Talk:Archaic Greece

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Text Removed[edit]

"(“Greece” a small state part of vast Persian Empire.)"

I removed the above statement from the beginning of the article. Aside from Macedonia's temporary tenure as a satrap during the Greco-Persian Wars, Greece was never part of the Persian Empire in any of its forms. Spartan198 (talk) 01:57, 3 August 2008 (UTC) Spartan198


Material removed, as it seems to be a copyeight violation from here. Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:29, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as stub, and the rating on other projects was brought up to Stub class. BetacommandBot 14:48, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Partial redesign[edit]

I partially redesigned it as I thought it could use it. The problem is how to deal with two long, thin items, the TOC and history box. So as not to confuse us with the art box I moved IT to the left. By the time the article gets filled out these will not seem so jammed together. I filled out the intro based on a few leading lights keeping one well-written para that was there. I'm going on now but I can work on one section at a time sporadically.Dave (talk) 03:40, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Translation request[edit]

The French article covers society only. I suggest we not put it in translated as is but translate and cannibalize it for an initial section "Archaic society" to replace "8th century revolution." That way, we can say something about archaic art. If we condense, not that much really, has to be said about archaic society and the use of links can offload many topics. Someone has to look for them though.Dave (talk) 12:12, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

More later. I looked at the translation info and the French article and I think the bottom line is, no one wants to translate it because it is a bad article. It is unreferenced and usually unreferenced articles, not having been checked, aren't as good quality as they might be. Just because an article is in the French Wikipedia does not make it good. So I am going to do what everyone else does and totally ignore the French article. Where would it go now that we have started an English article? Maybe I don't understand such requests. Someone says he started it but I will be hanged if I can find it. It's not a good idea because then we would have to maintain the article in French. In other words, only bilinguals or the French could work on it. I vote to turn down the request and boot it out of the article. Don't even think about considering it. If we are going to do that I recommend we maintain the Hungarian one instead; that way we can avoid the endless quibbling between Wikipedia editors, because no one will be to work on it except Hungarians.Dave (talk) 07:07, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Some topics that might be included[edit]

The creation of the hoplite phalanx, the "hoplite reform", Greek colonisation of the Black Sea and Italy, land pressure in Greece, the introduction of coinage, Sparta and the Lykourgan reform, the rise of Dionysos, Orphism and other mystery religions, Pythagoras, Drakon, Solon, the relief of debt bondage and the eclipse of the aristocracy, Sappho. Any other suggestions? Twospoonfuls (ειπέ) 10:08, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Conurbation and kings[edit]

Hello Wetman. I've been on vacation from this article but I am returning eventually. Meanwhile I happened to see your edits on conurbation. Well, I can see why you chose the topic. I said the kings disappeared, but they didn't disappear. However, something was different about the kingships after the end of the dark age. You seem to be trying to put your finger on what was different. To be honest I don't think you managed to do that. I can't see it! How are classical kingships different from pre-classical ones?

However, first things first. I planned a series of topical subsections, the first being conurbation, the great ingathering of the new populations. The term belongs to Snodgrass. A second would have been government, but how were you to know that? There are additional discrete topics characterizing the archaic period. So, I don't believe kingship goes under conurbation and it looks out of place there. We need another subsection on political changes associated with the archaic period. Tyranny obviously will play a large part.

The point I was trying to make is that in Mycenaean times the rule of the king, represented by the word wanaka, was given by the gods, according to the first book of the Iliad. You remember good old Thersites and Agamemnon getting his authority from Zeus on high? If anyone such as Achilles questions that authority the whole fabric of society falls apart and insubordination spreads down through the ranks. There are many assemblies in the Iliad but no voting and officials play no part but to implement the will of the king.

In the archaic period many kingships were restored or went on; however, the name had changed. The basileus in the tablets had been a minor official but now he was the king. The wanaka was gone. The kings in fact were no longer independent ruling with authority on high. They were magistrates and they shared power with other magistrates. In Sparta we find kings being appointed by committees of magistrates. Our name for that is republic. Greece went from a collection of absolute monarchies to republics even though kings persisted. In fact at Athens the chief magistrates came from the office of the king and shared out his kingly powers and the same is true of most of the other poleis, the kings vanished in a collection of magistrates. That happened at Rome too. Limited morarchy developed from absolute monarchy and those limitations grew as powers were divided. As you pointed out, in the Hellenistic period they were all taken back again by single powerful individuals.

I see from past experiences with you that my changing your stuff seems to anger you. So, as I am not back on this article yet and therefore am not seeking to improve it again yet, I would ask you to do a little more work instead of you complaining about my changes. Put your monarchical material in a different subsection away from conurbation. As this article is about the features that characterize the archaic period and led to its being called that, could you clarify what your author thinks is different about the kingships of the archaic period? What's new about them? I presume we are both trying to improve the articles so there is no reason why you should not try to improve this one.

And finally, for the matriarchal succession at Sparta. What succession is that? I don't see very many queens in there and no queens at all were trained as military leaders or underwent the male Spartan military regimen. I think the author may be referring to a more complex situation - a matrilineal situation. From what you say it is hard for me to see what is meant here. The historians say that Spartan kings passed on their kingships to their sons. Futhermore there was no break in the patronymic naming system. More importantly, I do not see what all that has to do with the archaic period. Are we to view that as an archaic innovation or feature?

So those are the issues, clarity and relevance. Why don't you pleasantly surprise me and make it all relevant and clear? You've been an editor here for a long time so I presume you are putting the article first and not some sort of personal or territorial vendetta because someone actually dared to alter your stuff. Thanks.Dave (talk) 03:24, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Archaic period in GreeceArchaic Greece — For consistency with Classical Greece, Hellenistic Greece, Roman Greece . . . — Srnec (talk) 20:16, 5 November 2008 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's naming conventions.


Any additional comments:

fair enough. But note how Hellenistic Greece isn't equal to Hellenistic period. There may be a slight difference here too, but that's probably splitting hairs. --dab (𒁳) 17:20, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know, "archaic period" is only used in reference to Greece. Now, perhaps you're thinking about Greek colonies outside of Greece proper, but I would think those can be included under the term "Greece". Srnec (talk) 01:52, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
That's wrong according to our dab page. I think this move was a very bad idea for the reasons stated above. Viriditas (talk) 02:25, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Expansion requests[edit]

moved from article

{{Expand French|Époque archaïque|topic=hist|date=March 2009}}

The Expansion requests section added above by User:Dbachmann in an unsigned edit on 03:59, 10 December 2009 shold not include an {{Expand French}} template, which is not suitable for this page as it has no translated text from the French talk page. As this alters the page to add inappropriate categories, I've edited the original text above to enclose the template in <nowiki> tags. (Suspect greek template should be removed, too.) Mathglot (talk) 07:24, 23 February 2015 (UTC)

Article Expansion[edit]

I added a lot of things to this article but reading it over I don't think all of them should stay. I definetley feel good about the crisis/consolidation stuff but the Persian Wars summary is not great. If anyone has a different idea for that, be my guest. Heilingetorix (talk) 13:06, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Some comments[edit]

After performing a copyedit (any comments or feedback are always welcome- if anyone is wondering why I moved the article to Oxford English, it is because I felt that it was the most commonly form of English used in the article already, and I wanted to make the fewest changes in that regard), I noticed a few things that caught my attention. One of these is the section "Reaction 3: Reorganisation and consolidation of Athens". The section itself has two paragraphs, yet only the first deals with Athens, while the second deals with Greece as a whole and the political changes to it during the end of the Archaic period. I feel that it should be moved elsewhere. Also, I am hesitant about the naming of the titles starting with "reaction", and wonder if some better titles could be used for those sections. Finally, the art section (well, the whole article in general) could use some expansion, and the architecture part could use a brief overview in this article to complement the link to the main article. --Slon02 (talk) 20:57, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Good points all. I've been watching your efforts today, and everything looks fine to me. Those "Expansion: ..." bits are trying to sum up very quickly (I didn't split that infinitive for you, copyeditor) the key points one runs into in a basic history of the development of the polis: much work needs to be done there and elsewhere (as you note). Thank you so much for your time and attention! The Cardiff Chestnut (talk) 21:20, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Recent expansion[edit]

@ User:Caeciliusinhorto. This is looking much better. In a hurry so apologies if comments seem rude - this is really good.

  1. I think a decision needs to be made about whether this article is about the archaic Greek world or Archaic Greece - the latter seems to be where this is going. In the latter case, some explanation about what "Greece" means in the ancient vs modern worlds.
  2. Most important resource missing from the article (I think) is Greece in the making, 1200-479 B.C. by Robin Osborne. This would help move beyond the foundation laid by the current set of works, which are mostly pretty old.
  3. "massive increase in the Greek population" invites a section on demography, which would also be useful for making clear how little we actually know.
  4. Snodgrass's revolutions: I'm not sure about these. The reputation of the pre-socratics has increased markedly since he wrote so that his intellectual revolution in the classical period now looks less dramatic; the first revolution, as I say, begs for a demography section (it's also not clear exactly what he had in mind from the quote). I think the following paragraph establishes the relevance of the period well enough that Snodgrass' quote isn't needed, either.
  5. Second paragraph: very good. I think Sparta could be shortened to "In Sparta, many of its characteristic political and cultural institutions developped and it grew to be the dominant power in the Peloponnese." Athens could probably be streamlined too - Solon and Cleisthenes might be a bit too specific at this stage. The paragraph should also nod to colonisation.
  6. Etymology. Change to "Definitions" (or some such?) and include some discussion of the start and end dates?
  7. Political developments. Needs an intro on the major themes, the multipolar nature of archaic Greece and the Athens/Sparta evidential problem.
  8. Development of the polis. Add refs to M.H. Hansen Polis. Needs a definition of the polis.
  9. Athens. "his law on homicide was the only one to have survived to the classical period." --> "his law on homicide was the only one that remained in force by the classical period." It could be clearer that Draco is semi-mythical. A tentative definition of horoi should be offered (e.g. "boundaries"). Need the word seisachtheia. I wouldn't want to go into much more detail than you have. As you say, Peisistratids and subsequent democracy are missing - the challenge will be to keep this brief but also clear.
  10. Sparta. Perhaps this should be "Sparta and the Peloponnese" so as to include the Messenian Wars, development of the Peloponnesian League and other centres too.
  11. How to deal with other places - a proliferation of accounts of individual cities seems very unsatisfactory. Some important things, like the Lelantine War or the development of conflict with Persia don't fit in it either.

Got to run! More later. Furius (talk) 09:16, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

@Furius: Glad you liked it. For my next trick, Classics! (No, not really, though that article does need killing with fire and rewriting from scratch...)

Point-by-point replies (somewhat dashed off, as I too must run!):

  1. I'm inclined towards "Archaic Greece, broadly construed". So things about e.g. the Phonecians are out of scope, but Greek settlements in Magna Graecia are maybe okay.
  2. Greece in the Making is in fact on my list of sources I'd like to read through and bring into the article. Another one from the 1980s is Oswyn Murray's Early Greece. I'm probably going to dig up my reading list from when I studied archaic Greece last year and see whether there's anything else that seems important.
  3. Section on demography is probably a good idea.
  4. Yeah, Snodgrass' revolutions are pretty much grandfathered into the article, I might cut them out and rewrite the lead...
  5. Second paragraph of the lead could be streamlined, yes.
  6. Etymology section: the plan is to basically turn this into a historiography section. Have a discussion about periodisation, sources (achaeology, archaic lit, classical writings about the archaic world), and whether "archaic" is a problematic term (Shapiro says, essentially: maybe, but no one has suggested anything better!)
  7. Political development intro is needed, yes
  8. Thanks for the rec for Hansen; I'll dig it up.
  9. Athens: yep, I know that we need Pisistratus and Cleisthenes; I didn't particularly want to get into discussions about the myth/legend/reality status of archaic lawgivers which would bog the section down even more; good point about linking seisachtheia and on defining horoi (probably should def hektemoroi too!)
  10. Yes, expanding to Peloponnese would mean I could fit in some stuff on Argos, and probably Elis and the Olympics.
  11. Other places: maybe sections on Greek islands/Ionia, but I agree that we don't want to just bulk the whole thing out with tiny sections on individual cities.

Look forward to your more later!

Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 09:50, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

On reflection on (11.) Perhaps the solution is to have a section that does a brief narrative history of Archaic Greece as a whole: international relations, Lelantine war, Pheidon of Argos, increasing conflict with Persia (especially desired as we currently don't seem to have this narrative anywhereanywhere!). The Athens and Sparta sections could then be focussed entirely on internal development (as in practice they pretty much are anyway) and there would be no risk of a slippery slope to sections on all poleis, because there's not enough data for any others. 15:29, 15 April 2016 (UTC)
I've dashed off the beginnings of a section on historiography to replace the one on etymology; the obvious thing it's still missing is any real discussion of why we bound the archaic period where we do (geographically as well as temporally).
I've also started making some notes for sections on demography and religion; as soon as I get a decent amount of material I'll work them up into prose and put them up to give anyone interested something to play with.
Probably I'm not going to touch the lead for a while; it'll do for now, and it'd be better to wait until the article itself is not in danger of changing drastically before I put any serious effort into polishing it up.
re (11.), I think that you might be on to something there. If you look at the Roman empire article, for instance, you can see that there are sections on history, and then geography/demography, and then treatments of separate topics: government/military, economy, daily life, architecture/engineering, the arts, and so on. Imperial Rome is much better attested than archaic Greece, so we won't need to go into that level of detail in this article – the Rome article is currently more than seven times the wordcount, and with almost 600 references! – but I think the concept probably remains the same. So, for instance, our structure might be something like:
  1. Lead
  2. Historiography
  3. History
  4. Demography
  5. Political developments
  6. Economic developments
  7. Military developments
  8. Cultural developments
  9. Social developments
  10. Religious developments
  11. Appendices

The advantage of this is that, bar a few gaps, the skeleton of the article is now pretty much in place – and, indeed, the structure was visible even in the previous incarnation of the article (I'm sure there's a parallel with archaic Greece to be drawn here...).

What do you think? Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 21:53, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

Yes, I think you're right. The parallel with the Roman empire article is good (though, the authors of that article had an easier task since they were dealing with a single state whereas this article deals with many). Like that article it might be nice to finish with a section on "legacy", although I'm not sure exactly what it would say. I'd be inclined to drop "developments" from the section headers and to separate "Cultural" into "Art and Architecture" and "Literature".
Further thoughts on the rest of the article.
  1. Colonisation. Probably needs to stress the difference between archaic colonisation and the colonisation of the early modern period, rather than just the difference from Roman colonies. Brill's New Pauly sv. colonization I.A. has a succinct definition which might be worth cannibalising "colonization starts in individual municipalities, the outline objective is generally known before the start of the expedition, the number of settlers is relatively low (probably generally between 100 and 200), and the newly established settlements are either completely or at least mainly economically and politically independent of the municipality from which the settlers originated." The first colonies were not in Sicily - Cumae (first half of 8th c) and Corcyra (c. 750) are earlier than Sicilian Naxos (735/4).
  2. Tyranny. Needs to define what tyranny is... which is hard. A useful source is Sian Lewis, Greek Tyranny. A note on the fact that the title was not originally emotive, and only really gained its negative connotations in the classical period (per Victor Parker (1998). "Τύραννος. The Semantics of a Political Concept from Archilochus to Aristotle." Hermes, 126(2), 145–172.) might be helpful - otherwise readers will assume it was always negative.
  3. Trade. I think the structuring principle ought to be the type of goods traded. We can move some way beyond pottery by talking about the oil and wine in the pots, as well as grain. Metal of course. I've been meaning for a long time to read Meiggs, Trees and timber in the ancient Mediterranean world and will add anything useful that I find. The birth of the slave trade is apparently placed around 600 BC by H. Volkmann, Die Massenversklavungen der Einwohner eroberter Städte in der hellenistisch-römischen Zeit, 1990 (I don't know why).
  4. Further suggestions for the economic section: Agriculture, development of coinage (I can draft this).
  5. Literature. I think a sentence emphasising the oral nature of literature in the archaic period would be helpful.
  6. Military. Maybe something on the suggestion that the nature of hoplite warfare and naval warfare had a strong influence on the development of the ethos of equality and democracy? I remember Van Wees "Farmers and hoplites: models of historical development" in Kagan D,Viggiano G Men of bronze: hoplite warfare in ancient Greece beng good on this.
  7. See also. Looks good. Furius (talk) 00:26, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
  1. I suspect that splitting the section on culture into one on visual arts and one on literature will become necessary as the article keeps expanding even if it is okay like that for the minute; as you say architecture deserves a place there, as does the development of theatre, and the different genres of poetry could probably do with more differentiation than they're currently given...
  2. I hadn't discussed the difference between archaic and early modern colonisation because to me the colonisation of other ancient civilisations seemed like the natural comparison; I can however see the argument for adding something briefly on EM colonisation, especially as this is meant to be a resource for non-specialists
  3. Definition of tyranny definitely needed; I'm currently re-reading Anderson (2005), "Before Turranoi were Tyrants" which goes into some detail about this; I'll try to have a look at Parker and Lewis too.
  4. re. Slave trade: Braun in CAH III.3 comments that Greeks at Tyre are associated with slave trade in Ezekiel, which apparently dates from the sixth century; the Cambridge Companion to Archaic Greece doesn't have "slavery" in its index!
  5. Good point on agriculture; I was already considering that coinage needed to be mentioned. Go ahead and draft something up on that if you want; economic history is really not my area.
  6. Not sure the extent to which the ideas of hoplites/navy defending the polis => a stake in politics developed in the archaic vs. the classical period, but it's worth looking into. I think I can get hold of Men of Bronze, so I'll try to read van Wees and see what he has to say about it. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 17:33, 16 April 2016 (UTC)