Collapse and Transformation: The Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age in the Aegean [Hardback]

Guy D. Middleton (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789254259 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2020 | Language: English 280p, H280 x W216 (mm)

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Collapse and Transformation


The years c. 1250 to 1150 BC in Greece and the Aegean are often characterised as a time of crisis and collapse. A critical period in the long history of the region and its people and culture, they witnessed the end of the Mycenaean kingdoms, with their palaces and Linear B records, and, through the Postpalatial period, the transition into the Early Iron Age. But, on closer examination, it has become increasingly clear that the period as a whole, across the region, defies simple characterisation – there was success and splendour, resilience and continuity, and novelty and innovation, actively driven by the people of these lands through this transformative century.

The story of the Aegean at this time has frequently been incorporated into narratives focused on the wider eastern Mediterranean, and most infamously the ‘Sea Peoples’ of the Egyptian texts. In twenty-four chapters written by specialists, Collapse and Transformation instead offers a tight focus on the Aegean itself, providing an up-to date picture of the archaeology ‘before’ and ‘after’ ‘the collapse’ of c. 1200 BC. It will be essential reading for students and scholars of the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean regions, as well as providing data and a range of interpretations to those studying collapse and resilience more widely and engaging in comparative studies.

Introductory chapters discuss notions of collapse, and provide an overview the Mycenaean collapse. These are followed by twelve chapters, which review the evidence from the major regions of the Aegean, including the Argolid, Messenia, and Boeotia, Crete, and the Aegean islands. Six chapters then address key themes: the economy, funerary practices, the Mycenaean pottery of the mainland and the wider Aegean and eastern Mediterranean region, religion, and the extent to which later Greek myth can be drawn upon as evidence or taken to reflect any historical reality. The final four chapters provide a wider context for the Aegean story, surveying the eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus and the Levant, and the themes of subsistence and warfare.

Table of Contents

Note on terms and chronology
Map of the Aegean
    1. Introducing collapse
 Guy D. Middleton
2. Mycenaean collapse(s) c. 1200 BC
 Guy D. Middleton
3. The destruction of Mycenaean centres in eastern Thessaly
 Vasiliki Adrymi-Sismani
4. Mycenaean Achaea before and after the collapse
 Emiliano Arena
5. Chaos is a ladder:  First Corinthians climbing - The end of the Mycenaean Age at Corinthia
Eleni Balomenou
6. LH IIIC and Submycenaean Laconia
Chrysanthi Gallou
7. Collapse at the end of the Late Bronze Age in the Aegean
 Mercourios Georgiadis
8. Messenia
 Julie A. Hruby
9. The Euboean Gulf
 Margaretha Kramer-Hajos
10. Growth and turmoil in the thirteenth century in Crete
 Charlotte Langohr
11. East Lokris-Phokis
 Antonia Livieratou
12. Glas and Boeotia
 Christofilis Maggidis
13. The Argolid
 Tobias Mühlenbruch
14. Collapse and transformation in Athens and Attica
 Robin Osborne
15. Continuities and changes in Mycenaean burial practices after the collapse of the palace system
 Peta Bulmer
16. The Irrelevance of Greek "Tradition"
 Oliver Dickinson
17. Continuity and change in religious practice from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age
Susan Lupack
18. LHIIIC pottery and destruction in the East Aegean-West Anatolian Interface, Cilicia, Cyprus and coastal Levant
 Penelope A. Mountjoy
19. The changing economy
 Sarah C. Murray
20. Late Palatial vs. Early Post-Palatial Mycenaean pottery (c. 1250-1150 BCE): Ceramic change during an episode of cultural collapse and regeneration
 Jeremy B. Rutter
21. Beyond the Aegean: Consideration of the LBA collapse in the eastern Mediterranean
 Eric H. Cline
22. Catastrophe revisited
 Robert Drews
23. Cyprus: Bronze Age demise, Iron Age regeneration
 A. Bernard Knapp and Nathan Meyer
24. Economies in crisis: Subsistence and landscape technology in the Aegean and east Mediterranean after c. 1200 BC
 Saro Wallace

Reviews & Quotes

"…reading this book from beginning to end is an intellectually rewarding experience for anyone looking for sociopolitical, economic and cultural history in material remains."
Manolis Mikrakis
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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