Warwick University, and New York University. I have benefited from discussions and comments onall these occasions.Between the time when I was invited to give the Sather Lectures and my giving them, I hadbecome a member of the Berkeley faculty. The members of the classics department, undiscouraged bythis unprecedented and strictly irregular situation, extended the same hospitable and warm welcometo a visitor from the philosophy department as they customarily do to Sather lecturers from otherinstitutions. Tony Long, in particular, not only did everything that could be asked of a chairman, butalso showed himself a good Mend and a generous colleague in giving me the benefit of his own workon subjects related to the lectures, especially to chapter 2. Other members of the classics departmentto whom I have special reasons for gratitude are Giovanni Ferrari, Mark Griffith, Don Mastronarde, andTom Rosenmeyer. I thank David Engel and Chris Siciliani for their work as research assistants. Twohelpful seminars on the lectures were held in the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, forwhich I am specially grateful to Paul Alpers, Samuel Scheffler, and Hans Sluga.Other Mends and colleagues have been generous with their comments and scholarly help; somehave read all or some of the book at various stages of its preparation. I should like to thank JuliaAnnas, Glen Bowersock, Myles Burnyeat, Ronald Dworkin, Helene Foley, Christopher Gill, StephenGreenblatt, Stuart Hampshire, Stephen Knapp, Jonathan Lear, Geoffrey Lloyd, Anne Michelini, AmyMullin, Thomas Nagel, Ruth Padel, Robert Post, Andrew Stewart, Oliver Taplin, and David Wiggins fortheir various kindnesses. The mistakes are undeniably my own.
Chapter OneThe Liberation of Antiquity
We are now used to thinking of the ancient Greeks as an exotic people. Forty years ago, in the prefaceto
The Greeks and the Irrational
, Dodds apologised, or rather declined to apologise, for usinganthropological material in interpreting an "aspect of the mental world of ancient Greece."
Sincethen, we have become familiar with the activity of applying to the societies of ancient Greece methodssimilar to those of cultural anthropology. Much has been achieved in these ways, and efforts, inparticular, to uncover structures of myth and ritual in such terms have yielded some of the mostilluminating work of recent times.
These methods define certain differences between ourselves and the Greeks. Culturalanthropologists, in their well-known role of observers living in a traditional society, may come veryclose to the people with whom they are living, but they are committed to thinking of that life asdifferent; the point of their visit is to understand and describe another form of human life. The kind of work I have mentioned helps us to understand the Greeks by first making them seem strange—morestrange, that is to say, than they seem when their life is too benignly assimilated to modernconceptions. We cannot live with the ancient Greeks or to any substantial degree imagine ourselvesdoing so.
Much of their life is hidden from us, and just because of that, it is important for us to keep a senseof their otherness, a sense which the methods of cultural anthropology help us to sustain.This study does not use those methods. Many of the subjects I discuss have been treated in thoseterms, but I have largely left those discussions to one side.
I want to ask a different sort of questionabout the ancient world, one that places it in a different—and, in just one sense, a closer—relation toour own. But I do not want to deny the otherness of the Greek world. I shall not be saying that Greeksof the fifth century B.C . were after all more modem than we have recently been encouraged tosuppose, and that despite gods, daimons, pollutions, blood-guilt, sacrifices, fertility festivals, andslavery, they were really almost as much like Victorian English gentlemen, say, as some VictorianEnglish gentlemen liked to think.
I shall stress some unacknowledged similarities between Greek conceptions and our own. Culturalanthropology of course also invokes similarities, or it could not make the societies it studies intelligibleto us. Some of the similarities are very obvious, lying in universal needs: human beings everywhere