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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

009 - Greek Resurgence

In this episode, we discuss the archaeological evidence for the late "Dark Age" during the 9th and early 8th centuries BC, especially the Heroon at Lefkandi and the Keremeikos at Athens; Greece's cultural reawakening and reconnection with the Near East thanks to their contact with the Phoenicians; the development of the Greek alphabet and its impact on Greek cultural development; the establishment of three trading posts/colonies at El-Mina (in the Levant) and Pithekoussai and Cumae (central Italy); and the evolution of "Geometric" vase painting, especially on kraters and amphoras and their role in the funerary process

ca. 1050 BC - the Phoenicians adopted the linear script rendered in cuneiform in the Ugaritic language to fit the Semitic languages of the Levant
ca. 900-850 BC - the early Geometric period, in which Greek potters added new shapes and motifs to their repertoire, by featuring sharp angles, zigzags, repeating patterns, and what would later be consider the classic Greek meander pattern
ca. 850-750 BC - the middle Geometric period, in which Greek potters gradually fill the entire surface of the vase, and they become larger and more ambitious
ca. 825 BC - evidence of early Greek-Phoenician-Cypriot cooperation can be seen in the establishment of a trading post at Al-Mina in northern Syria
ca. 800 BC - the economic recovery of Greece was in full effect; the Greeks adapted the Phoenician script into the first alphabetic script with vowels
ca. 775-750 BC - a group of colonists from Chalcis and Eretria in Euboea and from Cyme in Aeolus, together with the Phoenicians, established a trading post at Pithekoussai on the Italian island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples, meaning that there now was a trade route stretching from the Near East to the territory of the Etruscans
ca. 750-700 BC - the late Geometric Period, in which Greek vase painters began to depict living creatures once again in group scenes that told a kind of story
ca. 740 BC - the Euboeans established a colony at Cumae, directly adjacent of Pithekoussai (Ischia) on the Italian mainland, making it the oldest Greek-only colony in the west and giving them access to the Etruscans

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

008 - The "Dark Age" and Homer

In this episode, we discuss the archaeological evidence for the early "Dark Age" during the 11th and 10th centuries BC, particularly at the site of Nichoria in Messenia and the pottery of the Sub-Mycenaean and Protogeometic periods; the emigration of mainland Greeks to the Aegean islands and the western coast of Anatolia; and the first great author of ancient Greece, a man named Homer, who gives us insight into the society and culture of the early Dark Age through his two great epic poems---the Iliad and the Odyssey

ca. 1200-1000 BC - following the collapse of the Mycenaean palace economy, famine and emigration set the stage for a massive population drop in Greece 
ca. 1125-1050 BC - the period following the Mycenaean Period is known as Sub-Mycenaean since the pottery is still recognizably Mycenaean but much inferior in quality
ca. 1050-900 BC - renewed artistic vigor can be seen in the pottery of the Protogeometric style, so-called because the designs are simple abstract geometric shapes like horizontal and wavy lines, circles, and semicircles within bands around the neck and belly
ca. 1050-900 BC - Numerous waves of emigration began eastwards into the Aegean islands and the western coast of Anatolia (Aeolia and Ionia)
ca. 900 BC - weapons and tools were beginning to be made with iron (i.e. the Iron Age), foreign trade resumed (at a small scale), small villages began to appear, and populations began to inch upwards at a steady pace
ca. 850-750 BC - composition of Iliad and Odyssey by "Homer"