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Reading History in Antiquity: Audience-Oriented Perspectives on Classical Historiography - 21-22/04/2017, Ebsdorfergrund (Germany)






The 21st century could justifiably be deemed an era highly fertile for the examination of ancient readership of classical historiography. This is because the last decades have contributed to the liberation of modern scholarship from the nineteenth-century positivism’s persistence in scrutinizing the “objectivity” of ancient historians and seeing them mostly as the celebrated exemplars of critical acumen and scientific conscientiousness. On the contrary, if we try to summarize the prevailing modern perspectives on classical historiography, we may refer to a) the analysis of the ancient historians’ view of the nature of the historical development, b) their goals in preserving the past by writing history, c) the literary qualities of ancient historical accounts, and d) the techniques the ancient historians used in order to disseminate certain ideological and interpretive messages and to create specific emotions in their readers.


     The questions emerging from these perspectives cannot be satisfactorily answered if they are not examined against the backdrop of the ancient readership of classical historiography. For the ancient historians’ view of the historical development is closely associated with several features of their readership (e.g. current philosophical trends, the readers’ interest in the past, and natural sciences), while topics such as the literary qualities of classical historiography and the strategies the ancient historians used in order to lead their audience to certain ideological and emotional reactions cannot be fully interpreted if we neglect the readers’ mentality, and their literary and linguistic competence, as attested both in historical works and in theoretical treatises of antiquity.



FECHA/DATE/DATA: 21-22/04/2017


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Schloß Rauischolzhausen (Ebsdorfergrund, Germany)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Mario Baumann (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen); Vasileios Liotsakis (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)







09.00–09.15: Opening remarks
09.15–10.15: Antonis Tsakmakis, “Chance, Causality, and Historical Narrative: The Oxyrhynchus Historian and the Historiographical Tradition”

PANEL A: 5th-Century Greek Historiography: Herodotus and Thucydides
10.15–10.55: Edward M. Harris: “Creating a New Kind of Reader: Thucydides’ Aims in the Archaeology”
10.55–11.35: Marcin Kurpios, “Readers’ Responses to Thucydides’ Narrative of the Final Sea Battle in the Harbour of Syracuse in the Light of Ancient Literary Criticism”

11.35–11.50: Coffee break

11.50–12.30: Aurélien Pulice, “From ἐξήγησις to μίμησις: Thucydides’ Readership as Exemplified in ὑπομνήματα from the Roman Period”
12.30–13.10: Patrick Reinard, “Reading Ancient Historiography in Excerpts: The Case of the Papyrological Fragments of Herodotus and Thucydides”

13.15–14.30: Lunch

PANEL B: Reading Greek Historiography in the Hellenistic and Imperial Era: Aims and Profits
14.30–15.10: Uwe Herrmann, “Polybius and the Benefits and Pleasures of Reading Historiography”
15.10–15.50: Ronald Orr, “Polybius’s Readers: Pragmatism and Pleasure”
15.50–16.30: Evan Waters, “Reading History with Lucian: The Historian as Performer in How to Write History”
16.30–17.10: Evgenia Moiseeva, “History of Outsiders or History for Outsiders: Flavius Josephus’ Narrative Techniques and his Readers”

19.00: Dinner

09.00–10.00: Dennis Pausch, “Livy, the Reader Involved, and the Audience of Roman Historiography”

PANEL A: Roman Historiography of the 1st-Century BC: Erudition and the Audience’s Expectations
10.00–10.40: Edwin Shaw, “Sallust, the 'lector eruditus', and the Purpose of History”
10.40–11.20: Marine Miquel, “The Audience of Latin Historical Works in the 1st Century B.C. in the Light of Geographical and Ethnographical Descriptions”

11.20–11.35: Coffee break

PANEL B: Roman Historiography of the Imperial Era I: Tacitus and Pliny
11.35–12.15: George Baroud, “Affective History and the Atmosphere of the Early Empire”
12.15–12.55: Christoph Leidl, “Reading Spaces, Observing Spectators in Tacitus’ Histories”

13.00–14.15: Lunch

14.15–14.55: Ari Zatlin, “A History in Letters? Pliny the Younger and the Limits of Imperial Literature”

PANEL C: Roman Historiography of the Imperial Era II: Self-Fashioning and Authorship
14.55–15.35: Pauline Duchêne, “Historiography in the Margins and the Reader as a Touchstone”
15.35–16.15: Lydia Spielberg, “Whose Li(n)e Is It Anyway? Ancient Readers and the Historian’s Persona”
16.15–16.55: Adam Kemezis, “The Magnificent Six? Multiple Authors and Meanings in the Historia Augusta”

16.55–17.10: Greetings

18.30: Dinner

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