Hellenic civilization/Talk

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The evidence for the depopulation of Greece during the Dark Age (ack! ack!) is very mixed. The 1980s archaeology (I haven't really kept up that well since then) was tending to think that it was an administrative breakdown with no necessary depopulation. --MichaelTinkler

Last I had heard, there was no evidence for an invasion associated with the downfall of the Mycenaeans (whereas earlier a Dorian invasion was canon), but the city centres like Athens and Mycenae still decreased considerably in size. I am not really sure, though.


yep, cities decreased whatever the cause, but the area surveys are not revealing any reduction in farming sites, the bulk of the population anyway. It's tricky evidence to work with. Useful synthesis of a lot of this is The Other Greeks, Victor Davis Hanson, ISBN: 0520209354 --MichaelTinkler


I seem to remember a not-too-recent book review of someone claiming that literacy was perhaps NOT lost, but i didn't read the book so I don't know. I put 'illiteracy' into the 'dark age' sentence because it's certainly part of the standard narrative. --MichaelTinkler

Certainly the old Mycenaean scripts had been lost, hadn't they? The Greeks come out of the dark ages with a brand new Phoenician derived alphabet, and never look back.

Here it is - ain't Amazon wonderful? - Greek Writing from Knossos to Homer : A Linguistic Interpretation of the Origin of the Greek Alphabet and the Continuity of Ancient Greek Literacy, Roger D. Woodard, Oxford Univ. Press. Not that I read it, but I remembered the claim. Hmmm. No need to worry about it until someone inserts it. --MichaelTinkler