Aegean Connections (Episode 2)

In this second episode of the podcast series, a scholar of Aegean studies sheds more light on the knowns and unknowns of the ancient Aegeans through this interview with a scholar of Linear B, the ancient script of the Mycenaeans.

Most of us have heard or read about the great Trojan War and the epic journey of Odysseus (otherwise known as Ulysses) through the legendary characters and events as described by Homer in his famous literary works, The Iliad and The Odyssey. Fewer, however, have a more than passing knowledge of the ancient Bronze and Iron Age peoples who many scholars suggest may have formed the historical basis for Homer’s epic mythical stories, such as the Mycenaeans and Minoans. The real story of these civilizations has slowly come to light through the painstaking efforts of archaeologists and scholars, popularized by the media over the years, but documented and studied more meticulously within the halls of academia. Despite the efforts to come to a greater understanding, mysteries still abound and there are more questions than answers.

Dr. Ester Salgarella, who received her Ph.D from Cambridge University and subsequently conducted post-doctoral research at the university, has developed and released a new podcast series, entitled Aegean Connections, that explores all facets of these civilizations, bringing the research out from the confines of the scholarly “ivory tower” and into the listening ear of the general public. She does this by conducting interviews of the very scholars who engage in the study and research, focusing on such topics as undeciphered scripts, the life-ways and origins of these Aegean peoples, and many other topics to “build a bridge between scholars (both well-established and early-career) in Aegean-oriented academic fields and the wider audience….,” according to Salgarella. 

Linear B tablet Clay from Pylos end of 13th century BCE NAM Athens. Mary Harrsch, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

The second episode of the series, released on February 6, 2024, interviews Dr. Rachele Pierini, a Senior Researcher and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Centre for Textile Research, Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen. In this episode, the listener will learn a few fascinating things about this ancient script, used by the ancient Mycenaeans to write the earliest attested form of the Greek language. Rachele will tell us about how Linear B textual evidence is incorporated into her current research related to textile production, sustainability, gender identity and cultural identity, showing how a Bronze Age script can be used as an example of how the past can inform and explain the present.

Anyone can listen to the podcast, which is free to the public.


Above: Fresco wall painting detail created by an ancient Minoan artist at Akrotiri, depicting a city and the seafaring adventures of this maritime civilization.


Cover Image, Above: Image by Vektorianna, Pixabay

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