The burial of brasidas and the politics of commemoration in the classical period

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Abstract

A reexamination of the burial and heroization of the Spartan general Brasidas at Amphipolis in 422 in terms of political contestation between democrats and oligarchs invites broader theorizing about the political role of public commemoration in the Classical period. Forms of commemoration, including hero-cult, statues, and public burials, were often closely associated with political regimes, which might hope to promote their legitimacy and stability through the regular gathering of massed groups of citizens around commemorative monuments. Tyrannicide- And founder-cults, as well as honorary statues, also often instructed citizens of democracies in how to resist takeover by anti-democratic factions. Memorials thus had a dynamic and practical function in addition to an ideological one. Oligarchies by contrast might manipulate existing forms of commemoration to deliver a political threat and strengthen their rule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalAmerican Journal of Philology
Volume139
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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