michael sommer on a new typology for the iron age


Michael Sommer, ‘Colonies – Colonisation – Colonialism: A Typological Reappraisal’, Ancient East and West 10 (2011).

Colonies, colonisation and, in particular, colonialism are concepts carrying heavy ideological subtexts – yet they loom over the current debate about the dynamism of the Iron Age Mediterranean. Forty years after M.I. Finley’s ‘attempt at a typology’, this paper tries to thin out the terminological jungle: by employing cross-cultural historical comparison, it demonstrates how complex and manifold seemingly straightforward ideal types are; and that ‘colonies’ and ‘colonialism’ in the classical period of European imperialism were altogether different from the settlements Greeks and Phoenicians established in their Mediterranean diasporas.

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