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7. Introduction to Ancient Greek History: The Greek "Renaissance" - Colonization and Tyranny (cont.)


Poziom:

Temat: Społeczeństwo i nauki społeczne

Professor Donald Kagan: We have been looking
at the question of the rise of the polis and the various
significant elements that were part of the making of the
polis, and of course I've emphasized
the notion of this new class of people, the farmer hoplite
citizen, as being the critical element
in shaping the polis and for my money that's what the
polis is about to start with and then it develops
characteristics consistent with that,
and some that challenge that over the centuries.
But now, imagine that we are living in the early years of a
polis sometime in the eighth century B.C.
Again, I want to emphasize these things that I've been
describing don't happen in every place at the same time and they
don't even happen every place in the same way,
but over a stretch of time the concepts and the kind of
characteristics I've been describing appear to spread all
over the place. But one of the ways in which we
can date the time when the polis came into being has
to do with the Greek traditions about the establishment of
colonies throughout the Mediterranean inhabited by
Greeks, and the reason that they are a
clue is because every time we see a colony,
learn anything at all about it, it appears to exist in the form
of a polis, which powerfully suggests that
that was the typical characteristic style of life
that had already been established for Greeks before
they sent out the colonies. So, that's the chronological
significance of it. I should say all of these
dates that I will be giving you are some combination of Greek
tradition--and the Greeks dated these colonies very
specifically. That would be hard to believe,
impossible to believe, I guess, if it weren't that
these dates tend to be confirmed in a general way,
not in a specific way, by the archaeological
discoveries that we find at the sites,
the earliest places where these colonies came into being.
So it's that combination, archaeology plus Greek
tradition that lies behind the date of any city.
But you shouldn't take the date that I give you,
the traditional date, as being firm.
It's a general thing; it's around that time is the
best we can really say. The date that's sort of typical
for the general phenomenon of colonization coming out of the
mother cities of Greece is again that date we keep talking about,
750 roughly. But in fact,
the earliest date according to Greek tradition,
if my memory is correct, was something like 773 where
the Greeks date the foundation of what they thought was the
earliest colony they ever established -- a place that they
called Pithaecusa, which is the island of Ischia
in the Bay of Naples. That's the very first place
where there is a tradition of a Greek colony having been
planted. There's no question that there
was a Greek colony there and as I say the archaeological remains
confirm the general time for this happening.
Now, the first question I suppose, before I get to
describing what a colony was and how it worked,
we want to ask the question what was it that led Greeks to
sail or walk, mostly to sail very great
distances from their mother cities.
To leave home and to establish a new city for themselves
someplace else is not to be taken for granted.
In the first place, by and until the twentieth
century, I guess, human beings tended to stay
put. They didn't move,
unless they were driven to move.
That was the natural thing to do given the character of life,
which was based upon farming, if you leave you lose your
farm, and based upon the difficulty of transportation.
In the Greek world we know--I think I quoted something from
Hesiod that confirmed it. The Greeks were,
even though they went to sea plenty, they were terrified of
the sea for very good reason. Their ships,
their boats were not very seaworthy;
storms come up in the Mediterranean very suddenly and
terribly; you take your life in your
hands when you travel. So then there's the whole
idea--we've already given you some sense that the Greeks were
ancestor worshippers. I mean, they took special care
of the dead and they thought that the way you buried people
and so on was terribly important.
So, what I'm saying is, when you leave the place you
were born, you leave your ancestors as well.
All of that means we need to explain why these folks do what
they end up doing, and we have some hints,
but of course we do not know with any certainty or any
confidence. If you ask the question why
did many Italians leave their homes, especially south Italians
in the late nineteenth century and come--well,
go all over the world actually, to South America,
Australia, but the largest numbers to the United States.
Why did they do that? Well, we don't have to do a lot
of guessing. We have written evidence from
the people who went and they say why they did it.
We can then supplement that with all sorts of other
information that we have, but we don't have any documents
from some settler explaining why he's going where he's going.
So, we have to reason from the evidence that the establishment
gives us. I suppose the most widely cited
reason is simply the desire to acquire farmland.
Remember, I keep emphasizing this.
The vast overwhelming majority of people needed to farm land,
in order to stay alive. And why should there be a
shortage of farmland? One answer,
and it's the one that is most widely believed among Greek
scholars, is that the growth of
population that we have mentioned in connection with the
rise of the polis is still working once the
polis comes into form. So what this means,
if you used to have two children and now you have four,
how do you provide for the extra two?
Well, sometimes you divide up the land equally,
but if that land continues to get smaller and smaller,
it will not sustain an additional person,
not to mention additional family.
If you were to follow the procedure, which the Greeks did
not, of primogenitor, that is, of giving the whole
plot to the eldest son, but what happens to the others?
So that clearly is a problem and the notion that land hunger
is a key explanation, I think, is supported by the
fact that wherever we find a polis,
whatever other characteristics it has,
and they vary, some of them are located at
wonderful places on the sea for trading purposes,
some of them are not, but all of them have a land
supply which permits the citizens to farm successfully
and thereby to make the polis succeed.
But I don't think that's the only answer.
I think the desire for commerce would have been also--I agree
with the traditional view which is that this would have been at
a lesser consideration, but still very important,
because we so often find that the colony is placed right at a
nifty place for trade. They would have had to be damn
fools to have settled there without that being in their
minds, although some of the places
where they settled leave us puzzled, and have left the
ancients puzzled. One of my favorite examples is
the colony on the south shore of the Bosporus,
which is called Chalcedon.
It's right opposite Constantinople--that doesn't
exist, Istanbul. Winston Churchill never,
never conceded that it was Istanbul;
he called it Constantinople till the day he died.
But right opposite that magnificent site,
the golden horn is there. How could you possibly settle
there, because they settled Chalcedon first and the
tradition that the Greeks pass on is the people who settle
Chalcedon were blind men, because you would have to be
blind to make that choice. Well, we don't know why they
did what they did. So nonetheless,
the desire for a good commercial opportunity might
well have been one of the elements that these people who
were leaving their home cities sought.
Then there are less--what's the word I want?
Certainly things that have nothing to do with economics
really--there are politics going on in these states as there
always are in any Greek polis.
There are factions that grow up for one reason or another and
they come into conflict. One side wins the argument and
the battle, and sometimes the ill will is so great that the
losing side feels either that it has to flee for its safety,
or it chooses to flee rather than to live under their
opponents. So, defeated political groups
might well--or individuals who were the heads of those groups
might decide they have to get out of town.
And now that we do have something, namely,
this wave of colonization, they join that as well.
Then there are always things that we might call much
less rational than that. In any group of people there is
a small minority, I want to emphasize small,
who just love to do risky things.
They just love adventure; they're never happy if they're
safe, and so off they go seeking adventure and seeking to make a
fortune however they're going to do it,
so I think that has to be counted into the picture too,
so typically I think it would have been a small part of what's
going on. So, for these reasons and
probably for hundred more that I haven't thought of,
we can understand why these people go against the natural
instinct of staying put and go adventuring out,
seeking a new home someplace in the Mediterranean.
Okay, what are these new settlements like?
First thing is that they're like each other in many
important ways, although obviously with
differences from place to place. But here's how it worked--by
the way, the word I have been using, colony is not a Greek
word and really not appropriate for what the Greeks are up to.
The Greek word for this is, apoikia,
and most literally it would mean a home away,
an away home and that's what they're making.
They are establishing for themselves a household,
a home someplace away from where they started,
and that's the name. Colony is a Latin word
ultimately for colonia and the Roman colonies were,
first of all, garrisons that they planted in
land they had conquered to keep the people quiet.
So, they would be alien bosses in a different territory.
And then later in history, in Roman history,
that was the name given to establishments,
rural establishments, when the civilization was
breaking down and the men who worked on those rural places
really were not free men. They were the antecedents of
the Serfs, which we will see later on in medieval history in
Europe. So, when you see the word
colonia in late Roman history, it's talking about
something very, very different from what we're
talking about. So, I use the word colony
because that's what we have for all such establishments of the
kind we're talking about. Remember that these are
apoikiai from the Greek point of view.
Okay, how does an apoikia happen?
Somebody in one of the old Greek cities has to decide that
he wants to go out and establish a colony.
He would be an individual of some eminence,
because the job of doing this requires that people should
accept his leadership. He will have to do the
recruiting of people that come with him on the colony;
he will have to do the constitutional discussion and a
political discussion to gain the sanction from the mother city to
allow him to do everything he knows.
So, I think we should imagine that these leaders of colonies,
these founders of colonies, would be probably noblemen and
that they would have a position of eminence,
and yet unlikely to be part of the sort of dominant faction in
that city, because otherwise why would they leave?
Anyway, the Greeks had a name for this individual.
He was called an oikistes;
he is the found of the colony. So, now he has decided to
do it and he's gained recognition from the town
council, let's say, and he can go forward.
Now, he has to have an idea. He can't just say,
I think I'd like to found a colony.
What is more typical, I think, is that he thinks,
I would like to take and have found a colony on the
southeastern coast of Sicily. Why?
Because he knows something about it;
either he has somehow traveled out there himself and said,
the place I'm thinking about has a wonderful harbor,
it has good farmland in the neighborhood,
and a critical element to making this judgment is that it
is not occupied by hostile natives who will resist
vigorously your landing there. Either there will be nobody
there or more likely there will be not a very big population,
and it's not very tough, and they could be easily
brushed aside. Those would have been some of
the considerations, and so what the oikistes
does when he has picked out in his own mind where he wanted to
go, next he goes to Delphi.
Anybody--raise your hand if you've been to Delphi.
When you go to Greece do the obvious, go where the tourists
go and Delphi is one place not to miss.
It's halfway up Mount Parnassus and it was thought by the Greeks
to be the omphalos, the navel of the universe,
the center in every way. Why?
Because there the god Apollo had established an oracle.
There was a place in which from the earth there came--it wasn't
steam, what would it be? Gases would escape through this
gap in the earth and there when things got figured out and
arranged, there were priests who
worshipped Apollo there and who took care of this phenomenon.
They would place a young woman there who would sit as these
gases came up and she would after a while begin to,
I suppose in the biblical languages, she would speak in
tongues, which is to say she would rattle off a lot of
language which nobody could understand what she was saying.
Gibberish, or so it sounded, or Greek but making no sense to
anybody, and then the priest would listen to this stuff and
he would say, what Apollo said through the
priestess here is, and he would give the message.
Let me just take a moment to tell you about this.
I say this now with great confidence but ten years ago
this story, which all the Greeks agreed too,
agreed upon in every respect, that the temple of Apollo was
built right on top of this, and underneath the floor of the
temple was this little room where the gases came up,
where the priestess sat, where all of this came up.
Well, archaeologists investigated this carefully,
and the French School of Archaeology late in the
nineteenth century dug everything up and concluded this
was baloney; it was a myth.
There were no gases coming up from any of this stuff,
and so everybody believed for the next century,
and then a young man who once sat in one of the chairs--not in
this room maybe, but in which you're sitting,
John Hale of the Yale Class of 1973, who is now an
archaeologist at the University of Louisville.
Having learned, or having agreed,
let's say, with my prejudice, that the higher naiveté
must reign--and if the Greeks said it happened,
you got to believe it happened, until you have to believe that
it didn't happen. And so he decided to
investigate this and he took with him a fine geologist from
Wesleyan just to go to the place there at Delphi and to see
whether it could be true that such gases did come out,
and what sort of gases they were, and what consequences they
would have, and you know I wouldn't be telling you this
story if it hadn't turned out that they discovered evidence
that, in my judgment,
but I don't think really anybody doubts it anymore,
that totally confirmed the Greek story.
They tell you precisely what the gases were,
what the characteristics of those gases were,
and it squared beautifully with all details that we heard about
the Delphic Oracle. So, here's just one more case
where Yale helped to straighten out the world,
but you notice it wasn't done by a Yale faculty member,
we engage in confusing the world,
but our alumni do a much better job and that's what happened
here. So, you go to the oracle
and what do you ask the oracle? Well now, before we go any
further--in your Herodotus readings and elsewhere,
you will come across many a story in which an oracle is
consulted and gives an answer. Well, the most famous early on,
King Croesus of Lydia, the richest man in the world,
you've heard all about him, decides it would be a nice
thing to conquer the Persian Empire,
his neighbor to the east. So, he goes to--he's a
barbarian, but the barbarians came to the Delphic Oracle too,
because you want to know what the gods want.
So, he came and he asked. He said, "If I cross the Halys
River, that's the boundary between Lydia and Persia,
what will happen?" The oracle replied,
"A great empire will be destroyed," and Croesus said,
"Terrific that's what I have in mind."
He invaded and he was clobbered, and then you read the
splendid story Herodotus tells of how he was captured.
He was up on a pyre, and he was going to be burned
when he remembered Solon, the Greek, who had come to him
and warned him about the vain glory, and he said,
oh Solon, oh Solon. I guess Apollo must have then
said, he's reached wisdom and so he sent a rainstorm to put the
fire out and he lived through that.
Well okay, the point is the oracle was
wrong. No, of course not.
We all know what was wrong with Croesus.
He should have asked another question, which empire?
But he didn't think of it; other times all kinds of funny
stories are told about the oracle, which would suggest that
it wasn't really a very reliable source of information,
that it was filled with mythology and so on and so
forth. But here is the hard headed
fact. We know for sure Greeks and
barbarians, and everybody came to Delphi, and when you came to
Delphi and you were going to consult the oracle,
it was hard, there were a lot of people,
a long line, so there was a waiting issue.
But also people used to bribe the priests, in order to get
moved up on the front on line, and they would also give great
and beautiful gifts to the temple people and to the temple,
and to the priest. In other words,
people spent a lot of money to consult the oracle.
Now, ask yourself this, especially if you're talking
about Greeks, are they going to keep shelling
out money for an oracle that gives them answers that turn out
to be wrong? No.
Most of the things they asked were questions that really
had a yes or no answer, and according to my thinking,
there's no way they could have been wrong very much.
I think the oracle probably gained its fame for being very
good precisely at answering this question.
The question would have been what will happen if I go and try
to settle a colony at the place which I will call
Syracuse--that's what I've been describing on the southeastern
coast of Sicily. The answer would come and the
priests would give a response that would be essentially
straight. It would either say something
like--I'm not going to do the words that they would have come
up with, but they would have said,
yeah that's a good place to go or don't do that,
that's a terrible mistake. Now, why would they be able to
do that? Because at some point in here,
Delphi really did become the navel of the universe;
everybody came. Now, you can bet when these
folks came and consulted the priest and said,
could you please put us down on the list,
we want to consult the oracle, the priest said sure have a
beer, let's talk about your hometown,
what's going on out there. What I'm suggesting to you is
that this was the best information gathering and
storing device that existed in the Mediterranean world.
These people knew more than anybody else about these things,
and so consulting that oracle was a very rational act indeed.
Okay, now suppose you are the oikistes,
you've gotten the permission from your city to go forward,
and you go to the Delphic Oracle and the Delphic Oracle
says fine, by all means, go where you want to go.
Next thing, you got to go home and you have to write up what
amounts to a charter of foundation for the city,
which lays out how things are going to work in this
city--something about the governmental structure,
maybe even more fundamentally how the land will be allotted,
assigned, divided, and so on so that when you go
to recruit settlers, everybody will know what he's
getting and will decide whether it's a good idea for him or not.
Now, recruiting is tremendously important because
you need to have a certain number of settlers to make the
settlement viable. You may not run into an
enormously powerful collection of natives, but you're going to
get some kind of trouble. It's foolish for you to assume
you're not going to have any problem out there.
So you need a certain number of people just for defense
purposes, but beyond that you need to have a certain number of
people to carry out all the functions that need to be
carried out for a successful polis.
So however many that is, that is what you try to recruit
and you recruit typically at a time when it's easy to get
people together so you can tell them the story.
The best time would be at some great festival.
There are festivals held in each city just for its own
citizens and my guess is that when you could do that,
when you felt that you could recruit a full colony from your
fellow citizens in Corinth, let us say, that's what you did.
But it would often happen that there were not enough
Corinthians who were ready to go with you on your expedition.
So, you would try to take your message to one of the
Pan-Hellenic festivals which were getting organized about
this time. As you know,
the Olympic Games are alleged to have started in 776.
So, that would be a place where Greeks from all over might come
and you could then try to recruit settlers for your new
colony there, and then we don't know
precisely when but there were Pan-Hellenic Games near Corinth,
the Isthmian Games, there were Pan-Hellenic Games
at Delphi and there Pan-Hellenic Games in the northeastern
Peloponnesus at a town called Nemea.
So, there would always be some opportunity for you to go out
and make your pitch. So now you have everything in
place, you've recruited your settlement, you get on your
ships and sail, in this case out to the west
central Mediterranean, you find your way to Sicily,
work your way into the harbor at Syracuse and things work out,
and now we have this apoikia called Syracuse.
So, the next question I think is, what is the
relationship between Syracuse which is the apoikia and
Corinth, which is the metropolis,
the mother city; that's what metropolis means by
the way.
First thing to brush from your mind, along with the word colony
as we have used it in modern times,
is the notion that the city of Syracuse was sent out to be a
colony, that Corinth controlled, owned the city of Syracuse
which it has sent out. This is not the case--well,
before the British gave Hong Kong back, Hong Kong was a crown
colony, it was British territory.
It was ruled by Britain and so on.
No, this is not what an apoikia is.
From the first, Syracuse is an independent
polis, autonomous, self-governing,
whatever regime it wants, etc.
It is not a subject of anybody, not Corinth or anybody else.
That's not the end of the story. The question really is,
so now we know that, what kind of relations did they
have? I would say there are three
categories that they fall into. The most typical,
the usual, everything else is an exception is that there are
friendly relations between the mother city and the
apoikia, but keep in mind that they are
always independent, and an example is in the
Peloponnesian War. Syracuse finds itself besieged
by the Athenians. They go to Corinth asking the
Corinthians to please help us. The Corinthians are free;
they will be violating no law or sacred bond if they say,
sorry we really don't feel like doing that.
It would be thought they were not behaving very well,
but they would have been as I say, perfectly within every
right you can imagine to do that.
But the typical reaction would be that the Corinthians would
help, to the extent first of all,
that they could and secondly, to the extent that it was
consistent with their interests. Well, in fact,
the Corinthians send very little, send a couple of ships
and a general, which turn out to be
tremendously important, but they couldn't have known
that in advance. From where we sit,
it looks like the Corinthians were making a gesture of
friendship, of solidarity,
the kind of thing you would expect a mother city to do,
not to ignore its apoikia when it was in
trouble. So that's all that they did.
First of all, it was normal for the
apoikia to turn to the mother city for help,
and it was normal for the mother city to be inclined to
help if they could do it. That's normal.
I think if you can imagine of the many, many,
many colonies there were, that would have been the usual
arrangement. Now, there are exceptions in
both directions, and as it happens the cases I
know best have to do with the city of Corinth.
Corinth sent out a lot of colonies, which is why we know
something about their arrangements.
The ones I'm talking about all have to do with the
Peloponnesian War which is one of the reasons why we know a
little bit about it, because Thucydides tells us the
details of it. Well, we know,
thanks to Thucydides, that it had become normal for
Corinth to send out to its colony Potidaea,
located on the Chalcidic peninsula, those three fingers
sticking down into the Aegean Sea from the mainland of Greece,
this is a town on one of those fingers.
Potidaea every year received magistrates who
governed their city from Corinth and this was not imposed,
this was not by force, this was by mutual agreement.
So, Corinth really had a very great deal to say about what was
going on in Potidaea. So, when Potidaea got into
trouble with Athens, and found itself besieged,
Corinth sent a real army to go in there and fight,
and I think that's because of this very special relationship
that they had. At the other end of the
spectrum it's again Corinth and they have a colony up in the
northwest called Corcyra, it is the modern Island of
Corfu, and this colony was clearly established earlier than
664, because that's the first time
we hear of its taking any action;
it's been around for a while, very early colony.
From the earliest times, Corcyra does not get along with
the mother city of Corinth. The first relationship between
them is a navel battle, and thereafter we hear of them
quarrelling and fighting with each other just about at least
once a century right on down until we get to the
Peloponnesian War when a quarrel over who's what out in that area
between Corinth and Corcyra is, I would say,
the first instigating element in bringing on the Peloponnesian
War. Okay, so this gives you
some idea of the range of possible relationships between
colony and mother city. I just want to emphasize one
more time, that the overwhelming normal situation is the first
one I described, friendly relations.
Why not? These guys that have gone out,
let us say to Syracuse, they are your people,
they have relatives back home, they have friends back home,
it is natural--oh by the way, they're accustomed to worship
the gods in the same way that the Corinthians do.
We do know, again, Thucydides is our source,
that it was customary for colonies to send representatives
back to the mother city for the religious observations that were
common to them all, so that those create good
feelings. They feel like their relatives,
and what could be more natural. You're out there in Sicily and
you discover, of course, that you don't have
all of the things that you used to have available to you,
that used to be made let us say in Corinth.
As a matter of fact, in the early days,
Corinth was a great center of painted pottery and was the
leading producer and exporter of that.
So, maybe you wanted a really fine pot of the kind you used to
be able to walk to the corner and pick up at a pottery shop,
but you can't get now, so you would want to buy what
the Corinthians sell. Guess what?
You've got great grain fields out there in Syracuse.
Hard to believe today, but Sicily was one of the major
granaries of the Mediterranean world at that time,
tremendously fruitful, able to grow the best possible
crops, very good wheat and so on.
Corinth always needs that kind of stuff, so we sell you our
wheat, you sell us your pottery, you sell good wine that we
can't grow yet and maybe never will be able to grow in our
neighborhood, so on and so forth.
So you can see why it would be very natural for all sorts of
ties to unite these colony and mother city.
Maybe I ought to just give you a chance before I turn to the
next question to ask any questions that still are not
clear for you about this phenomenon of colonization.
Everybody okay? Yes?Student: In the
original city when they had to get permission to form a colony,
what group of people was it that they gave
permission?Professor Donald Kagan: The question
is who gave permission for a colony to go in the mother city.
The best guess and that's the only thing we have.
These would have been aristocratic republics at this
stage of the game, and so there would have been a
council of nobles that would typically have done it.
As you move later in their history, you find you can guess
that there would be councils that were not purely of nobles
but might be of wealthy people, but they would always be a
minority and come from the upper class.
I think that would be where they would get their legitimacy.
In the back, yeah? Student: What extent was
the primitive form of [inaudible]Professor
Donald Kagan: Primitive form of what [inaudible]
Student: [inaudible]Professor
Donald Kagan: I'm not sure that that concept makes--no,
the answer is no, because nobody was compelled to
do anything. The British practicing
mercantilism passed navigation acts, saying what ships could
carry what and so on--nothing like that in the Greek world.
Everybody--all of this is voluntary on both sides of every
agreement. Okay, now where are these
colonies? Let me give you a little run
down. Before we get to that,
I should say that the Greeks have already,
before this period of the polis and the period of
colonization which is connected with the rise of the
polis, centuries before that the
Greeks had already spread out from their original settlements.
Right after the collapse of the Mycenaean world it was a period
of tremendous confusion and panic and fear,
and so on, so that we know that people fleeing from whoever
destroyed the Mycenaean world fled typically eastward into the
island, among the islands of the Aegean
Sea and continuing on to the coast of Asia Minor beyond them,
so that by the tenth century B.C., we see Greek cities lining
the coast of Asia Minor on the west,
and even around on the bottom and to some degree on the north,
and on the islands in the Aegean.
So, there has been a Greek--what's the word I want?
There is an expansion of the Greek world already by the tenth
century, and these folks are now settled down,
so that some of these cities are in fact among the most
important cities sending out colonies of their own.
Of these, the most famous,
perhaps the most important, was Miletus,
an Ionian city located on the west coast of Asia Minor,
which sent many a colony into different parts of the world,
particularly up towards the straits and the Bosporus and the
Sea of Marmara. I might point out that the way
the Greeks did their immigration into Asia Minor actually had a
pattern so that you can go from north to south and you will find
some consistency. Here's what I mean.
The northern most settlements on that coast spoke Greek with
an Aeolian dialect; the Aeolian dialect is the one
that you see on the mainland in places like Boeotia for instance
Thebes and so on. South of the Aeolian section of
that was the region of Asia Minor inhabited chiefly by
Ionians, the people on the mainland who
are the main Ionians are the Athenians.
Finally, if you go to the most southern part of the west coast
of Asia Minor, you come to the Dorian speaking
Greeks and the whole Peloponnesus,
as you know, was fundamentally a Dorian
speaking place. So that's the way the world
looks when the polis is invented and when colonization
begins to become a big thing. Now, let's take a look at
the world of the Mediterranean and see how Greek expansion
worked. Let's start with the Aegean Sea.
Just almost all the islands in that sea are inhabited by
Greeks, mostly by the Greeks that came in that first wave of
immigrants earlier on, not colonized during the eighth
century and afterwards. But if you go to the north
shore of the Aegean Sea, into the region that the Greeks
called Thrace--sorry, before I even get to Thrace,
maybe even a little bit of Thessaly which is off mostly
west of the Aegean Sea, a little bit but not Thrace
chiefly, which is the northern shore of the Aegean Sea,
lots of Greek colonies there; it's fundamentally part of
Greece. Yeah, this is not a bad time
for me to remind you that in one of Plato's dialogues,
Socrates says the Greeks sit like frogs around a pond and
that pond is the Aegean Sea. It's a helpful little story to
remember, because we tend to think of Greece because of its
modern geography as that peninsula of which there is a
sub-peninsula at the bottom, which is Peloponnesus.
That was not the Greece of antiquity.
If you had to pick a central focus of where the Greeks were,
it would be in the Aegean Sea so that's useful to remember.
Then as you move east along that coast, you come to the
Gallipoli Peninsula, all of which is now Turkey and
for the rest of what I'm going to be saying for awhile,
it'll be Turkey as well, but through the straits,
the Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara,
Bosporus, Greek cities all over on both sides.
If you keep going east you hit the Black Sea.
If you move northwards along the Black Sea and southwards as
well, Greek cities, not in the same number,
they're fewer than they are in the places I've mentioned so
far, but important ones.
For instance, when you get up to Crimea,
the chief city we call, Seastapole that comes from
Greek words, it means sebastos polis,
the sacred city, so named after Augustus by
Greeks who lived there after the Emperor Augustus had achieved
power, but it was always inhabited by
Greeks. Similarly,
Odessa, the chief city of Ukraine, apart from Kiev,
was a Greek city and likewise on the northern shore of Turkey
there are Greek cities to be found.
One that leaps to mind is--how do they pronounce it in Turkish?
Is it Trebzond? But it was Trapezos--what was
it called in Greek? Trapezos wasn't it?
Anyway, the Black Sea is not a Greek lake, but there are Greek
cities that are spotted along the coast.
Now not on the east coast, when you get to the Caucuses
you are in barbarian territory. So when the mythical mission of
Jason and his Argonauts go sailing out to that territory,
he is out there in Tarzan country, or as far as the Greeks
were concerned, it was just the wild out in
that territory and remember he marries and brings home a wife,
Media, and she, of course, is like no Greek
woman who ever lived; she is a witch.
She can perform magic and she can do monstrous things that you
can't imagine a Greek woman doing,
at least the Greeks can't imagine, so that's not Greek
territory out there. Well, let's get back out
into the Aegean Sea and we just crossed Asia Minor.
Now, if you turn the bend at the southern end of Asia Minor
and begin moving east, there are some Greek cities
along in there, but when you get to what is now
Lebanon, Syria, the coastal places
there, Palestine, there are no Greek cities there
and that is because during the period we're talking about those
regions were occupied by civilized powerful people who
simply would not be pushed aside,
and nobody would even dream of trying to take them on and
building cities that would challenge their control of that
area. So there are no Greek cities as
you keep coming down and pass Palestine.
You reach Egypt, and of course,
Egypt is one of the great empires of antiquity going back
into, perhaps, certainly into the
fourth millennium, possibly into the fifth,
by no means as powerful as it used to be,
far from it. It has been conquered by now by
other peoples. If you're talking about the
year 750 or something like that it's--I think it's in the hands,
well, it is in the hands of the Assyrians and it will ultimately
fall into the hands of the Persians.
So that is not territory that you can build colonies;
you've got powerful empires to deal with.
There is one exception. In the sixth century,
I think it's around--imagine around 550 or something like
that, the Greeks settle a single
colony in the Delta of the Nile of Egypt at a place called
Naucratis, and the root of that word is
ship. It is a completely different
thing from the apoikia that I've been talking about.
It is a trading post and it's there by permission of and under
the protection of the King of Egypt,
and that's because he wants--it's handy for him to
have a merchant settlement of Greeks for him to do business
with. So, that's a great exception to
everything I've been saying. Going west, would you believe,
when you get into what is now Libya, there was a very
important Greek colony of Cyrene and that whole region was called
Cyrenaica and it was a Greek. You can actually go,
now that I realize that Libya is now open;
it's no longer a closed territory.
You can see Greek and Roman temples there to prove it.
When you go west, however, it stops in the coast
of North Africa--the reason being the rest of North Africa
is dominated by Carthage. Carthage is a colony of
Phoenician cities. Phoenicia was located where
Lebanon is now, and it goes back to maybe the
tenth century, maybe the ninth,
and it was powerful. It tried to control not only
North Africa, but the waters of the
Mediterranean in the west entirely.
The Carthaginians, in fact, have a powerful
pied à terre in the western part
of Sicily and the Greeks will have to fight the Carthaginians
over the years for control of the island of Sicily.
So, that's how far east they get and in time the
Carthaginians also cross over into Spain and they control some
portion of the Spanish coast closest to Africa.
So, there are no Greeks there. They're shut out for the same
reasons. However, once you get beyond
the Carthaginians advance into Spain, there are now Greek
cities on the coast of Spain and there continue to be Greek
cities, not everywhere,
but in a spotty way into France of which the most important and
famous is the one that the Romans called Masillia,
Marseille, a Greek town. So is Nice a Greek town.
Nice was Nikea, victory town and there are
several others. So, they know where to go,
the Riviera, places like that.
Now, what about the Italian Riviera?
That's pretty nifty. Were the Greek colonies near
Portofino where you could put in?
No. And the reason was in the
northern part of Italy, there were Etruscans,
another powerful ancient people who control their own area and
were not about to have anybody colonizing their territory.
However, when you keep going south in Italy,
past Rome, Roman tradition says the city was founded in 754 or
753? 753.
So, everybody agrees about that. Certainly not before that.
So, in the period we're talking about there are no Romans that
you have to worry about. So, south of Rome there is a
tremendous colonizing of southern Italy.
Greek cities are all over the place.
So Greek was that area that when the Romans do come to
dominate most of Italy and sort of move up against the southern
region they refer to the whole southern portion of that
peninsula as Magna Graecia,
great Greece because they're all Greeks down there.
Then finally, down we go to Sicily and there
you have the east coast. I would say two-thirds of the
coast of the island of Sicily is filled with Greek towns.
The third to the west is under Carthaginian control.
The inland, the Greeks don't move in there.
The natives Sicilians inhabit that territory and the Greeks
are not interested. You will find very rare of the
case of a Greek city, which is founded away from the
sea; they always wanted to be close
to the sea for varieties of reasons.
So, now I hope you have in your mind a picture of the way
the Greek world had expanded by the time this wave of
colonization was complete--pretty complete,
sometime in the seventh century B.C.
Just a word about the leading colonizers, because I think
there's something to be learned from that.
One of the things you kind of speculate about,
and wonder about, why did some cities send out
lots of colonies, some cities send out only a
few, and others none at all for quite a while.
Well, if you see who does then you may have a clue.
Well, here is a list of the early extensive colonizers.
Miletus, I mentioned to you from Asia Minor;
Corinth on the isthmus; Megara right next door to
Corinth, also more or less on the isthmus.
Then we turn to the island of Euboea, that long island that's
right next to the east coast of Attica, Euboea.
There were two important cities in the northern part of that
island. One was Calkis and the other
one was Eretria and we hear about them relatively early in
the eighth century, already being very important,
very strong and fighting each other in a famous war that they
fought. But these cities were very
active in colonizing in a variety of directions.
Lots of these towns sent colonists up north into the
Dardanelles and so on and beyond and some of the same cities send
out colonies to Sicily, so that for the real colonizing
states there was no limit to where they would send people who
wanted to go in those areas. It is also interesting to
notice who does not colonize at this early period and the answer
is all the most famous cities of Greece in the Classical Period.
Athens doesn't send out a colony until sometime in the
sixth century. Sparta starts at an early
point, sends out a colony to southern Italy at some time,
probably early, they sent out a colony to an
island in the Aegean Sea, Melos,
and then they stopped and never sent out another colony.
Finally, Thebes, the greatest city in Boeotia,
also does not colonize. So what can we speculate is the
meaning of that? What we find is that the states
who are doing most of the colonizing are located where
most of the trade was going on at this point in history,
and also most of the manufacturing.
When I say manufacturing, you understand everything is
done by hand, but you see things like shops
that contain a number of slaves working for a master.
In some cases, especially the later on you go,
some shops that have quite a few slaves that worked to
produce these things. It's the handy craft industry
but it's an industry nonetheless.
Well, these places are the ones that have the trade,
the industry, and also engage in
colonization. Moreover, as we will see,
there will be internal trouble in the form of political
quarreling, economic conflict,
and finally warfare, civil wars occur in some of
these cities leading to the emergence,
and in the next topic I'll turn to, of the establishment of
tyrannies, as the way of resolving for a time these
terribly tumultuous conditions in those cities.
All of these things are true of places like Corinth,
Megara and possibly Chalcis and Eretria.
So, it is easy to see that where there is that kind of
conflict and trouble, there would be people who would
want to flee that and to go elsewhere.
It might well be that the people who won those wars,
internal wars, would have been glad to send
them away rather than to have these discontented people and
these folks who were their enemies hanging around town and
making trouble. It is only speculation,
but it seems to make sense and we know we don't hear of such
troubles within Athens and Thebes, and Sparta.
It also is possible, again it's just speculation,
that population pressure might well be greater in the cities
that did the colonizing. They tended,
in general, not to have as much farmland as the places that I
have described as not being colonizers,
who may not have felt the pressures of land hunger,
which was so important in motivating colonization.
So, that may explain why some of the states did and others did
not. Finally,
what are the consequences to the Greek experience of this
phenomenon of this outburst of colonization?
Several things come to mind. First of all,
the Greeks now live in places where they never lived before
and their presence has a real impact of a different degree in
every place. I would say that typically
their impact was greater in the west and the north than it was
in the east and the south. The reason for that was that in
the east and in south, the Greeks lived among people
who were more civilized than they, who were more advanced.
They had very little to teach or to impose upon those people
rather than vice versa. I think that I would imagine
the Greeks sopping up all sorts of useful and interesting
information from their neighbors in the east and the south and
there's no question about it. If you look at Greece in this
period, I don't know if I've used this term before,
but some scholars refer to this general period we're talking
about as the Greek renaissance by analogy to the renaissance in
Italy. There's something to it,
because things happened in this period that are revolutionary in
the arts, in the thinking of people,
philosophy is going to be invented in Miletus probably in
this sixth century B.C. Well, Miletus was on the main
routes to all of the places where advanced knowledge could
be found, Mesopotamia, Egypt.
Anybody who looks at Greek mythology and Greek poetry,
and Greek stories sees there is a powerful influence coming into
Greek thought from mainly the Mesopotamian direction.
Anybody who looks at the earliest Greek art for quite
some time, I'm talking about sculpture and temple building,
will see the influence of Egypt enormously powerfully.
So, the Greeks are sopping up tremendously useful information
and talent, and skills, and all sorts of things that
help explain what's going to be coming.
It is inconceivable the Greeks could have developed a
civilization that they did without contact with these
eastern civilizations and learned a great deal from them.
Now, people--some people make an enormous jump from that and
wrongly suggest that what the Greeks basically did was--well,
if you want to take the most extreme statement of it,
stole their civilization from the other folks.
Well, if you take a look at the Greek civilization let us say in
the classical period, those other cultures wouldn't
have had a clue what the Greeks were doing, so different was the
Greek experience from theirs. But what is undeniably true is
that the Greeks learned very important and valuable things,
and adapted what they learned through their own way of life
and produced something really quite new,
and in many fundamental ways, not only new but the opposite
of the places from which these things had come.
There was also, of course, some influence of
the Greeks on the people they went to.
Obviously, I started out by saying this would probably have
been felt most strongly in the west and in the north,
where the people, who lived there,
before the Greeks came, were not civilized or were not
highly civilized. They did not have great urban
cultures and civilizations, long traditions of learning and
so on. No, they weren't like that,
the Greeks were ahead of them and it's evident that they
borrowed stuff from the Greeks in every element of life,
although it didn't shape their lives in a potent,
fundamental way. But that's the way influence
ran in that part of the world. Of course,
another tremendously important consequence of colonization was
the growth of commerce, of trade for the reasons I've
already given you, but beyond that the Greeks of
course, now had access to food stuffs
and other things out in where they settled,
which gave them a basis for trading with the mother city,
which meant there were markets for the mother city,
which they hadn't existed before.
But also, the Greeks were in touch with people beyond where
they settled, so they could obtain raw
materials that were not available before,
and also manufactured things that they might not have had
access to before. All of which they would have
used some for themselves and then engaged in trade with the
old Greek cities. In other words,
you don't need a very great imagination to see how this
would be a terrific boom to commerce.
Think about it for a second, what will this be and how will
this effect what's happening in the cities, the polis?
More and more people, and again I want to remind you,
never anything approaching a majority,
but more and more people would be making their living in a way
that was not agricultural. They would be in commerce and
they would be in industry in this small sense and doing all
the various things that are not farming and so you now have
classes or groups of people who have interests rather different
from those of the most primitive polis you could imagine.
Some scholars early on in the century, moved by Marxist
theories, suggested that you had a capitalist class growing up,
there's just no evidence of that;
it's just wrong. My guess is that the earliest
traders of any scope were probably noblemen who also had
land and estates back home, but who had the opportunity,
the know-how, the connections to make it
possible to make a lot of living in trade.
Even so, while you don't have a class of separate people who are
just in the business of making things and making money,
you do have people who are engaged in those activities and
who have some interests that are different from those of the rest
of their people who are only hoplites.
It is, I think, part of a conglomerate of
activities you want to keep in your mind that is going on here
and this is what I'm really trying to get at,
socially and economically, and politically.
You have to imagine, on the one hand,
the hoplite revolution, which I do not shrink from
saying, but it's a very debatable term,
is going on. More and more farmers are
becoming independent, self-sustaining,
hoplite farmers of the kind that I've described.
You can't expect them to continue to live in the same way
as they did before, deferential to their betters,
that is to say, tugging their forelocks before
the aristocrats and just leaving all the decisions to the
aristocrats. They're not going to feel the
same way about it, there's going to be pressure
from them for a better participation in the decisions
that are made in the state. And also there will be some
rich people, very rich people, rich in a different way from
the way people used to be rich; rich meant the best land.
Now, there will be people who will have wealth in the form of
precious things and I would use the word money.
I'm not going to use the word coinage because that's very
debated, and anyway there certainly weren't any coins in
Greece as early as say 750. But that doesn't mean there was
no money. You could have weighed out
precious metal, which would be money.
Shekels, as in the Bible, are originally not coins;
they are quantities, weights of something and come
to mean weights of silver or gold.
So now you have a change in fundamental economic things.
Well, all of this is tied up with this colonial story I've
been telling you. Finally, I think,
it works in both directions at the same time in terms of the
impact all of these changes have on the political situation.
On the one hand the changes, that is (A) the rise of the
hoplite class; (B) the development of lots of
commerce and industry and wealth in a new kind and people who
don't fit into the old traditional society;
new way has to be found to fit them in because,
as I say, they don't fit. That creates trouble.
As we shall see very shortly, that trouble often takes the
form of first of factional struggles within the
aristocracy, which then after awhile come to
involve people outside the aristocracy, which ultimately
come to civil war in which certainly the people who have
become the most important fighting men,
the hoplites, become engaged on one side or
the other or perhaps sometimes on both.
So that's the, what you might say,
is the negative side of the story.
But colonization, especially, some scholars have
pointed out, I think persuasively,
also for some considerable time provided an answer to that
problem in the form of an escape valve,
where you had these people who were losers and angry and
troubled, or people who had in any case were not happy with the
way things were going in their mother city.
Well, they didn't have to stay and fight it out.
They could go away and they did, in very considerable
numbers, and so one is easily reminded of the American
experience, as it has often been
interpreted, in which the frontier is seen to be a
tremendously valuable safety valve to the Americans,
first as colonists, and then as independent people.
Americans didn't have the kind of terrible class warfare
and the terrible warfare within cities that the Europeans had
experienced throughout most of their history,
because really unhappy and angry people could always go
west, get new places. I mean, fundamentally,
Kansas is a colony in a certain Greek sense, all of these places
are. So, that's part of the story of
why America had the very lucky early history that it had.
So, I think we have to understand that colonization
provided something analogous to that for the Greek people.
So now, here we are somewhere in the seventh century,
most of these places I've been talking about have been settled,
the currents that I have been describing are flowing and the
kinds of problems they have give rise to what will be felt in
most of the towns and that is the proper introduction to the
next topic, which I'll discuss next year.
No not--it seems like a year, but it's next Tuesday actually.
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