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Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece$
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Anthony Snodgrass

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623334

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623334.001.0001

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Archaeology and the Study of the Greek City

Archaeology and the Study of the Greek City

(p.269) Chapter 15 Archaeology and the Study of the Greek City
Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece

Anthony Snodgrass

Edinburgh University Press

For more than a hundred years, people studied the Greek city as an entity without making more than negligible use of archaeological evidence. As late as 1969, in the translated second edition of Victor Ehrenberg's Der griechische Staat, the reader has to search very hard indeed to find even a veiled recourse to archaeology. The historians of the polis saw themselves as dealing essentially with an abstraction. Today, all that appears to have changed. Some books on aspects of the polis are being written by historians who make constant reference to archaeological findings; others are even written by archaeologists. A good starting-point for the discussion is the primary importance that Aristotle attached to a ‘community of place’ — perhaps the earliest clear acknowledgment that the abstraction of the polis had an inseparable physical embodiment. Colonial sites are the first to manifest a sign of communal action: the planned layout of an urban centre, with an agora, blocks of housing, and even individual plots provided for; Megara Hyblaia in eastern Sicily has become a classic instance.

Keywords:   Megara Hyblaia, archaeology, Sicily, polis, Aristotle, community of place, agora, urban centre, housing

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