Presentation on theme: "Intro to Ancient History Week 9: narratives, periods and comparisons."— Presentation transcript:
Intro to Ancient History Week 9: narratives, periods and comparisons
Narrative and analysis Why is narrative discouraged? Too easy; not proper history. Elitist: focus on upper classes, politics. Misleading: focused on short-term events. Too literary; dangerously close to fiction. Too difficult to do well; likely to be derivative.
Analysis and Narrative But of course analysis is always dependent on pre-existing narrative structures; generally very conventional ones, taken for granted. Why study slavery under the Republic and slavery under the Principate ? What difference does this make to understanding the development of Roman slavery? Periodisation: assumption that political structures determine everything else?
Telling Stories about the Past Story is not intrinsic to facts: narratives are invented, not found, historian selects certain events ( story elements ) and makes certain connections between them. Events acquire significance from incorporation into story. Archetypal plots: historian approaches past with an idea of the sort of stories that might be told about it (Hayden White). Tragedy, romance, comedy, satire.
Grand Narratives Conceptions of overall shape of history, and underlying laws of motion : key terms like evolution, progress, development. Key issues: determinism, teleology. Shapes conception of antiquity in relation to other periods: modern and pre-modern? Can we use evidence from slavery in the US in the nineteenth century to study Rome?