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date: 30 November 2022

urbanism, Greek and Hellenisticlocked

urbanism, Greek and Hellenisticlocked

  • Robin Osborne

Extract

Urban units are to be distinguished not simply by the size of the community, but by its topographical organization, occupational pattern, and cultural sophistication. The formation of towns is not therefore simply a matter of the agglomeration of communities, but of the forging of a community of distinct character. Archaeologists have sometimes been too willing to call early bronze age settlements towns as a result of overestimating the size of the community involved, but both the archaeological remains and the evidence of the Linear B tablets (see mycenaean language) show that late bronze age palace centres of the *Minoan and *Mycenaean civilizations were essentially urban units in their size, occupational diversity, and culture. Particularly important seems to be the role of the palaces as centres for the storage and redistribution of agricultural produce: it may not be coincidental that both the bronze age palaces and the earliest towns develop in areas marginal for agriculture and where accumulation and storage of produce is vital if a stable community of any size is to be maintained and is a source of political power.

Subjects

  • Greek Material Culture

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