The Mother of the Gods and the Practices of Lydian Tyranny

Mark Munn

in The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520243491
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931589 | DOI:
The Mother of the Gods and the Practices of Lydian Tyranny

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This chapter demonstrates how the inescapability of death for the men and women who lived and performed as rulers in Lydia was articulated through ritual, monument, and myth into a vindication of tyranny. In the process, the chapter shows that the Lydian ideology of sovereignty had much in common with better-attested Mesopotamian traditions linking kingship and the gods. In addition to treating the ideology of the Mermnad court at Sardis, this chapter begins to examine the historical interaction of Greek communities with Sardis, chiefly as narrated by Herodotus. Here, the chapter argues that Herodotus has reshaped the core meanings of certain famous encounters between Greeks and the tyrants of Asia. Some of the interpretations suggested here, for such traditional tales as the lesson in tyranny taught by Thrasybulus of Miletus to Periander of Corinth, indicate a strong revisionism at work in Herodotus' narrative.

Keywords: Lydia; tyranny; Sardis; classical era; Greece; kingship; Herodotus; deities

Chapter.  22954 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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