Athenaeus, Clearchus and the Dress of the Persian Apple Bearers

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Publication details

Charles, MB & Anagnostou-Laoutides, E 2016, 'Athenaeus, Clearchus and the Dress of the Persian Apple Bearers', Iranica Antiqua, vol. 51, pp. 149-164.

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This article examines Clearchus of Soli’s reference to the effeminate dress and equipment of the Persian μηλοφόροι or Apple Bearers, the infantry guard of the Great King, as preserved by Athenaeus in his Deipnosophistae. We argue that Athenaeus’ description of the μηλοφόροι being deliberately dressed in Median fashion so as to taunt the Medes is likely to be a misinterpretation of Clearchus’ original text. In agreement with recent evaluations of Athenaeus, we therefore suggest that his rendition of Clearchus’ original text cannot be accepted at face value, and that the μηλοφόροι were dressed and equipped in a luxurious fashion so as to conform with the standard Near Eastern visual language of majesty and power.