In this paper we intend to present a critical overview of Euboea’s role in the Mediterranean Sea after the Dark Ages and during the historical colonization. The topic is based on historical and archaeological sources and follows a route from 1st-millennium BC Eastern Mediterranean to the 8th-century BC Western Colonies. The first part of this paper focus on two places that are really important in the research on the Euboeans: Al-Mina, at the mouth of the Orontes river, an emporion for which the model of the polanyian ‘port-of-trade’ has been evoked, and Lefkandi, where the famous funerary building was discovered. Both of them make evident the importance of interferences with the Phoenician routes and the movement of luxury goods, ceramic, and metal products; furthermore, the funeral rite has urged interesting considerations about the heroic (Homeric?) culture of that very aristocracy, as well as the political function of the buried couple. As elsewhere in the Greek world, even Euboea knows the formation of poleis: Chalcis and Eretria, which share the first colonial experiences towards the Chalkidike area and the West (via Corcyra). After the Lelantine War (VIII cent. BC) Eretria declines in a local dimension with strong and particular relationship with Boeotian Oropus; Chalcis, however, has long been very active on the Western routes and in particular in three areas: the Gulf of Naples, the region of Aetna in Sicily, the Strait of Messina. We can try to identify some recurring issues that might suggest sort of an ‘Euboic model’ in the Colonization of the West: the frequency of colonies’ colonies, the importance of the straits, the mixed character of the foundations (up to the limit-case of Himera with Ionians and Dorians together). In any case, it is clear the centrality of the Lower Tyrrhenian Sea, starting from the first settlement of Pithecusae and the maritime activity of Etruscans and pirates. The presence of pirates has suggested the final considerations about the peculiarities of the social subject of this experience, to be identified in an aristocracy linked to the land (and the breeding of horses), but capable of expressing great dynamism both politically and in social as well as economic development.
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