Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (Martin Classical Lectures)

Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (Martin Classical Lectures)

By: Erich S. Gruen (author)Hardback

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Prevalent among classicists today is the notion that Greeks, Romans, and Jews enhanced their own self-perception by contrasting themselves with the so-called Other--Egyptians, Phoenicians, Ethiopians, Gauls, and other foreigners--frequently through hostile stereotypes, distortions, and caricature. In this provocative book, Erich Gruen demonstrates how the ancients found connections rather than contrasts, how they expressed admiration for the achievements and principles of other societies, and how they discerned--and even invented--kinship relations and shared roots with diverse peoples. Gruen shows how the ancients incorporated the traditions of foreign nations, and imagined blood ties and associations with distant cultures through myth, legend, and fictive histories. He looks at a host of creative tales, including those describing the founding of Thebes by the Phoenician Cadmus, Rome's embrace of Trojan and Arcadian origins, and Abraham as ancestor to the Spartans. Gruen gives in-depth readings of major texts by Aeschylus, Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch, Julius Caesar, Tacitus, and others, in addition to portions of the Hebrew Bible, revealing how they offer richly nuanced portraits of the alien that go well beyond stereotypes and caricature. Providing extraordinary insight into the ancient world, this controversial book explores how ancient attitudes toward the Other often expressed mutuality and connection, and not simply contrast and alienation.

About Author

Erich S. Gruen is the Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and Classics (emeritus) at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include "Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans" and "Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition".


List of Illustrations xi Acknowledgments xiii Introduction 1 PART I. IMPRESSIONS OF THE "OTHER" CHAPTER ONE: Persia in the Greek Perception: Aeschylus and Herodotus 09 Aeschylus' Persae 09 Herodotus 21 Some Visual Representations 40 CHAPTER TWO: Persia in the Greek Perception: Xenophon and Alexander 53 Xenophon's Cyropaedia 53 Alexander and the Persians 65 CHAPTER THREE: Egypt in the Classical Imagination 76 Herodotus 76 Diodorus 90 Assorted Assessments 99 Plutarch 111 CHAPTER FOUR: Punica Fides 115 The Hellenic Backdrop 116 In the Shadow of the Punic Wars 122 The Manipulation of the Image 132 The Enhancement of the Image 137 CHAPTER FIVE: Caesar on the Gauls 141 Prior Portraits 141 The Caesarian Rendering 147 CHAPTER SIX: Tacitus on the Germans 159 Germans and Romans 159 Interpretatio Romana? 169 CHAPTER SEVEN: Tacitus and the Defamation of the Jews 179 The Question 180 Tacitean Irony 187 CHAPTER EIGHT: People of Color 197 Textual Images 197 Visual Images 211 PART II. CONNECTIONS WITH THE "OTHER" CHAPTER NINE: Foundation Legends 223 Foundation Tales as Cultural Thievery 224 Pelops 227 Danaus 229 Cadmus 233 Athenians and Pelasgians 236 Rome, Troy, and Arcadia 243 Israel's Fictive Founders 250 CHAPTER TEN: Fictitious Kinships: Greeks and Others 253 Perseus as Multiculturalist 253 Athens and Egypt 265 The Legend of Nectanebos 267 Numidians and the Near East 272 CHAPTER ELEVEN: Fictitious Kinships: Jews and Others 277 The Separatist Impression 277 The Bible's Other Side 287 Ishmaelites and Arabs 299 Jews and Greeks as Kinsmen 302 CHAPTER TWELVE: Cultural Interlockings and Overlappings 308 Jews and Greeks as Philosophers 308 Jewish Presentations of Gentiles 325 Phoenicians and Greeks 341 Roman Adaptation and Appropriation 343 Conclusion 352 Bibliography 359 Index of Citations 385 Subject Index 403

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780691148526
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 416
  • ID: 9780691148526
  • weight: 482
  • ISBN10: 069114852X
  • translations: English
  • language of text: English

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