A few weeks ago Alexandra of ascholarlyskater nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thanks Alex! I see that Judith Weingarten won one of these in 2013. Although I do not normally post personal things on this blog, I thought I would get into the spirit of things in my reply. Those of you who are here for the history can come back next week when I will have something nice and martial and either Babylonian or Phoenician.
One of the joys of the modern age is that doctoral dissertations are usually published online. While it is still sometimes necessary to travel to the correct university and make a copy of an older dissertation by hand (or order it and wait months for the librarians and the appropriate university to send their copy), this makes the process of finding and obtaining research much less expensive and laborious. This week I thought I would take some time to mention some dissertations which my readers might be interested in. All of them are clearly written and provide enough background information that most readers of a blog like this should be able to understand their subjects, namely ancient horses, ancient Greek and Macedonian tactics, and the skeletons found in the tombs of the Macedonian kings.
Tobias Capwell, The Real Fighting Stuff: Arms and Armour at the Glasgow Museums (Glasgow City Council: Glasgow, 2007) ISBN 978-0-902752-82-5
Dr. Tobias “Toby” Capwell, jouster and curator with a PhD in fifteenth-century armour, is taking preorders for his forthcoming book on knightly armour in late medieval England. In honour of that, I thought I would post on the only one of his publications which I have been able to read, a book for beginners on arms and armour at the Glasgow museums.
Like Herodotus and Hellanicus, Thucydides also specified certain intervals of years from the Fall of Troy (eg. for the Return of the Heraclids) and others from his own time (eg. Corinthian naval activity). To this day, numerical expressions such as these condition the chronology, yet historians are skeptical when Thucydides demonstrates the great antiquity of an erstwhile Delian festival from the fact that it is mentioned in Homer’s Hymn to Apollo, and reject his testimony that the grave goods from the opened Delian tombs were Carian, because the tombs, when excavated, yielded Geometric pottery. The manufacture of such pottery is attributed to Hellenes, presumably because it is found in what became known, at some indeterminate moment, as Hellas, but in fact there is nothing about the pottery that proves the hypothesis of Hellenic manufacture. A remark from R.M. Cook shows how the hypothesis has taken precedence over the testimony: “Thucydides, or an informant who he considered reliable, did not recognize Geometric (or perhaps Orientalizing) pottery as being particularly Greek, and dated it at least 300 years too early.” It is we who have assumed that Geometric pottery was made only by Hellenes; perhaps Thucydides’ remark should cause us to re-examine that assumption.
Pamela-Jane Shaw, Discrepancies in Olympiad Dating and Chronological Problems of Archaic Peloponnesian History, Historia Einzelschriften 166 (Franz Steiner Verlag: Stuttgart, 2003) pp. 23, 24
I certainly can’t speak to pottery typologies, but I can say that ethnic terms are always tricky, and that people have a curious tendency to repeat numbers once they have heard them.