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Myth, Truth, and Narrative in Herodotus$
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Emily Baragwanath and Mathieu de Bakker

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693979.001.0001

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Herodotus and Eastern Myths and Logoi: Deioces the Mede and Pythius the Lydian

Herodotus and Eastern Myths and Logoi: Deioces the Mede and Pythius the Lydian

(p.233) 9 Herodotus and Eastern Myths and Logoi: Deioces the Mede and Pythius the Lydian
Myth, Truth, and Narrative in Herodotus

Rosalind Thomas

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the looser type of legend and story patterns familiar to Herodotus' audience. It considers the possibility of legends and stories that seem to belong primarily to the Persian or Near Eastern sphere and which Herodotus uses himself, taking two examples as case studies: Pythius and Lydian (7.38–40) and Deioces the Mede (1.96–101). It uses these to examine the sorts of truth, understanding, and interpretation that a Greek writer might derive from a foreign logos or tale — supposing that these might derive from, or be related to some Persian or Median tales. It then goes on to examine how such tales might be taken, understood or misunderstood, and re-used in the Greek and specifically Herodotean schema. The chapter is thus in part related to the problem of the ‘unintelligibility’ of one society's tales, and indeed customs, to members of another society.

Keywords:   Pythius the Lydian, media, Medes, Xerxes, Darius, Hittites, Luwians, cultural translation, Persian religious rituals, Deioces

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