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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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To medize or not to medize…: compulsion and negative motives (Books VII–IX)

To medize or not to medize…: compulsion and negative motives (Books VII–IX)

(p.203) 7 To medize or not to medize…: compulsion and negative motives (Books VII–IX)
Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus

Emily Baragwanath (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter reflects upon the opposition between motives and necessity. It considers the effect of looming Persian invasions on the behaviour of the Greeks, contending that Herodotus' narrative invites appreciation of the significance of the Athenians' decision to be ‘Saviours of Greece’ against the background of the negative forces that impede others' action. The medizing conduct of various nations—Argos, Syracuse, Corcyra, Thessaly, Thebes—in the face of the Persian threat comes to appear very different when viewed in varying perspectives; and the nexus of ideas that surfaces reflects upon the often highly praised Athenian determination to remain faithful to to Hellênikon. Even if ironies do emerge, as in connection with the Athenians' apparent volte-face at 9.11, what surfaces as essential is what the Athenians actually do.

Keywords:   Herodotus, motivation, necessity, to Hellênikon, medizing, Saviours of Greece, Argos, Syracuse, Corcyra, Thessaly, Thebes

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