Abstract: Homer and Maeonia: Lydia Before the Lydians?

Curiously, Homeric epic makes no mention of Lydians or Lydia, the Iron Age kingdom of western Anatolia with a capital at ancient Sardis and with well-established cultural connections to the Archaic and Classical Greek world. Instead of “Lydia,” the area around Sardis in the Gediz (ancient Hermus) River valley is associated with “Maeonia,” a still ill defined area inhabited by “Maeonians,” whom later Classical authors considered to be early Lydians. Yet no archaeological or textual record of Maeonian culture distinct from that of Iron Age Lydian culture was known… until recently, perhaps. This lecture presents a selection of recent results from the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey in the Marmara Lake Basin, near Sardis, in addition to a synthesis of archaeological and textual records concerning Sardis, early Lydians, and Maeonia in an attempt to unravel the mystery of Homer’s Maeonia.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Website: www.bu.edu/clas

Luke, C., and C. H. Roosevelt. In press. “Memory and Meaning in Bin Tepe, the Lydian Cemetery of a “Thousand Mounds.” In Tumulus as Sema: Proceedings of an International Conference on Space, Politics, Culture, and Religion in the First Millennium BC, edited by O. Henry and U. Kelp. TOPOI Excellence Cluster series. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Roosevelt, C. H. 2010. “Lydia Before the Lydians.” In The Lydians and Their World. Catalogue of an Exhibit at the Yapı Kredi Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, İstanbul, edited by N. D. Cahill, 37–73. İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Culture, Art, and Publishing.

Luke, C., and C. H. Roosevelt. 2009. “The Central Lydia Archaeological Survey: Documenting the Prehistoric through Iron Age Periods.” In Tree-Rings, Kings, and Old World Archaeology and Environment: Papers Presented in Honor of Peter Ian Kuniholm, edited by S.W. Manning and M.J. Bruce, 199–218. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

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