Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science

Edinburgh University Press
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A wide-ranging study of shifting temporalities and their literary consequences in twentieth-century fiction
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Additional Information

Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
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Published on
Nov 22, 2017
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781474421782
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
History / Historiography
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / Research
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Wealth and power are themes that preoccupy much of Greek literature from Homer on, and this book unravels the significance of these subjects in one of the most famous pieces of narrative writing from classical antiquity. Lisa Kallet brilliantly reshapes our literary and historical understanding of Thucydides' account of the disastrous Sicilian expedition of 415–413 b.c., a pivotal event in the Peloponnesian War. She shows that the second half of Thucydides' History contains a damning critique of Athens and its leaders for becoming corrupted by money and for failing to appropriately use their financial strength on military power. Focusing especially on the narrative techniques Thucydides used to build his argument, Kallet gives a close examination of the subjects of wealth and power in this account of naval war and its aftermath and locates Thucydides' writings on these themes within a broad intellectual context.

Among other topics, Kallet discusses Thucydides' use of metaphor, his numerous intertextual references to Herodotus and Homer, and thematic links he makes among the topics of money, emotion, and sight. Overall, she shows that the subject of money constitutes a continuous thematic thread in books six through eight of the History. In addition, this book takes a fresh look at familiar epigraphic evidence. Kallet's ability to combine sophisticated literary analysis with a firm grasp of Attic inscriptions sheds new light on an important work of antiquity and provides a model example of how to unravel a dense historical text to reveal its underlying literary principles of construction.
In Sleuthing the Alamo, historian James E. Crisp draws back the curtain on years of mythmaking to reveal some surprising truths about the Texas Revolution--truths often obscured by both racism and "political correctness," as history has been hijacked by combatants in the culture wars of the past two centuries. Beginning with a very personal prologue recalling both the pride and the prejudices that he encountered in the Texas of his youth, Crisp traces his path to the discovery of documents distorted, censored, and ignored--documents which reveal long-silenced voices from the Texan past. In each of four chapters focusing on specific documentary "finds," Crisp uncovers the clues that led to these archival discoveries. Along the way, the cast of characters expands to include: a prominent historian who tried to walk away from his first book; an unlikely teenaged "speechwriter" for General Sam Houston; three eyewitnesses to the death of Davy Crockett at the Alamo; a desperate inmate of Mexico City's Inquisition Prison, whose scribbled memoir of the war in Texas is now listed in the Guiness Book of World Records; and the stealthy slasher of the most famous historical painting in Texas. In his afterword, Crisp explores the evidence behind the mythic "Yellow Rose of Texas" and examines some of the powerful forces at work in silencing the very voices from the past that we most need to hear today. Here then is an engaging first-person account of historical detective work, illuminating the methods of the serious historian--and the motives of those who prefer glorious myth to unflattering truth.
In the Hellenistic period (c.323-31 BCE), Greek teachers, philosophers, historians, orators, and politicians found an essential point of reference in the democracy of Classical Athens and the political thought which it produced. However, while Athenian civic life and thought in the Classical period have been intensively studied, these aspects of the Hellenistic period have so far received much less attention. This volume seeks to bring together the two areas of research, shedding new light on these complementary parts of the history of the ancient Greek polis. The essays collected here encompass historical, philosophical, and literary approaches to the various Hellenistic responses to and adaptations of Classical Athenian politics. They survey the complex processes through which Athenian democratic ideals of equality, freedom, and civic virtue were emphasized, challenged, blunted, or reshaped in different Hellenistic contexts and genres. They also consider the reception, in the changed political circumstances, of Classical Athenian non- and anti-democratic political thought. This makes it possible to investigate how competing Classical Athenian ideas about the value or shortcomings of democracy and civic community continued to echo through new political debates in Hellenistic cities and schools. Looking ahead to the Roman Imperial period, the volume also explores to what extent those who idealized Classical Athens as a symbol of cultural and intellectual excellence drew on, or forgot, its legacy of democracy and vigorous political debate. By addressing these different questions it not only tracks changes in practices and conceptions of politics and the city in the Hellenistic world, but also examines developing approaches to culture, rhetoric, history, ethics, and philosophy, and especially their relationships with politics.
What is history and why should we study it? Is there such a thing as historical truth? Is history a science? One of the most accomplished historians at work today, John Lewis Gaddis, answers these and other questions in this short, witty, and humane book. The Landscape of History provides a searching look at the historian's craft, as well as a strong argument for why a historical consciousness should matter to us today. Gaddis points out that while the historical method is more sophisticated than most historians realize, it doesn't require unintelligible prose to explain. Like cartographers mapping landscapes, historians represent what they can never replicate. In doing so, they combine the techniques of artists, geologists, paleontologists, and evolutionary biologists. Their approaches parallel, in intriguing ways, the new sciences of chaos, complexity, and criticality. They don't much resemble what happens in the social sciences, where the pursuit of independent variables functioning with static systems seems increasingly divorced from the world as we know it. So who's really being scientific and who isn't? This question too is one Gaddis explores, in ways that are certain to spark interdisciplinary controversy. Written in the tradition of Marc Bloch and E.H. Carr, The Landscape of History is at once an engaging introduction to the historical method for beginners, a powerful reaffirmation of it for practitioners, a startling challenge to social scientists, and an effective skewering of post-modernist claims that we can't know anything at all about the past. It will be essential reading for anyone who reads, writes, teaches, or cares about history.
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