There is a somewhat limited use of evidence in this book. For example, Drews doesn't address Colin Renfew's main hypothesis and generally doesn't engaThere is a somewhat limited use of evidence in this book. For example, Drews doesn't address Colin Renfew's main hypothesis and generally doesn't engage much on the topic of language. The scope of evidence is small, but the reliance on the evidence that is used is well done.
Indo-European migrations and language Chariots...more
Spends too much time rebutting plausible ideas. It's not that they shouldn't be criticized, it's just that these parThis review is a work in progress.
Spends too much time rebutting plausible ideas. It's not that they shouldn't be criticized, it's just that these parts aren't interesting or informative because the rebuttal is so short and not detailed. In one case, Chadwick is criticized for the theory of eastern and western Greek dialects and the arguments made by Chadwick aren't thoroughly rebutted at all.
The book does not have enough information in it to make it worth reading through the bad theory rebuttal sections, especially for something written in 2006. There's a lot of information out there that should be in this book that's not.
Chapter 2: The Collapse of Bronze Age Civilization is just bad. Every idea in the chapter has flaws, constantly substituting one possible false cause with another false cause, leaving the reader with no one to trust even for incomplete theories. -Dickinson tries to rebut Drews' theory by saying Mycenaeans would have been fine with the changes in warfare and that the Mycenaeans would have been safe from sieges even if they had not adapted to the change in warfare tactics. This dabbling in military history is making everyone feel uncomfortable, I can tell. -At one point Dickinson says it's doubtful there was an invasion because the invaders wouldn't have destroyed (burning the palaces) what they sought to control (the palaces). This is the type of explanation I'd expect in an expository dialogue scene in a B movie. Dickinson seems to know that invaders, whoever they may be, intended to control the palace systems around the Aegean by physically inhabiting the physical structures that existed in the territories being invaded. Huh, why did Alexander the Great burn Persepolis? Why did Rome destroy Corinth and Carthage? Why did Brennus burn Rome? -Accusing people who theorized that the Bronze Age Collapse was caused by violence as having a "romantic" view. I think this is a misrepresentation of those theories. -Overwhelmingly focused on mainland Greece. It's like Dickinson might not understand the scope and nature of the Bronze Age Collapse. The chapter goes into almost no detail on the Near East or even islands in the Aegean. The Wikipedia page on the Bronze Age Collapse is more informative. -Many of the authors of the works he criticizes (Ventris & Chadwick, and Drews in particular) themselves contain the very doubts, in greater detail, that Dickinson raises. Don't bother publishing something if you're not willing to put in the work necessary to make it worth reading. -Dickinson mentions Ugarit, but does not talk about the circumstances that led to its destruction, which probably contain the most significant evidence for Sea Peoples as being capable of destruction. -During the discussion of whether militaries played a role in the destruction of the palaces, Dickinson says it's hard to believe that earthquakes were to blame for the burning of the palaces in every case. It is amazing that Dickinson even raises this theory as a potential counterpoint to the intentional burning of the palaces by humans. It's as though he's saying "Well, it's either one or the other, and in most cases, it probably wasn't earthquakes." -He says the purpose of the coast guard mentioned in the Pylos tablets might have been to guard against Greeks in other parts of Greece attempting to get food from Pylos p. 55. Oh, I'm sorry, the Sea Peoples isn't a reasonable alternative for the purpose of the coast guard of Pylos? About the Sea Peoples, "It seems most unlikely that such groups would be prepared to settle down to besiege well-fortifed centers, allowing an opportunity for forces to be mobilized against them." But, STARVING GREEKS would mount offensives against Pylos!? Oh, but the poor Greeks were only after food, and the Sea Peoples were only after loot, and the palaces had a lot of food, well not enough food because of the earthquakes and drought, but had even less value in terms of booty because their international trade was weakened because they had less food, and therefore the palaces were perfect target from starving Greeks but not greedy Sea Peoples. Reading this book is like... OMG! Aggghhhhh!!!!!!
Ch. 3 The Postpalatial Period When discussing early Dark Age Greece, Dickinson talks about the evidence that shows settlements moving away from shorelines all over the Aegean. He talks about some communities that remained on the shoreline "Thus, any theory positing a universal and continuing threat from the sea seems implausible." (p. 64). Next sentence, new paragraph, he says,
"It seems very unlikely that such coastal sites were themselves pirate bases, although this has been suggested for both Cycladic and Cretan sites. No community of the size suggested by the spread of material at most of them could support itself largely or entirely from piracy or land raiding."
Dickinson is saying that the coastal cities are an indication that raiding was not a universal problem in the Aegean. To support this, he's saying that the coastal cities in the Cyclades and Crete were probably not "pirate bases". Who said they needed to have been "largely or entirely" dependent on raiding in order to produce the raiders capable of scaring people from inhabiting the coastline of Greece and the Aegean islands? Inland settlements were so meager that they no longer produced grain. They were so meager their pottery art became squiggly lines and circles that look like they're from neolithic China. I guarantee they would have been susceptible to violence and dissuaded from being along the shoreline if raiders showed up. No need for strange theories like dedicated "pirate bases" for raiding threats to exist. It does not take many people to conduct a raid on a domestic settlement. That's why, going back to Pylos, even with their walls, had a coast guard....more
Lacks structural explanations. I don't know if it's assumed these exist in abundance elsewhere, but the books will use terms without explaining what tLacks structural explanations. I don't know if it's assumed these exist in abundance elsewhere, but the books will use terms without explaining what the terms mean in Rome's context. The greater problem that stems from this is that it is too specific in certain parts, like the late Republic, and very unspecific elsewhere. Too much assumed knowledge, especially by not defining terms well enough....more
Chapter Ten "The judgment decides, but in a certain way also gives the fight its completed form by consecrating the result of the agon, to which 'theChapter Ten "The judgment decides, but in a certain way also gives the fight its completed form by consecrating the result of the agon, to which 'the city remains in a sense foreign.'"...more
I think Flower does indeed create a better periodization for Roman Republic history:
509: Pre-republican 494: Proto-republican 450: Consular tribunes 366:I think Flower does indeed create a better periodization for Roman Republic history:
509: Pre-republican 494: Proto-republican 450: Consular tribunes 366: Patricians and plebeians share government 300: Nobiles 180: Nobiles with lex Villia annalis 139: Nobiles with lex Gabinia 88: Sulla's dictatorship 81: Sulla's reforms to a Republic system 59: "Big Three" of Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus (Flower accurately does not call them a tresviri (triumvirate) because it was not written in lex) 52: Transition to... 49: Caesar's dictatorship 43: Triumvirate of Octavian, Lepidus, and Antony (Lex Titia made these leaders tresviri de jure)
The biggest strength of the book is Flower's use of the history we're certain of to create a characterization of each period in her own periodization....more