Shedding light on the matter: Ideascapes and material worlds in the land of Thales
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Geographischer Bezug: Griechenland
Berichtszeitraum: Frühgeschichte / Antike
The land of Ionia became the cultural, economic and intellectual powerhouse of the Greek world between the 8th and 6th centuries BC. During this era of intense pan-Mediterranean trade and interaction, Ionian cities began monumentalising their settlements and sanctuaries, they set up colonies around the Black and Mediterranean Seas, and ultimately they became embroiled in wars and revolts against the major terrestrial force of the era, the Persian empire. In addition, these cities were intellectual incubators, and many of the earliest identifiable philosopher-scientists (especially Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, later Pythagoras, Heraclites, Xenophanes, Melissus, Anaxagoras) were active in or originated from this region, or from its colonies. How, then, can we explain this florescence of intellectual production, known more generally as the ‘Ionian Enlightenment’? To what extent were these ideas generated by international connections, or by the specific social contexts of Ionia? In
what ways did the material and natural environment of archaic Ionia play catalyst for philosophy? Can the same dynamics or concerns - those experienced by philosophers, tyrants and humble city-dwellers alike - be documented in the material imprint left by the contemporary society?