A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean

A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean

Hardback Greeks Overseas

By (author) Irad Malkin


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 28mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 16 December 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 019973481X
  • ISBN 13: 9780199734818
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 650,810

Product description

Greek civilization and identity crystallized not when Greeks were close together but when they came to be far apart. It emerged during the Archaic period when Greeks founded coastal city states and trading stations in ever-widening horizons from the Ukraine to Spain. No center directed their diffusion: mother cities were numerous and the new settlements ("colonies") would often engender more settlements. The "Greek center" was at sea; it was formed through back-ripple effects of cultural convergence, following the physical divergence of independent settlements. "The shores of Greece are like hems stitched onto the lands of Barbarian peoples" (Cicero). Overall, and regardless of distance, settlement practices became Greek in the making and Greek communities far more resembled each other than any of their particular neighbors like the Etruscans, Iberians, Scythians, or Libyans. The contrast between "center and periphery" hardly mattered (all was peri-, "around"), nor was a bi-polar contrast with Barbarians of much significance. Should we admire the Greeks for having created their civilization in spite of the enormous distances and discontinuous territories separating their independent communities? Or did the salient aspects of their civilization form and crystallize because of its architecture as a de-centralized network? This book claims that the answer lies in network attributes shaping a "Small Greek World," where separation is measured by degrees of contact rather than by physical dimensions.

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Author information

Irad Malkin is Cummings Chair for Mediterranean History and Culture, Tel Aviv University and Professor of Ancient Greek History, Tel Aviv University

Review quote

"This is an invaluable study that recasts the Archaic Greek period of Mediterranean history."--Tamar Hodos, Classical Journal"A Small Greek World is a thought-provoking look at the ancient Greek history through the lenses of networks science. History is driven by many networks --from networks grounded in geographic proximity, travel, and trade to powerful political and military alliances. Malkin weaves the language of networks into an era of remarkable history, forcing us to rethink just about everything we knew about the period." --Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, Northeastern University "Malkin's book takes the study of Greek colonization in the archaic age to a new level of sophistication. The very era in which Greeks scattered themselves around the Mediterranean paradoxically resulted in convergence rather than divergence, and fostered the sense of a collective identity. For Malkin, this occurred not despite but because of the dispersal: a shifting dynamic of interconnections, overlapping, and complex 'middle grounds.' The subject will not be same again." --Erich S. Gruen, University of California, Berkeley "A stimulating, thought-provoking and well written book that will certainly redefine the terms of the discourse in which we consider issues such as ethnicity and colonization."--Sehepunkte"Carefully argued, fact-rich, intensely readable...Greek colonization will never look quite the same again."--CHOICE"

Table of contents

List of Figures and Maps ; Acknowledgements ; A note on transliteration ; Abbreviations ; 1. Introduction: Networks and History ; 2. Island Networking and Hellenic Convergence: From Rhodes to Naukratis ; 3. Sicily and the Greeks: Apollo Archegetes and the Sikeliote Network ; 4. Herakles and Melqart: Networking Heroes ; 5. Networks and Middle Grounds in the Western Mediterranean ; 6. Cult and Identity in the Far West: Phokaians, Ionians, and Hellenes ; Conclusion