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Greek colonial settlement at Ampurias (left) and indigenous Iberian oppidum of Ullastret (right), both in Catalunya, Spain
Urban life as we know it in the Mediterranean began in the Iron Age; this was also the time when long-distance connections across the entire Mediterranean basin became more intensive and substantial, and when Greek, Phoenician, Etruscan and Carthaginian settlers began to establish so-called 'colonies'. In this course, we will explore these major processes of social, economic and political transformation in the West Mediterranean during the first half of the first millennium BC, examining how they related to one another and, most of all, how outside settlers, visiting traders and local inhabitants interacted and became involved in these processes.
The basic question that we will explore in this course is whether the profound changes in the Iron Age societies of the western Mediterranean must primarily be viewed in the light of colonial and external contacts or in terms of long-term indigenous development. How can we understand those regions, where urban development was much more limited or even absent? In all these cases, we will attempt to examine the ways in which everyday life of local people was involved in and affected by these transformations. We will consider evidence from around the entire West Mediterranean, from the southern Iberian coasts to central Italy and the Catalan shores, without overlooking the islands of Sardinia, Sicily and the Balearics.