Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography

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This book is a study of the various claims to authority made by the ancient Greek and Roman historians throughout their histories and is the first to examine all aspects of the historian's self-presentation. It shows how each historian claimed veracity by imitating, modifying, and manipulating the traditions established by his predecessors. Beginning with a discussion of the tension between individuality and imitation, it then categorises and analyses the recurring topoi used to establish the historian's authority: how he came to write history; the qualifications he brought to the task; the inquiries and efforts he made in his research; and his claims to possess a reliable character. By detailing how each historian used the tradition to claim and maintain his own authority, the book contributes to a better understanding of the complex nature of ancient historiography.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A major contribution to the study of ancient historiography that belongs in all university libraries." s.M.Burstein, Choice

"One strength of the book is its range; Marincola covers narrative historians from Herodotus to Ammianus Marcellinus and treats those whose works survive only in fragments as well as those for whom we have complete or substantial works. A useful appendix lists forty-eight authors, thier works and the periods they treated. The author addresses a scholarly audience, and the book is likely to appeal to those whose interests are more literary than strictly historical." Carolun Nelson, History: Review of Books

"This book essential for all university libraries and highly recommended for any scholar interested in ancient historiography." Religious Studies Review

"This is an excellent book." Phoenix

"Marinocola's arguments, presented in easy-to-follow, jargon-free prose, are carefully argued, sensible, and full of insight." - Sophia Papaioannou, The University of Cyprus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521480192
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
The scope and subject of the book 1
Authority 3
Tradition 12
History's place and audience 19
The greatness of the subject 34
Decisions and dreams 43
Dedications and the desires of friends 52
Glory and renown 57
Eyes, ears and contemporary history 63
Closed societies and privileged access 86
Improving the past 95
Myth and history 117
The importance of character 128
Experience 133
Effort 148
Impartiality 158
Praise and self-praise 175
Person and perspective 182
Strategies of self-presentation 205
The uses of polemic 218
Polemic and self-definition 225
Continuity and culmination 237
Conclusion 258
App. I Table of historians 267
App. II Name and nationality 271
App. III Isocrates on autopsy and inquiry? 276
App. IV Variant versions 280
App. V The Roman convention of 'nos' and 'nostri' 287
App. VI Greek continuators 289
App. VII Roman continuators 291
Bibliography 293
Index locorum 316
Index of Greek words 335
General index 336
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