Kinship Diplomacy in the Ancient World / Edition 1

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Overview

Heroic figures such as Heracles, Perseus, and Jason were seen by the Greeks not as mythical figures but as real people who in a bygone age traveled the world, settled new lands, and left descendants who, generation after generation, could trace their ancestry back to the "time of heroes." From the Homeric age to Byzantium, peoples and nations sharing the same fictive ancestry appealed to their kinship when forging military alliances, settling disputes, or negotiating trade connections. In this intriguing study of the political uses of perceived kinship, Christopher Jones gives us an unparalleled view of mythic belief in action.

Throughout the centuries of Greek preeminence, the Roman Republic and Empire, and into the early Christian era, examples of kinship diplomacy abound. Ancient historians report, for instance, that when the forces of Alexander the Great reached what is now southern Pakistan they encountered a people called the Siboi, whom they judged to be descendants of Heracles. Since Alexander was himself a descendant of the same hero, the invading Macedonians and the Siboi were clearly kinsmen and so parted in peace. Examining the very origins of ancient diplomacy, and kinship as one of its basic constituents, Kinship Diplomacy addresses fundamental questions about communal and national identity and sheds new light on the force of Greek mythic traditions.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement

[An] elegantly written little book.
— Greg Woolf

Choice

Jones has written an original and illuminating book. Although there are many studies of the forms and procedures of Greek and Roman diplomacy, studies of its intellectual background are few. Jones's brief and lucid work is a valuable addition to that short list, providing the first comprehensive treatment of one of the central ideas of ancient diplomacy: kinship between states...[A] valuable work.
— S. M. Burnstein

Times Literary Supplement - Greg Woolf
[An] elegantly written little book.
Choice - S. M. Burnstein
Jones has written an original and illuminating book. Although there are many studies of the forms and procedures of Greek and Roman diplomacy, studies of its intellectual background are few. Jones's brief and lucid work is a valuable addition to that short list, providing the first comprehensive treatment of one of the central ideas of ancient diplomacy: kinship between states...[A] valuable work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674505278
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Series: Revealing Antiquity Series , #12
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher P. Jones is George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics and of History, Harvard University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Language of Kinship Diplomacy 6
2 The Beginnings 17
3 The Classical Age of Greece 27
4 Two Northern Kingdoms 36
5 Cities, Leagues, and Kings 50
6 Lycians and Jews 66
7 The Roman Republic 81
8 Two Cities 94
9 The Roman Empire 106
10 Late Antiquity 122
Conclusion: The Human and Other Families 132
App. 1 Legends of Greece and Caria 139
App. 2 Legends of Lycia 144
Abbreviations 151
Notes 153
Select Bibliography 183
Index 189
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