Forum Antiquum Spring 2021 lecture: 'Plotting History: writing your own Anabasis’
- Thursday 18 March 2021
- The lectures are online.
"History, in Alan Bennett’s phrase, is ‘just one f*cking thing after another’ – and the lack of coherence which that phrase implies is one of the reasons why Aristotle already felt that history (‘what happened with Alcibiades’) did not make for compelling narratives. Of course, one look at the works of ancient historians like Herodotus, Thucydides or Xenophon shows that Aristotle was wrong: those authors knew perfectly well how to ‘plot history’ and spin a gripping tale. It is still interesting, however, to consider exactly what goes into the plotting of history and how it affects people’s perception of the past. In the first part of my brief paper I will, with the help of a passage from Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Epistle to Pompeius 3), discuss some general aspects of historical plotting. In the second part I turn to Xenophon’s Anabasis, and suggest that, despite the lack of a preface or methodological chapter, the work is at certain moments deeply concerned with questions of plotting in ways which bring to the fore ‘ethical’ dimensions of the writing of history.
I hope that, as part of the discussion, we can speculate together what an Anabasis plotted on the basis of different considerations would look like (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabasis_(Xenophon) offers a good summary in case you want to brush up on the contents of Anabasis)."
Physical meetings are still very restricted for anything that is not part of the regular education programme. Therefore, we will meet in the following Kaltura Live Room.