Greek Pre-Colonial Contacts: Contextualizing the Movements of the Euboeans Overseas in The Early 8th Century BCE
AuthorRamirez, River Roland
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractStudies on Greek colonization first came into clear focus shortly after World War II. Dunbabin’s 1948 overview of western Greek colonies, rooted in the literary evidence of the early historians Herodotus and Thucydides, was quickly bolstered by the archaeological evidence of Buchner’s discoveries at Pithekoussai in 1952. While scholarship on colonization from both a literary and archaeological perspective continued unabated in the ensuing decades of the 20th century, the discourse was largely dampened by a shift away from trends of migration in the larger post-processual framework of archaeological study. However, beginning in the 1990’s and early 2000’s from advancements and the acceptance of techniques in digital archaeology and archaeometry, mobility studies have dramatically increased in popularity. In the Greek case, this has resulted in the term ‘colonization’ itself coming under fire. This is indicative of the divide between scholars who still largely follow the normative model of Greek colonization, on the one hand, versus those who embrace the new terminology of “mobility” and its entailment of wider interactions in which the unilateral Greek colonization-as-foundation framework is called into question. This thesis follows along with the more recent trend in scholarship by attempting to contextualize the earliest movements of the Greeks, specifically the Euboeans, in the west in the century before the first known act of ktisis (i.e. Pithekoussai around 750 BCE). The aim is largely to bridge the gap between disparate and insulated fields of scholarship in order to construct a coherent historical narrative diachronically and regionally framing the pre-colonial period (the early ninth to late eighth century BCE). Throughout, the primacy of the Euboean “colonizer” as an instigator of interaction is challenged, first by examining the possibility of continuity between Bronze Age and Early Iron Age networks to the west, as well as by setting the Greek endeavors within a more globalized Mediterranean world of Phoenician mobility. Finally, the materiality of cross-cultural interactions is considered by examining the archaeological finds, largely of Euboean Middle Geometric II skyphoi, which attest to dynamic elite relationships leading to colonialism.
Degree ProgramGraduate College