Doctor of Philosophy in Classics (PhD)
Egyptian and Egyptian-inspired objects in Archaic Sicily
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Did Greeks and non-Greeks banquet together in the first half of the first millennium BCE, and if so, how does this mode of cultural contact explain the evidence of cultural exchange between Greece and the Near East? Following suggestions in scholarship that Greeks shared a banqueting culture with West Semitic peoples, and that Greeks sometimes banqueted with non-Greeks, this dissertation presents evidence that Greeks banqueted with non-Greeks, explains why they should have done so in terms of earlier practices and anthropological theory, and argues that multicultural banquets were the primary mode of peaceful cultural contact in the thought-world of Greeks in the eighth and seventh centuries BCE. Chapter 1 addresses the evidence for multicultural banqueting before the first millennium, and finds that it was a feature of diplomacy in the Late Bronze Age (1700-1100). Objects and texts are examined and used as evidence that members of various populations learned foreign banqueting customs. I argue that the multicultural banqueting in the Iron Age (1100-750) and Archaic period (750-490) is a revival of Late Bronze Age diplomatic practices. Chapter 2 addresses evidence for reclined banqueting in the Iron Age, arguing that it is a result of multicultural banqueting among various groups. It is interpreted as a feature of diplomacy and as an instantiation of the anthropological theory of Mary Helms (1988) that elites seek out external symbols of status in order to be recognized as elite by foreigners and to differentiate themselves at home. Chapter 3 focuses on the Iliad and finds that multicultural banquets are philologically distinguished from banquets among Greeks, and that the banquet is essential in cultural contact where hostility is possible. Chapter 4 focuses on the Odyssey and demonstrates that banqueting mediates contact between Greeks and non-Greeks in the Archaic imagination.I hope hereby to construct a stable mode of contact that explains the evidence of cultural exchange between Greek and West Semitic populations, such as the alphabet, the burning of incense in ritual, and adaptations of gods and cults. The multicultural banquet becomes an interpretive model for developments in Archaic Greek literature, culture, and society.
Kinship is an important factor in modern explanations of social, political, and economic change in Early Greece (ca. 1000-450 BCE), particularly in social evolutionary schemes that see states develop from kinship-based clan societies. Following challenges to such schemes in several disciplines, including Classics, and following theoretical and methodological upheavals in anthropological kinship studies, our ideas and methodologies concerning families, descent groups, and kinship in Early Greece need to be reconsidered. In this dissertation, in order to avoid both applying typologies and employing universal biological kinship terminologies as points of analysis, a contextual methodology was developed to explore textual and archaeological evidence for ideas of kinship. Using this methodology, the expression and manifestation of kinship ideas were examined in Early Greek genealogical material, burial practices and patterns, and domestic architecture, taking each source individually to achieve a level of interpretative independence. Early Greek genealogies are usually linear and descendent-focused or tendrilled and ancestor-focused, and include sections of story-telling that are an integral part of the descent information. List-like genealogies are therefore not the standard structure for Early Greek genealogies and the few late extant examples may be associated with literary techniques or epigraphic traditions. The genealogies are mythico-historical and connected the legendary past with the present in the interests of individuals and states and were not charters determining status or membership in particular groups. Early Greek burial practices and patterns were informed by an idea of descent and an idea of households over a few generations, represented by small mixed burial groups. Residency patterns and changes in Early Greek domestic architecture suggest household units, some of which were participating and became successful in the domestic economy and in agricultural trade. A synthesis of the evidence reveals three broad overlapping Early Greek kinship ideas: blood and biology, generational households, and descent and ancestors. These ideas involve inheritance, ethnicity, success, wealth, and elitism. They therefore illuminate kinship’s role in social, political, and economic differentiation and power and resituate it in theorizing about the developing Greek polis.
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The sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi has long been a popular subject for research among scholars, but the vast majority of studies have focused almost exclusively on the Delphic oracle. This thesis instead aims to explore in detail the use of the sanctuary as a space for elite interactions during the Archaic Period, an aspect of Delphi which has only briefly been mentioned by David Small (1994). More specifically, I analyse the nature of the Greek elite in order to determine how the characteristics of this social group led to their use of panhellenic sanctuaries such as Delphi as spaces of interaction and how those interactions were affected by the setting of the sanctuary.The first chapter focuses on establishing the nature of the Greek elite during the Archaic Period, focusing on the effects of the economic, military, and religious changes which took place during the 8th century BCE as well as on elements of the elite lifestyle such as guest friendships, marriages, and competition which encouraged interpolital interactions. I then examine Delphi’s status as an interstate sanctuary and the advantages provided by such sanctuaries which led to their being used as spaces for elite interactions.The second chapter examines a variety of different elite interactions which took place within the sanctuary at Delphi and explores how each interaction was shaped by the elite characteristics detailed in the first chapter. I show how the regular gatherings of a large number of elites made Delphi an advantageous site for interpolital interactions such as the making of guest friendships and marriage alliances as well as for competitive interactions such as displays of wealth through dedications and athletic competitions.This study demonstrates that the developments of the 8th century BCE affected the nature of the Greek elite in such a way that it pushed their interactions and private affairs outside the territory of the polis and into interstate sanctuaries such as Delphi. The opportunity for regular gatherings at Delphi coupled with the elite inclination towards interpolital interactions and agonistic displays also encouraged a variety of Greek elite interactions within the Delphi sanctuary.