Xerxes' Homer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter argues that the reception of epic in wartime and post-war Greece was affected by an extended dialogue between both cultures. The Persian leadership used Homeric epic, especially the Iliad, in order to justify imperial expansion to the Greeks in their own cultural terms, just as they appropriated Babylonian and Judaic visions of history in order to validate their expansion elsewhere. Drawing on the Herodotean evidence for the Persians' use of Greek oracle-mongers, and especially his account of Xerxes' visit to Troy, which presented the king as the champion of Troy, seeking revenge for its downfall, the chapter suggests that Xerxes' Iliad consisted of a set of wholly new glosses on familiar topics, pro-Persian interpretations, and selective enactments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCultural Responses to the Persian Wars
Subtitle of host publicationAntiquity to the Third Millennium
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191707261
ISBN (Print)9780199279678
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Greece
  • Greeks
  • Homeric epic
  • Iliad
  • Persia
  • Persians
  • Xerxes


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