In the same period, there has been a radical transformation of mapping technologies, which has encouraged new ways of approaching ancient geographies, and multiplied possibilities for the use and visualisation of spatial data. At the same time, while these developments have given greater prominence to the plurality of local perspectives, they have not yet led to a full exploration of the spatial aspects of archaic and classical Greek history.
The aim of this project is to address this deficit and to focus on the ways in which the location of a community in relation to other communities influenced its external interactions and historical experience, its perspectives and self-definition and, equally, how the internal spatial order and dynamics of communities – beyond their basic location in the wider world – might impact on other aspects of their organisation and behaviour.
For these purposes, ‘community’ is defined very broadly across a range of scales to include not only poleis and ethnê but also sanctuaries, civic subdivisions such as demes, geographically-bounded entities such as island groups, and maritime features such as the Propontis. The temporal scope is approximately the archaic and classical periods, though given the desire to challenge periodisation these will be fuzzily delimited.
Implicit in this broad definition of the topic is the proposition that from many locations in the Hellenic world there will have been multiple and often contradictory perspectives, and hence this investigation has the potential to shed fresh light on current debates about identity and identities, ethnicity, networks and environmental history, as well as responding to contemporary interests in various forms of localism, including the burgeoning field of local historiographies.