Friday, October 26, 2018

Samothracian Networks

Samothracian Networks
Samothracian Networks

Sailing an ancient sea

In Samothrace Mariner, a study of ritual and mobility in the ancient world, we are building bridges between:
  • academic and scientific research, integrating theory and method from anthropology, geography, Classics, religion and ancient history
  • pedagogical needs, supporting instructors in primary and secondary education
  • gaming applications with broad potential for public education in the most informal of settings.
These three approaches– research, pedagogy, and popular culture – are united through shared reliance on a unique database built on ancient sources. The core of the database comes from inscriptions, a form of historical data least accessible to the non-specialist.  These inscriptions have provided the geospatial and chronological parameters for a QGIS platform; to this we bring data from ancient history, poets, geographers and politicians, giving access to ancient voices located in the geospaces they occupied.
Our interest at all three levels is maritime mobility: how did ancient travelers move safely through seas as full of risk as profit?  Highly developed sailing skills were one route; social contracts, often guaranteed by the gods, were another. These contracts, part of the Greek institution of proxenia, bound the parties to non-aggression, information sharing, and mutual support in ports of call. See “how it worked.”  They are recorded on inscriptions which provide dates, places, and the names of otherwise anonymous individuals charged with ensuring their city’s good behavior toward travelers and merchants from other cities around the Mediterranean world.

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