Chapter

Herodotus and Eastern Myths and <i>Logoi</i>: Deioces the Mede and Pythius the Lydian

Rosalind Thomas

in Myth, Truth, and Narrative in Herodotus

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693979
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191745324 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693979.003.0010
Herodotus and Eastern Myths and Logoi: Deioces the Mede and Pythius the Lydian

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This chapter examines the looser type of legend and story patterns familiar to Herodotus' audience. It considers the possibility of legends and stories that seem to belong primarily to the Persian or Near Eastern sphere and which Herodotus uses himself, taking two examples as case studies: Pythius and Lydian (7.38–40) and Deioces the Mede (1.96–101). It uses these to examine the sorts of truth, understanding, and interpretation that a Greek writer might derive from a foreign logos or tale — supposing that these might derive from, or be related to some Persian or Median tales. It then goes on to examine how such tales might be taken, understood or misunderstood, and re-used in the Greek and specifically Herodotean schema. The chapter is thus in part related to the problem of the ‘unintelligibility’ of one society's tales, and indeed customs, to members of another society.

Keywords: Pythius the Lydian; media; Medes; Xerxes; Darius; Hittites; Luwians; cultural translation; Persian religious rituals; Deioces

Chapter.  8839 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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