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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Application instructions for this year's Minority Summer Scholarship Application have now been posted.   The application deadline is December 14, 2011.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 08/17/2011 - 2:24pm by Adam Blistein.

The Loeb Classical Library Foundation will award grants to qualified scholars to support research, publication, and other projects in the area of classical studies during the academic year 2012-2013. Grants will normally range from $1,000 to $35,000 and may occasionally exceed that limit in the case of unusually interesting and promising projects. Three years must elapse after receiving an LCLF grant for sabbatical replacement before applying again for one. From time to time a much larger grant may be available, as funding permits, to support a major project. Applicants must have faculty or faculty emeritus status at the time of application and during the entire time covered by the grant.

Grants may be used for a wide variety of purposes. Examples include publication of research, enhancement of sabbaticals, travel to libraries or collections, dramatic productions, excavation expenses, or cost of research materials. Individual grant requests may be only partially funded. In exceptional circumstances a grant may be extended or renewed. A special selection committee will choose the persons to whom grants are to be awarded and recommend the amount of the grants.  

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View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 08/02/2011 - 12:04pm by Information Architect.

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We have extended the deadline to volunteer to stand for election to an APA Office in the Summer of 2012 or to serve on a committee beginning in January 2012.  If you are interested in one of the appointed positions that will be open in 2012 or elected positions for 2013, please complete this form and return it to the APA Office by August 15, 2011.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 07/28/2011 - 1:16pm by Adam Blistein.

The Spring 2011 Newsletter is now posted on the APA web site.   A PDF version will follow in a few weeks, and members who requested copies by mail when they paid their dues for 2011 will receive those by the end of August.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 07/28/2011 - 1:14pm by Adam Blistein.

Dear Colleague:
 
This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives began debating the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies spending bill (H.R. 2584).  In last week’s action alert, I mentioned that amendments could be offered on the floor that would further reduce funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities beyond the $135 million in FY 2012 funding approved by the Appropriations Committee (a $19.7 million, or 13% cut from the current year).
 
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Even if the current measure fails, additional amendments to weaken funding for NEH may be offered during this week’s floor consideration of the FY12 Interior bill.  If you have not already done so, please email your Representative and ask him/her to:

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 07/26/2011 - 12:52pm by Information Architect.

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