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Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World$
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Beate Dignas and R. R. R. Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572069

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572069.001.0001

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Memory and Ancient Greece

Memory and Ancient Greece

(p.15) 2 Memory and Ancient Greece
Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World

Simon Price

Oxford University Press

The relationship between memory and history is a productive zone in which the self-understanding of past peoples was formed. This chapter studies four contexts in which memories were constructed in ancient Greece: objects and representations, places, ritual behaviour and associated myths, and textual narratives. Underlying all four is a longstanding Greek desire to link the present to the remote past. Objects, monuments, and temple decorations, for example, were of high significance for this task. Place, location, and close physical proximity to signifiers of the past established the necessary links. Thirdly, local versions of myths became a standard way of raising the profile of places small and large. Finally, textual narratives offer themselves as the framework for and articulation of memories of the past, and here genealogies in the widest sense, from Hesiod's Theogony to the Parian Chronicle, are shown to provide telling material.

Keywords:   genealogy, Greece, Hesiod, memory and history, Parian Chronicle, temple decoration, ritual behaviour

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