Abstract: “Frogs Around a Pond”: Colonial Foundations in the Greek World

In the 5th century B.C.E., when Socrates imagined the spread of Greek settlements throughout the Mediterranean and Black Seas, he likened the scene to “ants or frogs around a pond.” Nearly three centuries earlier, Greek colonists began establishing trading posts and cities from Spain to the Levant, and from northern Africa to the Crimea. In search of new resources and opportunities, the Greeks had to contend with local populations who were often reluctant to cede land to the new arrivals. The resulting contacts, while sometimes violent, often fostered an enduring, rich blending of cultures. Planning was vital to a successful colony and the Greeks developed ingenious means to settle and exploit their new territory. In this talk we will explore how the Greeks planned and established new colonies. Bringing together evidence from archaeology and the ancient literary record we will examine the impetus to colonize, the choice or selection of sites, the sets of priorities (religious, political, and economic) that influenced early colonists. Through this analysis we can begin to appreciate role of the Greeks in the settlement of the ancient world.



Short bibliography on lecture topic:

J. Boardman, The Greeks Overseas, The Early Colonies and Trade, London, 1999.

J. G. Pedley, Paestum: Greek and Romans in Southern Italy, London, 1990.


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