Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Robert Garland's "Wandering Greeks"

Robert Garland is the Roy D. and Margaret B. Wooster Professor of the Classics at Colgate University. His many books include The Eye of the Beholder: Deformity and Disability in the Graeco-Roman World and The Greek Way of Death.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his latest book, Wandering Greeks: The Ancient Greek Diaspora from the Age of Homer to the Death of Alexander the Great, and reported the following:
From page 99:
In time of war civilian populations become a handicap, especially if they happen to be living outside the city walls. Vulnerable to the enemy, they are also a distraction since they are liable to prevent the military from pursuing a coherent plan of action. They must be protected, but how? Two options are available: either they can be conveyed to a friendly community nearby or brought inside the walls, although the latter course is feasible only if there is enough space to accommodate them. Whichever option is adopted, the logistics of evacuating thousands of people in the lead up to the outbreak of hostilities was one of the most challenging exercises a polis or city-state could undertake.
The evacuee is one of many categories of Greeks who were uprooted from their homeland, often in conditions of extreme vulnerability. The Greeks were a highly mobile society, and their mobility was essential to its survival, success, and sheer sustainability. Wandering in short - whether as an evacuee, an asylum seeker, an economic migrant or an exile - was a defining characteristic of their culture.
Learn more about Wandering Greeks at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue