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Herodotus and Sima Qian: The First Great Historians of Greece and China

A Brief History with Documents

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Bedford

Pages: 208
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Paperback - 9780312416492

08 September 2009

€35.99

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In this accessible volume, Thomas R. Martin compares the writings of Herodotus in ancient Greece with those of Sima Qian in ancient China to demonstrate the hallmarks of early history writing. While these authors lived in...

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In this accessible volume, Thomas R. Martin compares the writings of Herodotus in ancient Greece with those of Sima Qian in ancient China to demonstrate the hallmarks of early history writing. While these authors lived in different centuries and were not aware of each other’s works, Martin shows the similar struggles that each grappled with in preparing their historical accounts and how their efforts helped invent modern notions of history writing and the job of the historian.

The introduction’s cross-cultural analysis includes a biography of each author, illustrating the setting and times in which he worked, as well as a discussion of how each man introduced interpretation and moral judgment into his writing. The accompanying documents include excerpts from Herodotus’ The Histories and Sima Qian’s Shiji, which illustrate their approach to history writing and their understanding of their own cultures.

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  • Brings together excerpts from two ancient historians to help students draw comparisons between early history writing

  • Places each ancient historian within their own cultural context and discusses their specific approaches and agendas

  • Cross-cultural analysis encourages students to think synoptically about the past and ways of writing the past, questions to consider, and a selected bibliography offer students additional pedagogical support

  • Written by an expert in the field?

PART I: INTRODUCTION: Inventing History Writing in Greece and China
PART II: THE DOCUMENTS
Herodotus, The Histories
How Asia and Europe Became Enemies: The Story of Croesus
How Others Live: The Customs of the Persians, Egyptians, Massagetai, and Scythians
Roping Asia to Europe: The Persian Invasion of Greece
Death before Dishonor: The Battle of Thermopylae and the Story of the Three Hundred
Human Wisdom and Divine Vengeance: Artemisia's Advice and Hermotimus's Revenge
Ending Stories: Cruelty and Revenge on Both Sides
Sima Qian, The Records of the Historian
Castration as the Price of Writing History: Sima Qian's Autobiographical Letter to Ren An
The First Emperor of China: The Basic Annals of the Qin Dynasty
Born from a Dragon: The Origins of Gaozu, founder of the Former Han Dynasty
A Woman in Power: Empress Lü
Heroic Hermits: The Biographies of Bo Yi and Shu Qi
Arts of War: The Biographies of Sun Wu and Sun Bin
Imperial Assassin: The Biography of Jing Ke
How Others Live: The Customs of the Xiongnu.

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THOMAS R. MARTIN (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Jeremiah O'Connor Professor in Classics at the College of the Holy Cross, UK. He is the author of Sovereignty and Coinage in Classical Greece (1985) and Ancient Greece (2000), and he is a co-author of The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (2009). He is also one of the originators of Perseus: Interactive Sources and Studies on Ancient Greece (www.perseus.tufts.edu).

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THOMAS R. MARTIN (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Jeremiah O'Connor Professor in Classics at the College of the Holy Cross, UK. He is the author of Sovereignty and Coinage in Classical Greece (1985) and Ancient Greece (2000), and he is a co-author of The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (2009). He is also one of the originators of Perseus: Interactive Sources and Studies on Ancient Greece (www.perseus.tufts.edu).

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