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The Oxf Classical Dictionary


This third edition is still the go-to source for classical history. Many have elucidated its good qualities, but the Third Edition is marred by some dishonest articles. In years to come the few biased articles in this book will seem as bad a the biases in some 19th century articles look to us now. Here are a few examples:

1. Slavery article. It states that only Greeks, Romans and European colonialists in the Americas separated slaves from their native cultures and identities. Middle Easterners for many centuries carried on a large scale trade of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa and northern Europe, both groups whose cultures and religions had nothing to do with Middle Eastern ones (and both those groups were extensively stereotyped in Middle Eastern written sources.)
2. Phoenician colonialism is said to be better than Greek colonialism because the Phoenician colonies were just farming and trading colonies. For one, little is known of Phoenician colonies, and two the Greek colonies (unlike the Roman ones) were primarily farming and trading colonies.
3. Greek rule over the old Persian Empire. (Seleucid Empire) The claim that the Greeks had no influence, despite all the Greek texts, sculptures and architecture from the era of Greek rule. Not everyone was Hellenized, but to claim that nobody was makes me question the sanity of the author. In other sources I've even seem claims that cities with Greek-style buildings (like Petra in Jordan) aren't Greek influenced because the architecture displays slight differences from classical Greek architecture.

These claims are due to the emphasis on "Orientalism" developed by Edward Said. "Orientalism" has resulted in the correction of many long standing biases, but some in their enthusiasm want to take the theory to the point of history being their own fantasy of what happened. Even Edward Said thought that the younger theorists were becoming too ideological, something people should keep in mind when they invoke his name to support some of the outlandish theories out there.

I have chosen this article, because it reflects my own thoughts and all I have learned during my anthropological studies. Nevertheless,  I think the book is a good source of compact information, to be confirmed later by more specialised sources. - stovokor

Unrar to one folder, burn to a cd (there has to be a cd present !) and after installing, instal the UPDATE from the disk. Then just run :)

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Tags: Dictionary, Classical, Oxford, resource, ancient