By Sasan Samiei
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Additional info for Ancient Persia in Western history : Hellenism and the representation of the Achaemenid Empire
The overriding purpose of this chapter is to contrast Childe’s treatment of the matrix of ‘race’, ‘people’, and ‘culture’ with the one pursued by Myres. The debate concerning ‘race’ and ‘culture’ is only one of the two main themes of this book. The other, and more substantial theme, is Hellenism; or, to be precise, Hellenisms. Whereas in the nineteenthcentury debate, an aesthetic form of Hellenism was the context within which the sciences of anthropology and philology functioned, during the ﬁrst 40 years of the twentieth century, these roles were reversed.
What makes Murray and Myres ‘tick’, philosophically speaking, cannot, of course, be ignored. In the second part of this analysis (Chapter 6), I try to pinpoint what kinds of thinking had gone into producing these two kinds of Hellenisms by pursuing a number of philosophical exegeses. As a result, it is ascertained that ‘aesthetic’ Hellenism resides within the compass of the philosophy of beauty, with ideas concerning ‘truth’, ‘perfection’ and ‘wonder’ (thauma) dominating. This mode of Hellenism engages far too uncritically with the literary legacies of the ancients.
Reﬂective history in that it also adopts a general perspective, but without focussing on a single aspect abstracted from national life to the exclusion of the rest. 121 But how is this ‘spirit’ determined? 122 In addition, the ability to feel, to think and to be able to control impulses by possessing an ‘ideal knowledge of reality’ do go a long way in determining the ‘essence of spirit’, which is ‘self-consciousness’. The spirit is essentially individual, but in the ﬁeld of world history, we are not concerned with particulars and need not conﬁne ourselves to individual instances or attempt to trace everything back to them.