Naoíse MacSweeney’s “The West” | EUROtoday

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HNaoíse Mac Sweeney, who works on the Institute for Classical Archeology in Vienna, would not do foolish issues: she explains her purpose right away: the “West”, understood as a geopolitical formation, a sequence of recent nation states with frequent cultural traits in addition to political and financial rules – together with consultant democracy, market capitalism, a “nominally secular state based on a Judeo-Christian morality” and a psychological inclination in the direction of individualism – this West should due to this fact be disadvantaged of the narrative that legitimizes it when it comes to the historical past of concepts, which is essentially based mostly on a sure picture of antiquity . The writer expressly considers herself complicit in her occupation as a scholar of antiquity “in perpetuating the Great Narrative of Western Civilization, an intellectual construct that was ideologically and factually dubious.” This “justified Western expansion and Western imperialism” and nonetheless helps “the ongoing systems of white dominance” to today.

Whether the traditional Greek quotes on some posters of the Trump stormers of the Capitol and the spartan Lambda of the Alt-Right motion justify a culture-war iconoclasm could also be answered in a different way within the United States than on this nation. But even there, the issue of historical-geographical illiteracy could also be larger than that of a firmly established false consciousness. In any case, that is what the outcomes of a lately revealed survey point out which river and which sea are literally meant within the usually chanted slogan “from the river to the sea”.

Naoíse Mac Sweeney: “The West”.  The new story of an old idea.

Naoíse Mac Sweeney: “The West”. The new story of an previous concept.

Image: Propyläen Verlag

One can learn the e book, past the fanfare, on the content material stage as a educated, well-founded and unique seek for clues into how, from the fifth century BC to the current day, intelligent minds decided their very own location on the earth traditionally and culturally, with the non secular map in these operations included a west and an east, later additionally an antiquity and the formations that made up this antiquity. The writer has chosen a vignette construction that’s now usually utilized in wide-ranging shows for a broader viewers: every of the fourteen chapters introduces an – usually much less acquainted – historic individual. This additionally permits girls and members of non-European cultures, who’re hardly ever featured within the conventional historical past of concepts, to have their say. These individuals’s self-locations on the earth are demonstrated, each geographically and genealogically, the latter together with each the fiction of an precise descent and assertions of mental or political continuity.

The one Greco-Roman antiquity?

In the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad within the ninth century, the scholar Al-Kindi created an amalgam of Aristotelian pure science, Neo-Platonic philosophy and Islamic theology; In doing so, he sought to wrest the Greek heritage from the Byzantines and declare it for the Muslim world, whereas 300 years later Godfrey of Viterbo wished to fully take away the Greeks from the neighborhood of heirs of world historical past by way of a Trojan-Roman-German line of origin. In a totally totally different constellation, initially of the thirteenth century, when Constantinople had been occupied and humiliated by Latin crusaders, Theodor Laskaris grew to become the pioneer of the concept of ​​a Hellenic nation, i.e. an ethnic, cultural and political unity of the Greeks, whose geographical middle was, in fact, in Asia lie.