Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World - John Baines

Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World - John Baines

Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in a Material World

Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World - John Baines

John Baines [+-]
University of Oxford
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John Baines is Professor of Egyptology Emeritus at the University of Oxford. His most recent books are Visual and Written Culture in Ancient Egypt(2007), The Disappearance of Writings Systems (2008, co-edited with John Bennet and Stephen Houston), and High Culture and Experience in Ancient Egypt (2013).
Henriette van der Blom [+-]
University of Birmingham
Henriette van der Blom is Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham. She has published extensively on Roman republican memory culture, oratory and politics, including Cicero’s Role Models: The Political Strategy of a Newcomer (OUP 2010) and Community and Communication: Oratory and Politics in Republican Rome (with C. Steel; OUP 2013). Her next monograph is Oratory and Political Career in the Late Roman Republic (CUP, forthcoming).
Yi Samuel Chen [+-]
University of Oxford
Yi Samuel Chen is Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. He specialises in Sumerian, Babylonian and biblical literary history and historiography. His monograph The Primeval Flood Catastrophe: Origins and Early Development in Mesopotamian Traditions was published in the Oxford Oriental Monographs Series (2013).
Tim Rood [+-]
University of Oxford
Tim Rood is Professor of Greek Literature at the University of Oxford, where he is the Dorothea Gray Fellow and Tutor in Classics at St Hugh’s College. His research focuses on Greek historiography and its reception. His first book, Thucydides: Narrative and Explanation (1998), was published in the Oxford Classical Monographs series. Since then, he has written two books on the reception of Xenophon’s Anabasis: The Sea! The Sea! The Shout of the Ten Thousand in the Modern Imagination (2004) and American Anabasis: Xenophon and the Idea of America from the Mexican War to Iraq (2010).


Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World offers nineteen linked essays on uses of the past in prominent and diverse cultures in ancient civilizations across the world. The contributors are leading experts in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Sinology, Biblical Studies, Classics, and Maya Studies. This volume addresses crucial questions in current scholarship on historical consciousness and historiography. These questions include the formation of different traditions and the manifold uses of the past in particular socio-political contexts or circumstances; the ways in which these traditions and these types of cultural memory informed or contributed to the rise of more formal modes of historiography; interactions between formal modes of historiography and other traditions of historical consciousness during their transmission; and the implications of such interactions for cultural heritage, collective memory, and later understandings of history. The chapters discuss many questions relating to the volume’s theme: theoretical and methodological approaches to ancient material; intellectual, didactic, and social circumstances and institutions; ideological motivations behind, and social functions of, interactions; conceptual, narratological, and literary processes and mechanisms such as synchronism, sequencing of events, periodization, mythological prologues, aetiological motifs, genealogical and chronological schemes, geographical and ethnographical features, temporal and stylistic devices; interchanges between different temporal frameworks such as mythical, legendary, ritual, chronological; the extent and variety of interactions such as manifestations in visual arts, monuments, cultic activities, music and dramatic performance; physical or textual channels for dissemination and transmission; stages and periods of interaction in different cultures, authors, and texts; convention and innovation; differences and relationships between scholarly and popular conceptions of history; and exchanges between local traditions and ones with a global perspective. By taking an interdisciplinary approach, this volume situates the rise of formal modes of historiography within a larger context of the development of historical consciousness and a wider web of intercommunicating discourses. It also uncovers intellectual processes, literary mechanisms, and social institutions involved in the construction of history. During its construction, while many local traditions persisted, some ancients gradually went beyond the temporal and spatial limitations of their local traditions, arriving at a more extended and unified timespan, a wider geographical region, and a common origin.

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Baines, John; van der Blom, Henriette; Chen, Yi; Rood, Tim. Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in a Material World. Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 1-7 Jun 2019. ISBN 9781800500266 . https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=33716. Date accessed: 19 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.33716. Jun 2019

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