Download Ancient Persia in Western history : Hellenism and the by Sasan Samiei PDF

By Sasan Samiei

ISBN-10: 1780764804

ISBN-13: 9781780764801

The Achaemenid Empire, based through Cyrus the good within the sixth century, was once at its top the biggest empire the realm had but obvious, stretching throughout Asia, the center East and North Africa. simply because this primary Persian Empire fought a sequence of wars opposed to the traditional Greek city-states, it has frequently been forged towards the Hellenistic cultures of the interval. old Persia in Western heritage is a measured rejoinder to the dominant narrative that considers the Graeco-Persian Wars to be basically the 1st around of an oft-repeated conflict among the despotic 'East' and the generally enlightened 'West'. Sasan Samiei analyses the historiography which has skewed our realizing of this important period - contrasting the paintings of Edward Gibbon and Goethe, which honored Classicism and Hellenistic heritage, with later writers akin to John Linton Myres. eventually, Samiei explores the cross-cultural encounters which constituted the Achaemenid interval itself, and repositions it as necessary to the historical past of Europe, Asia and the center East.

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The discourse was lively and multifaceted. As shown, those who followed Winckelmann (both temporally and intellectually) were not averse to engaging with him in a critical fashion. Their engagement, however, stopped short of interrogating the complex underpinnings that had allowed Winckelmann to position Hellenism at the very core of German, and – very SETTING THE SCENE 33 swiftly – of British intellectual life. ’84 In Victorian Britain, there were those who had ‘become something’; chief among them were Mathew Arnold (1822–88) and Walter Pater (1839– 94).

50 This ideology was very much based on the sensibilities of a man immersed in the politics of the ‘Country Party’ with its notion of a ‘balanced English constitution’ and monarchical conservativism. In addition, this viewpoint was complemented with an undisguised hostility towards the democratization of the electioneering process for parliament (where Mitford sat as a Tory MP). Mitford argued that by handing ‘every free Athenian [. ] his equal right to vote and speak’, Solon (638– 558 BC ) had put ‘unlimited power in the hands of those least capable of properly exercising any power’.

29 This inability, on the part of the ‘Aryans’, to sustain ‘purity of blood’ imbued Gobineau’s work with undisguised pessimism. ’30 The successful nature of the ‘Aryan’ conquest, in his view, paradoxically allowed the ‘infusion of inferior blood’,31 thereby undermining the ‘racial instinct’ that exists in all human species. The anglophone debate32 predates that of Gobineau and his intellectual descendents33 by some years. 35 Arnold had also made a distinction between the Greeks and Jews, which, in due course, would become much more prevalent (nowhere more so than in the writings of Arnold fils; see section III).

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