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The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  4 reviews
The splendid culture of the ancient Greeks has often been described as emerging like a miracle from a genius of its own, owing practically nothing to its neighbors. Walter Burkert offers a decisive argument against that distorted view, pointing toward a balanced picture of the archaic period “in which, under the influence of the Semitic East—from writers, craftsmen, mercha ...more
Paperback, Revised Edition, 225 pages
Published 1995 by Harvard University Press (first published 1984)
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3.97  · 
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 ·  59 ratings  ·  4 reviews


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Barnaby Thieme
In this short volume, Walter Burkert sifts through literary and linguistic evidence with a fine-tooth comb, searching for Mesopotamian, Anatolian and Levantine influences on Archaic Greek culture, especially the writings of Hesiod and Homer.

Burkert introduces the book with a historical account of the migrant culture of soothsayers, skilled craftsmen and poets from the Near East who traveled the Mediterranean. He then puts numerous cases of arts of letters under his microscope, establishing mode
...more
Erica Zahn
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Burkert covers his breadth of evidence intelligently and thoroughly; the chosen subjects are pertinent to the field, and the connections made with the 'East' generally very compelling. His methodology, however, no matter how precise, frequently over-emphasises linguistic connections (finding out he was a philologist made a lot of sense) at the expense of the archaeological parallels, even when the latter form of evidence provides much more confident links than the former. It reminded me at times ...more
David
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible.
Charles
Burkert's text explains something people forget when discussing ancient Greek culture or literature, etc. The Greeks borrowed much from their eastern neighbours, before making it, the influences and traditions of their neighbours, their own and finally producing uniquely Greek art and culture in the "Classical" age (510-323 BC).

Very informative, well-written, but more suited to an academic or enthusiast of ancient Greek culture.
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Walter Burkert was a German scholar of Greek mythology and cult. Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Zurich, Switzerland, he taught in the UK and the US.