Chapter

Dark-Age Greece (c. 620 to c. 800)

Florin Curta and Siu-lun Wong

in The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, c. 500 to 1050

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780748638093
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670741 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638093.003.0007
Dark-Age Greece (c. 620 to c. 800)

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The numismatic, sphragistic, and archaeological evidence shows that after 620, Greece entered a relatively long period of political instability and sharp demographic decline. New identities appear to have been forged out of disparate cultural elements in the uncertain times of the first half of the seventh century. This is reflected in such burial assemblages as those from Nea Anchialos and Corinth (the “wandering soldier” grave). The extraordinary number of coins struck for Emperor Constans II and found in Athens and Corinth may indicate the presence of the imperial court during the winter of 662/3, when the emperor moved to Italy. However, surges in the number of coins are also attested for subsequent reigns and may signal the presence of local markets for fresh food and other commodities necessary to the imperial fleet and the soldiers of the theme of Hellas. In the same direction point the many seals, primarily of military officers and kommerkiarioi of Hellas. A different explanation is required for a number of seals of archons of the Slavs, most likely regional rulers on the northern border of the theme.

Keywords: Warrior grave; coins; seals; inscription; Theophanes Confessor; cemetery; Slavs

Chapter.  15502 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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