Conference: Destructions, Survival, and Recovery in Ancient Greece.

Destructions, Survival, and Recovery in Ancient Greece

May 16-18 American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Organizers: Sylvian Fachard and Edward M. Harris

From the Trojan War to the sack of Rome by Alaric, from the fall of Constantinople to the bombing of European cities in World War II and now the devastation of Syrian towns lmed by drones, the destruction of cities and the slaughter of civilian populations are among the most dramatic events in world history.

Sources documenting destruction and slaughter in the Greek World are plentiful. The fear of being attacked, ruined or annihilated was so real that almost all poleis increasingly built city-walls to protect their populations and economic assets. In spite of the deterrent potential of forti cations and their real force, however, the ancient historians report that ancient Greek cities continued to be besieged, stormed, “looted,” “destroyed,” “annihilated” and “razed to the ground.” For instance, Herodotus (6.101.3) states that the Persians burned down the sanctuaries of Eretria in 490 BC and took away all its citizens as slaves. According to Livy (45.34.1-6) in 167 BC, the Romans destroyed 70 towns and enslaved 150,000 people in Epeiros, an act of destruction with few parallels in the ancient world.

But how reliable are these sources? Did ancient authors exaggerate the scale of destruction and the number of killings to create tragic narratives? To answer these questions, it is rst necessary to compare the literary sources with the archaeological evidence. But archaeological nds can be dif cult to interpret, especially when one attempts to link archaeological horizons with a single event that unfolded in the span of a few days. Moreover, even if a destruction layer is well dated and documented in an excavation, it remains challenging to assess its true causes, not to mention the scale of destructions for an entire city and its impact on a region.

In the case of some cities whose destruction the ancient sources report, archaeologists have often searched in vain to discover evidence for destruction or abandonment. In some instances, the losses of population appear to have been less severe than those described by the literary sources. Other examples suggest that economic recovery following a siege or a destruction could be relatively quick. Moreover, because the Greeks were aware that warfare could interrupt economic activity (in some cases factoring this possibility into their contracts), measures were often taken to survive and recover from disaster.

The goal of this conference is to reassess the impact of physical destruction on ancient Greek cities and its demographic and economic implications. The problem of “destruction layers” will rst be addressed from the point of view of stratigraphy and micromorphology. Using well-documented case studies, archaeologists and historians will compare literary and archaeological data in order to evaluate the scale of physical damage and demographic losses sustained by ancient cities. They will then attempt to estimate the impact of warfare on economic activity, trade and the expansion of markets, trying to understand to what extent warfare inhibited regional settlement patterns, demography, and the growth of regional and inter-regional trade.

PROGRAM

May 16, Cotsen Hall, ASCSA,

19h00 E.M. Harris and S. Fachard. “Destruction, Survival, and Recovery in Ancient Greece.”

May 17, Cotsen Hall, ASCSA

09:30 T. Karkanas. “Destruction, Abandonment, Reoccupation: What Microstratigraphy and Micromorphology Can Tell Us”

10:15 J. Bintliff. “The Survival of Cities after Military Devastation: Comparing the Classical Greek and Roman Experience”

11:00  Break

11:30 A. Herda. “Playing with Fire: How Miletos Survived the Persian Conquest and Occupation in 494-479 BCE”

12:15  J. Camp. “The Persian Destruction of Athens: Sources and Archaeology”

13: 00  Break

15:00  C. Marconi. “The Carthaginian Conquest of Selinus in 409 BCE: Diodorus and Archaeology”

15:45   M. Bessios, A. Athanassiadou, and K. Noulas. “Ancient Methone (354 B.C.)”

16:30 S. Psoma. “The Destruction of Cities in Northern Greece during the Classical and Hellenistic Periods”

17.15. Discussion

May 18, Cotsen Hall, ASCSA

09:30 A. Bresson. “Rhodes 227 BCE”

10:15 G. Ackermann. “The Three Sieges of Eretria during the Hellenistic Period and Their Impact on the Town’s Development”

11:00 Break

11:30 B. Forsén. “Destruction and Colonisation: Effects of the Roman Arrival in Epirus”

12:15 C.K. Williams, K. Slane, and N. Bookidis. “From the Destruction of Corinth to Laus Iulia Corinthiensis”

13:00 Break

15:00 D. Rogers. “Athens and Sulla: Revisiting the Extent of the ‘Siege’ of 86 BCE”

15:45 L. Chioti. “The Herulian Invasion in Athens (267 CE): The Archaeological Evidence”

16:30 Conclusion: Roundtable and discussion

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(Photo: "Empty Boardroom" by Reynermedia, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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The automated system for the 2012-2013 APA/AIA Placement Service is now open and accepting registrations by candidates, subscribers, and institutions.  As was the case last year, registrants will need to create an account at placement.apaclassics.org and then purchase the service(s) they wish.  Registrants who used the Service last year may (but are not required to) adopt the same username and password as before; however, they will still need to create a new account.  Detailed instructions for registering for the service and then taking advantage of its features are available at the Placement web site. 

Please note the following important changes in the service this year.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 07/17/2012 - 4:32pm by Adam Blistein.

(A longer version of the following memoir, by Helen North, Centennial Professor of Classics Emerita, Swarthmore College, was commissioned for a forthcoming volume of the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. This version was lightly edited and abridged by Ralph M. Rosen. Sadly, Professor North herself died on January, 21, 2012. Shortly before her death she had given her permission for this obituary to be abridged and published in the APA Newsletter. Special thanks to Julia Gaisser for facilitating the process, and to the American Philosophical Society for permission to print the text that follows).

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 07/16/2012 - 2:50pm by Adam Blistein.

"It was the last day of school in July 1942 in Niort, a French city occupied by the Germans. Louise Fligelman, then an eighth grader, still remembers the flurry of excitement when students and faculty were unexpectedly called to a special assembly. Her older brother, Richard, 16, was asked to step forward to accept a signal honor from the school’s principal: He had won the first prize in Latin in the prestigious concours général, a nationwide competition among high schools." Read more in The New York Times

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 07/05/2012 - 5:19pm by Information Architect.

In the latest issue of American Educator, Peter Dodington, a longtime Latin teacher, explains why studying the ancient Greek and Roman world and learning Latin achieve one of the central goals of public education: helping students think deeply about how they want to live their lives and what they hope to accomplish. Click here for the pdf.

Thanks to Ronnie Ancona, APA VP for Education, for suggesting that we post this piece on the APA Blog.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/28/2012 - 12:43pm by Information Architect.

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) -- Archaeologists in Greece's second-largest city have uncovered a 70-meter (230-foot) section of an ancient road built by the Romans that was the city's main travel artery nearly 2,000 years ago.

The marble-paved road was unearthed during excavations for Thessaloniki's new subway system, which is due to be completed in four years. The road in the northern port city will be raised to be put on permanent display when the metro opens in 2016. Read more…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/26/2012 - 5:12pm by Information Architect.

The APA is a member of Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW)—a coalition of organizations working to address deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on college and university students in the United States.  CAW has released the results of a recent survey of contingent faculty members. Designed to address the lack of data on contingent academics and their working conditions, the survey received more than 10,000 responses from faculty members who were teaching part-time in fall 2010. These responses provide the basis for a detailed portrait of the work patterns, remuneration, and employment conditions for what is now the largest part of the academic workforce.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 06/20/2012 - 12:29pm by Adam Blistein.

Do you know an outstanding classics teacher at the pre-collegiate level? Consider nominating him or her for the APA Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Pre-Collegiate Level.

Ronnie Ancona
APA Vice President for Education

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 5:01pm by .

I met Gary in 1987 when we were both starting our careers as Visiting Assistant Professors at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  He died on December 31, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer.  The facts of Gary’s life as a classicist are clear: After earning a double Ph.D. in Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale, he went on to teach at some excellent places: Union College, George Washington, Eckerd College—where he held an endowed chair—and finally, Villanova.  His numerous publications include his excellent Euripides and the Poetics of Nostalgia, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. Gary was a conscientious, witty, and imaginative teacher, who earned the loyalty and devotion of many of his students.     

Gary led a rich and noteworthy life. He enjoyed and took pride in his family: his two daughters, Emily and Rebecca Meltzer, their mother and his wife, Jill Ross Meltzer, his sister and her husband, Dale and David Stempler, and his array of cousins. He could not have been more devoted to Emily and Rebecca.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 1:36pm by Adam Blistein.

From the Harvard Gazette:

Before their degrees are formally conferred at Morning Exercises, three Harvard men still have one test left to pass. Each will speak for their class before a crowd of thousands in Tercentenary Theatre, an honor given to three graduating students each year.

Once a series of thesis defenses, often presented in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, Harvard’s Commencement orations have evolved into succinct five-minute speeches. Each spring, the Harvard Commencement Office hosts a competition to select an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and an undergraduate speaking in Latin for the occasion.

Here, the Class of 2012 orators share their stories — and a glimpse at the words of wisdom they plan to offer.

Read more at http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/05/in-full-regalia-and-ready-to-regale/.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:38pm by Information Architect.

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