Twentieth century commentaries on Herodotus' passages on Nubia, the historical kingdom of Kush and the Aithiopia of the Greek tradition, rely mostly on an outdated and biased interpretation of the textual and archaeological evidence. Disputing both the Nubia image of twentieth century Egyptology and the Herodotus interpretation of traditional Quellenkritik, the author traces back the Aithiopian information that was available to Herodotus to a discourse on Kushite kingship created under the Nubian pharaohs of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty and preserved in the Ptah sanctuary at Memphis. Insufficient for a self-contained Aithiopian logos, the information acquired by Herodotus complements and supports accounts of the land, origins, customs and history of other peoples and bears a relation to the intention of the actual narrative contexts into which the author of The Histories inserted it.

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Biographical Note

László Török, Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1992), Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2004), is Research Professor Emeritus at the Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2012). He published extensively on the history and culture of ancient Nubia and the Hellenistic and late antique art of Egypt, including Hellenizing Art in Ancient Nubia 300 BC - AD 250 and its Egyptian Models. A Study in 'Acculturation' (Brill 2011).

Review Quotes

"Herodotus in Nubia is a valuable addition to Herodotean studies, providing students of Herodotus with a reliable guide to relevant current scholarship on ancient Nubia and containing numerous perceptive comments on various aspects of Herodotus’ account of Aithiopia, particularly his discussion of Aithiopian kingship." Stanley M. Burstein, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015.01.14.

" László Török’s Herodotus in Nubia represents a notable and highly welcome addition to the steadily-burgeoning field of Herodotean studies. Classicists and historians working on Herodotus will have ample cause to thank Török for providing such a thorough introduction to a topic largely beyond their ken, namely the history and archaeology of ancient Kush." Joseph Skinner, Acta Classica 59, pp. 232-236.

Table of contents

CONTENTS

Map of Egypt and Nubia

Political and Geographical Terms

Chapter One Herodotus’ Nubia in Modern Scholarship
1. Images of Nubia in Herodotean Scholarship
2. Herodotus Halfway between Egyptology and Nubian Studies
3. Excursus 1: The Kingdom of Kush from the Eighth to the Fifth Century BC. A Brief Overview

Chapter Two The Aithiopian Passages in English Translation

Chapter Three The Problem of the “Aithiopian Logos”
1. The Context of the Aithiopian Passages: Introductory Remarks
2. Was There an Unfinished Aithiopian Logos?

Chapter Four “Fiction” and “Reality”
1. On Sources
1.1. Excursus 2: Herodotus’ Priestly Informants and the Explanation of the Nile Flood
2. Sesostris in Nubia
3. Excursus 3: A Note on Ancient Nubian Archives
4. Sabacos in Egypt
5. Psamtek II in Nubia
6. Aithiopians in the Siwa Oasis
7. Herodotus’ Two Aithiopias 1: Aithiopia South of Egypt. With Notes on Oracles
8. Herodotus’ Two Aithiopias 2: The Land of the Long-lived Aithiopians on the Fringes of the Inhabited World
8.1. Excursus 4: Herodotus and Agatharchides
9. The Land of the Long-lived Aithiopians Continued
10. The Gifts Presented to the King of Persia by the Aithiopians Living South of Egypt
11. Two Aithiopian Passages in the Libyan Logos: The Autochthonous Origin of the Aithiopians. The Aithiopian Trog[l]odytes
12. A Meditation on the Fringes
13. Aithiopian “Half-men” in the Army of Xerxes I

Chapter Five Herodotus in Nubia
1. Herodotus’ Sources on Kushite Kingship
2. “Reflections in a Distant Mirror”

Abbreviations
General Index
Index Locorum

Readership

All interested in Herodotean studies, in the history of the Greek world, the history and cultures of ancient Egypt and Nubia, and anyone concerned with narratology.

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