Greeks and Pre-Greeks: Aegean Prehistory and Greek Heroic Tradition (Google eBook)

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 5, 2006 - History
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By systematically confronting Greek tradition of the Heroic Age with the evidence of both linguistics and archaeology, Margalit Finkelberg proposes a multidisciplinary assessment of the ethnic, linguistic and cultural situation in Greece in the second millennium BC. The main thesis of this book is that the Greeks started their history as a multi-ethnic population group consisting of both Greek-speaking newcomers and the indigenous population of the land and that the body of 'Hellenes' as known to us from the historic period was a deliberate self-creation. The book addresses such issues as the structure of heroic genealogy, the linguistic and cultural identity of the indigenous population of Greece, the patterns of marriage between heterogeneous groups as they emerge in literary and historical sources, the dialect map of Bronze Age Greece, the factors responsible for the collapse of the Mycenaean civilisation and finally, the construction of the myth of the Trojan War.
  

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Page 177 - They have torn asunder the womb in my living body! They have ruined him, and you will kill him!' But have I, the king, done him any evil? ... Behold, I have given my son Labarnas a house; I have given him [arable land] in plenty, [sheep in] plenty I have given him. Let him now eat and drink. [So long as he is good] he may come up to the city; but if he come forward(?) [as a trouble-maker], ... then he shall not come up, but shall remain [in his house]. Behold, Mursilis is now my son.
Page 177 - The word of the king he has not laid to heart, but the word of his mother, the serpent, he has laid to heart.' ... Enough! He is my son no more! Then his mother bellowed like an ox : 'They have torn asunder the womb in my living body! They have ruined him, and you will kill him!' But have I, the king, done him any evil? ... Behold, I have given my son Labarnas a house; I have given him [arable land] in plenty, [sheep in] plenty I have given him. Let him now eat and drink. [So long as he is good]...
Page 177 - I had proclaimed to you (saying) 'He shall sit upon the throne'; I, the king, called him my son, embraced him, exalted him, and cared for him continually. But he showed himself a youth not fit to be seen: he shed no tears, he showed no pity, he was cold and heartless. I, the king, summoned him to my couch (and said): 'Well! No one will (in future) bring up the child of his sister as his foster-son!

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About the author (2006)

Margalit Finkelberg is Professor of Classics at Tel Aviv University. Her previous books include The Birth of Literary Fiction (Oxford, 1998).

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