The Orientalizing Revolution
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The Orientalizing Revolution : Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age

By (author) Walter Burkert , Translated by Walter Burkert , Translated by Margaret E. Pinder

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The culture of the ancient Greeks has often been described as emerging like a miracle from a genius of its own, owing practically nothing to its neighbours. Walter Burkert offers a decisive argument against that view, pointing toward a more balanced picture of the archaic period "in which, under the influence of the Semitic East - from writers, craftsmen, merchants, healers - Greek culture began its unique flowering, soon to assume cultural hegemony in the Mediterranean".

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  • Paperback | 238 pages
  • 142.24 x 208.28 x 20.32mm | 226.8g
  • 11 Aug 1998
  • HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge, Mass
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 5 halftones, 3 line illustration, 1 map
  • 067464364X
  • 9780674643642
  • 338,401

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Author Information

Walter Burkert is Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Zurich.

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Review quote

Brilliant...[Burkert] is consistently thorough and challenging...Without denying the role of innate talent, he shows that much of the Greek miracle grew from an openness to influences from other cultures...[His] careful scholarship...has constructed the bridge that he set out to build. -- Carol G. Thomas American Historical Review An elegant and academically influential work...The Orientalizing Revolution can be enthusiastically recommended. -- Simon Hornblower Times Literary Supplement Burkert's The Orientalizing Revolution remains an outstanding, or rather the outstanding, contribution to the question of 'Near Eastern influence on Greek culture in the Early Archaic Age. Greece and Rome This thought provoking work is an updated translation of Burkert's Die orientlisierende Epoche in der griechischen Religion und Literature, 1984...It is refreshing to see a classical scholar follow in the footsteps of eminent Near Eastern scholars such as Cyrus Gordon and Michael Astour who have long argued for interconnections in the ancient Mediterranean world. -- Mark W. Chavalas Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 19970101

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Back cover copy

The rich and splendid culture of the ancient Greeks has often been described as emerging like a miracle from a genius of its own, owing practically nothing to its neighbors. Walter Burkert offers a decisive argument against that distorted view, replacing it with a balanced picture of the archaic period "in which, under the influence of the Semitic East, Greek culture began its unique flowering, soon to assume cultural hegemony in the Mediterranean". Burkert focuses on the "orientalizing" century 750-650 B.C., the period of Assyrian conquest, Phoenician commerce, and Greek exploration of both East and West, when not only eastern skills and images but also the Semitic art of writing were transmitted to Greece. He tracks the migrant craftsmen who brought the Greeks new techniques and designs, the wandering seers and healers teaching magic and medicine, and the important Greek borrowings from Near Eastern poetry and myth. Drawing widely on archaeological, textual, and historical evidence, he demonstrates that eastern models significantly affected Greek literature and religion in the Homeric age.

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