Thursday, June 21, 2012

Founding Narrative

Such things should be said beside the fire in winter-time when a man reclines full-fed on a soft couch, drinking the sweet wine and munching chick-peas - such things as: "Who and whence are you? and how old are you, good man? how old were you when the Mede came?'
Arnaldo Momigliano. Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization 
(Kindle Locations 1431-1433). Kindle Edition.

Momigliano clarifies: 

The arrival of the Mede in Ionia - that is, Harpagus the Mede's conquest on behalf of Cyrus the Persian about 545 B.C. - was the beginning of a new age for Xenophanes of Colophon. He himself had left his native city as a young man in consequence of that event. At the age of 92 he was still alive, about 472 B.C. The Persian conquest of the kingdom of Lydia involved in one form or another all the Greeks of Asia Minor. The Greeks had crossed swords with the Assyrians and had had their troubles with the Egyptians, but had never lived inside a great empire - at least not after the Hittite Empire of which they remembered nothing. The Lydian rule had been easy to accept, as Lydia was soon dominated by Greek culture - open to Greek traders, artists, soldiers and oracles. Cyrus was as epoch-making for the Greeks as he was for the Jews - though the reasons were different.

Id., 1433.

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