Greek Historiography

Greek Historiography

Greek Historiography

Greek Historiography


The ancient Greek achievement in the writing of history set the standard for all time. The nature of that achievement, though, looks increasingly problematic in the light of recent work on such topics as literacy, orality, rhetoric, narrative technique, and the invention of tradition. In this book, eight ancient historians consider both the achievement and the problems involved in the study of the Greek historians. These essays reflect the best and most recent scholarship on the subject.


The papers in this book were, with one exception, given at the Oxford ancient history seminar on 'Greek Historiography' held on the Tuesdays of Michaelmas Term 1991 at Oriel College. The exception is my own paper on 'Narratology and Narrative Techniques in Thucydides', which was given at the Oxford Philological Society in February 1992. Professor Badian's paper at the original seminar was called 'Herodotus and Thucydides on Macedon' and was in two parts. The Herodotean part appears in the present volume; the Thucydidean part is included, as 'Thucydides and the Arche of Philip', in Badian's new collection of essays on fifthcentury Greek history, From Plataea to Potidaea (Baltimore, 1993).

The title of the book, Greek Historiography, is the title of the seminar series. But the comments of the book's anonymous referees helped to convince me that, for a book, that title would be misleadingly wide without some attempt by me as editor to put into context the ancient writers discussed, to fill in gaps in the coverage of the volume, to pull the threads together, and to identify some common problems addressed by the various papers. Hence the long Introduction. Without it, a more accurate title for the book would have been 'Aspects of' or 'Papers on' Greek Historiography. (For the shape of the Introduction see further p. 1.)

I am grateful to the contributors for participating in the original seminar, and making their papers available for publication in the present book. I much regret that Tony Andrewes, who had originally agreed to speak at the seminar, did not live to do so.

I must also thank my college, Oriel, for the hospitality which it extended to my seminar and to its speakers; and my Oriel pupil Paola De Carolis for her help with the practical and social sides. Finally, thanks to Richard Rutherford and Peter O'Neill for help with reading the proofs.


Oxford February 1993 . . .

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