SAMPLE DO NOT BUY Week 1 of Greek Archaeology and Art
SAMPLE DO NOT BUY Week 1 of Greek Archaeology and Art 10026
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth Mekonnen on Friday August 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 10026 at College of William and Mary taught by Mrs. Jessica Lee Paga in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Greek Archaeology and Art in Classical Studies at College of William and Mary.
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Date Created: 08/26/16
Chapter 1: Crete and the Cyclades to the Late Bronze Age Minoans arose in the 2 century millennium. Chronology and Background: Bronze Age (3000 BCE1000 BCE); Archaeologists subdivide the period on the basis of changes in material culture, especially pottery. Material from Crete is called Minoan, after King Minos who ruled the seas from the town of Knossos. Material from the mainland is called Helladic, after Hellas, the Greek name for Greece. Material from the Cyclades is called Cycladic. Throughout the Bronze Age, Greece was poor in comparison to its neighbors to the east and south (Babylon, Mitanni, and the Hittites). Bronze came late to Greece in the Early Helladic II. Prior to that, blades were often made of obsidian (volcanic glass), Stone Age technology. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin—and there are no sources of tin in the Mediterranean or the Balkans. Adoption of bronze made the Aegean peoples utterly dependent on foreign tin. Greeks and PreGreeks Troy II: Troy was a major maritime center by the middle of the 3 millennium. This period corresponds to Early Helladic II on the mainland and Early Minoan II on Crete. Troy II consisted of a lower town behind a wooden palisade and an upper citadel with high walls built of mudbricks on a rubble foundation. Within the citadel was a series of large buildings, rectilinear in plan, each with a central chamber and porches to front and back; their function seems to have been religious. Troy II owed its power to its position near the Dardanelles. A ceremonial axe head made of lapis lazuli, a semiprecious stone found in Afghanistan, attests to longrange contacts, while substantial finds of gold indicate the city’s wealth. The Coming of the Greeks Greek belongs to the IndoEuropean family of languages. But the preGreek inhabitants of the Aegean probably did not speak an IndoEuropean language. Writing didn’t exist in the Early Bronze Age Aegean. In Middle Minoan IA the Minoans of Crete used a writing system based on hieroglyphics of their own invention; a second script, known as Linear A, appeared in MM IIA. Neither has been deciphered. Both were used chiefly for record keeping. Greece was a melting pot. The Cyclades in the Early Bronze Age The Cycladic Cultures: The Cyclades is small, rocky islands, and settlements were often short lived. They would sprout up, farm intensively, and disappear once the soil became exhausted. Phylakopi on Melos was occupied continuously through the whole Early Cycladic period. Widespread looting of Cycladic sites in modern times is a huge problem. The three chief cultures are called GrottaPelos, KerosSyros and Phylakopi I. The KerosSyros culture represents a high point, with bronze starting to replace obsidian as the preferred technology. A distinctive type of vessel starts to appear. Known today as “sauceboat,” it is essentially a deep bowl with a pouring spout. Sauceboats were exported widely, and versions in precious metal are known from Troy and the Peloponnesos. Because of their wide distribution, they are important way to link up Early Bronze Age sites. Kastri Group was a new cultural group that appeared on the islands towards the end of KerosSyros. The Kastri Group is named for a heavily fortified settlement on the island of Syros. Evidence of its presence is found elsewhere in the islands, notably at Panormos on Naxos, and on the mainland as well; it has scant presence on Crete. Kastri Group pottery employs shapes best paralleled in southwestern Anatolia, while bronze weapons use an alloy similar to examples found at Troy. Marble Figurines: The Cyclades are rich in marble, and marble vessels and figurines were specialties of the Early Cycladic cultures. The earliest figurines, from the GrottaPelos culture, are highly stylized and resemble fiddles: a small, figure8 body with a narrow neck and no defined head. They were produced with stone tools. In the KerosSyros culture, these figures evolved into more elaborate but still highly simplified forms. Foldedarm figurines are the best known, which are nude figurines, usually female, with wedgeshaped heads, and arms crossed over the stomach. The ultimate inspiration may have come from the Near East. They took root in the Cyclades and were produced for some five hundred years with only minor variations. Facial features, jewelry, hair, and even tattoos would have enlivened the figurines in their original state. The function of the FAFs is unknown. They come from both settlements and graves, but looting makes it impossible to draw definite conclusions. They occasionally turn up outside the Cyclades and they were imitated on Early Minoan Crete. The FAFs can’t stand up; their feet point downward and they were intended to either to lean against a wall or to lie flat. Modern taste for Cycladic figurines has contributed to the looting of many Cycladic sites on behalf of the international market in antiquities. About a third of all known Cycladic figurines come from looted fragments that were smuggled out of Greece in the 1950s. Most of the material seems to have come from Keros. There are some pieces that came from Naxos. The Keros Hoard was dispersed through museums and private collections around the world. The Looting Question: Laws in Greece, Italy and elsewhere prohibit the illicit excavation and export of antiquities, but museums and collectors all over the world routinely ignore them. The desire of countries like Greece, Italy, and Turkey to retain treasures reflects a cultural nationalism out of step with our globalized age. Looting is destructive because looters are not careful excavators. Minoan Crete to Late Minoan IB (LM IB) Before the Palaces: The largest island in the Aegean, strategically located between the mainland, the islands and the eastern Mediterranean, Crete became a major cultural and economic center in the Bronze Age. The island has a mountainous west, a central spine of high peaks, eastern highlands and coastal plains (along the south especially). The end of the Stone Age settled it. The most impressive type of building in this period is a type of tomb called a tholos (were circular in plain and built of roughly worked stones). Each had a single entryway, consisting of two upright piers supporting a horizontal slab. Known as postandlintel construction, this simple building method remained in use throughout Greek history. Roofs may have been flat or made of some perishable material. Illicit excavators have looted most tholoi. By EM I the land was dotted with small hilltop villages. Houses were rebuilt of mudbricks on rubble foundations and there was no distinctive religious architecture. Minoan Palaces: Rising population and increased prosperity at the end of the Early Bronze Age encouraged political and economic integration on Crete. Cretan merchants in search of tin had penetrated as far as the River Euphrates. In MM IB, large religious and administrative centers at Knossos, Mallia, Phaistos, and elsewhere sprang up. The Cretan palaces seem to have been centers for the collection, storage, processing, and distribution of produce from nearby hinterlands, as well as for manufacturing and trade. Religious and political functions intertwined with their economic functions. Smaller complexes known as villas operated at a local level. Palaces were central to Minoan society. All the Minoan palaces were either destroyed or damaged by earthquakes and fire at the end of MM IIIA. They were swiftly rebuilt. In LM IA, a number of new, smaller palaces appeared. This Second Palace Period lasted until the end of LM IB, when there is evidence for another widespread destruction, done by human hands. Palace Architecture: Knossos, in north central Crete is the largest and best known. Palaces usually stood at the heart of a larger urban settlement. The defining feature of a Minoan palace was a large, central courtyard, rectangular in plan, on a northsouth axis and oriented toward a nearby mountain peak or cave. These courts served as staging grounds for ritual performances, assemblies and economic activities connected to the operations of the palace. The facades were built of carefully hewn blocks of stone (ashlars) and featured numerous entranceways, porches, and windows. An open plaza could be found to the west of the palace complex. Entry to the palace was through a door in the west façade; a winding processional corridor led to a stairway, giving access to the second floor, and to the central court. There is evidence at Knossos for a “window of appearance” a distinctive Near Eastern feature for ceremonial presentations before a crowd. At Knossos and elsewhere, the west court boasted tiers of benches for spectators to watch rituals or processions. Ashlar foundations supported rubble walls reinforced with timber, a combination well suited to withstand earthquakes; it is found also in the Cyclades and the Near East. Roofs were flat. Minoan palaces included substantial storage facilities, shrines, ceremonial halls, manufacturing installations and offices. At Knossos, religious activity and storage tended to cluster on the west side of the central court, with administration and production on the east, but the distinction was not absolute. Residential quarters may have been to the east. Both palaces and smaller structures contain lustral basins, which resemble tiny indoor swimming pools entered by a short stairway. They didn’t contain water though because they lack drains. A ritual function can be assumed. Rooflines were frequently decorated with symbols known as horns of consecration. These symbols are sometimes thought to represent the horns of sacrificial bulls but don’t resemble bull’s horns. They do look exactly alike the Egyptian hieroglyph for “mountain.” A number of important Minoan buildings contained a basement chamber with a single central pillar. These pillar crypts may stand in for sacred caves, the pillar representing a stalactite. If these are artificial versions of sacred places in the natural landscape, then their presence in palaces might attest to the institutionalization and centralization of rural cult activity at the admin center. The Minoan hall is a characteristic unit consisting of a chamber with an outer porch opening onto an airshaft or “light well.” Pieranddoor partitions were a mainstay of Minoan architects. Minoan halls at several palaces are associated with archives containing impressions of carved seals, suggesting that these complexes may have had an admin function. Palace Craft Production: Many palatial centers produced pottery on a large scale. The First Palace Period had Eastern technology arriving like the potter’s wheel. By MM IIB, specialized craftsmen were producing a topline ceramic known as Kamares ware. It is a lightondark style featuring flat vegetal motifs in mobile, flowing patterns. Kamares ware encapsulates many of the basic features of Minoan art, notably a fondness for natural motifs, waving contours, and dynamic pattern work. In the Palace Period, from LM IA, Cretan potters began to produce new, darkonlight wares that required burnishing and a hotter kiln. The “Special Palace Tradition” is the name of the finest Knossian products of LM IB. The patterns of Kamares Style are translated into a new iconography: the nautilus is like a Kamares floral come to life. Sea creatures, which naturally float, are ideally suited to this style, which emphasizes dynamism of pose while leaving spatial relations indefinite. Knossos seems to have acquired cultural, economic, and perhaps even political supremacy on Crete. Amongst the most spectacular were elaborate funnels for pouring liquid, known as rhyta. Some rhyta are simple cones with an opening at the wide end and a small hole at the tip. Others were carved in the shape of a bull’s or lion’s head, with an opening in the chin, not the mouth. Pieces of up to twentysix stone bull’s head rhyta are known, all of which seem to have been deliberately smashed after use, as if to symbolize the killing of the animal. Other stone vessels carry elaborate scenes in relief, focusing on rituals of the elite. These luxuries were conspicuous consumption for wealthy Minoans as well as important items in gift exchange. Humble versions in clay are also known. Wall Painting: At Knossos the new status of the palace is reflected in the appearance of lavish wall paintings with figure scenes. The earliest date to MM IIIA, but LM I sees Knossian painting at its zenith. Influence from Egypt is apparent in certain motifs, like blue monkeys and riverside scenes with papyrus. Egyptian is a convention of using white paint for the flesh of women, brown for that of men. Frescos were found in houses. In Egypt, figures would usually be tied to ground lines, or registers. At Knossos they range freely over the surface of the wall. Natural forms receive special attention, with each species of plant carefully described. There is no consistent spatial relationship between the figures and their surroundings. The painters evoke general surroundings. Wall paintings were specialties of Knossos. The Minoans and True Fresco: although Minoan wall painting derived ultimately from Egypt, its technique was innovative. In Egypt, painters usually painted directly onto stone or dry gypsum plaster. The Minoans usually applied pigment onto damp plaster made from quicklime (calcium oxide), which dries to stony hardness. They invented what was “true fresco,” because the pigment penetrates the wet plaster and binds to it permanently, true fresco is extremely durable, even when a wall has collapsed.
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