New Heroes in Antiquity

New Heroes in Antiquity : From Achilles to Antinoos


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Heroes and heroines in antiquity inhabited a space somewhere between gods and humans. In this detailed, yet brilliantly wide-ranging analysis, Christopher Jones starts from literary heroes such as Achilles and moves to the historical record of those exceptional men and women who were worshiped after death. He asks why and how mortals were heroized, and what exactly becoming a hero entailed in terms of religious action and belief. He proves that the growing popularity of heroizing the dead - fallen warriors, family members, magnanimous citizens - represents not a decline from earlier practice but an adaptation to new contexts and modes of thought. The most famous example of this process is Hadrian's beloved, Antinoos, who can now be located within an ancient tradition of heroizing extraordinary youths who died prematurely. This book, wholly new and beautifully written, rescues the hero from literary metaphor and vividly restores heroism to the reality of ancient life.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 144 pages
  • 142 x 210 x 18mm | 299.37g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 0674035860
  • 9780674035867
  • 1,325,151

Review quote

It's an excellent book. -- Mary Beard New York Review of Books online 20100303 The quiet accumulation of data in this short but massively documented study sounds out many registers of ancient heroism--from Odysseus' uncanny libation of blood into a trench for the thirsty ghosts, through the domestic dignity of Attic reliefs, and eventually to Roman flights of fancy about the Elysian Fields, now reassuringly open to all the blessed dead. -- Jane Lightfoot Times Literary Supplement 20100319

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Table of contents

* Acknowledgments * List of Illustrations * Introduction * Poetic Heroes * Local Heroes * Warriors and Patriots * Athletes, Poets, Philosophers * Private Heroes * Greek Heroes in a Roman World * Antinoos * Heroes and Saints * Appendix: Living Heroes? * Notes * Index

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About Christopher P. Jones

Christopher P. Jones is George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics and of History, Harvard University.

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