Agenda

Herodotus

Table of Contents

Description

The seminar will explore the descriptions of the interactions between Greek-speaking peoples and other societies as presented in the Histories of Herodotus as a way to articulate a more precise understanding of what it meant to be a Hellene at a time of intensified cross-cultural interaction in the Mediterranean.

Objectives

The aims of this seminar encompass (1) ancient Greek culture in general, (2) the conventions of Greek historical prose, and (3) the nature of scholarly discourse and collaboration.

Ancient Greek Culture

With regard to the larger cultural context of ancient Greece, primarily as it developed in Athens during the archaic and classical periods and its relationship to our world today, we will pursue the following objectives:

  1. Establishing parallels and identifying contrasts between events and ideas in different historical and cultural contexts: for example the types of evidence Herodotus uses in his reconstruction of historical events compared to the documentation and sources available to modern historians
  2. Exploring how the culture of the ancient Greeks influenced subsequent behaviors and ideas, for example, in the evolution of historiography from the “inquiries” of Herodotus to the historical “novels” and reconstructions of events through the use of computer-generated environments in television and film
  3. Developing a sense of caution toward generalizations and categorical explanations, given the nature of the material that has survived from antiquity, the vastly different cultural perspectives of people who lived 2500 years ago and contemporary American and European society, and the diverse approaches and views we all bring to an engagement with descriptions of societies and their cultures.

Conventions of Historical Prose

Our emphasis will be on narratives we encounter in the Histories of Herodotus. At the conclusion of this seminar, you should have developed an understanding of these poetic forms and be able to describe and discuss the following:

  1. How Herodotus uses his sources and structures his narratives
  2. How Herodotus’ work relates to other forms of poetic, epideictic, and deliberative discourse and how he situations himself in the tradition of those who record and transmit cultural information
  3. The media and occasions for disseminating historical narratives
  4. What constituted the audience and objectives for Herodotus’ Histories

Scholarly Discourse and Collaboration

In all of its activities the CHS is committed to developing new models of communication and collaboration. In designing our programs we seek to promote the ideals of intergenerationality, transparency, and inclusivity. Consequently, we welcome participation from students in the field at all stages in their intellectual evolution; our meetings and the outcomes of our work are open and accessible to the community; and we actively seek participants from all walks of life, backgrounds, and points of view. This environment of free and open interaction is ideally suited to exploring and refining new modes of academic communication, which encompass the interactions of students and their faculty mentors in the classroom as well as the conversations among scholars in a particular field. In the context of this conference, our objectives include:

  1. Working as a group on the design of an inter-institutional course on the Histories for undergraduates.
  2. Collaboratively developing resources to help our students engage with Herodotus’ work.
  3. Confronting the challenges and opportunities that an evolving digital infrastructure offers for the ways we interact as an academic community within and outside the classroom.

Aspects of the Seminar

Primary Readings

Of course, everyone is responsible for reading the Histories. A team of participants, as outlined below, will assume the responsibility for leading the discussion of the individual books. Everyone should come to each session ready to participate actively in the conversations.

Secondary Readings

We will read a sampling of secondary works, which will provide some contextualizing information and offer some wide-ranging interpretive ideas to accompany your broader exploration of the Histories. The selections are not meant to represent the range of current scholarship in the field, but they should offer some perspectives to enrich your engagement with the text of Herodotus as you formulate your own views and approaches. (A number come from studies published by the CHS and are freely available through the center’s website.) Everyone should read through the selections.

Daily schedule

As you will note below, we have divided each of the five days of the seminar into four sessions, each lasting 90 minutes. Two of the sessions will take place before lunch and two in the afternoon. (On two of the evenings we have also scheduled optional screenings of films that are pertinent to the topics of the seminar.) Between the two sessions in the morning and afternoon will be a 30-minute break, and we will take 90 minutes for lunch, which will be available promptly at 12:30. We will devote a session at the beginning to get acquainted and discuss the objectives of the seminar. After the first day, we will take time during several of the sessions to work on the design of the collaborative, inter-institutional course we will offer in the spring of 2017.

Discussions

The main activity of our workshop will be discussing the Histories. We will devote two sessions of discussion to each book. For each book, we have created a team of six participants who will lead the discussion. Three members of the team will lead the discussion for the first session, and the other three, the second session. In total, participants will be responsible for leading the discussion of three books. As you will see, the books of the Histories fall into three thematic groups (1) the ethnographies, which include book two on the Egyptians, book four on the Scythians, and the digressions on the Athenians and Spartans in book five; (2) the historical background leading up to Xerxes’ invasion, i.e., books one (Croesus and Cyrus), three (Cambyses and Darius), and six (Alcmaeonids and Spartan kings; First Person War); and (3) Xerxes’ invasion in books seven, eight, and nine. We have constituted the teams so that every participant will work on one book from each of the three groups. To prepare for these discussions, each member of the team will submit a post to the forum for the assigned book in advance of the workshop. Each post should be 300-500 words and should address the following questions.

Who are the λόγιοι in each of the books and what constitutes the basis of their authority as sources and informants? What are the relationships among the λόγοι? Do they pose contradictory perspectives or do they corroborate each other? If they differ, does Herodotus signal preference for one or the other and what criteria does he apply?

In your post you may respond to one or all of the questions. Your post should, however, include the following components:

  1. At least two specific references to the book of the Histories under consideration.
  2. At least one specific reference to a passage of the Histories in another book or to another work, which provides some comparative perspective.
  3. A question or idea for further consideration.

As noted above, participants should submit their posts, three in all, to the forum before the workshop begins. Either before or during the workshop itself, everyone will comment on at least one of the posts related to the discussions for each day.

Primary Readings

Herodotus: The History. Translated by David Grene. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Secondary Readings

Bakker, Egbert J. 2002, 3-32. The Making of History: Herodotus’ Historiês Apodexis. In Brill’s Companion to Herodotus. Edited by E.J. Bakker, I.J.F. de Jong and H. van Wees. Leiden: Brill, 2002. [PDF]

Christ, M.R. 1994. Herodotean Kings and Historical Inquiry. Classical Antiquity 13:167-202. [PDF][JSTOR]

Hartog, François. 1988, 112-172. The Body of the King: Space and Power. In The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History. Translated by Janet Lloyd. Berkeley: University of California Press. [PDF]

Hornblower, S. 2003, 37-57. Panionios of Chios and Hermotimos of Pedasa. In Herodotus and his World: Essays from a Conference in Memory of George Forrest. Edited by P. Derow and R. Parker. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [PDF]

Irwin, Elizabeth. 2007, 41-87. ‘What’s in a name?’ and exploring the comparable: onomastics, ethnography and kratos in Thrace (5.1-2 and 3-10). In Reading Herodotus. As Study of the Logoi in Book 5 of Herodotus’s Histories. Edited by E. Irwin and E. Greenwood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.[PDF]

Lloyd, Alan B. 2002, 415-436. Egypt. In Brill’s Companion to Herodotus. Edited by E. Bakker, I.J.F. de Jong, H. van Wees. Leiden: Brill. [PDF]

Momigliano, A. The Place of Herodotus in the History of Historiography. In Studies in Historiography. Edited by A. Momigliano, pp. 127-142. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1996. [PDF]

Nagy, Gregory. 1990. Pindar’s Homer. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. [PDF]

1990.17-51 Oral Poetry and Ancient Greek Poetry: Broadening and Narrowing the Terms [PDF]

1990.215-249 The Authoritative Speech of Prose, Poetry, and Song: Pindar and Herodotus I [PDF]

1990.250-273 The Authority of Historiā and the Sign of the Hero [PDF]

1990.274-313 The Charms of Tyranny: Pindar and Herodotus II [PDF]

1990.314-338 The Ainos as Song or Speech: Pindar and Herodotus III [PDF]

Travis, Roger. 2000. The Spectation of Gyges in P. Oxy. 2382 and Herodotus Book 1. Classical Antiquity 19:330-359. [JSTOR]

Schedule of Sessions

Tuesday, July 26
Time Event Location
8:00-9:00 a.m. Breakfast Downstairs dining room
9:00-10:30 a.m. First Session House A
General Introductions, Overview, and Feedback

  • Introductions
  • Background of the project
  • Discussion of the objectives
10:30-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Second Session House A
Histories 1: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Histories 1

Secondary Readings:

Momigliano.1996.127-142
Bakker 2002.3-32
Nagy 1990.17-51

Discussion Team:

Debra Beilke
Jonathan Good
Matthew Klemm

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Lunch Downstairs dining room
2:00-3:30 p.m. Third Session House A
Histories 1: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 1

Secondary Readings:

Travis 2000.330-359

Discussion Team:

John Mazis
Georgene Montgomery
Patrick Wadden

3:30-4:00 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00-5:30 p.m. Fourth Session House A
Histories 2: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 2

Secondary Readings:

Lloyd 2002.415-436

Discussion Team:

Matthew Bloom
Jonathan Loopstra
Andrew Thomas

Evening You will have access to the facilities of the CHS for work in the evenings, if you wish. You are free to make your own arrangements for dinner tonight and Thursday evening. The Council of Independent Colleges will reimburse you for your dinner expenses. You should keep receipts, which you will turn in with an expense report at the conclusion of the seminar.
Wednesday, July 27
8:00-9:00 a.m. Breakfast Downstairs dining room
9:00-10:30 a.m. First Session House A
Histories 2: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 2

Secondary Readings:

Lloyd 2002.415-436

Discussion Team:

Debra Beilke
Matthew Klemm
Georgene Montgomery

10:30-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Second Session House A
Histories 3: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 3

Secondary Readings:

Nagy 1990.274-313 [PDF]

Discussion Team:

Matthew Bloom
Bethany Hicok
Jonathan Loopstra

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Lunch Downstairs dining room
2:00-3:30 p.m. Third Session House A
Histories 3: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 3

Secondary Readings:

Nagy 1990.274-313 [PDF]

Discussion Team:

Christine McCann
Andrew Thomas
Lisa Wilkinson

3:30-4:00 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00-5:30 p.m. Fourth Session House A
Histories 4: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 4

Secondary Readings:

Hartog 1988.112-172

Discussion Team:

Teresa Gilliams
Jodie Mader
Arthur Vanden Houten

6:30-9:00 p.m. Dinner & Film
House A
Herodotus in Film

Note: on Wednesday and Friday evenings after dinner we will gather to view filmic versions of material from Herodotus. These sessions are strictly optional.

The selection for this evening will be “The English Patient” (1996) directed by Anthony Minghella, based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje. This film won 9 Oscars including those for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Juliette Binoche), Best Director, and Best Picture. See Janet Maslin’s review in the New York Times (November 15, 1996). You might find the following articles of interest as well:

Bermann, Richard A. 1934. Historic Problems of the Libyan Desert. The Geographical Journal 83:456-463. [PDF]

Provencal, Vernon. 2003. The PseudoHerodotean Origins of The English Patient. English Studies of Canada 29:139-165. [PDF]

Thursday, July 28
8:00-9:00 a.m. Breakfast Downstairs dining room
9:00-10:30 a.m. First Session House A
Histories 4: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 4

Secondary Readings:

Hartog 1988.112-172

Discussion Team:

Jonathan Good
John Mazis
Patrick Wadden

10:30-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Second Session House A
Histories 5: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 5

Secondary Readings:

Irwin 2007.41-87

Discussion Team:

Bethany Hicok
Christine McCann
Lisa Wilkinson

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Lunch Downstairs dining room
2:00-3:30 p.m. Third Session House A
Histories 5: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 5

Secondary Readings:

Irwin 2007.41-87

Discussion Team:

Charles Hotle
Stephen Mead
Mainhia Moua & Camila Zimmerman

3:30-4:00 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00-5:30 p.m. Fourth Session House A
Histories 6: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 6

Secondary Readings:

Nagy 1990.314-338

Discussion Team:

Teresa Gilliams
Arthur Vanden Houten
Jodie Mader

Evening Make your own arrangements for dinner. The Council of Independent Colleges will reimburse you for your dinner expenses, so be sure to should keep receipts, which you will turn in with an expense report at the conclusion of the seminar.
Friday, July 29
8:00-9:00 a.m. Breakfast Downstairs dining room
9:00-10:30 a.m. First Session House A
Histories 6: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 6

Secondary Readings:

Nagy 1990.314-338

Discussion Team:

Stephen Mead
Charles Hotle
Mainhia Moua & Camila Zimmerman

10:30-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Second Session House A
Histories 7: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 7

Secondary Readings:

Christ 1994.167-202

Discussion Team:

Debra Beilke
John Mazis
Matthew Bloom

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Lunch Downstairs dining room
2:00-3:30 p.m. Third Session House A
Histories 7: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 7

Secondary Readings:

Christ 1994.167-202

Discussion Team:

Christine McCann
Teresa Gilliams
Stephen Mead

3:30-4:00 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00-5:30 p.m. Fourth Session House A
Histories 8: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 8

Secondary Readings:

Hornblower 2003.37-57

Discussion Team:

Jonathan Good
Georgene Montgomery
Bethany Hicok

6:30-9:00 p.m. Dinner & Film
House A
Herodotus in Film

The selection TBA.

Saturday, July 30
8:00-9:00 a.m. Breakfast Downstairs dining room
9:00-10:30 a.m. First Session House A
Histories 8: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 8

Secondary Readings:

Hornblower 2003.37-57

Discussion Team:

Andrew Thomas
Charles Hotle
Arthur Vanden Houten

10:30-11:00 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Second Session House A
Histories 9: Part 1

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 9

Secondary Readings:

Nagy 1990.274-313

Discussion Team:

Matthew Klemm
Patrick Wadden
Jonathan Loopstra

12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Lunch Downstairs dining room
2:00-3:30 p.m. Third Session House A
Histories 9: Part 2

Primary Readings:

Herodotus, Histories 9

Secondary Readings:

Nagy 1990.274-313

Discussion Team:

Lisa Wilkinson
Jodie Mader
Mainhia Moua & Camila Zimmerman

3:30-4:00 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00-5:30 p.m. Fourth Session House A
Recap and Evaluation
6:30-8:00 p.m. Dinner Downstairs Dining Room