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Heracles in Early Greek Epic examines the protean nature of the greatest Greek hero, Heracles in Homeric and Hesiodic poetry, as well as in fragmentary epics such as Creophylus’ Oichalias Halosis, Pisander’s Heracleia, and Panyassis’ Heracleia. Several contributors explore Heracles’ associations with heroes in Near-Eastern literature and reflections in early epic about his involvement in the first sack of Troy, the tale of Hesione and the ketos, the war against the Meropes on Cos, and the sack of Oechalia. Other contributors study his role in other Archaic and Classical epics such as those written by Creophylus, Pisander, and Panyassis.
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How did ancient Greeks and Romans regard work? It has long been assumed that elite thinkers disparaged physical work, and that working people rarely commented on their own labors. The papers in this volume challenge these notions by investigating philosophical, literary and working people’s own ideas about what it meant to work. From Plato’s terminology of labor to Roman prostitutes’ self-proclaimed pride in their work, these chapters find ancient people assigning value to multiple different kinds of work, and many different concepts of labor.