Rethinking the Other in Antiquity

Rethinking the Other in Antiquity

by Erich S. Gruen
     
 

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ISBN-10: 069114852X

ISBN-13: 9780691148526

Pub. Date: 11/01/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691148526
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2010
Series:
Martin Classical Lectures Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi Acknowledgments xiii Introduction 1

PART I. IMPRESSIONS OF THE "OTHER"
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

PART II. CONNECTIONS WITH THE "OTHER"
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

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