History and text: Two Kinds of Ancient History
journal contributionposted on 02.05.2020 by Michael C. Alexander
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
A dichotomy exists between one kind of ancient history that uses texts in order to understand history (“ancient history/conventional”), and one kind that uses history (that is, “what happened”) in order to understand a text (“ancient history/classical.”) “Text” should be understood to include not just literary texts, but also documentary texts and material remains. The cause of the distinction between the two kinds of ancient history is disciplinary, relating to the differences between the disciplines of history and classics. Like other classicists, ancient historians/classical focus on the explanation of texts; like other historians, ancient historians/conventional focus on “what happened.”