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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book The World of Ion of Chios and its chapters. Ion of Chios has been neglected for too long. Ion's name is liberally peppered throughout standard texts on mid-fifth century BC historical, political, cultural and literary topics, but he is not often considered beyond the footnotes. Reconstructions of Ion's life are subject to the usual caveats which obtain in any representation of the 'lives' of ancient literary figures: much of our 'knowledge' derives from readings of his works; indeed, our 'knowledge' might well surprise Ion himself. Ion's originality in prose works is conspicuous. His creative versatility permeates his fragments, both poetic and prose. His prose work Triagmos was apparently a philosophical 'treatise' based on Pythagorean concepts which originated in nearby Samos. Ion's particular re-constructions of genealogy and myth, both in prose and poetry, demonstrate how one individual manipulates "social memory".

Keywords: creative versatility; Ion of Chios; Pythagorean concepts; Samos; social memory; Triagmos



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