus theatre + satyr/maenad kylix

ü largest Greek temples in antiquity were in the colonies

  • Sicily, southern Italy and the west coast of Turkey
    • ‘out-Parthenoning’ the Parthenon was a way of maintaining the Greek identity
  • Greek settlers to colonies were always only males
    • expectation was that they would kill all males over 12
    • sell into slavery all males under 12
    • take over all women for themselves
  • largest Greeks temples were in the provinces
    • Sicily and western coast of Turkey
    • some so large that they could not have roofs
    • Temple to Zeus at Agrigento = 112.7 m. x 56.3 m. x 20 m. high
  • sitting in theatres was not just about plays
    • demonstration of the solidarity and superiority of those fortunate enough to live in cities
  • = city broke the spell that was the osmosis of evil in the country


à more importantly, the Greeks and Romans instinctively thought of the countryside as threatening and hostile

  • point of cities was to civilize the terrible power of the countryside with its unimaginable creatures like satyrs
  • countryside to Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks was the opposite of all that the city represented
    • ‘back to nature’ could never be an ancient ethos



IMAGE 33: Egyptian weights + Roman amphorae in shipwreck + Athenian silver drachm + satyr on wineskin + looney

ü (3) standardization

à common structures tie together disparate communities that become part of one governmental entity:  language, architecture, money…

  • Athenian coins circulated in Athens and its colonies and pro-Athenian cities and in cities that were the major trading partners of Athens
    • coins passed by their weight and purity
    • assigned a ‘face value’ but would be thrown in scales with other silver coins, of all denominations from all places
    • owl of Athena was the symbol of Athens which was the guarantee of its purity
      • // ‘Made in the USA’ (formerly)


  • Greek language held together Greek peoples
    • dialects separated out the main regional divisions among the Greeks
    • PROBLEM: Greece and Roman was that the economy was never monetized entirely
    • outside of the largest cities, barter continued to be the main way


  • weights and measures
    • Egypt — made of basalt
      • now in the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto CMC S97 10867; late Period)
    • made by the pharaonic authority to guarantee accuracy of size and weight
    • extremely hard material to make cheating near impossible


  • goats come in all sizes
    • each goat skin of wine would have a different volume and so a different value
    • goat skin filled with wine that the satyr is riding and trying to open (Boston MFA 95.34; c. 500 BC attributed to Epictetos) is different from other goat skins in art,
    • volume would have to be estimated
    • one assumes that wine trade was largely one in which bargaining was a main feature of selling and buying between vintner and merchant


  • amphorae
    • dipinti = painting on sides of contents and amounts
    • made trade easier
    • relative uniformity of shape made shipment easier
    • easy to make rough approximations of volume and contents by looking at the container shape and size


  • modern coins and bills are ‘specie’
    • post-Harper = ‘a nickel (not Nickelback) for your thoughts?’
      • looney
      • stamped and agreed value that does not represent the amount of metal in the coin
      • given currency trading, money representing weight (the ‘gold standard’) would be chaos as the value of coins in your pocket would change daily by the currency market

à specie economies start in the nineteenth century when the size and value of the economy was larger than the amounts of gold and silver that governments could mine and hoard to back the currency



IMAGE 34:  Alexandria map + salt in mummification + Pompeii fruit bowl

ü (4) unevenness

à larger centers will get more than smaller

à port cities more than rural

à governmental centres will be better off than other cities

  • Syracuse, Alexandria, Rome, Antioch and Athens as the largest and most prestigious centres benefitted above the proportion for their numbers
  • not just the amount of goods but variety and quality
    • country-side had whatever it could grow
    • small cities has access to what could be had from several neighbouring districts
  • port towns, such as Ostia, Piraeus, Constantinople, and Carthage, benefitted fro what could be brought by sea


à The two big limitations in antiquity were

  • lack of refrigeration and freezing
  • ‘grow local – eat local’ was not a slogan but the daily reality
  • ‘fruit bowl’ fresco from Pompeii shows what variety was available to a wealthy town near the coast during the early Roman Empire
  • fresco is a brag about wealth of owner who could afford fresh fruit


(2) preservation

  • mainly by salt
    • meat and fish
    • used in Egyptian mummification
  • drying
    • vegetables
  • smoking
    • meat and fish
  • vinegar
    • vegetables
  • sometimes honey
    • cane sugar unknown
    • restricted to fruits and fruit rinds
    • early Christian burials in lead sarcophagi


à historically (and appropriately for a heavy drinker), Nelson was preserved in a casque of brandy until his body could be returned to England.




IMAGE 35:  list of terms + imperial cult relief

ü (5) homogenization

à goods and ideas are adopted by other groups

  • so-called ‘Romanization’, also known as acculturation, creolization and a host of other related terms


à list of what civic features are required to earn designation of municipium (city)

see Berger’s [1951] Dictionary of Roman Law), entry on municipium


à most of the facilities had to do with sport and performance:

  • circus (horse racing)
  • theatre
  • odeum (musicals, ballet…)
  • amphitheatre
  • gymnasium (running track + school)
  • stadium (running track)
  • council house
  • cult structure to the Roman emperor (focus of festivals with free food)
  • roads
  • cisterns (water storage tanks)
  • drains
  • gates (but not necessarily walls)


à it is unclear whether having these items entitled one to petition to be decalred a municipality or whether being declared a municipality one could then build them

  • important for
    • travelling circuit court
    • granting of decurion status (conferred Roman citizenship)
    • applying for grants


// Canada where whether village or township or city is requirement for applying for different kinds of government grants + expands the kinds of laws/ordinances one can pass; designation based entirely on population



IMAGE 36: craw dads + Zeugman mosaic + Verulamium theatre

ü (6) cultural NEO-heterogeneity/cultural patois

à ‘neo-‘ has to be added because Jennings’ point is that with the kinds of things mentioned in (3) standardization and (5) homogenization, they have different outcomes in different places that have different wrinkles from place to place


à two modern examples of this principle come to mind that are different in focus:

  • various colonial powers in the nineteenth century tried to impose their culture and even more so their bureaucracy
  • degree to which the ruled cultures had traditions of resistance/compliance/working the system there were multiple outcomes
  • many hybrids with single dashes such as Brito-Indic, Brito-Carubbean, Brito-Egyptian, Franco-Syrian, Franco-Haitian, Portu-Amazon
  • degree to which conquered cultures became the middle tier of the administration of the colonial power has had a demonstrable effect on how stable those powers have been since independence


  • patois describes Creole culture which was the new mix that the culture of Haiti adopted when it came under the influence of French culture
  • Creole culture became its own distinct new blend
  • other half of Hispaniola, which was Spanish dominated, developed in a different way


à process is demonstrable in antiquity most easily in art forms and festivals

  • all conquered cities adopted Roman theatres
    • areas with strong tradition of theatres often renovated them for Roman preferences in taste
    • Romans put on Greek style comedies and tragedies on Roman subjects and Greeks adopted Roman slapstick and vaudeville but in Greek and on Greek subjects
    • Greeks did stage gladiatorial combat but rarely to the death and more as ‘stories’ or morality plays
  • statues and mosaics
    • great standardization of mosaics
    • pattern books of itinerant mosaic craftsmen like wall paper designs
    • personalization by identification of person in inscription on mosaic
      • person holding the sword in Rome might be identified as Aeneas and in Greece he is Achilles
      • Antiope, local princess of region of Zeugma, is often Aphrodite or maenad or Ariadneelsewhere.



IMAGE 37:  Ostia mikvah + Zeugma mosaic + Volaterra helmet + Badalona tile grave

ü (7) re-embedding of local culture; resistance and subversion

à deep and rich scholarship on how cultures dig in against a colonial power and use subversion and resistance to preserve their own past

  • literature
    • Greeks writing about their own glorious past during the Roman Empire
      • // Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which a Scottish king is assassinated was written and produced under James I of the Scotland
        • see James Shapiro 2015. 1606:  The Year of Lear


  • mosaic and sculpture
    • Zeugma mosaic can easily be read as the local heroine (Antiope) being raped by Zeus (= Rome) as symbolic of what owner of house thought Romans were doing to him.



  • administrative subversion
    • Turkish sultans notoriously did not trust their own Turkish subjects
    • most of the middle tier of bureaucracy, record keeping and bureaucracy was done by Greeks
    • by the end of the Sulatns (1923), Greeks more or less controlled the government*

*Contemporary Turkey is so much more like Europe than its Arab Muslim neighbors in part because its institutions, counting and money, and so much else, are Greek and so European


  • religion and architecture
    • burial practices are retained longest by subject populations
    • Etruscans favored cremation
    • Christianity, believing in the reunification of body and soul, practiced inhumation
    • coming of Christianity ended cremation
    • Jewish neighborhoods proven by mikvah (menstrual bath) and bema for Torah scrolls on the eastern wall.



IMAGE 38: Brexit, Frexit, Grexit + 1177 BC + post-Herulian wall in Library of Hadrian + debased denarius of Marcus Aurelius

ü (8) vulnerability/ systems collapse

à best known as the ‘domino effect’

  • linked economies fall in unison (if at different rates) if changes occur to one
    • ‘Brexit’ is causing chaos in the financial markets all across Europe
    • banking fiasco in the US in 2008 is still having repercussions
      • one of which is the Brexit


  • Roman Empire
    • silver coinage = the basis of the Roman economy
    • debased with other, less expensive metals starting with Nero in the 60s AD
    • by mid-200s AD, the economy collapsed
    • soldiers were not paid, so they stopped defending the frontier
    • by AD 267 the Herulians had crossed into the Roman Empire and sacked Athens


  • Eric Cline’s book, 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed (Princeton)
    • coming of iron tools and weapons gave invaders from the Russian Steppes an advantage
    • starting with invasions in 1177 BC by 1050 BC, the Hittites (most famous city = Troy), Egyptians and Mycenaeans had all fallen
    • entire eastern half of the Mediterranean slid into steep decline
    • not arrested until about 800s/700s BC
      • Assyrian political stability
      • invention of Greek writing
      • Greek colonization
        • east into Anatolia (= mod. Turkey)
        • west into Sicily, southern Italy, Riviera, Cote d’Azur
      • temple of Solomon in Jerusalem
      • reign of King David
      • foundation of Rome


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