Memories of Odysseus: Frontier Tales from Ancient Greece

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Overview

The conception of the Other has long been a problem for anthopologists and philosophers. In Memories of Odysseus, François Hartog tackles the problem in light of the Greek hero and his epic tale, the Odyssey. Drawing on a remarkable range of authors and texts, both ancient and modern, Hartog looks at accounts of actual travelers as well as the way travel is used as a trope throughout ancient Greek literature and finds that the Other is viewed with doubt and awe in the Homeric tradition. In fact, he argues, the Odyssey played a crucial role in shaping this attitude in the Greek mind, serving as inspiration for voyages in which the Greeks revised their concepts of self and other through new encounters. Ambitious in scope, this is a sophisticated exploration of ancient Greece and its sense of identity and a reflection on the cultural frontier.

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Editorial Reviews

Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Hartog continually dazzles the reader with the range of his reading and with the ways in which he draws connections and links between seemingly disparate material; he has an impressive ability to bring out hitherto unnoticed nuances from ancient texts. . . . The book is a sustained and stimulating inquiry into cultural identity, alterity, and memory through the figure of the traveler. . . . Readers also interested in understanding how the issue of travel opens onto questions of identity, otherness, and cultural memory, and poetic anthropology should read this book.”

— Phiroze Vasunia

American Historical Review
This book is notable for its breadth, ranging through centuries and across cultures to visit a fascinating array of authors struggling to define Greek identity as it emerges through contact with other cultures. . . . The book’s sheer scope and breakneck pace are exhilarating, and much joy comes from the company, the scenery, and the feeling of being in thrall to a master. Hartog does remember Odysseus.—, American Historical Review

— Louise Pratt

Electronic Antiquity
Traditional Classicists will find themselves often challenged, intrigued, and illuminated by Hartog’s anthropological foray into the question of Greek identity and the “otherness” of the world that surrounded it. . . . An enlightening analysis of historical, philosophical, and literary texts that is informed by an anthropological perspective.”

— Leon Golden

TLS
It is possibly the most interesting  book on the ancient world I have read in the past ten years. . . .On every page there are subtlety and wisdom, in every section new insights, and the whole is permeated with a critical sympathy, critical sadness, even, for a people trying to remember where they have come from and how they might get back. . . . Anyone who wants to teach students about ‘Eurocentrism’ and Egypt, the invention of Barbarians, the invention of the Hellenistic period, and the reception of Greeks by Rome should start here, but the same might well apply to students of pastoral . . . of the history of the noble savage . . . of the Other tout court. . . . If he manages seamlessly to move from Plato to Bossuet to Momigliano, that is because he imagines them as part of one same tradition, a tradition of which he is himself a part, an erudite, clever and elegant tradition, which engages with older authors instead of merely using them. . . . Hartog provides a masterclass in how to use alterity in history.”

— James Davidson

Bryn Mawr Classical Review - Phiroze Vasunia
“Hartog continually dazzles the reader with the range of his reading and with the ways in which he draws connections and links between seemingly disparate material; he has an impressive ability to bring out hitherto unnoticed nuances from ancient texts. . . . The book is a sustained and stimulating inquiry into cultural identity, alterity, and memory through the figure of the traveler. . . . Readers also interested in understanding how the issue of travel opens onto questions of identity, otherness, and cultural memory, and poetic anthropology should read this book.”
American Historical Review - Louise Pratt
“This book is notable for its breadth, ranging through centuries and across cultures to visit a fascinating array of authors struggling to define Greek identity as it emerges through contact with other cultures. . . . The book’s sheer scope and breakneck pace are exhilarating, and much joy comes from the company, the scenery, and the feeling of being in thrall to a master. Hartog does remember Odysseus.”—, American Historical Review
Electronic Antiquity - Leon Golden
“Traditional Classicists will find themselves often challenged, intrigued, and illuminated by Hartog’s anthropological foray into the question of Greek identity and the “otherness” of the world that surrounded it. . . . An enlightening analysis of historical, philosophical, and literary texts that is informed by an anthropological perspective.”
TLS - James Davidson
“It is possibly the most interesting  book on the ancient world I have read in the past ten years. . . .On every page there are subtlety and wisdom, in every section new insights, and the whole is permeated with a critical sympathy, critical sadness, even, for a people trying to remember where they have come from and how they might get back. . . . Anyone who wants to teach students about ‘Eurocentrism’ and Egypt, the invention of Barbarians, the invention of the Hellenistic period, and the reception of Greeks by Rome should start here, but the same might well apply to students of pastoral . . . of the history of the noble savage . . . of the Other tout court. . . . If he manages seamlessly to move from Plato to Bossuet to Momigliano, that is because he imagines them as part of one same tradition, a tradition of which he is himself a part, an erudite, clever and elegant tradition, which engages with older authors instead of merely using them. . . . Hartog provides a masterclass in how to use alterity in history.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226318530
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

François Hartog is the Directeur d'Études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the director of the Centre Louis Gernet in Paris. He is the author of The Mirror of Herodotus.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Odysseus in Auschwitz
Introduction: Travellers and Frontier-men 3
1 The Return of Odysseus 15
A voyage and a return journey 15
Anthropology 21
The return to Ithaca 26
The voyages of a name 36
2 Egyptian Voyages 41
Seeing Egypt 42
Greek views 47
Egypt, the first civilizing power? 64
From Thrice Greatest Hermes to Champollion 73
3 The Invention of the Barbarian and an Inventory of the World 79
Barbarians and Greeks 79
Representing the world 88
Centre and extremities 95
Viewing the world from Alexandria 103
4 Greek Voyages 107
The voyages of the elder Anacharsis and frontiers forgotten 108
Frontiers within, or ordinary kinds of discrimination 116
The limits of Arcadia 133
Alexander between Rome and Greece 150
5 Roman Voyages 161
The voyages of Polybius 163
The voyages of Dionysius of Halicarnassus 171
The voyages of Strabo and Aelius Aristides 188
Conclusion: Memories of Apollonius and the Name of Pythagoras 199
Notes 211
Index 255
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