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profen4
09-16-2010, 05:39 AM
I have a part of my WIP that is based in 2000 BC (Syria + Area) and I'm trying to get a visual for what life was like back then, clothing worn, items traded, trade routes (I know trade between Syria and Egypt was occurring). Style of markets, currency, etc etc. Do any of your folks know any good sources for information? or links to artist rendering of cities/people--I'm having very little luck finding sources.

I'd also be happy with any books, fiction or non-fiction that are based on these periods. Or any other thoughts on where I can glean some accurate(ish) descriptions.

Many thanks

AlexPiper
09-16-2010, 07:14 AM
The era you are interested in is Old Syrian Period, if that helps. (Around 2100 BC-1500 BC.) There's a pretty good book that the Smithsonian put out some while back called 'Ebla to Damascus: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Syria' that has a decent section on that time period.

There are two downsides to the book: first, being published in the 1980's there will be no mention of any more recent findings, and second, the book is out of print. However, you can probably still find a copy floating around on AbeBooks or Amazon Marketplace for somewhere between $35 to $50.

If you want a more recent book, Cambridge University put out 'The Archaeology of Syria,' but that book is very much more a scholarly work intended for archaeology students, where the Smithsonian one is intended for general audiences. (The hardcover of the Cambridge book goes for over $100, when you can find it!)

Hopefully that helps as a starting place?

GeorgeK
09-16-2010, 10:24 PM
Very roughly ballparking it, that's the time of Troy, located in Asia Minor. So, to get to the Syrians from Troy, you'd have to go through the Persians. If I remember it's the second chapter of the Iliad where Homer went on ad nauseum describing weapons and armor. That would have been very wealthy stuff. The end of The Odyssey has some descriptions of clothing of peasants when Odysseus is disguised.

AlexPiper
09-16-2010, 10:48 PM
Unfortunately, the Trojan War was actually in the 12th century BC. (Both archaeological evidence /and/ ancient Greek histories agree on this point.) By that point, we'd be into Middle Syrian Period culture rather than Old Syrian, and possibly even into New Syrian.

profen4
09-18-2010, 07:46 PM
This is great guys, thank you. I'm going to read Illiad and Odyssey again. What's your thoughts on a market place where traders and such converge during that time period? Think, Arabian Nights kind of feel. would that be somewhat accurate? It's only 2 chapters, but I don't want it to be jarringly inaccurate that the reader screams.

Kenn
09-18-2010, 10:51 PM
There was quite a lot going on around then, although I think the historical records are a bit sketchy. Probably the most important thing would have been the rise of the Amorites, which I believe helped foster trade and free people from forced labour. Probably your biggest potential for error would be in not being specific about where you are talking - Syria didn't exist then (not to be confused with Assyria which was somewhere else). Try Googling Amorites

GeorgeK
09-19-2010, 04:29 PM
Unfortunately, the Trojan War was actually in the 12th century BC. (Both archaeological evidence /and/ ancient Greek histories agree on this point.) By that point, we'd be into Middle Syrian Period culture rather than Old Syrian, and possibly even into New Syrian.

Don't confuse the death of Troy with its life. It wasn't built and killed in a singe year.

AlexPiper
09-30-2010, 05:14 AM
Don't confuse the death of Troy with its life. It wasn't built and killed in a singe year.

Ah, I thought you were suggesting using Homer's accounts of the region as a source for Old Syrian culture circa 2000 BC. Regardless of how long Troy was around, Homeric accounts of Troy are set around the time of the Trojan war, which would be around 1200 BC-1180 BC or thereabouts. That would make any references to Syria well into the Middle Syrian period rather than Old Syrian, which ended several hundred years earlier.

If I misunderstood, I apologize!