The History Written on the Classical Greek Body

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 7, 2011 - History - 260 pages
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"This book challenges historians of all periods to come to terms with the distortions that they systematically introduce into their work by their reliance on what has been written on paper without looking at what was and was not written on the body. Historians use textual evidence to try to understand what people did in the past. But in interpreting that textual evidence they make assumptions about what past peoples could see. In particular they make assumptions about the way in which the classificationsof language were visible to the eye, as well as conceivable in the mind. This book is concerned with the ways in which texts relating to classical Greece, and in particular to classical Athens, classified people and with the extent to which those classifications could be seen by the eye. It compares the qualities distinguished in texts with those distinguished in sculpture and painted pottery and emphasizes the frequent invisibility of the categories upon which historians have laid most stress - the citizen, the free person, the foreigner, even the god. The frequent impossibility of seeing who belonged to which category has major political, social, and theological implications, which are variously explored here. It also has implications for how history is written which go far beyond the case of classical Greece. Nothing short of a revolution in what historians are prepared to treat as source material will be required to take account of the findings of this book"--
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Writing history on the classical body
6
2 The appearance of the classical Greek body
27
3 The distinguished body
55
4 The citizen body
85
5 Foreign bodies
124
6 Dirty bodies
158
7 Godsbodies
185
8 Telling bodies
216
References
231
Index
249
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Robin Osborne is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow and Senior Tutor of King's College and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research ranges broadly across Greek history, Greek archaeology and the history of Greek art. Along with numerous edited and coedited volumes, he has written Demos: The Discovery of Classical Attika (Cambridge University Press, 1985), Classical Landscape with Figures: The Ancient Greek City and its Countryside (1987), Greece in the Making, 1200-479 BC (1996, 2nd edition 2009), Archaic and Classical Greek Art (1998) and Greek History (2004). A collection of his papers has been published as Athens and Athenian Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2010). This book was written as a contribution to a project on 'Changing Beliefs of the Human Body' funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

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