Synchronicity: the local and the panhellenic within Sicilian tyranny

Sarah E. Harrell

in Ancient Tyranny

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621255
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651047 | DOI:
Synchronicity: the local and the panhellenic within Sicilian tyranny

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In book 7 of Histories, Herodotus notes that the battle between the Greeks and Carthaginians at Himera, in Sicily, occurred on the very same day as the battle between the Greeks and Persians at Salamis in 480 BC. Herodotus has just noted that (again according to the Sicilians), Gelon would have aided the Greek alliance at Salamis if the two battles had not been simultaneous. Herodotus relates the battle to the allied Greek defence of their homeland against the barbarian attack led by the Persian king Xerxes. While accepted by some ancient authors as fact, the idea of such a ‘synchronicity’ appears highly improbable to modern eyes. This chapter examines how the synchronicity represents a tension within Herodotus' Sicilian narrative between the local and the panhellenic nature of the fifth-century Deinomenid tyranny. It discusses the historiographic tradition created by the Deinomenids around Gelon's victory at Himera, showing how the tyrants negotiated local and panhellenic identities through careful use of history, dedications and poetry.

Keywords: Histories; Herodotus; Himera; Sicily; Gelon; tyranny; Deinomenids; battles; tyrants; poetry

Chapter.  5127 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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