Kinship Diplomacy in the Ancient World

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Harvard University Press, 1999 - History - 193 pages
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Heroic figures such as Heracles, Perseus, and Jason were seen by the Greeks not as mythical figures but as real people who in a bygone age traveled the world, settled new lands, and left descendants who, generation after generation, could trace their ancestry back to the "time of heroes." From the Homeric age to Byzantium, peoples and nations sharing the same fictive ancestry appealed to their kinship when forging military alliances, settling disputes, or negotiating trade connections. In this intriguing study of the political uses of perceived kinship, Christopher Jones gives us an unparalleled view of mythic belief in action.

Throughout the centuries of Greek preeminence, the Roman Republic and Empire, and into the early Christian era, examples of kinship diplomacy abound. Ancient historians report, for instance, that when the forces of Alexander the Great reached what is now southern Pakistan they encountered a people called the Siboi, whom they judged to be descendants of Heracles. Since Alexander was himself a descendant of the same hero, the invading Macedonians and the Siboi were clearly kinsmen and so parted in peace. Examining the very origins of ancient diplomacy, and kinship as one of its basic constituents, Kinship Diplomacy addresses fundamental questions about communal and national identity and sheds new light on the force of Greek mythic traditions.

  

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Contents

Introduction i
1
The Beginnings
17
The Classical Age of Greece
27
Two Northern Kingdoms
36
Cities Leagues and Kings
50
Lycians and Jews
66
The Roman Republic
81
Two Cities
94
The Roman Empire
106
Late Antiquity
122
Legends of Greece and Caria
139
Abbreviations
151
Select Bibliography
183
Index
189
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Christopher P. Jones is George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics and of History, Emeritus, Harvard University.

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