Literacy and Paideia in Ancient Greece / Edition 1

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This book examines the progress of literacy in ancient Greece from its origins in the eighth century to the fourth century B.C.E., when the major cultural institutions of Athens became totally dependent on alphabetic literacy. By introducing new evidence and re-evaluating the older evidence, Robb demonstrates that early Greek literacy can be understood only in terms of the rich oral culture that immediately preceded it, one that was dominated by the oral performance of epical verse, or "Homer." Only gradually did literate practices supersede oral habits and the oral way of life, forging alliances which now seem both bizarre and fascinating, but which were eminently successful, contributing to the "miracle" of Greece. In this book new light is brought to early Greek ethics, the rise of written law, the emergence of philosophy, and the final dominance of the Athenian philosophical schools in higher education.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] magisterial study...[and] a major contribution."—Religious Studies Review

"This book is fitting tribute to Havelock's lasting influence and the permanent changes he made in our thinking about the culture of ancient Greece....In so short a review I cannot do justice to the richness and breadth of Robb's learning....His views are always balanced and in my opinion usually right....The great strengths of Robb's book is to tie the nature and forms of ancient Greek culture directly to the technology of writing that supported it."—American Historical Review

"This is an important book...and it is scarcely possible to do it justice in the space of a short review....a learned and original book with a great deal for all classicists, whether they be historians, epigraphers, philologists, or students of Greek law, literature, or philosophy."—Language in Society

"This book is an intellectual jackpot, the sort of book that habitual reviewers yearn to receive and for which they plug precious quarter-hours into tomes with promising titles....For linguists of all interests, this book will richly repay study."—Language

"...Robb has read widely in the specialist literature on all of the topics he discusses, and he formulates a framework for understanding his subject in its full scope."—American Journal of Philology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195059052
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.37 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. 1 The Origins of Greek Literacy
1 The Alphabet Enters Oral Greece 21
2 The Oral Way of Life at the Inception of Greek Literacy: The Lesson of the Old Inscriptions 44
3 Of Muses and Magistrates: From the Exemplum of Epic to the First Written Laws in Europe 74
Pt. II The Alliance between Literacy and the Law
4 Literacy and Residual Oralism in the Great Code of Gortyn: The Evidence of a Transitional Document 99
5 The Progress of Literacy and Written Law in Athens 125
Pt. III The Alliance between Literacy and Paideia
6 The Epical Basis of Greek Paideia in the Late Fifth Century: Ion and Euthyphro 159
7 Advancing Literacy and Traditional Greek Paideia: Mousike and Sunousia 183
8 Mimesis Banished: The Alliance of Literacy and Paideia in Fourth-Century Athens 214
9 Conclusion: Homer, the Alphabet, and the Progress of Greek Literacy and Paideia 252
10 Epilogue: A Linguistic and Historical Analysis of the Invention of the Greek Alphabet 265
Bibliography 287
Index 300
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