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Historical Agency and the ‘Great Man' in Classical Greece


  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107037342

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About the Authors
  • The 'great man' of later Greek historical thought is the long product of traceable changes in ancient ideas about the meaning and impact of an individual life. At least as early as the birth of the Athenian democracy, questions about the ownership of the motion of history were being publicly posed and publicly challenged. The responses to these questions, however, gradually shifted over time, in reaction to historical and political developments during the fifth and fourth centuries BC. These ideological changes are illuminated by portrayals of the roles played by individuals and groups in significant historical events, as depicted in historiography, funerary monuments, and inscriptions. The emergence in these media of the individual as an indispensable agent of history provides an additional explanation for the reception of Alexander 'the Great': the Greek world had long since been prepared to understand him as it did.

    • Presents a nuanced interpretation of the spread of ideas that is not confined to the upper socio-economic classes
    • Discusses a wide variety of ancient evidence, both literary and non-literary
    • Demonstrates that the explosive reception of Alexander the Great was deeply rooted in well over a century of ancient Greek experience and imagination
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107037342
    • length: 420 pages
    • dimensions: 255 x 180 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.91kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The search for the 'great man'
    2. Man, myth, and memory under the early Athenian democracy
    3. Culture clash? Reading individuals and groups in the Histories of Herodotus
    4. Claims to immortality: memories of the Peloponnesian War
    5. Learning one's limits, knowing one's place
    6. Out beyond Athens
    7. A 'new world order'?
    8. Alexander 'the Great'
    9. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Sarah Brown Ferrario, Catholic University of America, Washington DC
    Sarah Brown Ferrario is Associate Professor of Greek and Latin at The Catholic University of America. She is a specialist in Greek history and literature, particularly of the fifth and fourth centuries BC.

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