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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From News at Princeton

When Princeton University senior Elizabeth Butterworth was in middle school she immersed herself in the richly imagined world of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." The experience sparked her fascination for stories from other eras, along with an abiding passion for delving into texts.

"I fell in love with that book. It made me interested in mythology and epic stories," she said.

Read more at http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/76/30M58/index.xml?section=topstories.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:35pm by Information Architect.

… at the bottom of the third column on page 79 of the May 21, 2012, edition:

DEPT. OF HIGHER EDUCATION

From the Transactions of the American Philological Association

     Valerius's allusive gestures thus problematize Venus's argument by drawing attention to the intertextual connection between Georgics 2.140 and Aeneid 7.281, texts that have very different things to say about the existence of fire-breathing animals in Italy.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/24/2012 - 2:10am by Information Architect.

Dirk tom Dieck Held, the Elizabeth S. Kruidenier ’48 Professor of Classics at Connecticut College in New London CT, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on March 21, 2012. He took his A.B. and Ph.D in Classics at Brown University.

Joining the faculty of Connecticut College in 1971, he held the Chair of the Classics Department for thirty-two years.  Professor Held presented and/or published over one hundred learned papers on a wide variety of topics.  He was widely known and respected for the quality of his scholarship and his dedication to the field.

Colleague Robert Proctor, Professor of Italian, remarked, “Dirk Held lived the liberal arts ideal. His scholarship was both profound and wide-ranging, from Plato’s understanding of love to Nietzsche and the reception of classical antiquity in the modern world. He was a modern exemplar of ancient Roman humanitas: culture, kindness, generosity, and wit.”

Some of his recent published works include:

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:28pm by Adam Blistein.
I write with disappointing news regarding the effort to prevent a large garbage dump from being sited at Corcolle, near Hadrian's Villa: Giuseppe Pecoraro, the Extraordinary Commissioner of Rubbish for the Regione Lazio, has announced his final decision to recommend going forward with the Corcolle site. The Board of Directors authorized me to write on behalf of the APA to Prime Minister Mario Monti to protest this decision and to find an alternative site.  In this protest we join many other individuals, organizations, and communities in Italy and around the world.
 
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:19pm by Adam Blistein.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 05/21/2012 - 3:26pm by Adam Blistein.

From the Associated Press, via Yahoo.com:

For years, Gac Filipaj mopped floors, cleaned toilets and took out trash at Columbia University.

A refugee from war-torn Yugoslavia, he eked out a living working for the Ivy League school. But Sunday was payback time: The 52-year-old janitor donned a cap and gown to graduate with a bachelor's degree in classics.

As a Columbia employee, he didn't have to pay for the classes he took. His favorite subject was the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca, the janitor said during a break from his work at Lerner Hall, the student union building he cleans.

"I love Seneca's letters because they're written in the spirit in which I was educated in my family — not to look for fame and fortune, but to have a simple, honest, honorable life," he said.

His graduation with honors capped a dozen years of studies, including readings in ancient Latin and Greek.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:55am by Information Architect.

From the site:

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity. The model is based on a simplified version of the giant network of cities, roads, rivers and sea lanes that framed movement across the Roman Empire. It broadly reflects conditions around 200 CE but also covers a few sites and roads created in late antiquity.

The model consists of 751 sites, most of them urban settlements but also including important promontories and mountain passes, and covers close to 10 million square kilometers (~4 million square miles) of terrestrial and maritime space. 268 sites serve as sea ports. The road network encompasses 84,631 kilometers (52,587 miles) of road or desert tracks, complemented by 28,272 kilometers (17,567 miles) of navigable rivers and canals.

Read more here: http://orbis.stanford.edu/.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Sat, 05/12/2012 - 6:01pm by .

A beta version of www.classicaltimeline.com, a new educational resource surveying the history of Classical antiquity, has just been launched and is currently seeking editors and contributors. If you wish to get involved please go to http://www.classicalstudiesonline.org/get-involved/ to find out more.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Wed, 05/09/2012 - 1:19pm by .

From Helma Dik via the Digital Classicist List:

I'm delighted to announce the release of an iPad app for introductory and intermediate Greek readers. Its name is Attikos and it includes a selection of familiar texts, including morphological information. The author is Josh Day, himself recently an intermediate Greek student.

Link to the app store page: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/attikos/id522497233?mt=8

Writing the app would not have been nearly as feasible without the Perseus Project's generous policies of making its data available to third parties. It includes links to logeion.uchicago.edu, which is an interface for dictionaries and reference works, including Liddell and Scott. Again, that website is based for the most part on resources from the Perseus Project at Tufts. When not connected to the internet, the app itself offers short definitions, as familiar from Perseus.

Texts include the Iliad, some Lysias and Plato, and the Antigone. Some texts have been parsed completely; no translations are included, however. Bonus features allow the user to look up morphological parses of words they type in, or figure them out with the included morphological charts.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Tue, 05/08/2012 - 1:24am by .

During a televised debate between Congressman Ron Paul and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, Congressman Paul pointed to inflation under Diocletian as a reason to be concerned about expansion of the money supply today.  Prof. Krugman disagrees, although he admits to little knowledge of ancient history, and in a subsequent post discusses the difficulty of talking about the "zero lower bound" when the numerical system has no zero.  In Slate, Matthew Yglesias provides a literature summary on the topic. 

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/02/2012 - 2:15pm by Adam Blistein.

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