Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece

Paperback | November 15, 2011

byLee E. Patterson

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In ancient Greece, interstate relations, such as in the formation of alliances, calls for assistance, exchanges of citizenship, and territorial conquest, were often grounded in mythical kinship. In these cases, the common ancestor was most often a legendary figure from whom both communities claimed descent.

In this detailed study, Lee E. Patterson elevates the current state of research on kinship myth to a consideration of the role it plays in the construction of political and cultural identity. He draws examples both from the literary and epigraphical records and shows the fundamental difference between the two. He also expands his study into the question of Greek credulity—how much of these founding myths did they actually believe, and how much was just a useful fiction for diplomatic relations? Of central importance is the authority the Greeks gave to myth, whether to elaborate narratives or to a simple acknowledgment of an ancestor. Most Greeks could readily accept ties of interstate kinship even when local origin narratives could not be reconciled smoothly or when myths used to explain the link between communities were only "discovered" upon the actual occasion of diplomacy, because such claims had been given authority in the collective memory of the Greeks.

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In ancient Greece, interstate relations, such as in the formation of alliances, calls for assistance, exchanges of citizenship, and territorial conquest, were often grounded in mythical kinship. In these cases, the common ancestor was most often a legendary figure from whom both communities claimed descent.In this detailed study, Lee E...

LEE E. PATTERSON is Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Illinois University, where he teaches Greek, Roman, Near Eastern, and world history. He has published articles on Strabo, Pausanias, Alcman, and the Roman Near East.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.65 inPublished:November 15, 2011Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292737505

ISBN - 13:9780292737501

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsNote on Translations and TransliterationsPreface and AcknowledgmentsChapter One. Kinship and Constructed IdentitiesChapter Two. Credulity and Historical CausationChapter Three. Kinship Myth in the Literary Sources: Alliances and AssistanceChapter Four. Kinship Myth in the Literary Sources: Conquests and Territorial PossessionChapter Five. Alexander the GreatChapter Six. Epigraphical Evidence of Kinship Diplomacy: Paradigmatic InscriptionsChapter Seven. Epigraphical Evidence of Kinship Diplomacy: Local Myths in PausaniasChapter Eight. ConclusionsAppendix One. The Historical Context of Plutarch, Solon 8-10Appendix Two. Greek Myth and Macedonian IdentityAppendix Three. A Tale of Two PhociNotesBibliographyGeneral Index Index Locorum