Use the following persistent identifier: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_Wesselmann.Mythical_Structures_in_Herodotus_Histories.2011.
1. Herodotus and Myth
Every reader of Herodotus’ Histories knows how the story ends, because we have heard it innumerable times—maybe not about Cyrus, the ‘child’ of the cited passage, but about Aegisthus, Paris, Oedipus, Moses, Romulus and Remus or Snow White.
In the third book he says about the Samian tyrant Polycrates:
At first glance one might actually think that Herodotus wants to draw a line between his own present and past and a ‘once upon a time’ kind of mythical past. However, it has always been noticed that the Histories contain many passages that deal with events situated before the human, ‘historical’ era. It seems plausible that Herodotus does not strictly divide ‘historical time’ from ‘mythical time’ but that he is conscious of the problematic limits of accurate knowledge about events that happened very long ago.
2. Desideratum: A ‘Mythic-Ritual Poetics’ of Historiography
A mythical and ritual poetics also concerns itself with “the ways in which rituals or ritual textures as inscribed within other frames of human experience and expression interact with and act upon the formation, expression, and manipulation of diverse cultural and sociopolitical discourses”—as Yatromanolakis and Roilos define a purely ritual poetics (2003:40 = 2004b:28). The consciousness for this interaction of discourses, for the importance of the cultural context in general, indeed, for a cultural poetics, can be traced back to the social semantics of Clifford Geertz, who has pointed out the impossibility of separating content from context-bound representation (esp. 1973a and b).
3. Myth and Ritual
4. Some Methodical Reflections
4.1 Comparing Structures:
4.2 Criteria of Selection:
4.3 Intertextuality and Tradition: