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The Battlefield of History: Megara, Athens, and the Mythic Past from 600 BC to 250 BC

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dc.contributor.advisor Hayton, Darin
dc.contributor.advisor Smith, Paul Jacov
dc.contributor.advisor Edmonds, Radcliffe Horn, Shannon 2014-08-04T19:31:38Z 2014-08-04T19:31:38Z 2014
dc.description.abstract In ancient Greece, history and myth were intertwined. The mythic past was a realm where heroes walked alongside gods to found the cities of the classical period. Diplomatic relations, military endeavors, and local identity were justified and created using the mythic past. Myth was not a static body of stories, however. Mythology, and the mythic past, was malleable. Local identity was created through an active and constant process of selection that rewrote the content of the mythic past to create the history best suited to the needs of the present. The cities of Athens and Megara were two such cities that engaged in this process of identity formation through myth. The mythic discourse between the cities shows, however, that the alteration of myth was also an act of aggression that would be met with retaliation and resistance. Myth was used to create local identities, and it was in a city's best interest to undermine the identity of its enemies. Through iconographic remains and fragmentary textual evidence, the mythic discourse of Athens and Megara can be reassembled from its disparate parts. The most prominent and frequently contested myths were those most important to the political process of identity formation and attack. This thesis examines the evolution from 600 BC to 250 BC of the myths of Pandion and Nisus, Theseus and Skeiron, Athena Skiras, and Theseus and Ariadne to show that the mythic past in Greece was a political tool used to express hegemony over and attack the foundation of other cities. Control over the mythic past demonstrated a city's political control over a region. Economic, political, and military action was accompanied by an ideological war waged on the battlefield of the mythic past. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Classics. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of History
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Megara (Greece) -- Politics and government -- History
dc.subject.lcsh Athens (Greece) -- Politics and government -- History
dc.subject.lcsh Mythology, Greek -- Political aspects
dc.title The Battlefield of History: Megara, Athens, and the Mythic Past from 600 BC to 250 BC en_US
dc.type Thesis (B.A.) en_US
dc.rights.access Open Access
dc.description.award The Daniel Gillis and Joseph Russo Prize

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