Ancient Greek Letter Writing: A Cultural History (600 BC- 150 BC)

Hardcover | November 24, 2013

byPaola Ceccarelli

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In this volume, Ceccarelli offers a history of the development of letter writing in ancient Greece from the archaic to the early Hellenistic period. Highlighting the specificity of letter-writing, as opposed to other forms of communication and writing, the volume looks at documentary letters,but also traces the role of embedded letters in the texts of the ancient historians, in drama, and in the speeches of the orators. While a letter is in itself the transcription of an oral message and, as such, can be either truthful or deceitful, letters acquired negative connotations in the fifth century, especially when used for transactions concerning the public and not the private sphere. Viewed as the instrument of tyrantsor near eastern kings, these negative connotations were evident especially in Athens where comedy and tragedy testified to an underlying concern with epistolary communication. In other areas of the Greek world, such as Sparta or Crete, the letter may have been seen as an unproblematic instrument formanaging public policies, with inscriptions documenting the official use of letters not only by the Hellenistic kings, but also by some poleis.

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In this volume, Ceccarelli offers a history of the development of letter writing in ancient Greece from the archaic to the early Hellenistic period. Highlighting the specificity of letter-writing, as opposed to other forms of communication and writing, the volume looks at documentary letters,but also traces the role of embedded letters...

Paola Ceccarelli is Professor in Greek Cultural History in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University. Her research interests range from ancient dance and theatre to ancient historiography and epistolary writing.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:504 pagesPublished:November 24, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199675597

ISBN - 13:9780199675593

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgementsList of Abbreviations1. Ancient Greek Letters: An IntroductionPart I: Greek Beginnings: Writing and Letter Writing, Evidence and Representation2. Writing and Letter Writing: The Evidence3. Writing and Letter Writing: Representations4. When a Letter and Why? Narrative Strategies in the Ancient HistoriansPart II: Letter-Writing and the Polis5. Writing and Letter-Writing on the Athenian Dramatic Stage6. Letters on the Legal and Political Stage7. Royal Letters and City Decrees: the Greek Cities and Epistolary Writing8. EpilogueAppendix I:Archaic and Classical Documentary LettersAppendix II:Some ancient texts on the invention of writingAppendix III:Official Letters sent by Greek Poleis or Koina and Inscribed on StoneBibliographyIndex