480 BCE: Reconsidering the Chronological Anchor of Archaic and Classical Greece - Conference Day 1

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Keynote address: “480 BCE and the Narration of Time and Change”
by Astrid Lindenlauf (Bryn Mawr College)

Discussant: Andrew Stewart (University of California, Berkeley)

For the history of Greece, one of the main ‘anchor’ dates is 480 BCE. In that year, the Persian armies led by king Xerxes occupied large parts of Greece. For the history of Greece, both before and after the Persian wars, the watershed of 480 has developed as one of the main anchors on which the interconnected fabric of relative dates seems to depend. The solidity of this framework is the topic of this conference. In this framework, the principle of relative dating itself is reasonable and sound. Yet, the anchor of 480 is not necessarily a reliable guide.

The reconsideration of 480 as a chronological anchor has already begun: scholars in individual subdisciplines of archaeology, history, epigraphy, and related fields have realized that 480 may not have been the turning point it is traditionally taken to be and various changes to the traditional chronology have been proposed. However, given the high level of specialization, scholars normally do not fully engage with developments in other subfields. The potential impact of the revisions in one domain is therefore not always realized in another, let alone in Greek archaeology and history as a whole. This is beginning to change with efforts to bring together the various chronological problems in diverse categories of evidence and even the dismissal of the traditional link between stylistic developments and the Persian wars.

This conference aims to bring together specialists in subdisciplines of Greek history and archaeology (historiography, architecture, pottery, sculpture, epigraphy, numismatics, literature etc.) to share, debate, and test shifting views on the significance of 480 on the chronology of Greek history of the Archaic and Classical periods.

Organizers: Janric van Rookhuijzen, Josine Blok & Floris van den Eijnde

For more information, please contact Janric van Rookhijzen (j.z.vanrookhuijzen@uu.nl).