1 David G Terrell: The Greek Dark Age The Greek Dark Age David G Terrell May, 2009 I doubt

that the Mycenaean social and political divisions remained unchanged after the collapse and during the generations that followed. The principle dynamics that allowed the birth of the polis form of government were:  The isolation associated with the depopulation associated with the “catastrophe” of 1200 BC. With the Hittites and Minoans essentially gone, Macedon still in semi-savagery, the Egyptians on the decline and the Phoenicians showing no interest in hegemony, the peoples of Attica, Argo, Corinth and Sparta were free to follow their own path—beginning as a smattering of small, unfortified villages.

Map 1  The geography tended to discourage the dispersal and consequent fragmentation of what people there was. Creating central citadels on high points (acropolis) for defense made a logical center for government and community activity.

2 David G Terrell: The Greek Dark Age

Map 2  By 1000 BC, the Greeks were completely sedentary, and were beginning to turn from stockbreeding to grain-growing for their main means of livelihood. This concentrated of a small, static population of farming families (including the leading families) in permanent residential centers The mild climate allowed the large assemblies year round and allowed small areas to be selfsustaining. Being self-sufficient, there was little reason to reach out to other communities. There was a desire to live in small communities, but I don’t know why. Might this have been a response to some earlier threat? Perhaps smaller settlements were spared of the catastrophic destruction. The existence of a fraternal bond… a sense of communal, even filial loyalty to each other. I suspect that each group was made up of families (kinship and alliance groups?) linked by a common interest or location and following its own leader. Was the <i>polis</i> a fraternal society? Was the responsibility of one to the whole and of the whole to the one reinforced by initiatory rites and mutual obligations? Regardless, the early Greek community emerging from the Dark Ages was likely a web of family and relations in which kinship, in all its degrees, and non-kin amity, in all its degrees, were all considered similarly—this setting the stage for the

 

3 David G Terrell: The Greek Dark Age citizen groups based on the twin axes of kinship and neighborhood. This spirit of fraternity… the brotherhood of personal alliance, which generated reciprocal bonds of loyalty between equals and between inferiors and superiors, was most significant. David G Terrell Herndon, Virginia

Kitto, K D F. The Greeks. New York: Pelican Books, 1951.

The Social Groups of Dark Age Greece, Author(s): Walter Donlan, Source: Classical Philology, Vol. 80, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 293-308, Published by: The University of Chicago Press, Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/269614, Accessed: 10/05/2009 21:39.

Origins of States: The Case of Archaic Greece, Author(s): W. G. Runciman, Source: Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul., 1982), pp. 351-377, Published by: Cambridge University Press, Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/178506, Accessed: 13/05/2009 22:40.

Regional Survey, Demography, and the Rise of Complex Societies in the Ancient Aegean: Core Periphery, Neo-Malthusian, and Other Interpretive Models, Author(s): John Bintliff, Source: Journal of Field Archaeology, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Spring, 1997), pp. 1-38, Published by: Boston University, Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/530558, Accessed: 10/05/2009 22:08.

© David G. Terrell, 2009-2010, except where otherwise noted, content is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. For permission to reprint under terms outside the license, contact davidterrell80@hotmail.com.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful