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Title: The influence of orally performed literature on Thucydides' 'History' and a hypothesis of partial publications during the author's lifetime
Author: Bianco, Annalisa
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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The relationship between historiography and the public in the V century Greece is a matter of debate. The evidence available supports the hypothesis that parts of the work of Herodotus were read aloud before an audience. We also have information of performances of historical works during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, but when we come to Thucydides, mainstream modern criticism assumes that the History of the Peloponnesian War was meant to be addressed to a reading public and circulated in writing. Thucydides’ declaration that his work is intended to be a ? and his critical attitude towards his predecessors' methods and objectives appear to support this idea. On the other hand if we look at the state of oral culture at that time and the practice followed by other contemporary and later historians, such a hypothesis would make Thucydides a striking exception. While scholars generally are concerned with the way in which Thucydides innovates and differs from earlier authors, my thesis is concerned rather with what he has in common with them. My intention is to highlight the inter-relationship between the work of Thucydides and the culture of his own time. That inquiry is conducted at two different levels. First, I have tried to assess the extent to which Thucydides may have been influenced by a variety of literary works belonging to different genres. Each chapter focuses on a different possible source of influence: earlier historiography, in particular Herodotus; didactic poetry; tragedy; contemporary rhetoric; and medical and technical treatises. There emerges a variegated picture: a historian who is able to arrange his narrative so as to create different stylistic effects appropriate to the subject matter. At the same time, I have tried to verify whether the presence of cross-links between the text of Thucydides and orally delivered works of literature might give us any indication of the way the History of the Peloponnesian War was intended to be transmitted to the public.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available