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Forschungsprojekt ::
Cui vestustas fidem faciat: inscriptions and other material relics of the past in Greco-Roman antiquity

Dieses Projekt ist Teil des Forschungsprojektes Überreste der Vergangenheit in antiken Gesellschaften


Already in antiquity inscriptions were appreciated as an especially valuable class of evidence because of their character as primary sources, i. e. as relics of the past. The perception of their ancientness however was dependent not so much on their textual content, but above all on their material appearance. The paper explores how ancient scholars observed and used non-textual criteria (e. g. letter forms, boustrophedon-layout, fading of letters, writing material, state of preservation) in their handling of inscriptional evidence. The best testimonial to the attentiveness of ancient observers is provided by some archaizing inscriptions which make use of the said features. As a result Theopompus' well-known attack on the historicity of the Peace of Callias, which was based primarily on an epigraphic argument, can be put in the broader context of ancient historiographical practice.

In a second step it will be asked how the perception of inscriptions related to that of other material relics of the past. It is true that in antiquity "archaeology" and "art history" did not raise up to modern scientific standards, and this has been taken as proof for fundamental otherness of ancient historiography. However there is some evidence that having recourse to artefacts as a kind of "archaeological" evidence was not so exceptional as is generally assumed. This is especially true for local history, which in fact made up for the greater part of the historiographical output in Greco-Roman antiquity. Cleidemus' account of the battle between Theseus and the Amazons and Dionysius of Halicarnassus' reconstruction of the wan-derings of Aeneas provide striking examples for such "archaeological" historiography. As with inscriptions the ancient observers were quite attentive to seemingly archaic features in the outward appearance of artefacts, but difficulties in establishing a universal chronological framework and the lacking capability of making exact reproductions for comparison prevented the development of a more sophisticated thought about inscriptions and other relics of the past.

Angaben zum Forschungsprojekt

Beginn des Projekts:Mai 2009
Ende des Projekts:August 2010
Projektleitung:Hartmann, Dr. Andreas
Finanzierung des Projekts:Aus Lehrstuhletat (intern)
Themengebiete:N Geschichte > NH Griechisch-römische Geschichte
Eingestellt am: 08. Feb 2010 12:05
Letzte Änderung: 07. Feb 2012 11:33
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