Mapping Identities

Joseph E. Skinner

in The Invention of Greek Ethnography

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199793600
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199979677 | DOI:

Series: Greeks Overseas

Mapping Identities

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This chapter identifies some of the major building-blocks upon which “ethnographic discourse” might be founded: knowledge relating to a variety of foreign peoples, both Greek and non-Greek, and the mechanisms by which it was deployed. The chapter goes on to extend the analysis to encompass unfamiliar settings and far-flung locations: the wilds of Scythia, Magna Graecia, and, at the “imagined center,” the great Panhellenic sanctuaries at Delphi and Olympia. This broad canvas is necessary in order to demonstrate that discourses of identity indicative of a self-conscious engagement with questions of cultural difference were not only widespread well before their supposed epiphany during the fifth century bc—the point at which Greek identity is purported to have switched from “ethnic” to cultural criteria1—but also intrinsic to the processes by which identities (of any kind) were constructed.

Keywords: ethnography; Scythia; Magna Graecia; Delphi; Olympia; identity

Chapter.  37732 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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