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Contemporary History in the Ancient World- 19/05/2017, Oxford (England)


In the introduction to his Jewish War, Josephus contends that the historian of recent events is far superior to those who merely rehash ancient history. He argues that personal involvement in momentous events leads to greater lucidity of narrative, and more importantly, it is impossible for a historian to lie when the audience already knows the facts. Ironically, Josephus’ personal involvement in the Jewish War has encouraged his interpreters to mistrust his writing. Yet it is worth interrogating these issues more broadly: who wrote contemporary history, and why? How did such writers explain their relationship with their material? Did their original audience already know the “facts”? Why and how do ancient authors indicate their presence as actors within the historical narrative? And has this changed – do contemporary authors of contemporary history approach their task differently?

FECHA/DATE/DATA: 19/05/2017

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Ertegun House (Oxford, England)


INFO: web -


Estudiantes/Students/Studenti: £5

No estudiantes/ Not-students/No studenti: £10

Lunch and coffee will be provided, and attendees are invited to join the speakers for dinner after the colloquium for a charge of £20 (including wine or soft drinks).


9:30-11:15 Session 1

Opening Remarks: Ursula Westwood (organiser) Aaron Turner: Disconnecting Truth and Experience: Thucydides’ Transcendentalist Approach To Writing Contemporary History Francesco Mari: Contemporary History between Modern Historicism and Ancient Historiography: The Case of Xenophon Gunther Martin: Dexippus of Athens on his peers (and perhaps himself) 11:45-13:15 Session 2

Eve MacDonald: Dio, Herodian and the rise of the Sasanians Suzanne Abrams Rebillard: Gregory of Nazianzus’s Fictional Truth Murray Dahm: “You can’t make this stuff up! Lucian on the contemporary historians of Lucius Verus’ Parthian War.” 14:30-16:00 Session 3 Marius Gerhardt: Velleius Paterculus as a historian of his own time Eelco Glas: The Literary function of Herod the Great in Josephus' Jewish War Andrew Worley: I Came, I Saw, I Wrote It Down: reconsidering the impact of Cassius Dio’s claims as eye-witness to history 17:00-18:00 Keynote Address by John Marincola ‘The Anxieties of the Contemporary historian’

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