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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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The Persian Wars in Fourth-Century Oratory and Historiography

The Persian Wars in Fourth-Century Oratory and Historiography

(p.105) 6 The Persian Wars in Fourth-Century Oratory and Historiography
Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars

John Marincola (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the very different presentation of the Persian Wars by 4th-century historians and by the patriotic Athenian orators, as writers of both forensic and political speeches, including the epitaphioi logoi at which it was customary to catalogue Athenian victories. It is shown that it was the battles in which the Athenians were most involved (Marathon, Salamis) that unsurprisingly featured most prominently, building up an idealized picture of Athens in her finest hour and replacing the uncertainty and ambivalences in Herodotus' narrative with a ‘smooth-flowing teleology, in which each battle marches the Greeks forward to an overall victory’; the discussions of Plataea are equally idealizing in their amnesiac erasure of conflict between different Greek states. The ‘patriotic’ and idealizing strand in the reception of the Persian Wars found its first cohesive and near-uniform expression in the panhellenic ideology of such authors.

Keywords:   Persian Wars, Athenian orators, ancient Greeks, Plataea, panhellenic ideology

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