Egypt and the Limits of Hellenism

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 7, 2011 - Social Science
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In a series of studies, Ian Moyer explores the ancient history and modern historiography of relations between Egypt and Greece from the fifth century BCE to the early Roman empire. Beginning with Herodotus, he analyzes key encounters between Greeks and Egyptian priests, the bearers of Egypt's ancient traditions. Four moments unfold as rich micro-histories of cross-cultural interaction: Herodotus' interviews with priests at Thebes; Manetho's composition of an Egyptian history in Greek; the struggles of Egyptian priests on Delos; and a Greek physician's quest for magic in Egypt. In writing these histories, the author moves beyond Orientalizing representations of the Other and colonial metanarratives of the civilizing process to reveal interactions between Greeks and Egyptians as transactional processes in which the traditions, discourses and pragmatic interests of both sides shaped the outcome. The result is a dialogical history of cultural and intellectual exchanges between the great civilizations of Greece and Egypt.

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This is an outstanding and sensitive scholarly treatment of the relationship between Egypt and Hellenism; Moyer offers a good overview of both ancient history and modern scholarship. There's plenty of theory, but on the whole it's very approachable.


Introduction The absence of Egypt
chapter 1 Herodotus and an Egyptian mirage
chapter 2 Luculentissima fragmenta
chapter 3 The Delian Sarapis aretalogy and the politics of syncretism
chapter 4 Thessalos and the magic of empire
appendix i Text and translation of the Delian Sarapis aretalogy IG XI4 1299
appendix ii Translation of the Madrid manuscript of Thessalos De virtutibus herbarum Codex Matritensis Bibl Nat 4631
appendix iii Dating the composition of Thessalos De virtutibus herbarum

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About the author (2011)

Ian S. Moyer is Associate Professor in the Department of History, University of Michigan. His current research and teaching interests include ancient Greek history, especially of the Hellenistic period; the Late Period, Ptolemaic, and Roman Egypt; ethnicity and culture in the ancient world; historiography and ethnography; and ancient religion and magic. He is the author of several articles, and he has lectured on various topics related to his research for this book at universities in the United States and Europe.

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