The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus by Joseph E. SkinnerThe Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus by Joseph E. Skinner

The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus

byJoseph E. Skinner

Paperback | July 15, 2016

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Greek knowledge of and interest in foreign peoples is commonly believed to have developed in conjunction with a wider sense of "Greekness" that emerged during the Hellenic encounter with Achaemenid Persia during the late sixth to early fifth centuries BC. The dramatic nature of this "clash ofcultures" is widely thought to have laid the foundations for prose descriptions of foreign lands and peoples by causing previously vague imaginings to crystallize into a diametric opposition between "Hellene" and "barbarian." The Invention of Greek Ethnography challenges the legitimacy of this narrative. Drawing on recent advances in ethnographic and cultural studies and material culture-based analyses of the ancient Mediterranean, Joseph Skinner argues that ethnographic discourse was already widespread throughout thearchaic Greek world long before the invention of ethnographic prose, incorporating not only texts but also a wide range of iconographic and archaeological materials. The reconstruction of this "ethnography before ethnography" demonstrates that discourses of identity played a vital role in definingwhat it meant to be Greek in the first place. The development of ethnographic writing and historiography is shown to be rooted in a wider process of "positioning" that was continually unfurling across time, as groups and individuals scattered across the Mediterranean world sought to locatethemselves in relation to both the narratives of the past and other people. The Invention of Greek Ethnography provides a shift in critical perspective that will have significant implications for our understanding of how Greek identity came into being, the manner in which early discourses ofdifference should be conceptualized, and the way in which narrative history should ultimately be interpreted.
Joseph E. Skinner is Lecturer in Ancient Greek History at Newcastle University.
Title:The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to HerodotusFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:July 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190229187

ISBN - 13:9780190229184

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Editorial Reviews

"Skilflfully correlating numismatic, artistic, and archaeological evidence to reinforce--or contradict--the literary record, Skinner makes a strong, fascinating case. On Herodotus he is particularly rewarding, insisting that scholars should give earlier authors and contemporaries the samecontextual treatment as they bestow on the Histories: those questions of identity and difference that lie at the heart of the Herodotean narrative are strinkingly carified as a result. Highly recommended." --P.M. Green, CHOICE