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Title: Reflections of the 'Other': foreign polities in archaic and classical greek political discourse
Author: Anderson , Loriel Sarah Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 719X
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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Throughout their history interactions with foreigners had a profound influence on the Greek sense of' self and the development of a Panhellenic identity. In many ways, Greek culture developed out of interactions with ' others'. However, Greek ethnicity did not operate as a polarity with strictly defmed categories but was a sliding scale. The endpoints were strongly structuralist understandings of 'Greek' and 'Barbarian', with various intermediary points to accommodate those who did not conform to these precise categories. Greek ethnicity was complex and fluid, meaning different things at different times to different people. The texts examined in this study, Homer's epic poems, Herodotus' Histories, and Ctesias' Persica, all variously display what it meant to be Greek, 'other', and the shades and subtleties inherent in such concepts. Homer's Trojans, although traditionally considered to be similar to the Greeks, exhibit several characteristics of 'others' as typified in fifth-century concepts of the Barbarian, demonstrating that such stereotypes have long roots. Although several contemporary texts emphasise the differences between Greeks and Barbarians, Herodotus provides an extremely sophisticated portrait of ' others' by refraining from relying upon simple stereotypes. While Homer and Herodotus present the shades and subtleties inherent in conceptions of ethnicity and alterity, Ctesias' work functions on the premise of polarity between Greeks and ' others'. Ctesias imagines Persia as a fantastical 'other', the opposite of Greece in almost every way. He plays to the stereotypes, revealing the complexities inherent in notions of ' self and 'other' . This project demonstrates that it is possible to understand contemporary Greek political thought through a backwards reading of Greek texts about 'others' . The authors examined respond to contemporary political concerns, particularly discussions of wealth, access to power, and decision making, in various ways, providing unique insight into the contemporary political thought that influenced each of these authors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available