Aegean Scholarship at UT

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Now showing 1 - 20 of 24
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    Kosmos in the Mycenaean Tablets: The Response of the Mycenaean 'Scribes' to the Mycenaean Culture of Kosmos
    (2014) Palaima, Thomas G.
    Paper delivered at the 13th Annual International Aegean Conference at the University of Copenhagen. Palaima considers the idiosyncrasies of individual Mycenaean scribal hands in light of palace architecture and the material surroundings of their day-to-day world.
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    KO Ko 2010 Cloth Fragments of the Rapinewiad
    (2012) Palaima, Thomas G.
    Humorous paper delivered at the 13th International Aegean Conference at the University of Copenhagen.
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    The Significance of Mycenaean Words Relating to Meals, Meal Rituals, and Food
    (2008) Palaima, Thomas G.
    An actual piece delivered at the 12th International Aegean Conference. Palaima discusses the Linear B and historical Greek terminology for 'meals' in order to arrive at a clearer view of what the data for banqueting were and what historical, cultural, and social factors might explain why the Linear B tablets have a meager vocabulary for feasting.
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    A New Linear B Inscription from the Land Down Under: AUS HO(ME) Bo 2008
    (2008) Palaima, Thomas G.
    Gag paper on a fictitious Linear B boomerang, given at the 12th International Aegean Conference held in Melbourne.
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    Mycenaean Society and Kingship: Cui Bono? A Counter-Speculative View
    (2007) Palaima, Thomas G.
    In this paper, delivered at the 11th International Aegean Conference, Palaima responds to the negative appraisals of Mycenaean palace-states and their rulers by Deger-Jalkotzy, Sherratt, and Kopcke.
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    Bob Dylan: Our Homer
    (2006-03-01) Palaima, Thomas G.
    The thesis of Palaima's presentation is that, first of all, more than any other American popular artist during the last half century, Bob Dylan has the qualities of an oral poet; and second, that Dylan’s songs serve the same functions of social enculturation and witness to key realities of life that were the hallmark of ancient Greek oral poetry like Homer’s Iliad and Hesiod’s Works and Days.
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    (2002) Palaima, Thomas G.
    In this chapter, contained within the archaeological report on the site of Kafkania in the northwestern Peloponnese, Palaima critiques the hypothesis that the "Kafkania pebble" can be dated to the Middle Helladic period (c. 2000-1500 B.C.) and thus predates the earliest known Linear B tablets. He begins with a formal description of the object, enumerates its difficulties, and considers alternative possibilities for its provenance, most conspicuously that it may be a forgery.
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    Unlocking the Secrets of Ancient Writing. The Parallel Lives of Michael Ventris and Linda Schele and the Decipherment of Mycenaean and Mayan Writing
    (2000) Palaima, Thomas G.; Pope, Elizabeth I.; Reilly, F. Kent III
    Catalogue of an exhibition conducted in conjunction with the Eleventh International Mycenological Colloquium held at the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. This program features brief histories of the CIPEM Mycenological conferences and PASP, followed by comparative retrospectives on both Michael Ventris, who deciphered Linear B, and Linda Schele, who performed a similar feat for Mayan glyphs.
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    Linear A > Linear B
    (1999) Palaima, Thomas G.; Sikkenga, Elizabeth
    Palaima and Sikkenga compare Linear B with Linear A and the Cypriote Syllabary. Their chapter, part of a collection of studies in Aegean archaeology made in honor of Malcolm H. Wiener, draws out the distinctive features of Linear B and addresses common scholarly criticisms of this script as an effective way to write the Greek language.
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    Mycenaean Militarism from a Textual Perspective. Onomastics in Context: lawos, damos, klewos
    (1999) Palaima, Thomas G.
    In this paper, after surveying the Linear B textual evidence that demonstrates palatial concern for centralized control and organization of military equipment and personnel, Palaima uses the evidence of onomastics and of textual/administrative context to explore the varying degrees to which fundamental cultural notions of 'militarism' permeated different levels and components of Mycenaean society. He particularly marks out: (1) the factors that must be taken into account in weighing the tablet evidence and (2) the tablet series and subject areas that are likely to yield meaningful results. Palaima concentrates on three terms (lawos, damos and klewos) that offer a view across social groups and divisions, and assesses the evidence in contrast to naming patterns in the historical period. He further examines the names of individuals who have been identified as 'collectors.'
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    Special vs. Normal Mycenaean: Hand 24 and Writing in the Service of the King?
    (1998) Palaima, Thomas G.
    This paper given in honor of John T. Killen concerns the relationship between the written and the spoken word within the narrowly defined literate administrative record-keeping systems of Mycenaean palatial centers and focuses on questions connected with socio-linguistic stratification and information-gathering.
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    The Nature of the Mycenaean Wanax: Non-Indo-European Origins and Priestly Functions
    (Université de Liège, Histoire de l' art et archéologie de la Grèce antique; University of Texas at Austin, Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory, 1995) Palaima, Thomas G.
    The wanax is the central figure of authority in Mycenaean society. This much is clear from studies of the references to wanax in the Linear B tablets, interpretation of the history of the use of the term wanax in Homer and later Greek, and reconstruction of the development of the institution of kingship from the end of the Bronze Age through the Archaic to Hellenistic period. Scholars want to know the same things about the Mycenaean wanax that we do about power figures -- "big men", chieftains, shamans, kings -- in any society: how and when did the wanax originate? How were the institution and authority of the wanax legitimized and maintained? What cultural needs did the wanax satisfy and what powers and responsibilities did he have in different spheres of daily life: religious, political, economic, military, and social? What led to the disappearance of the institution of the wanax in post-palatial Greek culture? Each of these questions is major and multi-faceted. Here Palaima discusses them and problems connected with them in two parts. In the first part he rejects the Indo-European model of a warrior-king in favor of a priest-king more along the lines of Hittite models. In the second part he pursues several speculative arguments related to the paraphernalia of Mycenaean kingship.
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    The Last Days of the Pylos Polity
    (Université de Liège, Histoire de l' art et archéologie de la Grèce antique; University of Texas at Austin, Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory, 1995) Palaima, Thomas G.
    A conference paper published in Aegaeum, vol. 12, entitled "Politeia: Society and State in the Aegean Bronze Age." This volume comprises the proceedings of the 5th International Aegean Conference, held at the University of Heidelberg from April 10-13, 1994. In his contribution, Palaima deconstructs the old state-of-emergency theory around Pylos tablet Tn 316, and constructs an alternative reading of the evidence.
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    Michael Ventris's Blueprint: Letters reveal how a British architect and two American scholars worked to decipher a Bronze Age script and read the earliest writings in western civilization
    (Discovery: Research and Scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin, 1993) Palaima, Thomas G.
    An article written for the 40th anniversary of Michael Ventris' decipherment of Linear B as writing a Bronze Age form of the Greek language. Written for a general audience, it situates Ventris within the scholarly milieu of his times, highlights the work of Alice E. Kober and Emmett L. Bennett, Jr. necessary for Ventris to decipher the script, and characterizes Ventris as a "part-time scholar" using quotations from the young British architect's letters.
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    The individual and the Mycenaean state : agency and prosopography in the Linear B texts from Pylos
    (2006) Nakassis, Dimitri, 1975-; Palaima, Thomas G.
    This dissertation examines the relationship between the individual and the state in the Mycenaean palatial period of Late Bronze Age Greece (ca. 1500-1200 BC). The standard view of the Mycenaean state is one of a static, impersonal bureaucracy with rigid structures of authority. The insights of agency theory, in contrast, suggest that the state is better described as a network of social and economic relationships created and maintained through the actions of individuals. A detailed prosopographical study of ca. 800 individuals named in the Linear B tablets from the “Palace of Nestor” at Pylos demonstrates that many named individuals in this Mycenaean state were active in multiple administrative and economic spheres, a situation not easily explained by bureaucratic models. A study of the use of the king’s personal name suggests that the distinction between his official and personal personae was exploited to present the king’s obligatory contributions to a feast as an expression of personal generosity. My systematic prosopographical analysis demonstrates that many of the ca. 250 bronzesmiths engaged in work for the state were also landowners, military officers and shepherds. While past scholarship interpreted the smiths as low-status dependent laborers, data from Linear B and archaeology suggest that a significant majority were elites. Similarly, I argue that individuals traditionally identified as lowly herders in the field are better interpreted as shepherding supervisors with considerable private holdings of animals. Thus, this study of named individuals and their activities provides insights into Mycenaean political economy, craft production, the constitution of the state, and how it interacted with society as a whole. These elites allowed the palace to manage extensive but decentralized economic activities in an administratively simple arrangement, by taking on specific responsibilities for the state. Conversely, engagement in the palatial economy gave elites access to enormous resources of value and provided them with opportunities for enrichment. These elite individuals, then, were heavily invested in, and constituted an important part of, the state apparatus. In sum, rather than being a monolithic entity, the Mycenaean state is better seen as both the medium and outcome of the actions of individuals.
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    Sense and sensibility: the experience of poikilia in archaic and classical greek thought
    (2016-05) Lather, Amy Kathleen; Beck, Deborah; Dean-Jones, Lesley; LeVen, Pauline; Perlman, Paula; White, Stephen
    This dissertation comprises a study of ancient aesthetics and sensory experience by focusing on the concept of poikilia in archaic and classical Greek literature. As a term that characterizes a seemingly disparate array of phenomena (ranging from textiles and armor to speech and music), an analysis of the different ways that ancient authors use the terminology of poikilia creates a panoptic perspective on how the perceptual experiences of these different media were thought to converge and diverge. Moreover, this work reveals that close attention to aesthetic terminology provides access to the complex and multivalent character of ancient sensory experience. I demonstrate in this dissertation that poikilia encompasses a diverse but coherent range of aesthetic sensibilities, and that these attitudes reflect the different sensations and affects that were thought to accompany the perception of poikilia. By taking an interdisciplinary approach that combines traditional philological methods with theories drawn from philosophy and the social sciences, my dissertation illuminates the existence of sensory practices (culturally contingent ways of using the senses and interpreting sensory data) that account for the wide range of connotations associated with the term poikilia from the earliest sources onward.
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    Economic Interplay Among Households And States
    (2013-07) Shelmerdine, Cynthia W.; Shelmerdine, Cynthia W.
    This Forum has made progress on both its stated research themes: control of craft production and the newer topic of markets. My comments take up the issues of household economy, state control, and markets. First, I discuss developments at the second-order center of Nichoria, which show both independent activity and the effect of incorporation into the state of Pylos. Excavation of another such settlement at Iklaina promises to support and expand on the findings from Nichoria. State control is another subject for discussion; the evidence suggests some differences between prestige goods and ordinary pottery, concerning both production and consumption. Finally, I argue that the existence of markets is well supported by both archaeological and textual data.
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    Mycenaean religion at Knossos
    (2011-08) Gulizio, Joann; Shelmerdine, Cynthia W.; Palaima, Thomas G.; Kimball, Sara; Perlman, Paula; Shelton, Kim
    This dissertation examines the archaeological and textual evidence for religion at the site of Knossos during the Mycenaean phases of administration (LM II-LM IIIB1). Several methodological issues in the nature of the evidence are addressed. The Linear B documents, due to their economic nature, offer limited information about religion. Moreover, the tablets from Knossos belong to at least two different phases of administration. The archaeological evidence for the different phases of cult use is often difficult to assess given the continued use of the palace over an extended period of time. To address these issues, the evidence from Knossos is divided into two temporal phases so that the textual evidence can be closely examined alongside its contemporary archaeological evidence for cult. This process has allowed for a more accurate view of the religion at Knossos in the Late Bronze Age. An evolution in the religious beliefs and practices are evident in the material culture. The presence of Indo-European divinities into the Knossian pantheon by the newly-installed Greek-speaking elite population is apparent from the outset, while previous Minoan style shrines continue to be used. In the later phase, numerous Minoan divinities are included in ritual offerings, while some Greek divinities are now given local epithets. Also at this time, Minoan shrine types gradually go out of use, whereas bench sanctuaries (a shrine type common to both Minoans and Mycenaeans) become the norm. The overall nature of Mycenaean religious assemblages at Knossos represents a unique blend of both Minoan and Mycenaean religious beliefs and practices.
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    Aegean Bronze Age literacy and its consequences
    (2011-08) Pluta, Kevin Michael; Palaima, Thomas G.; Shelmerdine, Cynthia; Kimball, Sara; Riggsby, Andrew; Sickinger, James
    The Mycenaeans used writing for a variety of administrative purposes. The archaeological evidence for writing suggests that it was a highly restricted technology. Mycenaeans used the Linear B script to write clay tablets, inscribe sealings, and paint on vessels. There is evidence to suggest that ephemeral documents of parchment or papyrus also were used for writing. In most of these instances, writing recorded economic transactions involving the material wealth of the state. The only exception is a small number of open-shaped vessels that are likely inscribed with personal names. The Linear B script is often blamed for the restriction of writing by the Mycenaeans. This open-syllabic script does not well represent the sound of spoken Greek, and requires the frequent use of dummy vowels and the omission of consonants at the end of syllables. Studies in literacy theory, however, suggest that script usage, reading, and writing are dictated by social factors and by need, rather than by forces supposedly inherent in the script itself. Writing was restricted because Mycenaean society dictated a restricted use. The sealings and tablets, which are found at several sites throughout mainland Greece and Crete, are small in size and are found almost exclusively in administrative contexts, in buildings that have functions in central administration. Writing is never found in public displays, as it is in the contemporary Near East. There was no intent to familiarize the Mycenaean populace with the technology of writing. Training in literacy likewise appears to have been highly restrictive, with new individuals being taught by scribes on an ad hoc, individualized basis. The loyalty of scribes to the king would have been essential. The sealings and tablets record the material wealth of the kingdom that was under the management of central administration. Furthermore, the contents of the tablets are not countermarked by seal impressions that would confirm their authenticity. Scribes would have been among the king’s closest administrators and members of the elite. The restriction of writing would ensure that all written words were legitimate, as they could only be written by the most trusted individuals in the kingdom.