Making Time for the Past: Local History and the Polis

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This book is about time and history in the Greek world. It argues that choices concerning the articulation and expression of time, especially time past, reflect the values and aspirations of both those who narrate it and their audiences. Time is thus not only constructed, but also negotiated. Katherine Clarke's study ranges from the widespread awareness of time's malleability and the perceived value of the past by the citizens of the Greek polis to the formal analysis of time-systems by Hellenistic scholars. It addresses the development by historians of ways to articulate the long span of historical time, from the chronological strategies developed by those who wrote universal narratives to those whose stories were about the individual polis.

The negotiation of time is of interest in any social context, but it carries particular resonance in the world of Greek polis, where each community had its own calendar and ran to its own time. Both the articulation of time and the establishment of 'shared' histories have been seen individually as modes of self-expression for communities. An exploration of their intersection is, therefore, especially illuminating. By focusing on the phenomenon of city history, the creation of the past within a relatively restricted community, it is possible to examine more closely the dynamics of how time and the past were constructed. Therefore, this study brings together the wider theme of 'managing time', with an exploration of how history was created at a local level, within a civic context. It looks at the construction of the past as a social activity, which both reflects and contributes towards the sense of a shared identity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199291083
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/2/2008
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Clarke teaches mostly late republican and early imperial Roman History, covering the fascinating period of dynamic change during which Rome moved from a relatively democratic form of rule to the monarchical power of, albeit often benevolent, emperors. She has published extensively on the works of Roman historians such as Tacitus and Polybius.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations xiii

I Introduction 1

1 Man is the measure of all things: counting the days 1

2 The multiplication of times 7

3 Time for everyone 27

II Making a business of time 47

1 Constructing calendards 47

2 Chronographical works 56

III The world outside the polis 90

1 Thucydides and the problem of supra-polis time 90

2 Inventing universal history: Ephorus' contribution 96

3 Extending time across space: the Olympiadic revolution 109

4 Diodorus Siculus and the culmination of universal chronology 121

5 Strabonian strategies: between local and universal 140

6 Telling the time for the non-Greek world 150

IV 'City is history incarnate': Writing the past of the polis 169

1 From the city of Byzas to constantinople 169

2 Tracing the history of local historiography: resurrecting Jacoby's Atthis 175

3 Time for local history: pacing the past 193

4 Bridging the gap between local and universal 230

V Persuasion and plausibility: history and rhetoric in the polis 245

1 Parameters of plausibility 245

2 Addressing Athens: Presenting the past 252

3 'Learning from history': models from the past 274

4 Escaping the ravages of time: the preservation of history 286

5 Marking time 293

6 Past, present, and persuasion in the polis 297

VI Time for the polis: audiences and contexts 304

1 The city of the sundial 304

2 Valuing the past: Promoting the polis 313

3 Local heroes: placing the historian in the polis 338

4 From local hero to supra-political ambassador 346

5 Itinerant intellectuals, Mediterranean mobility: negotiating the world of Rome 354

6 Returning to the polis 363

Epilogue 370

References 372

Subject Index 391

Index of Passages discussed 399

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  • Posted July 2, 2014

    Great Writing....!... Wonderful...! LOVE it...!

    Great Writing....!... Wonderful...! LOVE it...!

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