Ctesias? Persica<i/> In Its Near Eastern Context

Hardcover | January 24, 2017

byMatt Waters

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The Persica is an extensive history of Assyria and Persia written by the Greek historian Ctesias, who served as a doctor to the Persian king Artaxerxes II around 400 bce. Written for a Greek readership, the Persica influenced the development of both historiographic and literary traditions in Greece. It also, contends Matt Waters, is an essential but often misunderstood source for the history of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.
            Waters, as a historian of Persia with command of Akkadian, Elamite, and Old Persian languages in addition to Latin and Greek, offers a fresh interdisciplinary analysis of the Persica. He shows in detail how Ctesias’ history, though written in a Greek literary style, was infused with two millennia of Mesopotamian and Persian motifs, legends, and traditions. This Hellenized version of Persian culture was enormously influential in antiquity, shaping Greek stereotypes of effeminate Persian monarchs, licentious and vengeful queens, and conniving eunuchs. Waters’ revealing study contributes significantly to knowledge of ancient historiography, Persian dynastic traditions and culture, and the influence of Near Eastern texts and oral tradition on Greek literature.

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The Persica is an extensive history of Assyria and Persia written by the Greek historian Ctesias, who served as a doctor to the Persian king Artaxerxes II around 400 bce. Written for a Greek readership, the Persica influenced the development of both historiographic and literary traditions in Greece. It also, contends Matt Waters, is an...

Matt Waters is a professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. He is the author of Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550–330 bce and A Survey of Neo-Elamite History.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:184 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:January 24, 2017Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299310906

ISBN - 13:9780299310905

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations                
Preface and Acknowledgments                     
 
Introduction               
1 The Eunuch In-between                  
2 Semiramis, Queen of Battle            
3 A Different Kind of Education for Cyrus              
4 The Inverted Hero’s Many Faces: Other Sagas in the Persica                   
Conclusion                 
 
Appendix: Regnal Dates of Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian Kings                     
Notes              
Bibliography              
Index

Editorial Reviews

“This welcome study examines how the Greek author Ctesias processed an ancient Near Eastern and Iranian body of thought into a Greek world of ideas.”—Josef Wiesehöfer, Kiel University