Rationalizing and historicizing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses rationalization, a historicist approach to myth. It offers a chronological survey of the most important ancient and post-antique rationalizers writing in Greek and Latin and analyzes their different methods and approaches. It then uses a case study of rationalistic interpretations of the Minotaur to examine the dynamics of the tradition. The chapter shows that rationalization is flexible in its applications. It can both produce historiographically appropriate forms of myths and remove biologically impossible elements of them. It is a tradition concerned, above all, with manipulating the material of myth in new and innovative ways, so that rationalizations produce novel versions of traditional stories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of Greek and Roman mythography
EditorsR. Scott Smith, Stephen M. Trzaskoma
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780197642511
ISBN (Print)9780190648312
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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