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Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical by Luke Pitcher

By Luke Pitcher

"History is the model of prior occasions that individuals have made up our minds to agree upon," stated Napoleon. but the particular writing of heritage, specifically old historical past, is a tradition that regularly activates extra discord than assent. In his new textbook, Luke Pitcher goals to beat the hostility which exists among rival camps of their examine of classical historiography. the 1st camp seems to be on the classical historians with a watch to what facts they could offer concerning the old global. the second one camp examines the traditional writers as literary texts of their personal correct, using the instruments of literary feedback and fascinating with such issues as narrative artistry. trying to fuse those -- together suspicious -- methods, Luke Pitcher's beautiful creation deals undergraduate scholars of classics the 1st finished creation to historiography in antiquity out there. It unites the nitty-gritty of the historian's exchange (the discovering and dealing with of knowledge) to an knowledge of the significance of fashion, shape, allusion and composition. The e-book additionally seeks to do justice to invididual classical historians, and discusses such very important figures as Livy, Tacitus, Herodotus, Cicero, Plutarch and Lucian. A entire bibliography and word list are integrated. Writing historic heritage ultimately does complete justice to the mechanics of history-writing within the old global.

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Additional resources for Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical Historiography (Library of Classical Studies)

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It introduces a theme which will play out in the narrative of Book One. A failing of historians becomes the failing of an emperor, and the defective methodology of Herodian’s targets mirrors the defective morality of Commodus. 97 History, Herodian thereby insinuates, is not some hermetically-sealed compartment divorced from life and politics. Success and failure in the practice of historiography can proceed along lines not dissimilar from the conduct of political life. 98 Our understanding of Herodian’s methodological pronouncements at the beginning of his history is deepened, then, by seeing how they interact with the subsequent narrative.

56 There is certainly more going on here than a simple diagnosis of ‘run-away history’. 57 Nonetheless, the surface meaning retains its force. A history on this sort of scale can leave even the most selfconfident author thinking that he is going to need a bigger boat. It is important, then, to remember that historiography can be a process as much as a product. Statements which a historian makes about the nature of his enterprise do not necessarily represent his last word on the subject or depict his subsequent practice with total accuracy.

Herodian introduces his narrative as follows: Most writers engaged in compiling history, whose concern has been to present a fresh record of the past, have aimed at winning themselves a permanent reputation for scholarship, since they were afraid that if they did not express themselves they would be indistinguishable from the masses. But in their narratives they have shown a contempt for the truth and a preoccupation with vocabulary and style, because they were confident that, even if they romanced a bit, they would reap the advantages of pleasure they gave to their public, without the accuracy of their research being investigated.

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