Greek Personal Names: Their Value as Evidence

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OUP/British Academy, Dec 14, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 192 pages
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Within the great diversity of their world, the assertion of origin was essential to the ancient Greeks in defining their sense of who they were and how they distinguished themselves from neighbours and strangers. Each person's name might carry both identity and origin - 'I am' . . . inseparable from 'I come from' . . . Names have surfaced in many guises and locations - on coins and artefacts, embedded within inscriptions and manuscripts - carrying with them evidence even from prehistoric and preliterate times. The Lexicon of Greek Personal Names has already identified more than 200,000 individuals. The contributors to this volume draw on this resource to demonstrate the breadth of scholarly uses to which name evidence can be put. These essays narrate the stories of political and social change revealed by the incidence of personal names and cast a fascinating light upon both the natural and supernatural phenomena which inspired them. This volume offers dramatic illumination of the ways in which the ancient Greeks both created and interpreted their world through the specific language of personal names.

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