Ancient Medieval Literature

A Small Greek World by Irad Malkin

By Irad Malkin

Greek civilization and identification crystallized no longer whilst Greeks have been shut jointly but if they got here to be a long way aside. It emerged throughout the Archaic interval whilst Greeks based coastal urban states and buying and selling stations in ever-widening horizons from the Ukraine to Spain. No middle directed their diffusion: mom towns have been a variety of and the recent settlements (»colonies») may usually engender extra settlements. The «Greek middle» used to be at sea it was once shaped via back-ripple results of cultural convergence, following the actual divergence of self sustaining settlements. «The beaches of Greece are like hems stitched onto the lands of Barbarian peoples» (Cicero). total, and despite distance, cost practices grew to become Greek within the making and Greek groups way more resembled one another than any in their specific buddies just like the Etruscans, Iberians, Scythians, or Libyans. The distinction among «center and outer edge» hardly ever mattered (all used to be peri-, «around»), nor used to be a bi-polar distinction with Barbarians of a lot value.

Should we respect the Greeks for having created their civilization regardless of the big distances and discontinuous territories setting apart their self reliant groups? Or did the salient elements in their civilization shape and crystallize as a result of its structure as a de-centralized community? This booklet claims that the reply lies in community attributes shaping a «Small Greek World,» the place separation is measured by way of levels of touch instead of by means of actual dimensions.

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Some prehistorical networks of maritime travel and commerce, such as the famous tin or amber routes, had been in existence perhaps since the sixth millennium BCE. These were determined mostly by ancient Mediterranean geography, wind and current patterns, the locations of anchorages and ports, river mouths, and offshore islands. " Yet he is basically correct: Aship will look for the expected wind and its planned-for stop at a known river mouth, moving frorn one port or anchorage to the next. 42 43 44 45 46 Cf.

Aubet (2008) for a reassessment of pre-eighth-century Phoenician colonization. Braudel (1972). 22 A SMALL GREEK WORLD It is no accident, for example, that Corinth was the mother city of both Corcyra (Corfu) in the Ionian Sea and Sicilian Syracuse (both founded around the same time)47 since to reach Sicily from mainland Greece it was wise to make a maritime joumey "up" before "descending," with the northeasterly winds (the entire Athenian navy repeated the pattem when sailing to besiege Syracuse in the late fifth century).

Having been "electrified" by the foundation of numerous new city-states, did networks function according to "laws" that govem networks in general? In other words, might there be something common to rhizome plants, molecular biology, brain science, the Internet, crickets chirping in synchrony, and Greek civilization? The temptation to use "power laws" of network behavior as explanatory or even predictive must be resisted or at least seriously qualified. 57Sadly,historians of antiquity do not possess so comprehensive a database, and the application of network concepts must foIlowthe more basic terminology and observations of network theorists.

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