Ancient Greek and Roman Historiography

History 103A.002

Spring 2012
Instructor (text): 
3205 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Th 10-12A

This seminar will explore the rise and development of historical thought and historical writing in the ancient Greek and Roman world. Our readings will focus on five canonical authors, Herodotus, Thucydides, Polybius, Livy, and Tacitus, but we will read shorter selections from other historians as well. Emphasis will not be on the use of these authors as primary sources for the individuals and events they narrate, but rather on questions literary (narrative technique, claims of authority, use of speeches), historiographical (organizing principles and conceptions of causation), and social (use of historical writing as a vehicle for authorial self-representation), which illuminate the development of ancient Greek and Roman historiography as an intellectual pursuit and cultural practice. Requirements include regular attendance and participation in seminar discussions; one short writing exercise (3-4 pp.); one oral presentation (20 min.); and two papers (10-12 pp.). Students may also substitute a detailed History 101 thesis prospectus for the second paper.