Please find below the details about the talks of our speakers.
Palaces, Craftsmen, Entrepreneurs, and Merchants: Individual and Institutional Players in Aegean Long-Distance Exchange
Sarah C. Murray (University of Toronto, Toronto)
In the Aegean, the final centuries of the 2nd millennium BCE were a period of dramatic highs and lows. The Late Mycenaean palatial societies of the 14th and 13th centuries represent something of a peak of complex civilization in the Aegean Bronze Age. However, starting around 1200 BCE the archaeological evidence suggests that Mycenaean civilization unraveled, and the succeeding periods seem to have entailed a process of gradual depopulation and institutional devolution that would carry over the turn of the millennium and into the 9th century BCE. In this paper, I examine the way in which the Aegean’s relationships with the eastern Mediterranean articulate with this broader narrative of civilizational florescence and collapse, to the extent that we can reconstruct them based on the often problematic textual and archaeological sources. While Aegean prehistorians have often focused on the role of palatial institutions in driving exchange with the East in the Bronze Age, the evidence seems to show that the non-palatial sector, including independent merchants, travelling craftsmen, and other intermediaries, played an even more important role in shaping Aegean interaction across the transition from the Late Bronze to Early Iron Ages.
Beth Ann Judas (ARCE-PA, Philadelphia)
This talk will explore the interconnections between New Kingdom Egypt and Bronze Age Aegean. Egypt’s history of interactions with the Bronze Age Aegean is long and stretches from the late Middle Kingdom through the New Kingdom. In Egypt, evidence of the relationship is found in such things as texts, paintings, and pottery. However, in the Aegean, the relationship is more subtle. Although Egypt is not mentioned in extant texts, evidence of interaction between the Egypt and the Aegean can be seen in the form of raw materials, such as ivory and gold, as well as select finished goods, such as stone vessels, Egyptian amphora (presumably originally filled with perishable goods), and inscribed items.
Establishing the King’s Name in the Land. Egypt and the Levant through the Prism of the Amarna Letters.
Jana Mynářová (Charles University, Prague)
The Amarna letters are a primary source for understanding the political, economic, and legal relations between Egypt and the client kingdoms of the Levant during the 14th century BC. This collection of about 400 cuneiform documents from the site of Tell el-Amarna (ancient Akhetaten) in Middle Egypt is usually divided into two main groups based on the socio-political status of their correspondents. A little over ten percent has been identified as royal correspondence: letters between the Egyptian king and his royal partners. Nearly ninety percent, however, are letters addressed to the Pharaoh or an Egyptian official, representing state correspondence on the affairs of the Levantine client kings. These texts are quite varied, although security, economic, and administrative issues are major topics. The rulers personified Late Bronze Age political relations, and recognizing these letters as personal interactions enables a clearer understanding of the nature and mechanisms of communication as well as the legal and diplomatic practices of the time. It is the main aim of the presentation to offer some views on the corpus from the perspective of the history and administration of the Levantine region in the 14th century BC.
Tara Prakash (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore)
During the Nineteenth Dynasty (ca. 1292-1191), King Ramses II tried to reestablish Egyptian control over the Syrian city of Kadesh, which the Hittites of Anatolia had conquered in the late Eighteenth Dynasty. He recorded the epic battle that he fought at Kadesh against the Hittite Empire and its allies in a series of reliefs, which he had carved onto temple walls throughout Egypt. These reliefs preserve multiple textual and pictorial accounts of Ramses’ struggle. In this lecture, I will consider how the Egyptians portrayed the Hittite king and his coalition in the Kadesh texts and images in order to shed light on both the Egyptian conception of foreigners and the purpose of these reliefs inside the Egyptian temple.