Greek Historiography


Greek 222    
Greek Historiography

WF 2:50–4:05 Allen Bldg 229  

William A. Johnson
Office hours WF 4:15, by chance, by appt.
Allen 229B	684-2802

Conspectus. The frame to this course will be the question of how the genre of history writing develops in early Greece— the history of historiography, as it were. To that end, we will spend a month with Herodotus, a week or so with the fragments of other early historians, and a bit more than a month on Thucydides. We will finish by a more cursory look at three witnesses to how the genre begins to jell in the next, decisive generation: Xenophon, Theopompus (testimonia and bare fragments), and the "Oxyrhynchus Historian" (more extensive fragments on papyrus). If there is fierce popular demand, we could adjust to spend time at the end surveying what happens later —Polybius, Diodorus, Appian, Arrian, Lucian. Those are all huge authors, though, and the survey would need to be a breathless gallop. I'm inclined at present to have us become good friends with a more limited number of authors and texts. (Even a severe Classicist will forgive you for not knowing Diodorus or Appian well, but you must know your Herodotus and Thucydides!)
Your principal goals in this class will be: (1) to master the "essential" primary texts, that is, to put between your ears a deep knowledge of the purple patches from Thucydides, Herodotus, and to lesser extent the Hellenika of Xenophon; (2) to gain confidence and some fluency in the reading of Greek historiographical prose; (3) to come to your own understanding, however provisional, of the nature of early historical writings; (4) to command some critical parts, at least, of the secondary literature and its history, that is, to come to understand some ways that scholarship has shaped the contours of how we think and talk about early historiography. Successful application to these goals will have these direct outcomes: (1) you should be prepared to teach an introductory course in Herodotus or Thucydides, including a course in translation (such as classical civilization); (2) you should have a solid foundation for more specialized mastery of Greek historiography, including further work in these authors, but also enabling informed investigation of later Greek historians.
Logistics. Since this is a course directed to advanced students, and since there is a range of preparation among the students, the weekly rhythm will allow for some flexibility and independence. The more advanced the student, the more flexibility is in play, something that needs to be used to advantage. We will all read certain passages each week in Greek, and selected secondary matter. The remainder of the purple patch material (see list in schedule of assignments) will be contracted by the student. Well-advanced students will want to read far beyond the mandatory material; less advanced students will need to concentrate on command of the Greek, and thus will have time to read less on the side. All students will, at the least, master all purple patch materials in translation, as well as the mandatory materials in Greek. Tests will focus on command of the Greek and will regard the materials that the class as a whole reads, plus the individually contracted materials; each test will also have an essay that allows you to speak more broadly to the purple patch materials and the issues raised by the secondary literature. Each student will lead the class in 1-2 directed discussions, as well as (more routinely) facilitating discussion of secondary material.
1.	Class work, presentations	30%
2.	Three hour examinations	50%
3.	Written exercises	20%

Texts. For Herodotus and Thucydides, use the Oxford Classical Texts, by Hude and Jones/Powell respectively. 

On reserve (in the Classics library, 233 Allen Bldg). Very useful but sadly out of print is Enoch Powell's Lexicon to Herodotus. Essential for the early books is the commentary by Asheri et al. For Thucydides, there are competing commentaries, by Simon Hornblower (most up to date) and the venerable Historical Commentary in five volumes by Gomme. (I am struggling to make these available: some volumes have been stolen from the library.) We will also make fairly heavy use of Rusten's collection of essential scholarship on Thucydides: Jeffery Rusten, Thucydides: Oxford Readings in Classical Studies. I have also requested that the library buy the Oxford Bibliographies Online for Herodotus and Thucydides— these should be available soon.