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Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus$
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Emily Baragwanath

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231294.001.0001

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‘For freedom's sake…’: motivation in the Ionian Revolt (Books V–VI)

‘For freedom's sake…’: motivation in the Ionian Revolt (Books V–VI)

(p.160) 6 ‘For freedom's sake…’: motivation in the Ionian Revolt (Books V–VI)
Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus

Emily Baragwanath (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In this chapter the Athenians' idealistic expression of 8.144—with its slogans of ‘freedom’ and ‘Greek unity’ (to Hellênikon)—introduces a discussion of these key ideal motives and the role of rhetoric in the Ionian Revolt narrative, which proves an important touchstone for assessing the later campaign. Herodotus' text foregrounds the complications of rhetoric, problematising idealising readings and yielding salient ironies, including that of how freedom (as in the case of the ‘polis tyrannos’ of the Athenian democracy) promotes and even entails rule over others. The ideas on motivation in the previous chapter are refined, since the question of whether motives are principled or pragmatic is not after all wholly clear-cut: the Histories' concept of motivation is dynamic, allowing for the possibility of progression in response to changing circumstances, and sensitive also to the potential for complex psychology.

Keywords:   Histories, motives, motivation, Ionian Revolt, freedom, Greek unity, to Hellênikon, rhetoric, ideal motives, polis tyrannos, Athenian democracy, complex psychology

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