The topos of the Great King

Park, Jung Hoon (2017-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In multiple ancient Greek texts, the phrase ‘the Great King’ (ὁ μέγας ὁ βασιλεύς) makes a frequent appearance. This phrase, when it was introduced to the ancient Greek world, referred to the ancient Persian kings such as Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius and Artaxerxes. In addition, it also referred to the leaders of hierarchically organised governances. However, Pseudo-Aristotle (De mundo 398a.30), Maximus of Tyre (Dissertationes 11.12), Aelius Aristides (Orationes 26.27) and Philo of Alexandria (De decalogo 61, 177-8, De opificio mundi 71, De somniis 140- 1) adopted this phrase in a distinctive way. This phrase entails an image of the monarchical system of governance, in which the Great King, who stays hidden in his palace, rules over his empire through his satraps, his eyes and ears and the beacon-signals. These four authors utilised this image of the phrase ‘the Great King’, which consists of the Great King, his subjects and the beacon-signals. These elements imply the main components of a Middle Platonic frame of the cosmos: 1) the prime god who is transcendent from the cosmos, 2) his divine mediators who are immanent in the cosmos and 3) the hierarchical order, according to which all existential beings are arranged. Consequently, it becomes clear that these four authors utilised this image to develop their own arguments on the basis of the Middle Platonic understanding of the cosmos prevalent in their time. Because of the function and implication of this image, this thesis labels the image as a topos, which indicates a conventional way of dealing with a traditional moral-philosophical topic. The main concern of this thesis is indeed to demonstrate that the image of the Great King as used by these authors is a moral-philosophical topos and to show how this topos is used in the respective texts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In verskeie antieke Griekse tekste maak die frase ‘die Groot Koning’ (ὁ μέγας ὁ βασιλεύς) ʼn gereelde verskyning. Hierdie frase, toe dit aan die antieke Griekse wêreld bekendgestel is, het na Persiese konings soos Kuros, Kambuses, Darius en Artaxerxes verwys. Daarby het dit ook na die leiers van hiërargies georganiseerde regerings verwys. Nietemin het Pseudo-Aristoteles (De mundo 398a.30), Maximus van Tirus (Dissertationes 11.12), Aelius Aristeides (Orationes 26.27) en Filo van Alexandrië (De decalogo 61, De opificio mundi 71, De somniis 141) hierdie frase op ʼn kenmerkende manier aangeneem. Hierdie frase behels ʼn beeld van die monargiese regeringstelsel, waarin die Groot Koning, wat verborge in sy paleis bly, oor sy ryk regeer deur sy satrape, sy oë en ore en die bakenseine. Hierdie vier outeurs maak gebruik van hierdie beeld van die frase ‘die Groot Koning’, wat uit die Groot Koning, sy onderdane en die bakenseine bestaan. Hierdie elemente impliseer die hoofkomponente van ʼn Middel-Platoniese raamwerk van die kosmos: 1) die hoofgod wat vanuit die kosmos transendeer, 2) sy goddelike bemiddelaars wat inherent in die kosmos is en 3) die hiërargiese orde, waarvolgens alle eksistensiële wesens georden is. Gevolglik word dit duidelik dat hierdie vier outeurs hierdie beeld benut het om hul eie argumente te ontwikkel op grond van die Middel-Platoniese begrip van die kosmos wat algemeen in hul tyd was. Vanweë die funksie en implikasie van hierdie beeld, klassifiseer hierdie tesis die beeld as ’n topos, wat dui op ʼn konvensionele hanteringswyse van ʼn tradisionele moreel-filosofiese onderwerp. Die hoofsaak van hierdie tesis is inderdaad om te bewys dat die beeld van die Groot Koning soos deur hierdie outeurs gebruik, ʼn moreel-filosofiese topos is en om te toon hoe hierdie topos in die onderskeie tekste gebruik word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100938
This item appears in the following collections: