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The Heroic Rulers of Archaic and Classical Greece (Hardback)
  • The Heroic Rulers of Archaic and Classical Greece (Hardback)
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The Heroic Rulers of Archaic and Classical Greece (Hardback)

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£90.00
Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 01/08/2013
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With an in-depth exploration of rule by a single man and how this was seen as heroic activity, the title challenges orthodox views of ruling in the ancient world and breaks down traditional ideas about the relationship between so-called hereditary rule and tyranny. It looks at how a common heroic ideology among rulers was based upon excellence, or arete, and also surveys dynastic ruling, where rule was in some sense shared within the family or clan. Heroic Rulers examines reasons why both personal and clan-based rule was particularly unstable and its core tension with the competitive nature of Greek society, so that the question of who had the most arete was an issue of debate both from within the ruling family and from other heroic aspirants. Probing into ancient perspectives on the legitimacy and legality of rule, the title also explores the relationship between ruling and law. Law, personified as 'king' (nomos basileus), came to be seen as the ultimate source of sovereignty especially as expressed through the constitutional machinery of the city, and became an important balance and constraint for personal rule. Finally, Heroic Rulers demonstrates that monarchy, which is generally thought to have disappeared before the end of the archaic period, remained a valid political option from the Early Iron Age through to the Hellenistic period.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781472505965
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 494 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 14 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
In this slim volume, Mitchell draws upon an impressive range of evidence in a series of focussed arguments intended to significantly revise our understanding of kingship in the Greek world - predominantly in the archaic and classical periods. -- Philip Davies, University of Nottingham, UK * Bryn Mawr Classical Review *
Lynette Mitchell's lucidly written and discerningly argued book ... [is] supplied with an impressive bibliography (more than 500 entries) which in itself is a reward for the reader ... The book is full of ideas, sometimes unorthodox, and very often thought-provoking ... Not the least merit of the book is that it stimulates further debate on the relationship between rulers and elites as well as on the cultural strategies deployed by rulers to strengthen their power. * GNOMON *
In the space of five very accessible chapters ... Mitchell turns a lot of modern scholarship on its head. ... [She] has gone further than her predecessors in laying bare the power relations of rulers, their families, and the ruled throughout Ancient Greek history. * Classics Ireland *
Against this complex background, the agile book of Mitchell appears to be well-centered, coherent and not devoid of original results ... The Heroic Rulers of Archaic and Classical Greece is a book worthy of consideration. This is a vigorous invitation to re-examine certain common premises concerning rulership in ancient Greece. * Sehepunkte *
In this crisply written and pleasingly accessible study, Professor Lynette Mitchell has caught a rich haul of personal and charismatic rulers of Greek states and peoples from Archaic to Hellenistic times. She detects a common ideological basis for their diverse regimes in claims to heroic heritage and values, and argues persuasively that monarchical but not absolutist modes of rule remained central to Greek political experience from Homer's Agamemnon to Aristotle's Alexander and beyond. -- Paul Cartledge is the A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek culture, Cambridge University, UK
In our fascination with the Greeks as inventors of republican and democratic government, we tend to forget that many Greek cities and states were ruled by monarchs for much of the time. Lynette Mitchell's brisk and confident survey shows that a wide variety of rulers from archaic tyrants to Macedonian and Molossian kings represents variations of a `charismatic', family-based form of monarchical leadership that was characteristic of the archaic and classical Greek world and arose out of the same climate of `competitive egalitarianism' that also gave rise to republics. This is a refreshing and important new perspective on Greek political history. -- Hans van Wees, Grote Professor of Ancient History, University College London, UK
An impressive and groundbreaking treatment of the topic: Lynette Mitchell has undertaken a bold attempt to treat much-studied issues from a fresh perspective. -- Dr. Sian Lewis, University of St. Andrews, UK

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