Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (Martin Classical by Erich S. Gruen

By Erich S. Gruen

Customary between classicists this present day is the idea that Greeks, Romans, and Jews more suitable their very own self-perception via contrasting themselves with the so-called Other--Egyptians, Phoenicians, Ethiopians, Gauls, and different foreigners--frequently via antagonistic stereotypes, distortions, and sketch. during this provocative ebook, Erich Gruen demonstrates how the ancients came upon connections instead of contrasts, how they expressed admiration for the achievements and rules of different societies, and the way they discerned--and even invented--kinship relatives and shared roots with assorted peoples. Gruen indicates how the ancients included the traditions of international countries, and imagined blood ties and institutions with far-off cultures via fable, legend, and fictive histories. He seems to be at a number of inventive stories, together with these describing the founding of Thebes through the Phoenician Cadmus, Rome's embody of Trojan and Arcadian origins, and Abraham as ancestor to the Spartans. Gruen provides in-depth readings of significant texts by means of Aeschylus, Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch, Julius Caesar, Tacitus, and others, as well as parts of the Hebrew Bible, revealing how they give richly nuanced images of the alien that cross well past stereotypes and cartoon. offering remarkable perception into the traditional global, this debatable e-book explores how historic attitudes towards the opposite frequently expressed mutuality and connection, and never easily distinction and alienation.

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87 The episode hardly serves as a compelling advertisement for the superiority of Hellenic values over Persian. Herodotus does supply one full-scale debate on the relative merits of different constitutional systems, and in a Persian context. The so-called “constitutional debate” stands among the best-known and most discussed segments of the work. It provides no explicit comparison between Greek and Persian institutions. But something even more interesting emerges. The overthrow of usurpers to the Achaemenid throne set the stage.

136 Herod. 6. 137 Herod. 130. 138 Cf. Waters (1971), 51. 139 Herod. 1–2.

1–4. Cf. Georges (1994), 66–67. For a fuller discussion of the Perseus legend, see below, pp. 253–265. 69 There may be another reference to this genealogy at Aesch. Pers. 145 (possibly a mention of Xerxes’ descent from Danae, mother of Perseus), but the reading is quite uncertain. 70 Aesch. Pers. 181–199. , 185–186: κασιγνήτα γένους / ταύτοῦ. 71 They were sisters of the same race. The lot accorded them separate dwellings, one sister in Greece, the other in the land of the barbarians. A conflict of some sort followed.

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