Time and Narrative in Ancient Historiography: The 'Plupast' from Herodotus to Appian

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Jonas Grethlein, Christopher B. Krebs
Cambridge University Press, Apr 19, 2012 - History - 257 pages
Historians often refer to past events which took place prior to their narrative's proper past- that is, they refer to a 'plupast'. This past embedded in the past can be evoked by characters as well as by the historian in his own voice. It can bring into play other texts, but can also draw on lieux de mémoire or on material objects. The articles assembled in this volume explore the manifold forms of the plupast in Greek and Roman historians from Herodotus to Appian. The authors demonstrate that the plupast is a powerful tool for the creation of historical meaning. Moreover, the acts of memory embedded in the historical narrative parallel to some degree the historian's activity of recording the past. The plupast thereby allows Greek and Roman historians to reflect on how (not) to write history and gains metahistorical significance. In shedding new light on the temporal complexity and the subtle forms of self-conscious reflection in the works of ancient historians, Time and Narrative in Ancient Historiography significantly enhances our understanding of their narrative art.


Chapter 1 The historians plupast
Chapter 2 Speakers past and plupast
Chapter 3 The mythic plupast in Herodotus
Chapter 4 The use and abuse of history in the Plataean debate Thuc 35268
Chapter 5 The plupast in Xenophons Hellenica
Chapter 6 Magna mihi copia est memorandi
Chapter 7 Negotiating the plupast
Chapter 8 M Manlius Capitolinus
Chapter 9 Repetita bellorum civilium memoria
Chapter 10 Mimesis and the plupast in Plutarchs Lives
Chapter 11 War stories
Index locorum
General Index

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About the author (2012)

Jonas Grethlein is Professor in Classics at Heidelberg University. He is the author of The Greeks and their Past: Poetry, Oratory and History in Fifth-Century Greece (Cambridge, 2010). Christopher B. Krebs is Associate Professor of Classics at Harvard University, Massachusetts, co-chair of the Classical Traditions Seminar at the Humanities Center and Professeur Invité at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He is the author of, most recently, A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus' Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich (2011).

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