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CG311 GREEK PROSE:
HERODOTUS' HISTORIES


Prof. Michael Arnush Ladd 209 x5462
marnush@skidmore.edu Hours: MF 12-1
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PRESENTATION OF SCHOLARSHIP
On Thursdays we will discuss some of the scholarship written on Herodotus and his Histories. For our first Thursday together, Sept. 15th, we will read from the Landmark Herodotus. Please read the pieces listed below and come to class prepared to discuss the questions that follow:
 
Sept. 15: "Introduction" to the Landmark Herodotus, R. Thomas; "Editor's Preface," R. Strassler; "Translator's Preface," A. Purvis: pp. ix-xlxii (NO PAPER DUE ON THIS ARTICLE). Discussion questions:
  1. Who was Herodotus?
  2. What is the historical background to Herodotus' Histories?
  3. What is Herodotus' intellectual and moral world?
  4. Is Herodotus a reliable source?
  5. What is the relationship between an oral tradition and an historical narrative?
  6. What are the approaches of and perspectives on Herodotus and his Histories by the editor and translator?
 
Sept. 22nd: "Introduction," C. Dewald & J. Marincola (first paper)
  • How has scholarship on Herodotus and his Histories evolved from Jacoby's article in Pauly-Wissowa's Real-Encyclopedia (1913) to the Cambridge Companion to Herodotus (2006) and what have been and now are some of the key issues under consideration?
 

Focus initially on Herodotus' Histories, the prooimion or "Preface" and consider the following:

  1. What kinds of vocabulary does Herodotus employ and what is their morphology - what forms do they take? For example, does he use nouns and if so, are they of persons or things? does he use verbs? How would you classify his vocabulary?
  2. How does the Ionic dialect differ from the Attic one you learned? That is, some of the forms (stems, endings, etc.) may seem unfamiliar. Which ones are they and how would they be rendered in Attic Greek?
  3. What kinds of grammar does Herodotus employ? Does he use subjects? objects, direct or indirect? verbs, and are they transitive or intransitive? etc.?
  4. What is the syntax of the prooimion? That is, how does Herodotus employ word order? Does he use conditions? clauses? connectives? etc.
  5. What is the meaning of the prooimion in simple terms - that is, how would you render it in English?
  6. What does the reader take away from this introduction to the Histories?
 
Sept. 29: "Herodotus and the poetry of the past," J. Marincola (FIRST PAPER)
  • What is the relationship between Herodotus' Histories and the works of his poetic predecessors and contemporaries? Does he owe a debt to them, are there components of his Histories that echo their approaches and methods, or does he make a clean break with the past in creating a new genre of writing?
  • The paper is due by Wednesday, 5pm, as a .pdf attachment via email to me.
 
In subsequent weeks, the responsibility for selecting the article and generating discussion questions will fall to all of you on a rotating basis. Please distribute the article title and the questions either via email or in class by the Tuesday class session in preparation for Thursday discussions.