Ancient Persia in Western history : Hellenism and the by Sasan Samiei

By Sasan Samiei

The Achaemenid Empire, based by means of Cyrus the nice within the sixth century, used to be at its peak the most important empire the realm had but visible, stretching throughout Asia, the center East and North Africa. simply because this primary Persian Empire fought a sequence of wars opposed to the traditional Greek city-states, it has frequently been solid towards the Hellenistic cultures of the interval. old Persia in Western background is a measured rejoinder to the dominant narrative that considers the Graeco-Persian Wars to be only the 1st around of an oft-repeated conflict among the despotic 'East' and the widely enlightened 'West'. Sasan Samiei analyses the historiography which has skewed our figuring out of this important period - contrasting the paintings of Edward Gibbon and Goethe, which commemorated Classicism and Hellenistic background, with later writers akin to John Linton Myres. ultimately, Samiei explores the cross-cultural encounters which constituted the Achaemenid interval itself, and repositions it as necessary to the heritage of Europe, Asia and the center East.

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In Chapter 4 the output of one of his former students, the eminent prehistorian Gordon Childe, is discussed. This chapter continues the themes of ‘race’ and ‘culture’ within the context of how the latter phenomenon emerged in prehistoric Europe. Did it evolve independently, or was it diffused centrifugally from the Near East? Childe’s mindset proved to be of some interest. During the earlier part of his career, he produced The Dawn of European Civilization (1925) and The Aryans: A Study of Indo-European Origins (1926).

94 This ‘unsoundness’, as Arnold is quick to clarify, had nothing to do with the shortcomings of the Greeks, but with the ‘prematurity’ and unreadiness of Christendom for the ‘spontaneity of consciousness’. 95 Arnold contends, however, that the puritanical component of the Reformation (‘a Hebraising revival’96) checked the progress of the Renaissance: ‘Yet there is a very important difference between the defeat of Hellenism by Christianity eighteen hundred years ago’,97 and the more recent historical phenomenon of Renaissance.

The shift from Renaissance humanism to neo-classicism and thence to Hellenism defines one of the main strands of modern European intellectual development. This process can best be appreciated by considering the following three areas: classical education, classical ideas of governance and, crucially, (Germanic) Hellenism. Classical Education and Ideas of Governance The eighteenth-century variety of classicism – the classicism that followed Renaissance humanism – was almost exclusively Romanocentric.

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