The culture of the ancient Greeks has often been described as emerging like a miracle from a genius of its own, owing practically nothing to its neighbours. Walter Burkert offers a decisive argument against that view, pointing toward a more balanced picture of the archaic period "in which, under the influence of the Semitic East - from writers, craftsmen, merchants, healers - Greek culture began its unique flowering, soon to assume cultural hegemony in the Mediterranean".
Walter Burkert is Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Zurich.
Preface Introduction 1. "Who Are Public Workers": The Migrant Craftsmen Historical Background Oriental Products in Greece Writing and Literature in the Eighth Century The Problem of Loan-Words 2. "A Seer or a Healer": Magic and Medicine "Craftsmen of the Sacred": Mobility and Family Structure Hepatoscopy Foundation Deposits Purification Spirits of the Dead and Black Magic Substitute Sacrifice Asclepius and Asgelatas Ecstatic Divination Lamashtu, Lamia, and Gorgo 3. "Or Also a Godly Singer": Akkadian and Early Greek Literature From Atrahasis to the "Deception of Zeus" Complaint in Heaven: Ishtar and Aphrodite The Overpopulated Earth Seven against Thebes Common Style and Stance in Oriental and Greek Epic Fables Magic and Cosmogony Conclusion Abbreviations Bibliography Notes Index of Greek Words General Index