Thursday, October 10, 2013

Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age

The culture of the ancient Greeks has often been described as emerging like a miracle from a genius of its own, owing practically nothing to its neighbours. Walter Burkert offers a decisive argument against that view, pointing toward a more balanced picture of the archaic period "in which, under the influence of the Semitic East - from writers, craftsmen, merchants, healers - Greek culture began its unique flowering, soon to assume cultural hegemony in the Mediterranean".

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction 1. "Who Are Public Workers": The Migrant Craftsmen Historical Background Oriental Products in Greece Writing and Literature in the Eighth Century The Problem of Loan-Words 2. "A Seer or a Healer": Magic and Medicine "Craftsmen of the Sacred": Mobility and Family Structure Hepatoscopy Foundation Deposits Purification Spirits of the Dead and Black Magic Substitute Sacrifice Asclepius and Asgelatas Ecstatic Divination Lamashtu, Lamia, and Gorgo 3. "Or Also a Godly Singer": Akkadian and Early Greek Literature From Atrahasis to the "Deception of Zeus" Complaint in Heaven: Ishtar and Aphrodite The Overpopulated Earth Seven against Thebes Common Style and Stance in Oriental and Greek Epic Fables Magic and Cosmogony Conclusion Abbreviations Bibliography Notes Index of Greek Words General Index

About the Author

Walter Burkert is Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Zurich.


Brilliant...[Burkert] is consistently thorough and challenging...Without denying the role of innate talent, he shows that much of the Greek miracle grew from an openness to influences from other cultures...[His] careful scholarship...has constructed the bridge that he set out to build. -- Carol G. Thomas American Historical Review An elegant and academically influential work...The Orientalizing Revolution can be enthusiastically recommended. -- Simon Hornblower Times Literary Supplement Burkert's The Orientalizing Revolution remains an outstanding, or rather the outstanding, contribution to the question of 'Near Eastern influence on Greek culture in the Early Archaic Age. Greece and Rome This thought provoking work is an updated translation of Burkert's Die orientlisierende Epoche in der griechischen Religion und Literature, 1984...It is refreshing to see a classical scholar follow in the footsteps of eminent Near Eastern scholars such as Cyrus Gordon and Michael Astour who have long argued for interconnections in the ancient Mediterranean world. -- Mark W. Chavalas Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 19970101

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