Inscriptions in Historiography and Historiography in Inscriptions. Two Sides of the Same Coin: History
King’s College London, 28th September 2018
Organisers: Steven Cosnett, Dr Giulia Donelli, Federica Scicolone
How reliable are literary quotations of inscribed texts? Why are they included in, or excluded from, historiographical narratives? Conversely, how reliable are inscriptional accounts of historical events? The issue of the relationship between epigraphic and literary texts has recently been brought into sharp relief by the publication of an inscribed dedication from the sanctuary of Apollo Ismenios at Thebes (Papazarkadas 2014: 233-48) and ensuing debate over the light it casts on Herodotus’ use of inscriptional sources (see e.g. Thonemann 2016).
Ancient literary authors, from the fifth century B.C. onwards and across different literary genres, cite or refer to inscriptions for reasons ranging from the creation or reinforcement of authorial authority, to the conjuring of notions about identity, power, or morality, to the underscoring of points of historical detail (Liddel-Low 2013: 14). Working in the other direction, fragmentary epigraphic evidence has, on occasion, been restored using literary descriptions of their texts and physical forms (Meiggs and Lewis, GHI 15, cf. Hdt. 5.77). Moreover, just as inscriptions figure in historiography, historiography figures in inscriptions: examples such as the Parian Marble or the Salmacis Epigram (Isager 1998) constitute an alternative, competing medium to literary historiography for the making of history. More broadly, the question of the relationship between literary and inscriptional accounts of historical events ties in with larger topical themes such as the history of information, the shaping and textualization of cultural memory through different media of communication, and the self-representation of communities through the monumentalization of the written word.
We invite contributions from Postgraduate Students and Early Career Researchers for 30 minutes papers exploring the interplay between epigraphy and historiography. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- The correspondence, and lack thereof, of literary and inscribed historical evidence;
- The interaction between the visual and the verbal dimension of historical evidence in inscribed and literary texts;
- The restoration of fragmentary epigraphic evidence thanks to literary texts, or of the historical context of literary texts thanks to inscriptions;
- The exploitation of inscriptions in historiographical literary texts, and of historiographical literary texts or authors in inscriptions.
Confirmed keynote speaker will be Dr Paola Ceccarelli (University College London).
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to kclhistoryworkshop2018@gmai