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Pelasgians and Leleges: Using the Past to Understand the Present

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Chapter Summary

chimaera. In archaeological terms, the designation 'Pelasgian' is even less accurate than terms like Beaker Culture or Globular Amphora Culture. Myres attempted to establish sound methodological principles for determing, if not who the Pelasgians were, then at least who the Greeks thought they were. Proceeding from a position of historical positivism, namely the assumption that the primary sources, properly put in context, could be read as reliable indicators of historical conditions, Myres reached conclusions that were forward-thinking and deserve to be repeated. When Myres speaks of a 'connotative usage of the name' he is referring to the way in which authors of the classical period associated Pelasgian with all that was pre-Greek and uncivilized, in direct opposition to the identification of 'Greek' with civilization. The Pelasgians were a touchstone that the Greeks came back to time and again as they sought to define, disentangle and clarify their past.

Keywords: Beaker Culture; civilization; Myres; Pelasgian

10.1163/9789004274952_003
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