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Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica$
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Aaron P. Johnson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296132

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296132.001.0001

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Relocating Greekness: The Narrative of Greek Descent

Relocating Greekness: The Narrative of Greek Descent

(p.55) 3 Relocating Greekness: The Narrative of Greek Descent
Ethnicity and Argument in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica

Aaron P. Johnson

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Eusebius conveys a narrative of Greek descent (in Books 1-6) that begins with the Phoenicians and Egyptians in order to highlight the lateness and dependency of the Greeks upon these ‘barbarian’ nations, and to portray them as embodying negative national character traits. Thus, the Praeparatio can be seen as part of the anti-Greek tradition of historiography that arose among subject peoples (such as Egyptians and Jews) following the conquests of Alexander the Great, but which continued well into the Roman Empire, especially with Philo of Byblos. His narrative is bolstered by a euhemerist interpretation of ancient myths and a critique of allegorical interpretations.

Keywords:   Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, national character, narratives of descent, euhemerism, allegory, Philo of Byblos

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