Alternatives to written history in Republican Rome

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Abstract

This volume is about historical writing at Rome from the first emergence of historiography to its full flowering in the high imperial period and its later influence in European culture. As such this book serves as a companion to a series of prose authors who chose to write formal "written history" in terms both of genre and of content. Every ancient text has something to tell us about the past, particularly about the society in which it was written. By contrast Roman historians consciously set out to give an account of the past, mostly in relation to their own times and to its political culture. Our picture of Roman history is heavily dependent on the historiographical texts that have survived, aswell as on other prose histories, now lost, that served as the sources and models of the works we can still read. For the Romans themselves, however, the past was recalled and represented by many different types of texts, monuments, and rituals, both before and after historiography became a formal written genre of prose literature at Rome. Moreover, the vast majority of Romans could not read and only had very limited access to literary texts. Historiography as a literary genre is, therefore, by definition the alternative that emerged around 200 BCE to a wide variety of more or less traditional forms of memory making in Roman culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages65-76
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781139002714
ISBN (Print)9780521854535
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities

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