The Invention of Greek Ethnography

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

The Invention of Greek Ethnography

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The aim of this book has been merely to problematize the entire process of imposing disciplinary categories on the ancient sources and marshalling them in such a way as to support a linear narrative of evolution and progress. Viewed in its appropriate context, the invention of ethnographic prose is every bit as interesting and important as the old model of a fifth-century epiphany in reaction to unprecedented levels of contact with non-Greeks. In order to demonstrate this more fully, this chapter turns to what is, if not the earliest, then certainly the largest piece of ethnographic prose to survive in its entirety: the Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus. In doing so it returns to broader, overarching questions introduced in Chapter 1 regarding the origins and nature of Greek ethnography, from Homer to Herodotus, the sense of collective identity upon which it was predicated, and the implications these pose for the study of Great Historiography.

Keywords: Homer; Herodotus; ancient ethnography; ethnographic prose; Histories

Chapter.  11256 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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