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Deification in Euhemerus of Messene: charisma or contrivance?

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Euhemerus of Messene, fragmentary remains, near-contemporary authors, gods, human rulers, ideas, contrivance, ruler, charisma, deification

Abstract (summary)

To introduce Euhemerus of Messene into a discussion of the charisma of the ruler is to ask what was the quality that Euhcmerus presumed certain rulers in the primeval past had possessed which inspired their subjects to deify them. Two of the chief difficulties in answering our present question - or, indeed, any question about Euhcmerus - are the fragmentary and attenuated nature of his remains on the one hand, and the abundance of often much better preserved near-contemporary authors who seem to share his basic premise chat the gods were once human rulers, on the other. When we try to compensate for the former impediment by referring to the latter we run the risk of imputing to Euhemerus ideas which, although not altogether alien to him, he did not express.

Publication Information

Garstad, Benjamin. “Deification in Euhemerus of Messene: Charisma or Contrivance?” in Das Charisma des Herrschers (Morphomata, Band 29), ed. Dietrich Boschung & Jürgen Hammerstaedt (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink, 2015) 151-72.



Item Type

Book Chapter




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