Tuesday, September 23, 2008

quod legebam

What I've been reading.

Michael Dietler Chap. 9-Iron Age of the Western Mediterranean p.275
For many years, a concept known as “Hellenization” served as the primary explanatory framework for understanding the consequences of trade and cross-cultural consumption that constituted the essence of the pre-Roman colonial encounter in Mediterranean France. Initially, this concept conflated both a description of the process of social and cultural change in the colonial situation and its explanation. It was axiomatically assumed that, even in the absence of a coercive imperial domination of the Roman kind, imitation or absorption of Greek culture (or that of other Mediterranean “civilizations”) by “barbarian” societies would have been a natural and inevitable result of contact. Hence, the focus of analysis was to chart the gradual clumsy progress of this self-evident phenomenon…The roots of this flawed interpretive paradigm and untenable assumptions of the inherent superiority and attractiveness of Greek and Phoenician culture and the one-way flow of transformative influences, can be traced to a tradition of Hellenophilia that had a powerful influence on the structure of cultural capital in modern European societies.
Whoops...our bad.

That is from Scheidel, Morris, and Saller’s excellent Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World, which has pleasantly consumed much of the last week for me.

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