The great helmsman, the watchdog of the people, the medicine the state needs: all these images originated in ancient Greece, yet retain the capacity to influence an audience today. This is the first systematic study of political imagery in ancient Greek literature, history and thought, tracing it from its appearance, influenced by Near Eastern precursors, in Homer and Hesiod, to the end of the classical period and Plato's deployment of images like the helmsman and the doctor in the service of his political philosophy. The historical narrative is complemented by thematic studies of influential complexes of images such as the ship of state, the shepherd of the people, and the state as a household, and enhanced by parallels from later literature and history which illustrate the persistence of Greek concepts in later eras.
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