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Synoikism : people, power and poleis

By Tracey Elizabeth Rihll


The thesis is an investigation into the transformation of Greek societies from the Dark Age to the Archaic Period. That transformation included large-scale expansion overseas; the institutionalisation of slavery; population rise; the advent of literacy and literature, of\ud laws and lawcodes; the development of trade, markets and coinage, of public spaces and public buildings; urbanisation; the emergence of the state. All are essentially interdisciplinary topics, coming within\ud the ambit of several disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, geography, history and sociology in particular. Therefore the thesis aims at synthesis as well as analysis; synoikism is intended to refer to the union of disciplinary perspectives as well as the union of communities which gave rise to the poleis.\ud \ud From this synthesis several hypotheses emerge, of which the three principal are: (i) Greek societies in the Dark Age were essentially egalitarian. One implication of this hypothesis is the argument that there was no 'aristocratic stage' in early Greek history. (ii) The role of violence (particularly acquisition by violence) in early Greek\ud history (especially the 'colonising' process) was considerable. War and plunder are argued to have been the most important sources of income. (iii) The consequences of the expansion and intensification of slavery were qualitatively far greater than commonly allowed.\ud Historical literature usually fails to take proper cognizance of the fact of Greek slavery, and in particular that most slaves were foreigners, whilst sociological and anthropological literature on exogenous influences and their consequences rarely considers genuine slave societies, yet they are those in which such influences were\ud particularly acute.\ud \ud This framework is explicated through a thematic history of early Greece, covering all the aspects noted above

Publisher: School of History (Leeds)
Year: 1986
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