Universität Erfurt

Antike Kultur

Sose 2011 Other Worlds

“Other Worlds” in Greek histories of the 1st centuries BC and AD


Diodorus of Agyrium, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Strabo of Amasia were Greek historians writing in the Roman Empires of Julius Caesar and Augustus. In their historiographical works they describe “other worlds” in space and time which can be understood as a key to their contemporary readership’s interests and biases.

Diodorus’ universal history in 40 books begins with the mythic history of the non-Greek and Greek tribes to the destruction of Troy, describing the history and culture of Ancient Egypt (I), of Mesopotamia, India, Scythia, and Arabia (II), of North Africa (III), and of Greece and Europe (IV–VI). Only the later books deal with the history of the world from the Trojan War to the time of Julius Caesar (VII-XL).

Likewise, Dionysius covers events from the mythical period to the beginning of the First Punic War, focussing on the Romans, and describing the “other world” of the (Greek) origins of Rome.

Strabo, whose lost Historical Work appears to have begun with the Roman conquest of Greece, makes “Other Worlds” his main theme in his massive Geography in 17 books.

In the seminar, we shall look at relevant passages to explore how Greek historians in the age of Julius Caesar and Augustus aimed to understand, and explain, the “other” - that is Roman - world they were part of. The course will be taught in English. Greek texts will be provided. To register, and to find a suitable time, please email Kai.Brodersen@uni-erfurt.de .

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