What does an historian do? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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What does an historian do?

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What does an historian do?
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What does an historian do?

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  1. What does an historian do?

  2. Definition • What is history? • History is … • Herodotus’ Histories and historie

  3. Tools: Primary sources – texts and archaeological remains • The written word: Alphabets (abecedarium) and dialects • The “stuff” of philologists: texts • Historical • Poetic • Epic • Lyric – odes and hymns • Epinician – victory poems • Dramatic – tragedies and comedies • Private: curses, epitaphs, contracts • Public: laws (codes), treaties, decrees, dedications, inventories, voting tickets • Archaeological remains: non-written materials

  4. Tools: Primary sources – media • Papyrus • Parchment and the manuscript tradition • Stone • Metal • Perishable materials

  5. Methodology: ancient • Ancients and moderns do not use the same approach • Cause and effect was not applied systematically • “Great deeds by great men” the norm • Ancient historians focused on values and morals, politics and the affairs of the citizen

  6. Methodology: modern • Don’t reinvent the wheel: secondary sources, or scholarship • Ask questions • Interrogate evidence • Analyze evidence • Postulate solutions • Test solutions • Share with intellectual community and receive feedback and critiques • Use comparative data and studies

  7. Epigraphy: inscriptions • Definition and locales (ubiquitous!) • Ancient use: curses, epitaphs, contracts, laws, treaties, decrees, dedications, inventories, manumissions • Modern purpose: read and interpret • Challenges: not all extant; capital letters, almost no punctuation or word breaks • Analogy: unfinished crossword puzzle • White spaces = missing letters • Clues = knowledge

  8. The epigrapher’s skill set • Linguistics • Cultural content • Stylistic formulae • Dialectal differences • Alphabetical variations • Difference between error and new knowledge • Understanding of the stonemason’s craft • Patience!

  9. The epigrapher’s toolbox • Photographs, photographic equipment • Raking light • Magnifying glass • Rulers, measuring tapes, calipers • Eyes and fingers • Recording equipment: notebook, computer, PDA • Squeeze paper, water and brush

  10. A modern example Restore this text!