History, myth, and audience in Thucydides: Harmodius and Aristogeiton Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Miller, Sarah H.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
  • Thucydides’ critique of history’s reception in the proem of book 1 is meant to have a rhetorical effect upon his own history’s recipients: he aims his proem at a sophisticated and self-interested audience that wants to demonstrate its interest in accurate knowledge, as opposed to flattering τὸ μυθῶδες. Thucydides subsequently employs speeches to dramatize the Athenians’ relationship to historical and political knowledge, showing how confusions engendered by the political rhetoric of Pericles’ funeral oration climax in the principled selfignorance displayed in the Herms and Mysteries trials of 415. Through this dramatization of the problems with the Athenians’ relationship to knowledge, especially in his double treatment of the politically charged Harmodius and Aristogeiton story, Thucydides moves his readers away from the assumptions that he attributes to them at the start of his composition, and educates them in the significance of the absence of τὸ μυθῶδες from his histories.
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  • Baragwanath, Emily
  • Open access

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