Intertext and allusion in Herodotus' Histories: authority, proof, polemic

Haywood, Jan Liam Thomas
Intertext and allusion in Herodotus' Histories: authority, proof, polemic. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This study considers anew the central question of Herodotus’ relationship with literary and textual sources. It examines how Herodotus comes to define his own work in a context where many artists (both narrative and visual) are seeking to accumulate, delineate, and ultimately dictate cultural memory. Rather than applying traditional Quellenforschung, my analysis centres on examining significant intertextual and allusive relationships in his work. In each chapter, I address the nature of Herodotus’ engagement with certain textual rivals/genres, namely early prose writers, inscriptions, poets (expecially Homer, Simonides, Aeschylus, Sophocles), and oracles. From this emerges a highly nuanced engagement with myriad texts in the Histories (principally: as authoritative voices; as persuasive evidence; and as voices for disputation). Such engagement furnishes considerable authority for the writer of the Histories, to the extent that he provides a superior view of the past, compared to the more limited, partisan perspectives offered by his textual rivals. My study reinforces the salient point that Herodotus is no historian in any modern sense of the word; his interaction with other literary traditions does not appear in a way that is expected of an academic monograph. Nevertheless the evidence for his engagement with a wide and diverse group of texts—both contemporary and non-contemporary—clearly militates against the consensual view that Herodotus was working with predominantly unfixed, oral traditions. Indeed, through this interplay with other literary works Herodotus most clearly defines for the reader his own unique intellectual achievement: the invention of historiography.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2013-04 (completed)
Subjects: ?? PA ??
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2014 11:20
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:39
DOI: 10.17638/00012277
  • Harrison, Thomas
  • Oliver, Graham