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The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of AsiaA Study of Sovereignty in Ancient Religion$
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Mark Munn and Michael Rose

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520243491

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520243491.001.0001

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The Mother of the Gods and the Practices of Lydian Tyranny

The Mother of the Gods and the Practices of Lydian Tyranny

Chapter:
(p.131) Chapter 4 The Mother of the Gods and the Practices of Lydian Tyranny
Source:
The Mother of the Gods, Athens, and the Tyranny of Asia
Author(s):

Mark Munn

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520243491.003.0005

This chapter demonstrates how the inescapability of death for the men and women who lived and performed as rulers in Lydia was articulated through ritual, monument, and myth into a vindication of tyranny. In the process, the chapter shows that the Lydian ideology of sovereignty had much in common with better-attested Mesopotamian traditions linking kingship and the gods. In addition to treating the ideology of the Mermnad court at Sardis, this chapter begins to examine the historical interaction of Greek communities with Sardis, chiefly as narrated by Herodotus. Here, the chapter argues that Herodotus has reshaped the core meanings of certain famous encounters between Greeks and the tyrants of Asia. Some of the interpretations suggested here, for such traditional tales as the lesson in tyranny taught by Thrasybulus of Miletus to Periander of Corinth, indicate a strong revisionism at work in Herodotus' narrative.

Keywords:   Lydia, tyranny, Sardis, classical era, Greece, kingship, Herodotus, deities

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