Boiotia in Antiquity: Selected Papers by Albert Schachter, Hans Beck

By Albert Schachter, Hans Beck

Boiotia was once - subsequent to Athens and Sparta - essentially the most very important areas of historical Greece. Albert Schachter, a number one professional at the quarter, has for lots of a long time pioneered and fostered the exploration of it and its humans via his study. His seminal guides have lined all points of its background, associations, cults, and literature from overdue Mycenaean occasions to the Roman Empire, revealing a mastery of the epigraphic proof, archaeological information, and the literary culture. This quantity very easily brings jointly twenty-three papers (two formerly unpublished, others revised and up-to-date) which reveal a compelling highbrow coherence and a story type refreshingly proof against jargon. All significant subject matters of Boiotian heritage from early Greece to Roman instances are touched upon, and the booklet will be learn as a heritage of Boiotia, in items.

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One of the remarkable features of the Boiotian section of the Catalogue is the density of settlement it reveals. Another is the high degree of political unity. There are twenty-nine sites named, thirty-one if we include the Minyans. Even if we grant that many of these places are either small or 2000–1; and James 2002–3 – and indeed the names are now taken to be those of people rather than gods. I am reluctant to enter into a debate where I have no particular expertise, and moreover, where extreme positions have been taken.

What is special about Thebes, however, is that it is possible to identify some specific deities whose worship did not die out during the Dark Ages, and to connect them with cult figures of the Hellenic period. The survival of these gods means that their worshippers also survived on the spot. Another striking instance of continuity is the very name of Thebes, which we now see was used in the Bronze Age. The earliest Hellenic Greek document is the Homeric Catalogue of Ships. The prominence of the Boiotoi in this piece is usually attributed to the fact that the Achaians set out from a Boiotian port.

From the last quarter of the sixth century, until the dissolution of the Hellenistic Koinon, regardless of shifts in allegiance and power, the Boiotoi remained united by a common dialect, and the common cult of the two ethnic gods, Athena and Zeus. The Boiotians have a reputation for conservatism and slowness of wit. This is probably well founded: basically the population remained unchanged over many centuries, contentedly wedded to the land and willing to obey their aristocratic rulers provided not too much was asked of them.

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