By Charles W. Hedrick Jr.
This ebook introduces scholars to the manager disciplines, tools and resources hired in 'doing' old historical past, instead of 'reading' it. The book:
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Extra info for Ancient History: Monuments and Documents
According to Herodotus, again, the early Greeks divided the world into three continents: “ I am amazed that people ever divided Libya, Asia, and Europe as they have, for they are utterly unequal. 42). He follows this remark with a discussion of the sizes of the three continents as they were known in his time. Again, as an empirical matter, his conception is as false as the one he criticizes. Europe and Asia form a single land mass. A geographical distinction between the two can only be justified if your attention is centered on the Mediterranean, as the Greeks’ was, and you do not allow your eye to stray to the north of the Black Sea.
In terms of time, this means the establishment of periods. A region is to geography what a period is to time: the articulation of a space of comparability, within which there may be some general equivalence among historical phenomena. On close examination such divisions prove to be arbitrary, in the sense that they are tied to the interpretation deployed: a period or region that makes sense in a political interpretation may not make sense in view of an economic explanation or a cultural explanation.
They had no sense of history as a cumulative group project. Of course they read one another’s work and might agree or disagree with each other, as Herodotus took Hecataeus to task, or Livy dismissed Valerius Antias. We know that historians often took up the historical tale at the point where a predecessor left off, as Xenophon began his Hellenica at the point where the history of Thucydides left off. But there was no traffic in debate about the establishment of evidence and its significance, as we find among modern historians.
Ancient History: Monuments and Documents by Charles W. Hedrick Jr.