Knowing Future Time In and Through Greek Historiography - download pdf or read online

By Alexandra Lianeri

Greek historiography engaged with previous and current time; yet how precisely did this engagement include claims to figuring out the long run? contemplating analysis as rooted in historiographical temporalities this quantity reads historians from Herodotus to Appian with the intention to exploring configurations of destiny time within the context of historic and sleek reflections at the ancient in addition to the moral and political position of historiographical perform.

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In this poietic configuration, the future is established as an “omnitemporal continuity of repetition” setting mythical temporalities on the opposite side of historical time. This tendency, as Wesselmann notes in her conclusion, concerns the entirety of history writing, insofar as the main function of the genre is ‘making the past present’ – eliminating the boundaries of time; but it is especially visible in Herodotus because of the close intertwinement of historiography and tradition. ¹⁰⁵ According to Eliade’s argument, which is largely confirmed by Wesselmann’s essay, the man of archaic societies explains contingency as a function of fury or fate and confronts it by imitating or recounting the exemplary acts of gods or heroes through myth and ritual – an operation which enables his dissociation from profane time and his entering into sacred time, where ‘real’ events take place.

Xenophon invented not only continuous history by starting his work where Thucydides’ history ended, but also his predecessors: using cross-textual references he suggested that the works of Herodotus, Thucydides and his own Hellenica formed a continuous narrative dealing with what was later to be labelled as the history of “classical Greece”. On a different level, proleptic parts of his narrative link this history to the real world of the author’s ultimate present. This narrative continuum significantly attests to the insecurity of human attempts to predict the future and the historian’s acknowledgement of his inability to foresee what was coming next.

Ann. .  Rancière , .  Rancière ,  – . Introduction: The Futures of Greek Historiography 31 of historical subjects through a polyphonic narration of future time. The question then arises as to how this narrative relates to the time of historical action or, to put the same question in different terms, how the poiesis that was Greek historywriting related to the time of past, present and future praxis. ⁹⁹ The poiesis that was Greek historiography, this section suggests, signals, simultaneously, the temporal necessity and unfinalisability or event potential enfolded in praxis.

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