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Rethinking the Other in Antiquity


Rethinking the Other in Antiquity Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1


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


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

Princeton University Press
History : Social History
Gruen, Erich S. S.
Gruen, Erich S.
History : Ancient - General
History : Historiography
Publication Date:
September 2012

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Archaeology » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Immigration
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient Near East
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Historiography

Rethinking the Other in Antiquity
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Product details 416 pages Princeton University Press - English 9781400836550 Reviews:
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