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(rarely Persism, though see Strabo 14. 657: the ‘med-’ root is a linguistic fossil from the era of Cyrus(1)'s conquest of Lydia) is a term whose application is normally confined to states or individuals (Gongylus (Xen.Hell. 3. 1. 6 with Thuc. 1. 128. 6), Pausanias(1), Themistocles) that voluntarily collaborated with Persia in connection with invasions of mainland Greece; see Persian Wars. Exceptions (Hdt. 4. 144; Paus. 9. 6. 3; Thuc. 3. 34; Satyrus. in Diog. Laert. 2. 12; Plut.Ages 23; Philostr.VS580; Procop.Bell. 8. 9, 16) cover similar situations at different periods. The context is always concrete; the word describes neither e.g. puppet-tyrants in Greek Anatolia nor generalized ‘pro-Persian’ feelings. Sources rarely state motives for Medism: one modern explanation, lure of the Persian lifestyle, is debatable, if more is meant than simple envy of Persian wealth (cf. CritiasDK 88 B 31 on Thessalians in 480 bce). Enforced émigrés might adopt Persian mores, though sources hardly stress it, but such assimilation is difficult to demonstrate in a Greek context. Fear of attack or hatred of Greek rivals outweighing distaste for barbarians (itself perhaps less prescriptively solid before 480/79) seem more relevant considerations.

See also Hellenism; Orientalism.


D. Graf, Journal of Hellenic Studies 1984, 15 ff..Find this resource:

    M. M. Austin, Classical Quarterly 1990, 289 ff..Find this resource:

      C. J. Tuplin, Achaemenid History 7 (1991), 37 ff.Find this resource:

        and Transeuphratene 1997, 155–85.Find this resource:

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