More related to ancient history

Cultural Genealogy

explores the popularization in the Renaissance of the still pervasive myth that later cultures are the hereditary descendants of ancient or older cultures. The core of this myth is the widespread belief that a numinous charismatic power can be passed down unchanged, and in concrete forms, from earlier eras. Raphael Falco shows that such a process of descent is an impossible illusion in a knowledge-based culture. Anachronistic adoption of past values can only occur when these values are adapted and assimilated to the target culture. Without such transcultural adaptation, ancient values would appear as alien artifacts rather than as eternal truths.

Scholars have long acknowledged the Renaissance borrowings from classical antiquity, but most studies of translatio studii or translatio imperii tacitly accept the early modern myth that there was a genuine translation of Greek and Roman cultural values from the ancient world to the "modern." But as Falco demonstrates, this is patently not the case. The mastering of ancient languages and the rediscovery of lost texts has masked the fact that surprisingly little of ancient religious, ethical, or political ideology was retained — so little that it is crucial to ask why these myths of transcultural descent have not been recognized and interrogated. Through examples ranging from Petrarch to Columbus, Maffeo Vegio to the Habsburgs, Falco shows how the new techne of systematic genealogy facilitated the process of "remythicizing" the ancient authorities, utterly transforming Greek and Roman values and reforging them into the mold of contemporary needs.

Chiefly a study of intellectual culture, Cultural Genealogy has ramifications reaching into all levels of society, both early modern and later.

Over the course of the nineteenth century, the figure of Persephone rapidly evolved from what was essentially a decorative metaphor into a living goddess who embodied the most spiritual aspects of ancient Greek religion. In the first comprehensive survey of the Persephone myth in English and American literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Margot Louis explores the transformation of the goddess to provide not only a basis for understanding how the study of ancient history informed the creation of a new spirituality but for comprehending the deep and bitter tensions surrounding gender that interacted with this process. Beginning with an overview of the most influential ancient texts on Persephone and references to Persephone in Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Romantic period writing, Louis shows that the earliest theories of matriarchy and patriarchal marriage emerged in the 1860s alongside the first English poems to explore Persephone's story. As scholars began to focus on the chthonic Mystery cults, and particularly on the Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone, poets and novelists explored the divisions between mother and daughter occasioned by patriarchal marriage. Issues of fertility and ritual resonate in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Willa Cather's My Antonia, while the first advance of a neo-pagan spirituality, as well as early feminist critiques of male mythography and of the Persephone myth, emerge in Modernist poems and fictions from 1908 to 1927. Informed by the latest research and theoretical work on myth, Margot Louis's fascinating study shows the development of Victorian mythography in a new light; offers original takes on Victorian representations of gender and values; exposes how differently male and female Modernists dealt with issues of myth, ritual, and ancient spirituality; and uncovers how deeply the study of ancient spirituality is entwined with controversies about gender.
Biblical Women's Voices in Early Modern England documents the extent to which portrayals of women writers, rulers, and leaders in the Hebrew Bible scripted the lives of women in early modern England. Attending to a broad range of writing by Protestant men and women, including John Donne, Mary Sidney, John Milton, Rachel Speght, and Aemilia Lanyer, the author investigates how the cultural requirement for feminine silence informs early modern readings of biblical women's stories, and furthermore, how these biblical characters were used to counteract cultural constraints on women's speech. Bringing to bear a commanding knowledge of Hebrew Scripture, Michele Osherow presents a series of case studies on biblical heroines, juxtaposing Old Testament stories with early modern writers and texts. The case studies include an investigation of references to Miriam in Lady Mary Sidney's psalm translations; an unpacking of comparisons between Deborah and Elizabeth I; and, importantly, a consideration of the feminization of King David through analysis of his appropriation as a model for early modern women in writings by both male and female authors. In deciphering the abundance of biblical characters, citations, and allusions in early modern texts, Osherow simultaneously demonstrates how biblical stories of powerful women challenged the Renaissance notion that women should be silent, and explores the complexities and contradictions surrounding early modern women, their speech, and their power.
Antisthenes of Athens (c. 445-365 BCE) was a famous ancient disciple of Socrates, senior to Plato by fifteen years and inspirational to Xenophon. He is relevant to two of the greatest turning points in ancient intellectual history, from pre-Socraticism to Socraticism, and from classical Athens to the Hellenistic period. A better understanding of Antisthenes leads to a better understanding of the intellectual culture of Athens that shaped Plato and laid the foundations for Hellenistic philosophy and literature as well. Antisthenes wrote prolifically, but little of this text remains today. Susan Prince has collected all the surviving passages that pertain most closely to Antisthenes’ ancient reputation and literary production, translates them into English for the first time, and sets out the parameters for their interpretation, with close attention to the role Antisthenes likely played in the literary agenda of each ancient author who cited him.
This is the first translation of Antisthenes’ remains into English. Chapters present the ancient source, the original Greek passage, and necessary critical apparatus. The author then adds the modern English translation and notes on the context of the preservation, the significance of the testimonium, and on the Greek. Several new readings are proposed.
Antisthenes of Athens will be of interest to anyone seeking to understand Antisthenes and his intellectual context, as well as his contributions to ancient literary criticism, views on discourse, and ethics.
From the stories suggested by the great cave paintings of the Paleolithic period to the thought experiments of modern scientists, From Olympus to Camelot provides a sweeping history of the development of the rich and varied European mythological tradition. David Leeming, an authority on world mythology, begins with a general introduction to mythology and mythological terms, and then turns to the stories themselves. Discussing well-known figures such as Zeus, Aphrodite, Thor, and Cuchulainn, and less familiar ones such as Perun, Mari, and the Sorcerer of Lescaux, Leeming illustrates and analyzes the enduring human endeavor to make sense of existence through deities and heroes. Following an initial exploration of the Indo-European sources of European mythology and the connections between the myths of Europe and those of India and Iran, the book proceeds to survey the major beliefs of Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic cultures, as well as the mythologies of non-Indo-European cultures such as the Etruscans and the Finns. Among its contents are introductions to the pantheons of various mythologies, examinations of major mythological works, and retellings of the influential mythical stories. This work also examines European deities, creation myths, and heroes in the context of Christian belief, and considers the translation of traditional stories into the mythologies of modern European political, scientific, philosophical, and economic movements. European mythology is the core mythology of Western civilization. This wide-ranging volume offers a lively and informative survey, along with a provocative new way of understanding this fundamental aspect of European culture.
Praise for Silvia Montiglio

"[A] brilliant and important book. . . . "
---Journal of Religion, on Silence in the Land of Logos

"[A]n invigorating reevaluation of both the ancient symbolic landscape and our preconceptions of it."
---American Journal of Philology, on Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture

Best known for his adventures during his homeward journey as narrated in Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus remained a major figure and a source of inspiration in later literature, from Greek tragedy to Dante's Inferno to Joyce's Ulysses. Less commonly known, but equally interesting, are Odysseus' "wanderings" in ancient philosophy: Odysseus becomes a model of wisdom for Socrates and his followers, Cynics and Stoics, as well as for later Platonic thinkers. From Villain to Hero: Odysseus in Ancient Thought follows these wanderings in the world of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, retracing the steps that led the cunning hero of Homeric epic and the villain of Attic tragedy to become a paradigm of the wise man.

From Villain to Hero explores the reception of Odysseus in philosophy, a subject that so far has been treated only in tangential or limited ways. Diverging from previous studies, Montiglio outlines the philosophers' Odysseus across the spectrum, from the Socratics to the Middle Platonists. By the early centuries CE, Odysseus' credentials as a wise man are firmly established, and the start of Odysseus' rehabilitation by philosophers challenges current perceptions of him as a villain. More than merely a study in ancient philosophy, From Villain to Hero seeks to understand the articulations between philosophical readings of Odysseus and nonphilosophical ones, with an eye to the larger cultural contexts of both. While this book is the work of a classicist, it will also be of interest to students of philosophy, comparative literature, and reception studies.

It is generally assumed that whatever else has changed about the human condition since the dawn of civilization, basic human emotions - love, fear, anger, envy, shame - have remained constant. David Konstan, however, argues that the emotions of the ancient Greeks were in some significant respects different from our own, and that recognizing these differences is important to understanding ancient Greek literature and culture.

With The Emotions of the Ancient Greeks, Konstan reexamines the traditional assumption that the Greek terms designating the emotions correspond more or less to those of today. Beneath the similarities, there are striking discrepancies. References to Greek 'anger' or 'love' or 'envy,' for example, commonly neglect the fact that the Greeks themselves did not use these terms, but rather words in their own language, such as orgê and philia and phthonos, which do not translate neatly into our modern emotional vocabulary. Konstan argues that classical representations and analyses of the emotions correspond to a world of intense competition for status, and focused on the attitudes, motives, and actions of others rather than on chance or natural events as the elicitors of emotion. Konstan makes use of Greek emotional concepts to interpret various works of classical literature, including epic, drama, history, and oratory. Moreover, he illustrates how the Greeks' conception of emotions has something to tell us about our own views, whether about the nature of particular emotions or of the category of emotion itself.

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