Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece (Google eBook)

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University of Texas Press, Dec 15, 2010 - History
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In ancient Greece, interstate relations, such as in the formation of alliances, calls for assistance, exchanges of citizenship, and territorial conquest, were often grounded in mythical kinship. In these cases, the common ancestor was most often a legendary figure from whom both communities claimed descent.

In this detailed study, Lee E. Patterson elevates the current state of research on kinship myth to a consideration of the role it plays in the construction of political and cultural identity. He draws examples both from the literary and epigraphical records and shows the fundamental difference between the two. He also expands his study into the question of Greek credulity—how much of these founding myths did they actually believe, and how much was just a useful fiction for diplomatic relations? Of central importance is the authority the Greeks gave to myth, whether to elaborate narratives or to a simple acknowledgment of an ancestor. Most Greeks could readily accept ties of interstate kinship even when local origin narratives could not be reconciled smoothly or when myths used to explain the link between communities were only "discovered" upon the actual occasion of diplomacy, because such claims had been given authority in the collective memory of the Greeks.

  

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Contents

Chapter One Kinship and Constructed Identities
1
Chapter Two Credulity and Historical Causation
22
Alliances and Assistance
45
Kinship Myth in the Literary Sources Conquests and Territorial Possession
69
Chapter Five Alexander the Great
83
Paradigmatiic Inscriptions
109
Local Myths in Pausanias
124
Chapter Eight Conclusions
154
Appendix One The Historical Context of Plutarch Solon 810
165
Appendix Two Greek Myth and Macedonian Identity
170
Appendix Three A Tale of Two Phoci
174
Notes
177
Bibliography
221
Index Locorum
235
General Index
247
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

LEE E. PATTERSON is Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Illinois University, where he teaches Greek, Roman, Near Eastern, and world history. He has published articles on Strabo, Pausanias, Alcman, and the Roman Near East.

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