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The Kingdom of PriamLesbos and the Troad between Anatolia and the Aegean$
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Aneurin Ellis-Evans

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831983

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831983.001.0001

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The Forests of Mt Ida

The Forests of Mt Ida

Chapter:
(p.57) 2 The Forests of Mt Ida
Source:
The Kingdom of Priam
Author(s):

Aneurin Ellis-Evans

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198831983.003.0003

This chapter looks at the role which physical geography plays in promoting regional integration by examining how the forests of Mt Ida functioned within the Troad. Mt Ida has often been imagined as a place free from, even hostile to, human intervention and habitation. We encounter this characterization not just in the literature produced by urban elites who may not have had first-hand experience of the forests, but also in the religious practices of those who lived around Mt Ida in antiquity, and indeed in the folklore of the Turkmen who live there today. Yet the reality, as revealed in particular by the evidence of Theophrastos’ Historia plantarum, is that the forested uplands of Mt Ida were intensely cultivated by the lowland cities of the middle Scamander valley and the coastal Troad. Mt Ida has historically been an important source of resources, above all pitch and timber, which have been crucial to the lowland economy and which gained significant value through convenient access to water-borne transport via the Scamander and the Aegean. It is thus precisely the environmental differences between the forests of Mt Ida and the lowland Troad which bring them together. This is true not just economically, but also culturally: the idea of the forests as the antithesis of lowland urban society has played an important role in identity formation for precisely those communities which know these forests best.

Keywords:   Forests, Mt Ida, Sarıkız, Cybele, Scamander, Theophrastos, pine, timber, pitch, Antandros

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