Viewing Sparta, viewing Asia: vision and Greek identity in Xenophon

Harman, Rosie (2009) Viewing Sparta, viewing Asia: vision and Greek identity in Xenophon. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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What happens when we look at others, and when others look at us? How does the experience of looking at or being seen by others shape our perceptions of ourselves? This thesis addresses these questions with reference to a specific historical and cultural moment; I examine scenes of vision and display in the Athenian writer Xenophon's representations of Spartans, Persians and other non-Greek peoples in Asia as a means of investigating the place of Sparta, Persia and the non-Greek in fourth century Athenian thought. Focusing in particular on the Anabasis, Cyropaedia, Lakedaimonion Politeia and Agesilaus, I analyse the representation of the responses of spectators to foreign sights in order to consider how these texts position their readers in relation to Spartans, Persians and others, and also, therefore, how they articulate and interrogate what it means to be Athenian, and what it means to be Greek. I will argue that sight is involved in the construction of Greek identity; that although some of the ways in which Greek identity is represented imply its cohesion, more often Xenophon's scenes of vision reveal the uncertainties and manipulations involved in attempting to imagine or lay claim to Greekness; and that Xenophon reveals the complexities of Panhellenist thought and of the intellectual and political climate of the fourth century. This thesis contributes towards a history of Greek identity and a history of visuality; it also seeks to reappraise Xenophon as a writer, revealing him as a valuable source for Greek conceptions of political power and conflict, and of ethnic, political and cultural selfconsciousness.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Hodkinson, S.
Keywords: Xenophon, Anabasis, Cyropaedia, Lakedaimonion Politeia, Agesilaus, Greek identity
Subjects: P Language and literature > PA Classical philology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 11969
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 16 May 2011 12:31
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 14:03

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