Historiography

Historiography, namely the study of the writing of history and the factors which affect it, is a particular favourite of mine. Historiography seeks to understand not only individual historians, why they wrote their history as they did, the factors which affected them, and their goals in writing history, but also trends that are perceivable in a particular period of historical writing, or a particular group of historians. What did the ancients value in historical writing? Where did they agree? Which historians famously disagreed with one another? What was the purpose of history for them? This can also be applied to individual historians. Polybius and Sallust by no means took the same approach, nor did Herodotus and Thucydides. However, I think all agreed on the basic didactic role of history. It is also interesting and very important to look at how historians' critique one another. Does this illuminate their own historiographical values? Or, can we speak of a rhetoric of history, with one historian seeking to undermine another in order to bolster his own credentials? Polybius on predecessor Timaeus in his twelfth book is a famous example. This is a wonderful aspect of studying Classics and one which offers such rich an complex insight: how did they ancients conceive their own times? How did they respond to them and why?



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