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Wort- und Formenvielfalt

Festschrift für Christoph Koch zum 80. Geburtstag. Unter Mitarbeit von Daniel Petit


Edited By Anna Jouravel and Audrey Mathys

Die Festschrift ehrt Christoph Koch, Professor für Vergleichende und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft an der Freien Universität Berlin. Zu seinem 80. Geburtstag vereint der Band wissenschaftliche und persönliche Beiträge von Kollegen, Schülern und Freunden. Sie umfassen verschiedene Bereiche der historischen und modernen Sprachwissenschaften wie der Indogermanistik, der Byzantinistik, der Slavistik oder Baltistik, greifen kunsthistorische und editionsphilologische Fragestellungen auf und spiegeln somit das breite Spektrum der Interessens- und Forschungsgebiete des Jubilars wider.

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‘Sex Sells?’ – the story of Gyges, Kandaules and His Wife in Herodotus’ Histories Between Fan Service and Leitmotiv

Christian Werner


This article examines the voyeuristic scene showing the wife of Kandaules undressing in the first book of Herodotus’ Histories through the lens of modern film theory. I ask the question whether Herodotus really figuratively exhibits a naked woman in public, where he first performed his Histories on the Athenian agora and subjects her to what feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey called ‘the male gaze’ or if he constructed another, more subtle kind of look, similar to what is employed in Japanese manga or anime: a short, accidental ‘glimpse’ at something that is originally not supposed to be seen. Moreover, seeming at first to be nothing more than a titillating episode, a deeper analysis of the Histories as a whole and of its cultural context reveals Herodotus’ main concern: the Athenians should not cross boundaries, even now after successfully repelling the Persian invasions and having the opportunity to do so. By examining the visual aspects of this part of the narrative, I show how the deeper theme of crossing boundaries – be they concrete like rivers or abstract like laws or taboos – running through the rest of the Histories finds its initial expression within this ostensibly erotic scenario, even while Herodotus himself pushes the boundaries of social convention in this transgressive scene.

The so-called Lydian Logos is the first larger coherent narrative of Herodotus’ Histories. The first part tells the story of Kandaules, the last ruler of the Heraclid dynasty, who becomes so infatuated with his wife’s beauty that he...

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