Athens and Persia in the Fifth Century BC: A Study in Cultural Receptivity

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 19, 2004 - Art - 412 pages
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It is a commonplace of modern scholarship that the Athenians hated and despised the Persians, but the claims of contempt are disproved by the evidence of archaeology, epigraphy, iconography and literature, all of which reveal some facet of Athenian receptivity to Achaemenid Persian culture. The Athenian response was as richly complex as the spheres of interaction: both private and public, elite and sub-elite. It appears in pot shapes, clothing, luxurious display and monumental architecture. This innovative study, the first comprehensive collection of evidence pertaining to the relations between Athens and Persia in the fifth century BC, aims to make this evidence better known and in so doing to argue that the social culture of classical Athens was not the monolithic construct it might appear.
  

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This is a great book for those who want to see beyond the political, social aspects of the ancient world. This book demonstrates a picture that is far from the popularized, Hollywood carved image of Greeks and Persians as immortal enemies and demonstrates, the free flow of ideas, and exchange of thought at a level that is almost 21st century. I enjoyed reading it and I recommend it to anybody who is interested in ancient history. 

Contents

Preface page xiii
1
spoils of the Persian Wars
29
Cultural exchange through trade
63
Zones of contact between Greeks and the western empire
89
PERSERIE
135
Incorporation of foreign items of dress
153
Metamorphosis of a luxury culture
188
The Odeion of Perikles and imperial expression
218
Athenian receptivity to Achaemenid Persian culture
243
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About the author (2004)

Margaret C. Miller is Arthur and Renee George Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney. She specializes in Greek iconography and cultural history. Her book, Athens and Persia in the Fifth Century BC: A Study in Cultural Receptivity, won the Prix Ghirshman of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 2001.

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