Maintaining the boundaries of nomos: phthonotic responses to sociopolitical perturbations in Herodotus' Histories Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Esposito, John
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
  • Herodotus begins the Histories with a series of princess-thefts, each resolved by a straightforward tisis response. This simple quantitative equalization is complicated by the Greek theft of Medea without recompense, and Paris appeals to this imbalanced theft as precedent. This appeal implies common east-west membership in a nomotic system in a way that will contribute significantly to the rest of the narrative. The Candaules logos introduces the inverse proportionality characteristic of the circumstances to which phthonos responds; the Croesus logos extends phthonos to the gods, which describes the nomotic system of the kosmos. The Cambyses logos introduces a political formulation of "unlimited monarchy" that precludes any nomoi whatsoever, and puts the Persian monarch in a potentially phthonotic relation to all others. Darius attempts to avoid phthonos from his subjects by imperial expansion, and Xerxes' coerced submission to nomos in book 9 hearkens back to the Candaules logos in book 1.
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  • Baragwanath, Emily
  • Open access

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