Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars

Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars


By (author) Jon D. Mikalson

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  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 247mm x 25mm | 576g
  • Publication date: 30 September 2003
  • Publication City/Country: Chapel Hill
  • ISBN 10: 0807827983
  • ISBN 13: 9780807827987
  • Illustrations note: 5 maps, notes, bibliography, index

Product description

The two great Persian invasions of Greece, in 490 and 480-79 BC, both repulsed by the Greeks, provide our best opportunity for understanding the interplay of religion and history in Ancient Greece. Using the "Histories" of Herodotus as well as other historical and archaeological sources, Jon Mikalson shows how the Greeks practised their religion at this pivotal moment in their history. In the period of the invasions and the years immediately after, the Greeks - internationally, state by state, and sometimes individually -turned to their deities, using religious practices to influence, understand and commemorate events that were threatening their very existence. Greeks prayed and sacrificed; made and fulfilled vows to the gods; consulted oracles; interpreted omens and dreams; created cults, sanctuaries, and festivals; and offered dozens of dedications to their gods and heroes - all in relation to known historical events. By portraying the human situations and historical circumstances in which Greeks practised their religion, Mikalson seeks to advance our knowledge of the role of religion in 5th-century Greece and reveals a religious dimension of the Persian Wars.

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Review quote

"The complexity of the subject matter . . . result[s] in more than a case-in-point study of Greek Religion as practiced in context. . . . Written in Mikalson's usually lucid, lively, and unassuming style. . . . The implications of the author's approach are significant and are not confined to the study of Herodotus." -- "International Journal of Classical Tradition"