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The Mycenaean World [Paperback]

John Chadwick
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 Mar 1976
In 1952 the decipherment of the Linear B script suddenly revealed the Greekness of Mycenaean Greece. Now, after new discoveries and more than 20 years of intensive work, scholars are able to interpret the written documents and reconstruct from them a vivid picture of life in this remote period, in a way which is impossible from archaeology alone. John Chadwick, who assisted Ventris in the original decipherment, has played a major part in these advances. He now summarizes the results of research and in so doing opens the door to a new world, Mycenaean Greece seen through the eyes of its inhabitants. The tablets may be only, as he describes them, 'the account books of anonymous clerks', but from these prosaic documents he shows how we can infer a bronze industry, foreign slave-women, or even human sacrifice. Not least important is the comparison of the newly available data with the Homeric account, much to the detriment of Homer's credibility as a witness.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (25 Mar 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521290376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521290371
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 17 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 266,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

John Chadwick summarizes the results of research into Mycenaean Greece and in so doing opens the door to a new world, Mycenaean Greece seen through the eyes of its inhabitants.

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There is nothing easier in talking about the past than to ask meaningless questions, which nevertheless still appear sensible. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While the glory that was Persia is one with Nineveh and Tyre the accounts offices at Pylos, Knossos and elsewhere have gained historical presence by being burned down leaving their clay records baked for future generations. These are not full accounting records but the current month/season files just before the Catastrophe struck. Following the decipherment of Linear B scholars like John Chadwick are attempting to build up some picture of life in Mycenean kingdoms (in this case sandy Pylos, home, per Homer, of aged Nestor, the Gerenian charioteer). The result may be rather dry for some, but I found it of great interest as Chadwick has the judgement to make leaps of deduction and the sense to detect their limits.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dry But Factual 23 April 2007
By Kenneth Sohl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a little dry for a layman's tastes probably, but more than likely only the interested will purchase such a specialized title anyway. The reason for the "dryness"? This book is very conservative, making no convoluted deductions from the evidence, but is actually a concise survey of everything currently known about the mycenaeans (what types of info are preserved on the tablets, what crops and livestock were cultivated, what aspects of the administrative system is known, etc.). The writing style isn't dry, really, just to-the-point as it should be in such a work. Any deep studies of bronze-age Greece should start here.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book, but 23 July 2013
By Jared L. Gibbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a good book, but it was published about 40 yrs ago, so archaeology likely has added to the knowledge in this book, and it could be a bit to much academic, and I don't want to call it dry, because it is the facts and not much in the way of theories, so it could be a bit much for the casual reader, but I have enjoyed it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A detective story 19 Dec 2013
By Larry N. Stout - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Chadwick is first and foremost a philologist, one who contributed a great deal to the decipherment of Linear B, represented in the many fortuitously fire-baked Mycenaean clay tablets, mostly from Knossos and Pylos (and far fewer from other sites). From thoughtful study of this vast array of tablets, painstakingly reassembled (as far as possible) from fragments in the ruins, Chadwick (and his colleagues) have ingeniously inferred many things about the Mycenaean culture. The tablets are simple flattened, fusiform records of the receipts, inventories, and disbursements of royal storerooms through which the commodities important to those people passed; they are also, evidently, a virtual snapshot in time, recording data only for the current year. Although archaeological objects other than the tablets pertain and are discussed, this book is first and foremost about decipherment of the tablets and reading between the lines by means of (very!) educated guesses. The Mycenaeans were new initiates to the written word (and number), taking off from the Minoan Linear A, and it is likely that very few (officials only?) were even semi-literate; so, they unfortunately left no chronicles, and no correspondence with other polities, though their ambit at its apogee spanned at least the eastern Mediterranean. This is not a "fun" book, and it is a slog for the impatient, and those with unrealistic expectations.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true scholarly monument 11 May 2014
By Patrick L - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book describes life in Mycenaean Greece based on deciphered syllabic texts, not on assumptions based on traditions and lore. It is the result of rare and unique scholarship and knowledge that is hard to find nowadays. The author is a giant figure in Greek letters as he was not a professor merely of Greek language at Cambridge University, but of Greek Dialects; he knew fully every stage of the Greek language from Proto-Greek to spoken Modern Greek. He was the super expert to whom the brilliant young architect Michael Ventris appealed after he basically deciphered the Linear B script but needed the help of a specialized linguist to proceed to the full validation and understanding of Linear B.
1 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so good 11 April 2012
By Marco Gnagnetti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of the book is ancient thesis and known hypotesis. Not so impressed, expected much more from author.
Even the graphics are waek.
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