Greek mythology and cult often served both as expressions of collective, historical identity and of attitudes to lands and territories. Functioning historically, myths provided justifications and legitimations of conquest, displacement, and settlement. Focusing on the Spartan Mediterranean--the world of Sparta and its colonies--this book examines the spectrum of the uses of myth. Extending beyond the Greek world, the book also raises the important question of how peoples relate to and justify their national and territorial identities.
How useful is the concept of "network" for historical studies and the ancient world in particular? Using theoretical models of social network analysis, this book illuminates aspects of the economic, social, religious, and political history of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Bringing together some of the most active and prominent researchers in ancient history, this book moves beyond political institutions, ethnic, and geographical boundaries in order to observe the ancient Mediterranean through a perspective of network interaction. It employs a wide range of approaches, and to examine relationships and interactions among various social entities in the Mediterranean. Chronologically, the book extends from the early Iron Age to the late Antique world, covering the Mediterranean between Antioch in the east to Massalia (Marseilles) in the west. This book was published as two special issues in Mediterranean Historical Review.
A Study in the Narrative of the 'Letter of Aristeas'
Author: Sylvie Honigman
The Letter of Aristeas tells the story of how Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt commissioned seventy scholars to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Long accepted as a straightforward historical account of a cultural enterprise in Ptolemaic Alexandria, the Letter nevertheless poses serious interpretative problems. Sylvie Honigman argues that the Letter should not be regarded as history, but as a charter myth for diaspora Judaism. She expounds its generic affinities with other works on Jewish history from Ptolemaic Alexandria, and argues that the process of translation was simultaneously a process of establishing an authoritative text, comparable to the work on the text of Homer being carried out by contemporary Greek scholars. The Letter of Aristeas is among the most intriguing literary productions of Ptolemaic Alexandria, and this is the first book-length study to be devoted to it.
In this book, prominent historians apply Mediterranean paradigms to Classical Mediterranean Antiquty (Greece and Rome), allowing for a new approach to the ancient world and enhancing antiquity's relevance to the understanding of other historical periods as well as our contemporary world. This book was previously published as a special issue of the journal Mediterranean Historical Review.
The Greek World 479-323 BC has been an indispensable guide to classical Greek history since its first publication nearly thirty years ago. Now Simon Hornblower has comprehensively revised and partly rewritten his original text, bringing it up-to-date for yet another generation of readers. In particular, this fourth edition takes full account of recent and detailed scholarship on Greek poleis across the Hellenic world, allowing for further development of the key theme of regional variety across the Mediterranean and beyond. Other extensive changes include a new sub-chapter on Islands, a completely updated bibliography, and revised citation of epigraphic material relating to the fourth-century BC. With valuable coverage of the broader Mediterranean world in which Greek culture flourished, as well as close examination of Athens, Sparta, and the other great city-states of Greece itself, this fourth edition of a classic work is a more essential read than ever before.
Tales of the Barbarians traces the creation of new mythologies in the wake of Roman expansion westward to the Atlantic, and offers the first application of modern ethnographic theory to ancient material. Investigates the connections between empire and knowledge at the turn of the millennia, and the creation of new histories in the Roman West Explores how ancient geography, local histories and the stories of wandering heroes were woven together by Greek scholars and local experts Offers a fresh perspective by examining passages from ancient writers in a new light
The Spartan legend has inspired and captivated subsequent generations with evidence of its legacy found in both the Roman and British Empires. The Spartans are our ancestors, every bit as much as the Athenians. But while Athens promoted democracy, individualism, culture and society, their great rivals Sparta embodied militarism, totalitarianism, segregation and brutal repression. As ruthless as they were self-sacrificing, their devastatingly successful war rituals made the Spartans the ultimate fighting force, epitomized by Thermopylae. While slave masters to the Helots for over three centuries, Spartan women, such as Helen of Troy, were free to indulge in education, dance and sport. Interspersed with the personal biographies of leading figures, and based on thirty years' research, Paul Cartledge's The Spartans tracks the people from 480 to 360 BC charting Sparta's progression from the Great Power of the Aegean Greek world to its ultimate demise.
This 2007 study explores how modern scholars came to write Greek history from a Eurocentric perspective and challenges orthodox readings of Greek history as part of the history of the West. Since the Greeks lacked a national state or a unified society, economy or culture, the polis has helped to create a homogenising national narrative. This book re-examines old polarities such as those between the Greek poleis and Eastern monarchies, or between the ancient consumer and the modern producer city, in order to show the fallacies of standard approaches. It argues for the relevance of Aristotle's concept of the polis, which is interpreted in an intriguing manner. Finally, it proposes an alternative way of looking at Greek history as part of a Mediterranean world-system. This interdisciplinary study engages with debates on globalisation, nationalism, Orientalism and history writing, while also debating developments in classical studies.
"[Veyne's] present book has some kinship with his sprightly theoretical work Comment on ecrit l'histoire; and he declares that its aim was to provoke reflection on the way our conception of truth is built up and changes over the centuries. . . . The style is brilliant and exhilarating."—Jasper Griffin, Times Literary Supplement
This remarkably rich and multifaceted study of early Greek exploration makes an original contribution to current discussions of the encounters between Greeks and non-Greeks. Focusing in particular on myths about Odysseus and other heroes who visited foreign lands on their mythical voyages homeward after the Trojan War, Irad Malkin shows how these stories functioned to mediate encounters and conceptualize ethnicity and identity during the Archaic and Classical periods. Synthesizing a wide range of archaeological, mythological, and literary sources, this exceptionally learned book strengthens our understanding of early Greek exploration and city-founding along the coasts of the Western Mediterranean, reconceptualizes the role of myth in ancient societies, and revitalizes our understanding of ethnicity in antiquity. Malkin shows how the figure of Odysseus became a proto-colonial hero whose influence transcended the Greek-speaking world. The return-myths constituted a generative mythology, giving rise to oral poems, stories, iconographic imagery, rituals, historiographical interpretation, and the articulation of ethnic identities. Reassessing the role of Homer and alternative return-myths, the book argues for the active historical function of myth and collective representations and traces their changing roles through a spectrum of colonial perceptions—from the proto-colonial, through justifications of expansion and annexation, and up to decolonization.