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Dangerous CounselAccountability and Advice in Ancient Greece$
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Matthew Landauer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226654010

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226653822.001.0001

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The Accountable Adviser in Herodotus’ Histories

The Accountable Adviser in Herodotus’ Histories

Chapter:
(p.83) 3 The Accountable Adviser in Herodotus’ Histories
Source:
Dangerous Counsel
Author(s):

Matthew Landauer

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226653822.003.0004

This chapter reads Herodotus’ Histories as engaged in sustained reflection on the theory and practice of political counsel. Herodotus’ depictions of autocrats and their advisers are not primarily meant to dramatize the difference between ‘free’ Greek and ‘unfree’ barbarian discourse. Rather, they allow Herodotus to explore a series of fundamental questions: Under what conditions can decision makers safely rely on the logos of others? How can those without formal political power nonetheless wield political influence? What practices and institutions are conducive to the exchange of counsel, and which undermine it? While Herodotus’ focus is on autocratic politics, the chapter shows how his analysis of political counsel has clear implications for the politics of advice in democracies as well.

Keywords:   accountability, counsel, Herodotus, Persia, Xerxes

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