The Gift of the Nile
Hellenizing Egypt from Aeschylus to Alexander
By (author) Phiroze Vasunia
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Gift of the Nile by Phiroze Vasunia
Book DescriptionThe Egyptians mesmerized the ancient Greeks for scores of years. The Greek literature and art of the classical period are especially thick with representations of Egypt and Egyptians. Yet despite numerous firsthand contacts with Egypt, Greek writers constructed their own Egypt, one that differed in significant ways from actual Egyptian history, society, and culture. Informed by recent work on orientalism and colonialism, this book unravels the significance of these misrepresentations of Egypt in the Greek cultural imagination in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. Looking in particular at issues of identity, otherness, and cultural anxiety, Phiroze Vasunia shows how Greek authors constructed an image of Egypt that reflected their own attitudes and prejudices about Greece itself. He focuses his discussion on Aeschylus Suppliants; Book 2 of Herodotus; Euripides' Helen; Plato's Phaedrus, Timaeus, and Critias; and Isocrates' Busiris. Reconstructing the history of the bias that informed these writings, Vasunia shows that Egypt in these works was shaped in relation to Greek institutions, values, and ideas on such subjects as gender and sexuality, death, writing, and political and ethnic identity. This study traces the tendentiousness of Greek representations by introducing comparative Egyptian material, thus interrogating the Greek texts and authors from a cross-cultural perspective. A final chapter also considers the invasion of Egypt by Alexander the Great and shows how he exploited and revised the discursive tradition in his conquest of the country. Firmly and knowledgeably rooted in classical studies and the ancient sources, this study takes a broad look at the issue of cross-cultural exchange in antiquity by framing it within the perspective of contemporary cultural studies. In addition, this provocative and original work shows how Greek writers made possible literary Europe's most persistent and adaptable obsession: the barbarian.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780520228207
(229mm x 152mm x 28mm)
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 7-Nov-2001
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Phiroze Vasunia
Classics and Colonial India, Hardback (May 2013)
Offering a unique cross-cultural study, this book provides a detailed account of the relationship between classical antiquity and the British colonial presence in India. Vasunia shows how classical culture pervaded the minds of the British colonizers, and highlights the many Indian receptions of Greco-Roman antiquity.
Classics and National Cultures, Hardback (June 2010)
A collection of essays exploring the relationship between classics and national cultures across many regions, including China, India, Mexico, Japan, and South Africa, as well as Germany, Greece, and Italy. It poses new questions for the study of antiquity and for the history of nations and nationalisms.
Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies, Hardback (August 2009)» View all books by Phiroze Vasunia
A collection of some seventy original articles which explore the ways in which ancient Greece has been, is, and might be studied. The emphasis is on the breadth and potential of Hellenic Studies as a flourishing and exciting intellectual arena, and also upon its relevance to the way we think about ourselves today.
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Author Biography - Phiroze Vasunia
Phiroze Vasunia is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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