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The Western Time of Ancient History
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Book description

This book examines the conceptual and temporal frames through which modern Western historiography has linked itself to classical antiquity. In doing so, it articulates a genealogical problematic of what history is and a more strictly focused reappraisal of Greek and Roman historical thought. Ancient ideas of history have played a key role in modern debates about history writing, from Kant through Hegel to Nietzsche and Heidegger, and from Friedrich Creuzer through George Grote and Theodor Mommsen to Momigliano and Moses Finley; yet scholarship has paid little attention to the theoretical implications of the reception of these ideas. The essays in this collection cover a wide range of relevant topics and approaches and boast distinguished authors from across Europe in the fields of classics, ancient and modern history and the theory of historiography.


‘This book of essays, uniformly learned, perspicuous, and philosophically sophisticated, constitutes a genuine revision of traditional notions of the relation between Greek and Roman ideas about temporality and historicity and their modern counterparts. The essays question the presumed genealogical affiliation between the Greek ‘founders' of a historical idea of time and their modern avatars. Not only is history shown to have taken on many different forms and modes in antiquity, but the mainstream tradition begun by Herodotus and Thucydides is shown to have been quite alien to much of what is taken to be the orthodoxy of modern, post-Rankean historiography. The ‘past' of the classical age will never look quite the same again.'

Hayden White - University Professor of the History of Consciousness, Emeritus, University of California

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