Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
  • Time Travel Rome

spittle

Before The Republic?

Recommended Posts

I think that's the way to go, though. I read the account of Josephus on the Siege of Masada. Long winded, lofty words. It was kind of dull. Take note the leader of the resistance was Eleazar. Josephus really doesn't describe him at all. Modern interpreters collect from many sources and package it all into one bundle. Watching a history channel documentary I got the bio of Josephus, Eleazar, Silva, with Josphuses' story and doubts on certain aspects of it. I am also using the backward technique.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With respect to Gaius Octavius, I cannot see how a retrogressive approach (to virtually ANY historical subject) is wrong.

 

On the years I spent researching Organised Crime it was the only way of excluding urban myths and journalistic fictions that have become legendary or accepted. First by recognizing the source of these untruths, then by finding the reasons for there inception.

It was a very effective method.

 

PLUS. Contemporary sources tended to be propagandist and partisan. After a few millenia modern authors tend to be less bothered about such things as flattering Pompey (Or Caesar) due to side-taking.

 

And finally. many of the "Primary Sources" were written decades or even centuries after the events! In two thousand years maybe the history paper I wrote on William of Orange (1688) may be considered primary but its not really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With respect to Gaius Octavius, I cannot see how a retrogressive approach (to virtually ANY historical subject) is wrong.

 

On the years I spent researching Organised Crime it was the only way of excluding urban myths and journalistic fictions that have become legendary or accepted. First by recognizing the source of these untruths, then by finding the reasons for there inception.

It was a very effective method.

 

PLUS. Contemporary sources tended to be propagandist and partisan. After a few millenia modern authors tend to be less bothered about such things as flattering Pompey (Or Caesar) due to side-taking.

 

And finally. many of the "Primary Sources" were written decades or even centuries after the events! In two thousand years maybe the history paper I wrote on William of Orange (1688) may be considered primary but its not really.

 

You make good points, but you must consider that every modern account of ancient events is based on various interpretations of the ancient sources. Without them, modern historical works would be little more than guesswork. Because these accounts exist we can attempt to filter through the propoganda , bias and sometimes lack of scholarly approach, otherwise we would be left with inscriptions and busts as our sole sources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With respect to Gaius Octavius, I cannot see how a retrogressive approach (to virtually ANY historical subject) is wrong.

 

I was neither trying to insult you nor demean your efforts. What I was trying to get at, was that you are missing the color that a Livius provides.

 

You may be correct in what you say of modern authors, yet they have been known to foul up matters.

 

The modern translators of the ancient writers are not at all hard to read.

Edited by Gaius Octavius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took neither insult or demeanor from your comments. I enjoy the discussion.

 

QUOTE FROM PRIMUS PILATE

"You make good points, but you must consider that every modern account of ancient events is based on various interpretations of the ancient sources. Without them, modern historical works would be little more than guesswork. Because these accounts exist we can attempt to filter through the propoganda , bias and sometimes lack of scholarly approach, otherwise we would be left with inscriptions and busts as our sole sources." (I don't know how to use the quote thing).

 

Without first reading modern scholars accounts how would I know the reasons for bias that flavoured the contemporary accounts?

Edited by spittle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Without first reading modern scholars accounts how would I know the reasons for bias that flavoured the contemporary accounts?

 

One doesn't need to read a modern account to understand various human relationships, socio-political affairs, etc. to understand potential biases in the ancient writing. For example, you can easily understand that Caesar has very particular motivations in his accounting of the Gallic War and the Civil War without reading Tom Holland.

 

Regardless, I don't mean to go in circles over this. There's certainly nothing wrong with modern accounts... hell this very site is, for the most part, my own interpretation of ancient accounts... I just hope that everyone with an interest in ancient history eventually goes directly to the ancient sources themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Without first reading modern scholars accounts how would I know the reasons for bias that flavoured the contemporary accounts?

 

 

How does anyone know that modern scholar's writings are true? Many have been gainsaid by later writers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without first reading modern scholars accounts how would I know the reasons for bias that flavoured the contemporary accounts?

How does anyone know that modern scholar's writings are true? Many have been gainsaid by later writers.

Ancient history is a reconstruction from limited evidence. How does one know which reconstruction is true? The same you know whether any reconstruction in any domain is true--through a combination of logic and evidence. Whether later writers gainsay old accounts is meaningless in comparison to the evidence and logical analysis that later writers provide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ancient history is a reconstruction from limited evidence. How does one know which reconstruction is true? The same you know whether any reconstruction in any domain is true--through a combination of logic and evidence. Whether later writers gainsay old accounts is meaningless in comparison to the evidence and logical analysis that later writers provide.

 

Agreed - mostly.

As a last comment, I would like to know if the reader may be certain that the writer has not 'cherry picked' his evidence due to his possible biases or ignorance? Then there is the matter of which form of logic the author uses. For example: Circular logic? Ill-logic? I hope that I don't have this one wrong: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

 

Dixi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the term "Fuzzy Logic."

 

Without first reading modern scholars accounts how would I know the reasons for bias that flavoured the contemporary accounts?

 

Nobody caught this... contemporary = modern. :D

 

I must add that reading the modern accounts also is great for getting aquainted with a topic. Better to familiarize yourself with a summary than to delve into some book written in haughty inglish. It can be done, but it's easier on us young'ns

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nobody caught this... contemporary = modern. :D

 

A fairly common misconception because everything that happens now is contemporary for us. Since contemporary = at the time the events occurred, in this case, the original context is correct and the ancient writers (rather than modern) are contemporary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Then there is the matter of which form of logic the author uses. For example: Circular logic? Ill-logic?

 

To say that ill-logic is a species of logic implies that existence is a category, but this implication fails for a number of reasons (Kant pointed out several). Anyway, it's just weird to say that non-Gaius is a kind of Gaius; it makes me want to whack the speaker over the head with a non-fish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then there is the matter of which form of logic the author uses. For example: Circular logic? Ill-logic?

 

To say that ill-logic is a species of logic implies that existence is a category, but this implication fails for a number of reasons (Kant pointed out several). Anyway, it's just weird to say that non-Gaius is a kind of Gaius; it makes me want to whack the speaker over the head with a non-fish.

 

Ill-logic = sick logic? Oh, let us say, something like bad or poor or 'fuzzy' logic. (I am sorely tempted; but I won't.) Rather than illlogic.

 

Always loved Kant. Never understood a word. Fun reading.

 

If Cato wishes to whack the non-Gaius on the Headquarters with a non-fish, have at it. The non-Gaius will then stick a non-fish up his jammies!

:D

Edited by Gaius Octavius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have just ordered the above suggested book from Amazon and I'll post my opinions.

 

Another title that seems to deal with this era is "A Critical History of early Rome: From Pre-History to the First Punic War" By Gary Forsythe.

 

Maybe a concise and catalogued bibliography would be a helpful edition to this site?

 

If you've ordered the Cornell book you'll really want to read "A Critical History of Early Rome..." by Gary Forsythe. I'm halfway through it and the author takes Cornell to task on his liberal acceptance of Roman sources. He's extremely critical of Livy of course but also of most of Roman's view of their own beginnings as a Republic. He lays out some persuasive arguments about the nature of the struggle of the orders, the early interactions between the Etruscans and Rome as well as the beginnings of the patrician/plebian split. While I'm not convinced he's completely correct in his arguments I admire his no-nonsense process of critically approaching the subject matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×