The Heroic Ideal: Western Archetypes from the Greeks to the Present

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McFarland, May 25, 2010 - Social Science - 236 pages
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The word "hero" seems in its present usage, an all-purpose moniker applied to everyone from Medal of Honor recipients to celebrities to comic book characters. This book explores the Western idea of the hero, from its initial use in ancient Greece, where it identified demigods or aristocratic, mortal warriors, through today. Sections examine the concept of the hero as presented in the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds. Special attention is paid to particular heroic types, such as warriors, martyrs, athletes, knights, saints, scientists, rebels, secret servicemen, and even anti-heroes. This book also reconstructs how definitions of heroism have been inextricably linked to shifts in Western thinking about religion, social relations, political authority, and ethical conduct.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Part One Myrmidons Martyrs and Muscle Men
5
Part Two Soldiers and Servants of Christ
65
Part Three Rebels Rogues and Reprobates
105
Epilogue
201
Chapter Notes
205
Bibliography
219
Index
227
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About the author (2010)

M. Gregory Kendrick is a professor of modern European history and director of the UCLA Freshman Cluster Program at the University of California in Los Angeles.

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