Mycenaean Greece, Mediterranean Commerce, and the Formation of Identity

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 8, 2010 - Art - 246 pages
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The impact of long-distance exchange on the developing cultures of Bronze Age Greece has been a subject of debate since Schliemann's discovery of the Shaft Graves at Mycenae. In Mycenaean Greece, Mediterranean Commerce, and the Formation of Identity, Bryan E. Burns offers a new understanding of the effects of Mediterranean trade on Mycenaean Greece by considering the possibilities represented by the traded objects themselves in their Mycenaean contexts. A range of imported artifacts were distinguished by their precious material, uncommon style, and foreign writing, signaling their status as tangible evidence of connections beyond the Aegean. The consumption of these exotic symbols spread beyond the highest levels of society and functioned as symbols of external power sources. Burns argues that the consumption of exotic items thus enabled the formation of alternate identities and the resistance of palatial power.
 

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Contents

Aegean Agency in Mediterranean Exchange
8
Exchange in the Bronze Age Mediterranean
9
Assessing Individual Imports
20
Acts of Consumption and the Materialization of Ideology
29
An Overview of Imported Objects in Mycenaean Greece
36
Becoming Mycenaean Definitions of Civilization Style and Art
41
Foreign Elements in the Monuments at Mycenae
43
Ethnicity of the Shaft Grave Treasures and People
51
Limitations of Palace Economies
116
Local Networks Employing Foreign Goods
119
Import Consumption in Palatial Centers
130
Imports and Textual References at Pylos
132
The Erasure of Foreign Symbols at Thebes
135
Religious Associations in the Citadel at Mycenae
139
An Enigmatic Group Outside the Citadel at Mycenae
147
Utilitarian and Decorative Imports at Tiryns
156

The Institutionalization of Mycenaean Artifacts as Greek Art
57
Internal and External Perspectives
66
Imports in the Early Mycenaean Period
73
Social Context of the Shaft Graves at Mycenae
80
A Prehistory of Foreign Relations
86
Ivory in the Shaft Graves and in Early Mycenaean Crafting
95
Early Imports Outside the Shaft Graves
100
Crafting Power Through Import Consumption
105
Perspectives on Kingly Power
107
Instability and Independence within Centralized Systems
111
Funerary Consumption and Competition in the Argolid
163
Site Hierarchy and Regional Competition
166
Individual and Communal Identities
171
Late Helladic IIIA Tombs as Places of Celebration
179
Continued and Concentrated Tomb Use in Late Helladic IIIB
186
Conclusions Foreign and Domestic in the Mycenaean World
191
References
197
Index
241
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About the author (2010)

Bryan E. Burns is Assistant Professor of Classical Studies at Wellesley College. He is the author of numerous articles on Bronze Age Greece and has been awarded fellowships and fieldwork grants from the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

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