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The Cambridge Ancient History

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Volume III of The Cambridge Ancient History was first published in 1925 in one volume. The new edition has expanded to such an extent, owing to the immense amount of new information now available, that it has had to be divided into three parts. Volume III Part 1 opens with a survey of the Balkans north of Greece in the Prehistoric period. This is the first time such a survey has been published of this area which besides its intrinsic interest is important for its influence on the cultures of the Aegean and Anatolia. The rest of the book is devoted to the tenth to the eighth centuries B. C. In Greece and the Aegean the main theme is the gradual regeneration from the Dark Age and the emergence of a society in which can be seen the beginnings of the city-state. During the same period in Western Asia and the Middle East the Kingdoms of Assyria and Babylonia rise to power, the Urartians appear, and in Palestine the kingdoms of Israel and Judah flourish. In Egypt the country's fortunes revive briefly under Shoshenq I. The final chapter in this part deals with the languages of Greece and the Balkans and with the invention and spread of alphabetic writing.

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  • 1 - The Prehistory of Romania from the earliest times to 1000 B.C.
    pp 1-74
    • By VL. Dumitrescu, Dr docent de I'lnstitut d'Archéologie de l'Université de Bucarest
  • View abstract
    This chapter outlines the prehistory of Romania from the first evidence of human activity to the eve of the first millennium BC, that is the end of Hallstatt A. The period from 1949 to 1975 was the second flourishing stage of Romanian archaeology. Hundreds of settlements and cemeteries from all prehistoric periods were excavated, new cultures were discovered and the ones already known were thoroughly studied. The extensive Palaeolithic excavations were made for the first time and some sites were fully investigated, including the Eneolithic settlements at Hăbăşeşti, Truşeşti, Teiu and Căscioarele, two of the biggest Neo-Eneolithic cemeteries of Europe (Cernavodă and Cernica), the four Bronze Age cemeteries at Monteoru, and the cemetery at Cîrna. At the beginning of the Pleistocene the Romanian plain and the southern part of the Moldovan plateau were still covered by the Pliocene lake. In Romania however, Hallstatt A-B cannot be equated with the beginning of the Iron Age.
  • 2 - The Stone Age in the Central Balkan Area
    pp 75-135
    • By M. Garašanin, Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, Belgrade
  • View abstract
    This chapter deals with the prehistory of countries: Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Albania. In the central part of the Balkan Peninsula the easiest crossing of the watershed between the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea is at Preševo in south Serbia. The Palaeolithic period, when the first human cultures originated and primitive hunters and food-gatherers existed in small groups, is still insufficiently studied in the Balkan Peninsula. The Neolithic in the Balkans is much better known than the Palaeolithic. In fact, it can be said to be one of the best-studied periods in the prehistory of this particular area. There are quite a large number of archaeologists who justifiably consider the period of the Late Stone Age to be a neolithic revolution and an economic revolution at the same time. In Greece and the western districts of the Balkan Peninsula it has been accepted that the Neolithic period is basically divided into three parts: early, middle and late.
  • 3 - The Eneolithic period in the Central Balkan Area
    pp 136-162
  • View abstract
    The Eneolithic period, which came between the Neolithic Age and the age when metal was fully in use, covered a great length of time. In the initial phase of the Eneolithic period only small objects, such as jewellery and tools like needles or awls, were produced for personal use. Later, as techniques improved and knowledge of casting was acquired, larger tools were produced on a massive scale. Migrations of tribes from the Russian steppes, the Pontic basin and the Lower Danube have attracted the attention of archaeologists and linguists to an increasing extent in recent years. One of the characteristic features of the Balkan Eneolithic period is the large size of cultural complexes which consist of a series of regional groups, or of widely-spread groups containing regional variants. Decoration consisting of rippled patterns played a significant role in the formation of groups belonging to the Early Bronze Age in the Balkans.
  • 4 - The Bronze Age in the Central Balkan Area
    pp 163-186
  • View abstract
    As in the Eneolithic period, it is possible to trace various cultural complexes within the diversity of regional groups in the Bronze Age. The principal complexes of the Bronze Age are: the East Balkan complex of Thrace; the Carpatho-Danubian, covering the area between the Stara Planina range and the Carpathians; and the West Balkan complex. On the whole the Bronze Age saw the evolution of the ethnic groups which had emerged during the Eneolithic period and the eventual symbiosis of autochthonous elements and Indo-European elements from the steppes and the Pontic region. In the Early Bronze Age some cultural groups existed in the area of the Central and Western Balkans as well as in parts of the southern Pannonian and Carpathian regions. Recent research has shown that the Vattina group can be divided into three phases: the first two belonging to the Middle Bronze Age and the last to the Late Bronze Age.
  • 5 - The Prehistory of Albania
    pp 187-237
    • By F. Prendi, Archaeological Museum, Tirana
  • View abstract
    The Italians discovered the first traces of Palaeolithic life in Albania, and also some cave-dwellings containing Neolithic deposits. It is only in the last thirty-five years that it has been possible to undertake the disciplined and rewarding task of tracing the prehistoric cultures of Albania, and of discovering and studying the culture of the land and its people in the stages of their evolution. Very little is known of Palaeolithic culture in Albania, because that primitive period has not yet been included in organized schemes of research. The Mesolithic period is almost totally unknown. The evolution of Neolithic civilization can be followed in Albania over three periods: Early, Middle and Late Neolithic. A separate cultural development, called Eneolithic, took place as a transitory stage leading from the Neolithic Age to the Bronze Age. According to the archaeological evidence, Albania experienced in the Neolithic and to an even greater extent in the Eneolithic period, a fairly marked growth in productive capacity.
  • 6 - Assyria: Ashur-Dan II to Ashur-Nirari V (954–745 B.C.)
    pp 238-281
  • View abstract
    This chapter traces the political and military development of the Neo-Assyrian empire in chronological order. Although the Babylonian Chronicle Series does not begin until the end of the period, brief notations regarding the direction of campaigns found in one type of eponym list, commonly called the 'Eponym Chronicle' (Cb), are a means of reconstructing the chronology of events for the period for which it is preserved, 841-745. The general outline of the geographical extent of the Neo-Assyrian empire is today reasonably clear. From the beginning of Assyriology, attention focused on the western campaigns of the Assyrian kings because of their relevance to the Biblical world. Ashurnasirpal II, son of Tukulti-Ninurta II, is the first 'great' king of the Neo-Assyrian period. A very clear trend towards decline was observed during the reign of Adad-nirari III and this decline reached its lowest point in the subsequent period, the reigns of Shalmaneser IV (782-773), Ashur-dan III (772-75 5), and Ashur-nirari V (754-745).
  • 7 - Babylonia c. 1000–748 B.C.
    pp 282-313
    • By J. A. , Oriental Institute, Chicago
  • View abstract
    By the year 1000 BC, the political and economic horizons of Babylonia had narrowed considerably. This chapter focuses on the history of the period, giving first the historical background: geographical, ethnic, cultural, and institutional, and then a series of chronological narratives sketching the major phases of the era. In many ways, the Chaldaeans and other foreign tribal groups hold the key to understanding many of the Babylonian political and socioeconomic developments of this age. The relations of the tribal groups, especially Kassites, Aramaeans, and Chaldaeans, to the older Babylonian population can be sketched briefly. In the brief period of ninety years in sharp contrast to the sparse documentation from Babylonia proper, the number of inscriptions on 'Luristan bronzes' reaches its high point. The Assyrian campaigns of 814-811 left northern Babylonia humbled and leaderless. Babylonia as a nation and state did not succumb during this phase of weakness.
  • 8 - Urartu
    pp 314-371
  • View abstract
    The discovery of Urartu belongs to the heroic period when European scholars first resurrected the civilization of Assyria in the nineteenth century. General studies of Urartian art, history, and archaeology have followed, in many ways making the student's path easier. The geographical extent of the Urartian kingdom at its zenith in the middle of the eighth century BC was considerable. It has been described as the 'diamond-shaped area between the four lakes of Van, Urmia, Sevan and Cildir'. The Urartians never speak of themselves as ' the people of Urartu' or use the term at all; when their inscriptions first begin some years later, they use either the term Nairi, or the name Biainili. For the Assyrians on the other hand, henceforth the 'Nairi lands' and Urartu become synonymous and interchangeable. Last of all the legacy of Urartu has to be considered. This was extended both to the Orient and to the West.
  • 9 - The Neo-Hittite states in Syria and Anatolia
    pp 372-441
  • View abstract
    After c. 700, occasional references are found in classical authors to notable events in Anatolia and Syria. Since the chronological framework of the history of the Syro-Hittite states is dependent on that of the Assyrian kings and the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, the periods into which it conveniently divides are dictated by the reigns and activities of those monarchs. This is considered in the following phases: the early period, which includes the fall of the Hittite Empire-accession of Ashurnasirpal II; Reigns of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser III; Successors of Shalmaneser III; Reigns of Tiglath-pileser III, Shalmaneser V and Sargon II; Reigns of Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanipal; and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which is the fall of Assyria to Cyrus' conquest of Lydia. The necessity of dovetailing the native and external sources renders it expedient to consider first the outline history and chronology within each chronological division, and then to attempt to synchronize the indigenous evidence with it.
  • 10 - Israel and Judah until the Revolt of Jehu (931–841 B.C.)
    pp 442-487
  • View abstract
    The book of Kings normally opens its account of the reign of each king of Israel or Judah with a number of stereotyped formulae, including a synchronism with the regnal year of the ruler of the other kingdom, the age of the king and the length of his reign. In the tenth century, particularly in the time of Solomon, the Israelite kingdom had maintained very close ties with the neighbouring city of Tyre, which at that time controlled the major part of Phoenicia, including the city of Sidon, once more important, whence the Phoenicians in general continued to be referred to in the Old Testament as Sidonians. Phoenicophile dynasty of Omri ended after forty years of power. Jehu's purge is possibly reflected in changes in pottery styles at certain northern sites; certainly from this time there was a decline in the Phoenician elements in Israelite and Judaean culture, and the first evidence of Assyrian influence.
  • 11 - Israel and Judah from Jehu until the Period of Assyrian Domination (841–c. 750 B.C.)
    pp 488-510
  • View abstract
    Late in the year of Jehu's purge, it seems likely that the Assyrians first set foot on Israelite territory. From the political point of view Jehu's purge had alienated Israel's former allies, Judah and Phoenicia, many of whose nationals had perished in the slaughter, and, with a weakened internal leadership structure, Jehu was now doubly vulnerable. After Shalmaneser's campaign of 841, when Aram was invaded and Damascus besieged, the Assyrians had been otherwise preoccupied, and Hazael had enjoyed a period of respite. In the southern kingdom, Amaziah continued to reign during the first fifteen years of Jeroboam's period of sole rule. The reign of Uzziah is given relatively brief treatment in Kings, but Chronicles presents him as an active and far-sighted ruler. Level IX at Arad is probably to be dated to Uzziah's time. Under Jeroboam II and Uzziah, the territory of Israel and Judah extended once more almost as far as the boundaries of David's kingdom two centuries earlier.
  • 12 - Cyprus
    pp 511-533
  • View abstract
    The history of Cyprus after about 1050 BC is clouded by what is usually called the 'Dark Age' in Greece. Sacred architecture of the Cypro-Geometric period is known also from Ayia Irini, where a rustic temenos was uncovered, an irregular oval in shape, with an altar and a table of offerings for libations. Citium is referred to as Khardihadast (' the New City') in Phoenician inscriptions engraved on bronze bowls and found near Amathus on the south coast of Cyprus, west of Citium. The end of the Cypro-Geometric period, which may be placed about 750 BC finds Cyprus at the beginning of an era of prosperity which was to culminate during the subsequent period. The Mycenaean Greeks had established their political and cultural supremacy in the various kingdoms of the island which were formed after the final stages of Achaean settlement. Only Citium remained outside their rule, with a Phoenician king appointed directly from Tyre.
  • 13 - Egypt: from the Twenty-Second to the Twenty-Fourth Dynasty
    pp 534-581
  • View abstract
    Of the eleven kings of the Twenty-second Dynasty attested by the monuments, two, Shoshenq II and Harsiese, probably never ruled independently. Three of the remaining nine bore the name of Shoshenq, three Osorkon, two Takeloth and one Pimay. El-Hība, about thirty km south of Heracleopolis, was also a keypoint in Shoshenq I's strategy for Middle Egypt. It is reasonable to suppose that Shoshenq III, in his long reign, celebrated at least one W-festival: fragments of a commemorative monument have in fact been found at Tanis. The history of the central and eastern Delta from the time of Py's departure until the end of the Twenty-fourth Dynasty is no better documented than that of the western zone. Osorkon III left little mark on Egyptian history. innovation of the Libyan period was the reproduction of earlier styles of art, especially the portrayal of the human body in the mode and dress of the Old and Middle Kingdoms.
  • 14 - The Early Iron Age in the Central Balkan Area, c. 1000–750 B.C.
    pp 582-618
  • View abstract
    This chapter deals with events in the Balkan Peninsula down to c. 700 BC One can say with certainty that the area occupied by the Thracians lay within the eastern part of the Balkans and primarily within the area south of the Stara Planina. One of the divisions of the Iron Age is relevant: Iron Age I (c. 1200/1100-700 B. C) which covers the Dark Age in Greece and the great changes during the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age. This period corresponds with Reinecke's Bronze Age D/Hallstatt A to the end of Hallstatt B3, and with Mycenaean IIIC1/C2 to the end of Geometric in Greece and in the Aegean. The chapter discusses the archaeological finds and the historical problems under regional headings: the East Balkan region, the Central Balkan region, the West Balkan region, and the North-western Balkan region. It also talks about the metal objects which are characteristic of this period.
  • 15 - Illyris, Epirus and Macedonia in the Early Iron Age
    pp 619-656
  • View abstract
    Illyris, Macedonia and Epirus have much more in common with one another than with the Greek peninsula. Their climate on the whole is continental, whereas that of the Greek peninsula is Mediterranean, and their livelihood has depended until very recently on pastoralism and stock-raising rather than on arboriculture, agriculture and maritime trade. Yet their coastal areas approximate to the Mediterranean climate. The olive, for instance, flourishes at Valona and Preveza and in Chalcidice, but it is not found inland of Elbasan, Paramythia and parts of the coastal plain of Macedonia. In peninsular Greece the first two centuries of the Iron Age were impoverished in contrast with the preceding period. The Phrygian period in west Macedonia lasted for some three and a half centuries, and the entry into Thrace and later into Asia Minor was made from a basis of strength.
  • 16 - Central Greece and Thessaly
    pp 657-695
  • View abstract
    In the main eastern zone of central Greece, the physical factors considered would still lead one to expect a landscape of very limited fertility, increasing somewhat as one proceeded northwards. Such an impression is indeed correct in part, although it must be modified by allowing for the climatic differences. It is in the southern extremity of this zone, in Attica and the Megarid, that the physical picture presents itself most clearly, and it does so especially to a traveller coming by land from the Peloponnese. Further north, Boeotia and more especially Thessaly offer greater fertility. But here too other physical factors come into play: those of relief and its attendant climatic effects. Communications, being decidedly a product of the physical structure of Greece, are also briefly considered. In Thessaly, the material evidence is more extensive and prepossessing than might appear at first sight. Pottery evidence is limited in the extreme.
  • 17 - The Peloponnese
    pp 696-744
  • View abstract
    Since stock-raising was particularly important in the Dark Age of the Peloponnese, it is desirable to consider its methods. In interpreting the archaeological evidence some knowledge of geographical and ecological conditions in the Peloponnese and more primitive Balkan areas forms a useful guide. West of Argolis, the elevated canton of Arcadia is entered from Argos. Laconia, like Argolis, is rich in highland pasture, grows timber on the central (Mani) peninsula and fine olives, figs, and Mediterranean pine in the south-eastern district. In Corinthia and the Isthmus, except for a Protogeometric grave at Velio, the earliest Iron Age remains are of the Geometric period. When we review the archaeological evidence for Corinthia and the Isthmus in the Early Iron Age, we can see that the terrace area received new settlers in the Submycenaean period and became the centre of Corinthia, analogous to Argos in the Argolid. Most of the literary tradition about Messenia differs from that of Argos.
  • 18a - East Greece
    pp 745-753
  • View abstract
    This chapter reviews the environment in which the Greek settlers found themselves and makes a somewhat inconclusive evaluation of their response on the plane of human geography. The Greek settlements for the most part were planted in bays and at little coastal plains; and it is only on the Halicarnassus peninsula that archaeological investigation has given us any impression of native settlement coexisting with the emerging Greek civilization. The north-east of Caria has the advantage of possessing larger basins of agricultural land that can be approached from up the Maeander valley, and some substantial settlements there date from prehistoric times. The Greek cities of the mainland coast were for the most part well situated to provide for their own needs. The Ionians' addiction to city life and development of its potentialities must have been an important factor in the historical evolution of ancient Greek life.
  • 18b - The Islands
    pp 754-778
  • View abstract
    Euboea had little to offer for the history of Greece in the Bronze Age, but there had been major settlements at Chalcis, Lefkandi and Amarynthus and plentiful evidence for occupation elsewhere. There are several references in ancient authors to armed conflict between Eretria and Chalcis and this is now generally placed in the later eighth century. The islands of the Cyclades rise from a comparatively shallow shelf, an extension of the mainland of Attica and of the island Euboea. In the Bronze Age Crete dominated the history of the Aegean world. In later centuries its history was distinguished but idiosyncratic, dependent more on response to intercourse with other lands, Greek and non-Greek, less on the exploitation of its own notable natural resources. Crete is the largest of the Greek islands as close to the shores of Libya as to the Piraeus; this ease of access to the coast of Africa played a part in its history.
  • 19 - The Geometric Culture of Greece
    pp 779-793
  • View abstract
    This chapter summarizes the archaeologist's view of what happened to Greece, the quality of life and how it was affected by those diverse factors which can set a civilization on the move. When turning from agriculture to technology one can face a change in archaeological terminology, from 'Bronze Age' to 'Iron Age', which could easily suggest some form of industrial revolution resulting in that production surplus upon which the economy and population might further grow. The material conditions of life in Geometric Greece might more readily be gauged from homes than from artefacts consigned to graves and sanctuaries. In discussions of Greece in the early Iron Age allowance has repeatedly to be made for two such external stimuli Greece's own Bronze Age past and her relations with the older civilizations of the Near East. Bronze Age art was essentially foreign and the Protogeometric and Geometric Greeks had their own no less subtle and far more lasting idiom to develop.
  • 20a - The Earliest Alphabetic Writing
    pp 794-818
  • View abstract
    The Proto-Sinaitic alphabet, allied to Proto-Canaanite writing in Palestine, exemplifies the creation of alphabetic writing, even though the inscriptions on rock or stone reflect a tradition which had originated in some neighbouring country where Egyptians and Canaanites mingled. Proto-Sinaitic writing may have had an influence on both the later Canaanine and South Semitic alphabets. This chapter deals with the slightly later application of the alphabetic principle to cuneiform writing, familiar in Syria, which led there to the Ugaritic alphabetic cuneiform script. Though analogies to Minoan Linear A writing have been pointed out, a number of these signs show vague formal resemblances to Proto-Sinaitic, South Semitic or Phoenician alphabetic letters. A vitally important step for West Semitic was the development of vowel letters. Though South Semitic inscriptions mostly postdate the period, something must be said about South Semitic scripts. These fall into three main groups, North Arabian, South Arabian and Ethiopic.
  • 20b - Greek Alphabetic Writing
    pp 819-833
  • View abstract
    The earliest Greek inscriptions come from the city-states which edged both sides of the Aegean, and from their respective colonies; thus the alphabet seems to have spread primarily along the sea trade-routes. It is now clear from excavations that the Euboic Greeks at least had already got their alphabet not later than the mid eighth century, and that North Syria may be the area whence both Greek and Phrygian scripts derive. But in general the Greek alterations and additions to the Semitic alphabet appear to be comparatively few - an economy maintained also by later receivers of the alphabet. The earliest existing Greek inscriptions are public statements; they explain some object, or intention, to a reading public. A specific connexion between Greek and Phrygian centred on Cyme in Aeolis. At the Greek end, Euboea has produced inscribed local Geometric pottery, using the long s, in strata of c. 750 onwards.
  • 20c - Linguistic Problems of the Balkan Area in Late Prehistoric and Early Classical Periods
    pp 834-849
  • View abstract
    This chapter correlates the information which the sources provide with the broad pattern of the results obtained from the limited material in the local ancient languages. The Balkan region in the period seems at first sight to be of bewildering linguistic and ethnic complexity. The principal idioms of the region appear in fact to have been three: Illyrian; Thracian, in a broad sense, or ' Thraco-Dacian'; and Macedonian. The evidence for the use within the Balkan region of idioms which did not belong to one of the three languages or groups just mentioned is exiguous and hard to assess. Phrygian is considered in view of the Greek tradition that Phrygians migrated from the southern Balkans to Anatolia in legendary or early historical times. It is clear that Greeks of the mainland and the Aegean region were in contact with two important groups of tribes each of which they regarded as a single ethnos, the Illyrii and the Thraces.
  • 20d - The Greek Language and the Historical Dialects
    pp 850-865
  • View abstract
    For the period from the beginning of the twelfth century (when the Mycenaean texts fail) to the end of the eighth century BC or later, statements about the Greek language are inferential. On the minimum assumptions the phonemic inventory of a Greek dialect c. 100 BC would have contained sixteen consonantal phonemes and ten pure vowels. Once the changes that distinguished Greek as a whole from other Indo-European languages had been completed there was little change in noun declension that was not the direct result of the phonological developments. Literature, in verse from the time of the Homeric epic and in prose (Ionic) during the fifth century, sheds a limited light on dialect history. The Greeks themselves were apt to describe dialect in two ways, by individual city or by ethnos. One aspect of Greek linguistic history is progressive fragmentation into dialects spoken in ever smaller areas.
  • 20e - Balkan Languages (Illyrian, Thracian and Daco-Moesian)
    pp 866-898
  • View abstract
    Applied to language, the name 'Illyrian' is a very ambiguous term. Until recently it was generally admitted that the Thracian linguistic territory covered the whole eastern half of the Balkan peninsula from the Aegean sea, east of the mouth of the Axius, to the upper Tisia and Hierasus north of the Danube. The linguistic evidence available for Thracian remains limited to a couple of inscriptions, a few glosses and a set of Dacian names of plants, besides an impressive amount of onomastic material. In the present state of the knowledge, it is difficult to determine whether Thracian and Daco-Moesian represent two dialects of the same language or constitute two distinct linguistic entities, as Georgiev claims. Their formerly assumed close relation with Phrygian can hardly be maintained. The problem of a possible common substrate of Romanian and Albanian has been linked with the study of Thracian and Daco-Moesian.

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