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Knowing Future Time In and Through Greek Historiography by Alexandra Lianeri

By Alexandra Lianeri

Greek historiography engaged with prior and current time; yet how precisely did this engagement contain claims to figuring out the long run? contemplating diagnosis as rooted in historiographical temporalities this quantity reads historians from Herodotus to Appian which will exploring configurations of destiny time within the context of historic and glossy reflections at the historic in addition to the moral and political function of historiographical perform.

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It is this tension that invites readers both to decide on his chosen closing point and to reflect on the impossibility of finally closing the temporality of action. Both the scene of Carthage and the shifting design of the narrative interrupt the sequential temporality of historical narrative. They thus accentuate a lack of telos pointing both to further readings of the past and the continuing expansion of event potential in the realm of historical action. Turning to Plutarch, Paolo Desideri examines conceptions of the future formulated in the intersection of historical and biographical writing.

So after presenting a series of arguments evoking historical probability,⁸⁵ Alcibiades appeals to the unity of the Athenian voice. He encourages the Athenians to be of one mind in responding to any proposal (μιᾷ γνώμῃ ἀκροᾶσθαι) and act with a common purpose  Thuc. .  For the tragic dimension of Thucydides’ narrative see Cornford ; Macleod ; Moles ; Lebow ,  – .  Ober , .  καὶ πρὸς μὲν τοὺς τρόπους τοὺς ὑμετέρους ἀσθενὴς ἄν μου ὁ λόγος εἴη, εἰ τά τε ὑπάρχοντα σῴζειν παραινοίην καὶ μὴ τοῖς ἑτοίμοις περὶ τῶν ἀφανῶν καὶ μελλόντων κινδυνεύειν· ὡς δὲ οὔτε ἐν καιρῷ σπεύδετε οὔτε ῥᾴδιά ἐστι κατασχεῖν ἐφ᾿ ἃ ὥρμησθε, ταῦτα διδάξω.

The irreducibility of remains to narrative implies that their meaning must be understood as open-ended: the remains can become meaningful in different stories about their building and different future claims to the events associated with them. Finally both essays invite reflection on the ethics involved in the historian’s engagement with the unfinalisable or excessive temporality of events or praxis. The temporal horizon linking past, present and future, as they suggest, imposes a temporality on the infinite experiences and possibilities associated with human action.

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