Catalogue


Slaves tell tales [electronic resource] : and other episodes in the politics of popular culture in ancient Greece /
Sara Forsdyke.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2012.
description
xii, 275 p. : ill. 25 cm.
ISBN
9780691140056 (hardcover : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2012.
isbn
9780691140056 (hardcover : acid-free paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8846912
 
Includes bibliographical references (p.[239]-260) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"In this original and arresting study, Sara Forsdyke explores Greek literature's complex hybrid of elite literary culture and the non-elite, largely oral culture that lies below its surface. She ambitiously examines themes, imagery, and symbolism with a view to detecting subtle traces of sub-elite popular culture as it existed in both free and unfree social contexts. She is as interested, for example, in how slaves tell tales as she is in the tales the masters told themselves about their slaves; there has never before been a book angled quite like this one."--Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge "This original and stimulating work is the first book-length study of popular culture in ancient Greece that I know of. Sara Forsdyke carefully sets forth a methodology for assessing ancient Greece's non-elite culture and applies it in a number of engaging case studies, challenging previous scholarship, but without polemic. This book should be of interest to a broad audience of classicists and historians of later periods."--Matthew R. Christ, Indiana University
Flap Copy
"In this original and arresting study, Sara Forsdyke explores Greek literatures complex hybrid of elite literary culture and the non-elite, largely oral culture that lies below its surface. She ambitiously examines themes, imagery, and symbolism with a view to detecting subtle traces of sub-elite popular culture as it existed in both free and unfree social contexts. She is as interested, for example, in how slaves tell tales as she is in the tales the masters told themselves about their slaves; there has never before been a book angled quite like this one."-- Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge "In this original and stimulating work, Sara Forsdyke carefully sets forth a methodology for assessing ancient Greece's non-elite culture and applies it in a number of engaging case studies, challenging previous scholarship, but without polemic. This book should be of interest to a broad audience of classicists and historians of later periods."-- Matthew R. Christ, Indiana University
Flap Copy
"In this original and arresting study, Sara Forsdyke explores Greek literature's complex hybrid of elite literary culture and the non-elite, largely oral culture that lies below its surface. She ambitiously examines themes, imagery, and symbolism with a view to detecting subtle traces of sub-elite popular culture as it existed in both free and unfree social contexts. She is as interested, for example, in how slaves tell tales as she is in the tales the masters told themselves about their slaves; there has never before been a book angled quite like this one."--Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge "In this original and stimulating work, Sara Forsdyke carefully sets forth a methodology for assessing ancient Greece's non-elite culture and applies it in a number of engaging case studies, challenging previous scholarship, but without polemic. This book should be of interest to a broad audience of classicists and historians of later periods."--Matthew R. Christ, Indiana University
Flap Copy
"In this original and arresting study, Sara Forsdyke explores Greek literature's complex hybrid of elite literary culture and the non-elite, largely oral culture that lies below its surface. She ambitiously examines themes, imagery, and symbolism with a view to detecting subtle traces of sub-elite popular culture as it existed in both free and unfree social contexts. She is as interested, for example, in how slaves tell tales as she is in the tales the masters told themselves about their slaves; there has never been a book angled quite like this one before."--Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge "This original and stimulating work is the first book-length study of popular culture in ancient Greece that I know of. Sara Forsdyke carefully sets forth a methodology for assessing ancient Greece's non-elite culture and applies it in a number of engaging case studies, challenging previous scholarship, but without polemic. This book should be of interest to a broad audience of classicists and historians of later periods."--Matthew R. Christ, Indiana University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2013-02-01:
The trouble about trying to run down genuine popular culture, especially the fundamentally antiauthoritarian version generated by slaves, is that it tends to be oral and unrecorded; it therefore reaches us via the more literate records of the elite whom it opposes, being (inevitably) contaminated in the process; and those doing the investigation are, more often than not (as in the present case), highly trained intellectual theorists more comfortable with Bakhtin than with popular underground ballads. Granted all this, Forsdyke (classics, Michigan) manages well against the odds, glossing antiquity from modern Europe and setting up plausible categories such as topsy-turvy role reversals, fantasies of magical abundance (food in particular), or dreams of revenge dressed up as animal fables. She well stresses the active part played by the underdog and oral myth in bargaining with authority, though she tends to dismiss--as in the case of Drimakos, the rebel slave on Chios--the factual core that such myth almost always contains. And her researches would surely have been enriched had she applied herself more to the rich modern tradition of the actual country (Greece) whose ancient popular tales she is investigating. Summing Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries. P. M. Green emeritus, University of Iowa
Reviews
Review Quotes
[T]his book is certainly a welcome opening salvo for exploring the culture of subaltern groups in antiquity.
"[T]his book is certainly a welcome opening salvo for exploring the culture of subaltern groups in antiquity."-- Kostas Vlassopoulos, Sehepunkte
This book deserves the careful consideration of every serious Greek historian. Forsdyke has chosen her case studies well, and each one makes for a fascinating discussion. Most importantly, her methodological approach is very effective and should introduce many ancient historians to new avenues of research even where ancient sources are sparse. . . . The main text reads clearly and offers enough (but not too much) introductory and general material to appeal to the non-specialist reader.
"This book deserves the careful consideration of every serious Greek historian. Forsdyke has chosen her case studies well, and each one makes for a fascinating discussion. Most importantly, her methodological approach is very effective and should introduce many ancient historians to new avenues of research even where ancient sources are sparse. . . . The main text reads clearly and offers enough (but not too much) introductory and general material to appeal to the non-specialist reader."-- Matthew A. Sears, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
'Fascinating'
"[F]ascinating . . ."-- William Fitzgerald, Times Literary Supplement
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2013
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Summaries
Main Description
Most studies of ancient Greek politics focus on formal institutions such as the political assembly and the law courts, and overlook the role that informal social practices played in the regulation of the political order. Sara Forsdyke argues, by contrast, that various forms of popular culture in ancient Greece--including festival revelry, oral storytelling, and popular forms of justice--were a vital medium for political expression and played an important role in the negotiation of relations between elites and masses, as well as masters and slaves, in the Greek city-states. Although these forms of social life are only poorly attested in the sources, Forsdyke suggests that Greek literature reveals traces of popular culture that can be further illuminated by comparison with later historical periods. By looking beyond institutional contexts, moreover, Forsdyke recovers the ways that groups that were excluded from the formal political sphere--especially women and slaves--participated in the process by which society was ordered. Forsdyke begins each chapter with an apparently marginal incident in Greek history--the worship of a dead slave by masters on Chios, the naming of Sicyon's civic divisions after lowly animals such as pigs and asses, and the riding of an adulteress on a donkey through the streets of Cyme--and shows how these episodes demonstrate the significance of informal social practices and discourses in the regulation and reproduction of the social order. The result is an original, fascinating, and enlightening new perspective on politics and popular culture in ancient Greece.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Most studies of ancient Greek politics focus on formal institutions and overlook the role that informal social practices played in the regulation of the political order. Forsdyke argues, by contrast, that various forms of popular culture in ancient Greece were a vital medium for political expression.
Table of Contents
Figuresp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introduction
Peasants, Politics, and Popular Culturep. 3
Discourses
Slaves Tell Tales: The Culture of Subordinate Groups in Ancient Greecep. 37
Pigs, Asses, and Swine: Obscenity and the Popular Imagination in Ancient Sicyonp. 90
Practices
Revelry and Riot in Ancient Megara: Democratic' Disorder or Ritual Reversal?p. 117
Street Theater and Popular Justice in Ancient Greecep. 144
Epilogue
Conclusionp. 173
Notesp. 179
Bibliographyp. 239
Index Locorump. 261
General Indexp. 265
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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