Ep. 026 – Sailing Advice from Hesiod, the Farmer-Poet

At long last we make first contact with the Greeks! Today we try to cover the earliest periods of Greek colonization and expansion into the central Mediterranean. Hesiod's writings can give us some insight into the socio-economic conditions in Greece proper, the conditions that spurred the colonization of the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. Early Greek colonies in the Levant connected them with the goods and ideas of the east, flowing west as far is Pithecusae, the oldest Greek settlement west of Greece. From there the colonization really picked up, with settlements being established along the sea-road back toward Greece. We finish our episode by looking at multiple ship depictions on Attic pottery found around the Mediterranean. We try to suss out whether some of these depict galleys or biremes, but the bottom line is the transition to biremes and triremes happened during the colonization phase. By the end today we will have set the stage for the conflicts between trade powers in the central Med, conflicts that will be our focus in coming episodes.

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  • Abulafia, David, The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean (2013).
  • Braudel, Fernand, Memory and the Mediterranean (1998).
  • Buchner, Giorgio, Pithekoussai: Oldest Greek Colony in the West, Expedition J., pp. 4–12 (Summer 1966). [link]
  • Durant, Will, The Story of Civilization, Vol II: The Life of Greece (1939).
  • Grant, Michael, The Rise of the Greeks (1987).
  • Herodotus, The Histories (Robert Strassler, Ed., Andrea Purvis, Transl., 2007).
  • Hesiod's Lands and Seasons, Literature and History Podcast. (Episode 7)
  • McGrail, Seán, Boats of the World: From the Stone Age to Medieval Times (2009).
  • Miles, Richard, Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization (2010).
  • Moore, Mary B., Ships on a 'Wine-Dark Sea' in the Age of Homer, Metropolitan Museum Journal, v. 35 (2000). [link]
  • Paine, Lincoln, The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World (2013).
  • Pithecusae 'shipwreck' krater. Archaeological Museum of Pithecusae. [link]
  • Plato, Phaedo, Section 109. [link]
  • Terracotta krater, Attributed to the Workshop of New York MMA 34.11.2. [link]
  • Thebes Krater, The British Museum. [link]

  2 comments for “Ep. 026 – Sailing Advice from Hesiod, the Farmer-Poet

  1. D.N. O'Donovan
    October 15, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Just want you to know these are fantastic broadcasts.

    I’ve bookmarked them, and hope to go through them all.

    • Brandon Huebner
      October 18, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      Always enjoy hearing that listeners enjoy the content 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share that! And do please continue to check back when you’re able; I’ll continue to post more episodes as I am able to research and put it all together.

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