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date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the role of myth in Greece both in the daily experience of the historical environment and in ancient historiography, arguing that the two must be read together. A brief overview of the myth versus history debate stresses the symbiotic relationship of the two concepts. Key aspects of the deployment of myths in Greek authors and Greek society are highlighted, especially in respect of aetiology. The case studies of Herodotos and Phanodemos bring into focus issues such as the role of gods in historical causation, myths as explorations of origins, the veracity of myths, the complexity of personal and generic factors conditioning attitudes to myth, and the capacity of Greek society to tolerate competing, mutually exclusive aetiologies of the same phenomena.

Keywords: aetiology, Herodotos, historiography, Phanodemos, origins, myth, history

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