One of Josho’s favourite episodes of the science-fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001) deals with the problems inherent in reconstructing the past, how the past influences the present, and how it paves the way to the future.
The publication of a new edition of Eric Cline’s book 1177 BC causes Josho to think about how we frame “collapse”, and whether the end of hierarchical societies is really as bad as many scholars seem to suggest.
The most studied aspect of the ancient world is its political history. Whether it’s a critical narrative of Roman history or a detailed look at the structure of the polis, politics are central. But how we understand politics and its ostensibly substantive equivalent, the state, is no less subjective than any other aspect of historical analysis. However, this subjectivity is often overlooked.
Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn’s Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice is required reading if you’re interested in archaeology.
The Lelantine War is the first major military conflict that pitted two alliances of Greek cities against each other. But did it really happen?
A discussion about how studying the past is essentially subjective leads to a discussion based on a book by Michael Shanks.