Greeks and Pre-Greeks: Aegean Prehistory and Greek Heroic Tradition

Greeks and Pre-Greeks: Aegean Prehistory and Greek Heroic Tradition


By (author) Margalit Finkelberg


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Hardback $100.15
  • Format: Paperback | 220 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 16mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 29 January 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521107997
  • ISBN 13: 9780521107990
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: 7 maps
  • Sales rank: 510,991

Product description

By systematically confronting Greek tradition of the Heroic Age with the evidence of both linguistics and archaeology, Margalit Finkelberg proposes a multidisciplinary assessment of the ethnic, linguistic and cultural situation in Greece in the second millennium BC. The main thesis of this book is that the Greeks started their history as a multi-ethnic population group consisting of both Greek-speaking newcomers and the indigenous population of the land and that the body of 'Hellenes' as known to us from the historic period was a deliberate self-creation. The book addresses such issues as the structure of heroic genealogy, the linguistic and cultural identity of the indigenous population of Greece, the patterns of marriage between heterogeneous groups as they emerge in literary and historical sources, the dialect map of Bronze Age Greece, the factors responsible for the collapse of the Mycenaean civilisation and finally, the construction of the myth of the Trojan War.

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Author information

Margalit Finkelberg is Professor of Classics at Tel Aviv University. Her previous books include The Birth of Literary Fiction (Oxford, 1998).

Review quote

'... fascinating and rewarding ... This is a very informative, carefully up to date, and stimulating book, clearly written, helpful with difficult concepts, and provided with supporting maps, plans, and diagrams.' Cosmos 'This book is a work of substantial scholarly attainment. The argument ranges widely, but without superficiality, into ethnography, comparative philology, archaeology, myth and into other domains. We have here an original study of the kind that compels critical thinking without, however, provoking protest. ... This is a praiseworthy study, and it deserves many attentive readers who should be capable not only of leaping over barriers between subjects but also of thinking laterally.' G. L. Huxley, Trinity College Dublin

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. The heterogeneity of Greek genealogy; 3, The pre-Hellenic substratum reconsidered; 4. Kingship in Bronze Age Greece and Western Asia; 5. Marriage and identity; 6. The spread of the Greek language; 7. The end of the Bronze Age; 8. Continuities and discontinuities; Appendix; References; Indexes.