Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Island of Gla

 From Ancient History:

Such would have been the climate during the Late Bronze Age. At that time the lake's shores were dotted with Mycenaean settlements, notably Orchomenos, a wealthy palace site in the north-west. There was also a string of Mycenaean forts in the north-east corner, centred on the citadel of Gla some six miles distant. This network of related sites suggests that Bronze Age Boeotia, as elsewhere in the Mycenaean world, supported a complex socio-economic structure under palace administration. Indeed much of mainland Greece was probably divided between several such powerful city-states – Mycenae and Tiryns in the Argolid, for example, and Pylos in Messenia – although the actual relationship between them is still hotly disputed, as is the mechanism by which power was transferred. Insofar as it can be trusted, Greek legend states that the Boeotian cities of Orchomenos and Thebes were enemies, and the forts around Gla were clearly built to protect the area from a neighbour or more distant invader.

Given Boeotia's tough local environment though and its concomitant limitation on resources, continued growth of a city-state could only have been sustained by increasingly specialised agricultural production. With this in mind, archaeologists have connected the Mycenaean draining of Lake Copais for high-yield agricultural purposes with the contemporary construction of the fortified citadel of Gla. (Read more.)


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