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Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars
The two great Persian invasions of Greece, in 490 and 480-79 B.C., both repulsed by the Greeks, provide our best opportunity for understanding the interplay of religion and history in ancient Greece. Using the "Histories" of Herodotus as well as other historical and archaeological sources, Jon Mikalson shows how the Greeks practiced their religion at this pivotal moment in ...more
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published September 15th 2003 by University of North Carolina Press
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I was enthused (en-thused: the god is in) by the Introduction, setting out his project, but I have to say the execution was a chore. He goes through Hdt’s story of the Persian Wars with notice of religious events; and then he re-sorts this information and goes through again god by god. Since I’d read Hdt on the Persian Wars the week before, with an eye to religious causation, it was tough to get through a hundred+ pages of scholar’s rehash. The Introduction was the most inspiringly written part ...more
I found this to be a fascinating and useful exploration of the various ways Herodotus sheds light on archaic and early Classical Greek religious views. There are so many positive points I will keep to my habit of naming one I found worth while; that would be the way in which the deities of poetry fundamentally differed from the deities of cult. Regional, exclusive and highly parochial versions of Athena, Artemis, Zeus, Demeter etc - were not the monolithic characters of Hesiod, Homer or the ...more