'No freer than the helots': Messenian rebel behaviour in Pausanias' Messeniaka in comparative perspective

Langerwerf, Lydia L.B.M. (2010) 'No freer than the helots': Messenian rebel behaviour in Pausanias' Messeniaka in comparative perspective. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This dissertation explores Pausanias’ depiction of the (mythical) Messenian revolt against the Spartans in book 4 of his Periegesis in comparative perspective with ancient depictions of slave revolts and Flavius Josephus’ Jewish War. I concentrate on how Pausanias portrays Aristomenes and the other rebels, as well as the Messenians in general. Although recently the Messenian Wars have been the subject of scholarly interest from literary critics, historians, and archaeologists, who have fruitfully combined their disciplines in their interpretations of the story, Pausanias’ aims and agenda in his representation of the Messenians have so far been left unexplored. This dissertation therefore asks: What stance did Pausanias take in the contested history of Messenia?

In my analysis of Pausanias’ figuration of Messenian history, in chapters 1 (the introduction) and 2 I concentrate on his frequent use of τόλμη and in particular in its combination with ἀπόνοια (‘despair’). Τόλμη, translated as daring, contains both positive and negative connotations. It is a necessary ingredient of courage, but can also lead to recklessness if uncontrolled.

My comparative framework in chapters 3 to 6 puts this reading of Pausanias’ book 4 to the test. In chapter 3 I compare Pausanias’ depiction of Aristomenes’ leadership qualities with Athenaeus’ use of the story of Drimakos, the rebel leader of a slave revolt on the island of Chios. In chapters 4 and 5 I pursue the connection between slavery, τόλμη and ἀπόνοια further in a comparison of the Messenian revolt with Diodorus’ depiction of the two Sicilian slave wars, along with Plutarch’s and Appian’s account of Spartacus’ revolt. In the sixth chapter I interpret the Messenian revolt as a ‘nationalistic’ uprising and compare Pausanias’ account with Josephus’ Jewish War.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Hodkinson, S.
Keywords: Pausanias, Slave Rebellions, Sparta, Messenia
Subjects: P Language and literature > PA Classical philology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 11295
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2010 08:37
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 15:53
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11295

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