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Title:Emissaries in the narrative of Herodotus
Author(s):Lanski, Alison
Director of Research:Sansone, David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sansone, David
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Boedeker, Deborah; Parca, Maryline G.; Sanders, Kirk R.; Tzanetou, Angeliki
Department / Program:Classics
Discipline:Classical Philology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Scores of messengers, heralds, and other emissaries fill the pages of Herodotus’ Histories. Nevertheless, scholarship on narrative patterns has yet to consider their importance. This thesis uses methods from linguistics and narratology to demonstrate how Herodotus uses emissaries to support themes and reveal narrative structure throughout his text. An initial typology of vocabulary provides a basic framework for the investigation which follows in four main sections. First, emissaries are shown to embody geographic and temporal connections, thereby providing cues for the audience through Herodotus’ digressive narrative. Second, Herodotus’ conception of a “typical” emissary is determined (swift and reliable), which allows subsequent deviation from “type” to be understood as indicating negative assessments of characters. Third, scenes where messages are rejected provide a novel way to examine issues of relative status and the perception of power within the frame of reciprocity. Finally, three case studies (the Scythian logos, Cyrus’ life, and preparations for the battle of Salamis) combine these modes of analysis to show how Herodotus manipulates the presentation of emissaries to direct the attention and judgment of his audience towards characters, cultural differences, and wider narrative themes.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Alison Lanski
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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