Impossible Memories of the Lelantine War

Abstract : This study offers a solution for a long-standing question concerning the nature and date of the Lelantine War. I propose that in the Archaic period a part of the Lelantine plain was contested in recurrent ritual battles between young aristocrats of Eretria and Chalcis, who reenacted the devastating primordial strife of the bronze-clad Curetes. The contested territory changed hands, providing grazing for the horses of the victorious side; it constituted a sacred space, uniting Eretria and Chalcis in a common cult. The system of the ritual confrontations came to an end with the Athenian conquest of Chalcis in 506 BC. A new historical reading is offered for Theognis’ lines depicting a destruction of the Lelantine plain: they mourn the Athenian takeover and the disintegration of the aristocratic system of mutual support, cursing the Corinthians who failed to deliver military help to the Chalcidian elites.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 29, 2019 - 10:51:03 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 3, 2019 - 10:33:26 AM

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Natasha Bershadsky. Impossible Memories of the Lelantine War. Mètis - Anthropologie des mondes grecs anciens, Daedalus/EHESS, 2018, N.S.16, pp.191-213. ⟨10.4000/books.editionsehess.5679⟩. ⟨halshs-02113805⟩

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