The Ecology of the Ancient Greek World.
Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1991. X,588p. Original green cloth with dust wrps. May require extra shipping costs: weight including packing from 1 - 2 Kg.
'This first book of Robert Sallares, holder of a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship in ancient history, is a pioneering study in historical population biology that has boldly undertaken to synthesize ancient history with biological or physical anthropology. The book which clearly represents one of the most laudable paradigms to today's interdisciplinary approach to the study of antiquity, offers the first comprehensive ecological history of ancient Greece based on a sound consideration of such diverse elements of the Hellenic world as its history, demography, botany, agriculture and zoology. Sallares' research is thorough and conscientious and his arguments rigourous, though in dealing with such a wide range of historical, scientific and intellectual data and problems, certain bibliographica omissions, oversights and controversial conslusions are inevitable (…). Sallares' interdisciplinary research and extensive use of ecological data have led him to some iconoclastic conclusions that often challenge and even reject long held scolarly views on such important matters as infant exposure in Athens and the perceived analogy between the demography of early modern Europe and ancient Greece. Equally important is Sallares' view, based on his thorough investigation of the ecology of diseases, that the food supply and not disease, provided the major restraint on population growth and, consequently, regulated population size in antiquity. In the most interesting section of the book that is devoted to agriculture Sallares expertly reviews key components of the Greek agricultural economy and practice, such as land use patterns and the extent of the cultivated area in ancient Attica, olive production, shifts in the balance between different cereals, distribution patterns of naked wheats and other cereals in Attica. (…) The main theses of his book is that 'the transformation of Greek society which culminated in the classical 'polis' was a consequence of ecological changes resulting from contact with Middle Eastern societies that were quite different.' (STYLIANOS SPYRIDAKIS in Agricultural History, 1992, pp.99-100).