Thomas Bertram Lonsdale Webster and Karim Arafat
Thomas Bertram Lonsdale Webster and Antony Spawforth
A. M. Snodgrass
Classical archaeology properly the study of the whole material culture of ancient Greece and Rome, is often understood in a somewhat narrower sense. *Epigraphy, the study of inscriptions on permanent materials, is today more widely seen as a branch of historical rather than of archaeological enquiry; while numismatics, the study of coins (see
No less important than these explicit divisions are the unwritten, yet widely accepted constraints on the range of material culture accepted as appropriate for study. These constraints, which have helped to maintain an intellectual distance between classical and other archaeologies, have privileged the study of works of representational art and monumental architecture as the core, sometimes almost the entirety, of the subject. A second prominent attitude, one which indeed inspired the study of the material remains of antiquity in the first place, has been attention to the surviving ancient texts, with the aim of matching them with material discoveries. These assumptions can be traced back to the earliest stages of the history of the discipline; topographical exploration, which also began very early, understandably shared the same deference to the texts. The collection of works of art, a prerogative of wealth rather than of learning, helped to confer on the subject in its early years a social prestige at least as prominent as its intellectual. From Renaissance times in Italy and France, from the early 17th cent. in England, and from somewhat later in other parts of northern Europe and North America, these forces propelled the subject forward. Such excavation as took place before the mid-19th cent. was usually explicitly directed towards the recovery of works of art, with the textual evidence serving as a guide or, where it was not directly applicable, as a kind of arbiter. Once the volume of available finds reached a certain critical mass, a further motive came into play: that of providing models for the better training of artists and architects.
A. J. Parker
Andrew F. Stewart
John F. Lazenby
Richard Allan Tomlinson
Richard Allan Tomlinson
John F. Lazenby
Apart from what little archaeology can tell us, our earliest evidence comes from *Homer, but it is uncertain how far the poems can be taken as depicting real warfare. To some extent, what happens on Homeric battlefields is dictated by the nature of the poetry. However, with the possible exception of those from *Locris (Il. 13. 714 ff.), all troops are implied to be of the same type, and there is no cavalry, even the chariots not being organized as a separate force and only rarely being used for a massed charge (e.g. 15. 352 ff.), despite *Nestor's advice (4. 303 ff.). Nestor also recommends subdivision into *phylai (‘tribes’) and *phratries (2. 362 f.), and other passages suggest organization into lines and files (e.g. 3. 77, 4. 90), but the constant use of the throwing-spear implies a loose formation except in particular circumstances (e.g. 16. 211 ff.).
Herbert William Parke and Michael Vickers
J. J. Pollitt
The Greeks regularly equated art with craft, τέχνη, which *Aristotle defined as the ‘trained ability (ἕξις) of making something under the guidance of rational thought’ (Eth. Nic. 1140a9–10). Until the late Hellenistic period, there is no evidence that sculpture and painting were viewed as fundamentally different from shoemaking or any other profession which produced a product. Although a number of writers betray an instinctive recognition of a qualitative difference between the visual arts on the one hand and utilitarian crafts on the other, no formal distinction was ever made between the ‘fine arts’ and other arts in Greek thought.
From an aristocratic point of view artists were regarded as social inferiors because they were obliged to do physical work for others, and this type of life was held to have a degrading effect on their bodies and minds (Xen. Oec. 4. 2–3; Arist. Pol.
Andrew F. Stewart
The social worlds of artisans and craftsmen were structured around skill on both conceptual and practical levels. On a conceptual level, artisans employed skill (τέχνη / ars) as a crucial component of the identities they constructed for themselves—identities that differed distinctly from perceptions of artisans among the elite, who dismissed most craftsmen as “base” manual labourers. On a practical level, the importance of apprenticeship as a tool for the acquisition of skill had a profound impact on the social profile of artisans and craftsmen: while it ensured that skill could be acquired by both free and enslaved artisans, it limited opportunities for women and for children born into households of low economic status. From an economic perspective, the small workshop remained the backbone of artisanal production. The ubiquity of small workshops in the economy can be explained best as the product of artisans’ efforts to respond to the risks created by product markets in which demand was inherently seasonal and uncertain. With some exceptions, artisans sought to mitigate their exposure to risk by minimizing fixed costs, while nevertheless preserving the ability to expand their output in periods of elevated demand. This was true even in industries that fostered specialization in discrete and technically demanding stages of a vertical production process: in these industries, artisans typically coordinated their production not within integrated firms, but rather within subcontracting networks.
Herbert Jennings Rose and Simon Hornblower
Frederick Adam Wright and Michael Vickers
Astragali, knucklebones (ἀστράγαλοι), a popular pastime with Greeks and Romans of all ages. They also served as dice: the four long faces of the knucklebones were of different shapes, one flat, one irregular, one concave, and one convex, and in dicing these had the value respectively of 1, 6, 3, 4.
John McKesson Camp II
At the core of Greek athletics was an individual's hard physical struggle in order to gain victory over an opponent; hence, it included not only (as ‘athletics’ implies nowadays) track and field events but also *boxing, *wrestling, and equestrian events (see
The first substantial description of Greek practice comes from *Homer's account of the funeral games for *Patroclus (Il. 23. 262–897; cf. Od. 8. 120–30). Eight events are mentioned there (chariot-racing, boxing, wrestling, running, *javelin, an event similar to fencing, throwing the weight, and archery); the five in italics regularly formed the central part of all later games.