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3. Histoire, Art et Archéologie, Période pré-Islamique
3.2. Ouest de l’Iran
3.2.2. Pré-Achéménides et Achéménides

Mischa Meier, Barbara Patzek, Walter Uwe, Josef Wiesehöfer. Deiokes, König der Meder. Eine Herodot-Episode in ihren Kontexten. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004, 99 p. (Oriens et Occidens, 7).

Rüdiger Schmitt

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Rubriques :

3.2.1. Elam

Personnes citées :

J. Wiesehöfer, M. Meier, B. Patzek, U. Walter
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1This small volume with four papers illustrates the task of a comprehensive commentary on the wide-ranging, many-faceted work of Herodotus (and the possibility to solve it) by example of the story about the Median king Δηϊόκης told in book I (ch.s 96-101); they complement each other and are understood as the model of such an intra- and interdisciplinary commentary. The article most relevant from the Iranian point of view is by J. Wiesehöfer (“Daiukku, Deiokes und die medische Reichsbildung”, pp. 15-26), who raises the questions, how far Deioces has to do with Daiukku, a Mannaean governor mentioned in the Assyrian annals of Sargon II in 715 B.C. and whether he is a historical figure as the founder of a large empire at all. He advocates that both these names go back to Old Iran. *Dahyu-ka-, but that an identity of the persons must be denied in view of the chronological difference and of Daiukku’s characterisation as a “Mannaean”. Moreover, nearly all matters concerning the Medes are doubted at present (from their nomadism to the institutional influence on the Persians, from the extent of their territory to the description given by Herodotus, which is the result of Greek political theory), as is well known, particularly the existence of a unified political structure, for there are mentioned other Median city-lords or the like apart from Deioces/Daiukku. M. Meier (“Die Deiokes-Episode im Werk Herodots – Überlegungen zu den Entstehungsbedingungen griechischer Geschichtsschreibung”, pp. 27-51) sees the essential pre-condition for the emergence of Greek historiography in the mythification of historical figures (here Deioces and Solon) and events, notwithstanding Herodotus’s turning away from the stories about gods and heroes. By seeing both myth and history as “remembered past”, Herodotus made it possible to connect “what took place by men” (τα γενομενα εξ ανθρωπων) to the preceding period of gods and heroes by blending both of them into one. This innovation could take place only for the reason that Phrynichus and Aeschylus took the struggle with the Persians as a theme of their tragedies, whereas tragedy before was left to mythical subjects alone. B. Patzek (“Die Deiokes-Erzählung im Rahmen der Persergeschichten Herodots: eine konsequente Reihe historisch-erzählerischer Sinngebungen?”, pp. 53-73) deals with Herodotus’s method of creating some “historiographical reality” somewhere between historical facts and pure fiction. She asks for his position between orality and literacy and as a historical narrator and sees several narrative elements of different origin contained in this story. U. Walter (“‘Da sah er das Volk ganz in seiner Hand.’ – Deiokes und die Entstehung monarchischer Herrschaft im Geschichtswerk Herodots”, pp. 75-95) puts this passage into the purely Greek context of the debate about the various systems of rule (monarchy, oligarchy, democracy), which is also on the agenda in book III (among Darius and the other conspirators) and is reminiscent of the Deioces story in the choice of words. According to the Greek view Deioces clearly is a tyrant similarly to Pisistratus, and there are connections also to the account of the Pisistratids in book I. It is somewhat surprising, however, to read of the “achämenidische Geschichtskonstruktion, die Meder als Teil der eigenen, persischen Vorgeschichte zu sehen und ihnen wesentliche Elemente der eigenen Herrschaftsphänomenologie zuzuschreiben” (p. 91). Where is the basis for making such an assertion in one of the authentical Achaemenid sources? Or is it true that this has been demonstrated only by modern scholars? In all, this booklet is a fine invitation to the co-operation of all disciplines engaged in the study of both classical and Oriental antiquity.

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Rüdiger Schmitt, « Mischa Meier, Barbara Patzek, Walter Uwe, Josef Wiesehöfer. Deiokes, König der Meder. Eine Herodot-Episode in ihren Kontexten. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004, 99 p. (Oriens et Occidens, 7). »Abstracta Iranica [En ligne], Volume 27 | 2006, document 94, mis en ligne le 02 janvier 2007, consulté le 02 mars 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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