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Title: The Autobiographical Community: Local Historiography in Classical and Hellenistic Greece
Authors: Tober, Daniel J.
Advisors: Luraghi, Nino
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: community
Subjects: Ancient history
Classical literature
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Every community cares deeply about its past. In many literate communities, this historical consciousness manifests itself not only as disparate oral traditions but also as local historiography. The ubiquity of the form is astonishing: whether the focalizer is polis or urbs, state or nation, county or parish, local history abounds. This is a study of the phenomenon of local historiography in Classical and Hellenistic Greece. I have three primary aims: first, to emphasize the preponderance of the local as a historiographical mode in ancient Greece and indeed also in countless communities outside of Greece, in the ancient and in the modern period; second, to illuminate the great variety of Greek local historiography, a point that must be reiterated inasmuch as modern scholarship tends to approach all Greek local histories synecdochally by way of the Athenian model, Atthidography; last, to explore the relationship in the ancient Greek world between community identity and local historiography. The idiosyncratic character of an individual community, I argue, influenced the way it articulated its past and, consequently, the way its historians shaped their narratives. This study consists of three parts. Part I explains the key concepts of community, community memory, and local historiography, surveys major examples of local historiography from the mid-fifth century BCE to the modern age, and argues that local historiography can be productively read as community autobiography. Part II addresses local historiography in Classical and Hellenistic Greece. It demonstrates first that the local was an indigenous Greek mode of historiography and then focuses on the local histories of four communities, Samos, Thessaly, Argos, and Pontic Herakleia, distinguishing variations in the sources used to construct a narrative of the past, in the organization and conceptualization of territory, and in the treatment of non-local communities. In the Conclusion, I extend this analysis to examine different articulations of time in Greek local historiography as well as issues of audience. Native Greek local historians wrote about their communities from the perspective of an outsider communicating to other outsiders, and this peculiar authorial stance tells us something both about the nature and the origins of the form.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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