While scholars have long acknowledged the importance of artistic relationships between ancient Greece and the Near East, recent discourse on multi-culturalism and diversity has ignited new debate over these issues both among scholars and in the broader public. Charges and countercharges of historical revisionism and systematic undervaluation of the debt owed by ancient Greece to the Near East and Africa have polarized the debate and obscured the actual evidence. In Imports and Immigrants, Gail L. Hoffman explores the primary archaeological basis for such discussions, namely the preserved physical remains, providing a foundation for constructive discussion of the relations and exchanges between ancient Greece and the Near East.
Drawing together all the evidence and arguments for Near Eastern immigrants in Crete, Hoffman demonstrates there are basic problems with the accepted interpretations. Evidence of continued technical expertise casts doubt on the necessity of reintroduction, while careful scrutiny of the evidence supporting immigrant craftsmen reveals many inadequacies in the currently accepted analyses.
Imports and Immigrants identifies the need for reassessing all dimensions of the question of artistic relationships between ancient Greece and other regions of the Aegean basin and suggests new avenues of inquiry in this important debate. The volume also reassesses arguments made for the presence of Near Eastern immigrants in Crete. This book includes a catalogue indispensable for future work on these issues and illustrations of most of the known imports to Crete.
Gail L. Hoffman is Associate Professor of Greek Art and Archaeology, Department of Classics, Yale University.
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