Chapter 7 - the setting for med..docx

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Classical Studies
Course Code
CLAS 1000
John Walsh

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Chapter 7: The Setting for Mediterranean Civilization • Aquileia, settled in 181 BC as a Roman colony to defend the area against invading Celts-had good access to the sea and served as the end point for trading routes from the north -Grew enoromously prosperous from trade and its own industries of which glass making and gem cutting were the most prominent – mainly because it had road connections with Po Valley, Italy and Austria (reasons for economic prosperity) -sacked by the Huns in AD 542 as the city disintegrated - much of the Mediterranean has lived on the edge of drought • “The Mediterranean, and its neighbor the Black Sea, are inseparable from the lives of most of the civilizations in this book” -the Black Sea with its many harbours, bays and islands is safe enough for everyday travel but large and volatile enough in its behavior to contain the unknown and unexpected. Many myths revolve around the Black Sea as heroes encounter it as a struggle in their journey. The biggest fear is to die unburied in the Black Sea. • Tale of Odysseus: on a voyage returning from Troy to his homeland where he is believed to have died. His journey across the sea takes 10 years and he is imprisoned by a seductive nymph (Calypso), helped or hindered by gods and goddesses and subject to monsters, clashing rocks and whirlpools. He lands ashore and encounters the people of the Phaeacian islands who prove to be civilized and offer to escort him on his journey. The people of these islands have managed to control the sea. They are contrasted with the Cyclops whom own the same rich lands do not take advantage of its fertility and are shown to be uncivilized and monstrous. • For Greeks another important psychological element of life in the Mediterranean was the constant awareness of the great civilizations of the east. The Phoenicians acted as middlemen through which the rich cultural heritage of these states was passed on, partly through word of mouth, myth and goods. The most predominant eastern civilization among the Greeks was Egypt (credited as the fount of ancient wisdoms; first to define the relationships between man and gods and the Greeks had absorbed their own religion from them). The Greeks and other Mediterranean cultures were in a continuous process of evaluating themselves through the definition of others. -The Mediterranean is a relatively sheltered environment and what gives it its
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