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Cultural Responses to the Persian WarsAntiquity to the Third Millennium$
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Emma Bridges, Edith Hall, and P. J. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279678

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279678.001.0001

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Xerxes’ Homer

Xerxes’ Homer

(p.47) 3 Xerxes’ Homer
Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars

Johannes Haubold

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the reception of epic in wartime and post-war Greece was affected by an extended dialogue between both cultures. The Persian leadership used Homeric epic, especially the Iliad, in order to justify imperial expansion to the Greeks in their own cultural terms, just as they appropriated Babylonian and Judaic visions of history in order to validate their expansion elsewhere. Drawing on the Herodotean evidence for the Persians' use of Greek oracle-mongers, and especially his account of Xerxes' visit to Troy, which presented the king as the champion of Troy, seeking revenge for its downfall, the chapter suggests that Xerxes' Iliad consisted of a set of wholly new glosses on familiar topics, pro-Persian interpretations, and selective enactments.

Keywords:   Greece, Persia, Homeric epic, Iliad, Xerxes, Greeks, Persians

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