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Roman Historiography: An Introduction to its Basic Aspects and Development

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2183-5
300 pages
May 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Roman Historiography: An Introduction to its Basic Aspects and Development (1405121831) cover image
Roman Historiography: An Introduction to its Basic Aspects and Development presents a comprehensive introduction to the development of Roman historical writings in both Greek and Latin, from the early annalists to Orosius and Procopius of Byzantium.
  • Provides an accessible survey of every historical writer of significance in the Roman world
  • Traces the growth of Christian historiography under the influence of its pagan adversaries
  • Offers valuable insight into current scholarly trends on Roman historiography
  • Includes a user-friendly bibliography, catalog of authors and editions, and index
  • Selected by Choice as a 2013 Outstanding Academic Title
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Translator’s Preface ix

Introduction: The Importance of Ancient Historiography and the Purpose of this Book 1

Chapter 1: Ancient Literature and Roman Historiography 9

1.1 Roman Literature and its Relation to Greek Literature 9

1.2 Roman Historiography and the City of Rome 12

1.3 The Claims of Artistry and Truth in Ancient, especially Roman, Historiography 17

Chapter 2: The Formation and Establishment of Tradition in the Ruling Class of the Early and Middle Roman Republic 33

2.1 Family Histories and Clan Traditions 34

2.2 The Annales Maximi and the Almanacs of Publius Mucius Scaevola 37

Chapter 3: Early Roman Historiography: Self-Justifi cation and Memory in earlier Annalistic Writing 41

3.1 Early Annalistic Writing (I) 43

3.2 Early Annalistic Writing (II) 49

3.3 Early Historical Epic in Rome (Naevius and Ennius) 60

Chapter 4: The Historiography of Rome between the Fronts of the Civil Wars 63

4.1 Later Annalistic Writing: Optimates vs. Populares and Traditional Annalistic Writing vs. Contemporary History 66

4.2 Autobiographies, Memoirs, Hypomnemata, Commentarii, and their Infl uence on the Historiography of Current Events 69

4.3 The History of Current Events Made to Order and Contemporary Concepts of Historiography (Cicero) 77

4.4 Biography (Cornelius Nepos) 81

4.5 The Experience of the Collapsing and Ruined Republic 84

4.6 Antiquarian Writings 96

Chapter 5: Augustan Rome, Roman Empire, and other Peoples and Kingdoms 98

5.1 Titus Livius: Roman History from Romulus to Augustus in its Entirety 100

5.2 World History, the History of the World beyond Rome, and Roman History by Non-Romans and New Romans 110

Chapter 6: Imperial History and the History of Emperors – Imperial History as the History of Emperors 121

6.1 Empire and “Republic”: Senatorial Historiography 127

6.2 Rome and Foreign Peoples 156

6.3 Imperial History as Imperial Biography 165

6.4 Personal History and Biography in the High Empire beyond Roman Emperors 178

6.5 History in “Pocket-Size” 186

6.6 Exempla-Literature and Historical Understanding 197

Chapter 7: Roman History and Universal History between Classical Religion (“Paganism”) and Christianity 199

7.1 Zosimus and his Predecessors: Classically Religious Historiography and Historical Interpretation in a Christian Age 203

7.2 Ammianus Marcellinus: Indifferent to Religion? 207

7.3 Christian Historiography 216

Chapter 8: Some Basic Principles of Ancient Historical Thought 243

Chronological Table 252

Notes 255

Select Bibliography 264

1. General Bibliography 264

1.1 Editions, Translations, and Commentaries for the Historiographical and Biographical Works Treated in this Book 264

1.2 Editions of Historiographical Works and Historical Epics in Greek and Latin that Survive only in Fragments 270

1.3 Histories of Greek and Latin Literature, especially Historiography: Recent Surveys and Collections 271

1.4 Ancient Historiography, especially Roman: its Basic Literary, Social, and Intellectual Contexts 272

2. The Formation and Establishment of Tradition in the Ruling Class of the Early and Middle Roman Republic 275

3. Early Roman Historiography: Self-Justifi cation and Memory in Early Annalistic Writing 276

4. The Historiography of Rome between the Fronts of the Civil Wars 277

5. Augustan Rome, Roman Empire, and other Peoples and Kingdoms 279

6. Imperial History and the History of Emperors – Imperial History as the History of Emperors 280

7. Roman History and Universal History between Classical Religion (“Paganism”) and Christianity 284

Index 287

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Andreas Mehl is Professor of Ancient History at the Martin Luther University at Halle and Wittenberg. He is the author of Seleukos Nikator und sein Reich (1986); Tacitus über Kaiser Claudius: Die Ereignisse Am Hof (1974); and Römische Geschichtsschreibung: Grundlagen und Entwicklungen: eine Einführung (Stuttgart, 2001).

Hans-Friedrich Mueller is the William D. Williams Professor of Classics at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He is the author of Roman Religion in Valerius Maximus (2002) and the editor of an abridgment of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (2003).
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“In all, Mehl’s Roman Historiography amounts to a helpful handbook for students of the ancient world.  It seems an especially good means for readers to gain a quick appraisal of the German approach to its subject.  Although some may criticize Mehl’s assessments and emphases on occasion, the book presents a concise and readable introduction to work of Roman historians, biographers, chronographers, antiquarians, and kindred authors.”  (New England Classical Journal, 1 May 2013)

Named CHOICE Outstanding Title for 2012


"Appropriate for advanced undergraduate students, this work provides a foundation for further study of classical historical writing. (Annotation 2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)." (Book News, 1 August 2011)

 

“An extraordinarily broad and deep introduction, a treasure trove of insights and information that masterfully characterizes the nature and development (ranging over a millennium) of Rome’s historiography in its multiple aspects and functions, its originality and debt to others, achievements and shortcomings, and place between history and literature.”
Kurt A. Raaflaub, Brown University

“This is a thought-provoking journey through the writing of history in Roman antiquity. Andreas Mehl masterfully unravels the fabric of historical traditions from the Annales to Zosimus.”
Hans Beck, McGill University

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