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By P. J. Rhodes

Thoroughly up-to-date and revised, the second one version of this winning and greatly praised textbook deals an account of the 'classical' interval of Greek historical past, from the aftermath of the Persian Wars in 478 BC to the dying of Alexander the nice in 323 BC.

• vital new chapters were further, masking existence and tradition within the classical Greek world

• gains new pedagogical instruments, together with textboxes, and a complete chronological desk of the West, mainland Greece, and the Aegean

• Enlarged and extra maps and illustrative material

• Covers the background of an enormous interval, together with: the flourishing of democracy in Athens; the Peloponnesian struggle, and the conquests of Alexander the Great

• makes a speciality of the facts for the interval, and the way the facts is to be interpreted

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Example text

4 Archaeology is thus an example of what Clifford Geertz (1973, 15) calls a second-order interpretation – that is, it is our interpretations of ancient interpretations (an idea emphasized by Christopher Tilley in his edited volume Interpretative Archaeology (1993)). It may be possible to read through this human manipulation of material culture to obtain objective information about trade patterns, levels of wealth, etc. But we first have to recognize that everything in the archaeological record which survives from archaic Greece comes to us mediated through a series of filters.

No proper history in this sense can be written for the years before 700, so they should be studied by the methods of archaeology (as he defined them). Some kind of narrative can be reconstructed from written sources for the post-700 period, so archaeology, as Coldstream puts it, ‘performs only an ancillary function’ for the archaic historian. But just a few years later, Anthony Snodgrass offered very different definitions of the key terms in his survey of Archaic Greece. He suggested that classicists had started to define ‘the field of archaeology [as] the entire material culture – so far as it is recoverable – of an ancient society’ (1980, 12).

This division is slightly arbitrary: most of the contributors cover such broad historical questions, and give such prominence to explicit confrontation and integration of the various kinds of evidence, that their papers might almost as easily have been assigned to one of the other sections. In Part I, Ian Morris’ long introductory article offers a catalogue raisonnée of material culture, organised thematically (under the categories of burials, sanctuaries and settlements), regionally (divided between Central Greece, Northern Greece, Western Greece, and Crete), and historically (three key stages are distinguished).

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