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Stories told in lists: formulaic genealogies as intentional histories

Stories told in lists: formulaic genealogies as intentional histories Scholarship has often assigned genealogy a particular, formative role in the development of Greek historiography as chronological impetus, example, or tool which organized information by generation and therefore time. This paper argues against the genealogical origins of chronology and posits that genealogical thinking was a way of connecting things, people, and places causally and aetiologically, not chronologically. Although genealogies do imply the passage of time through recounting passing generations, early Greek genealogies do not do so in ways that easily inspire chronological systems or synchronization. The incomplete, mythical, and story-telling character of early Greek genealogy point to its importance to thinking and writing about the past as a biological or kinship model. The few extant formulaic genealogical lists tell stories, in which chronological and genealogical thinking blend. Even at their most formulaic, genealogies were intentional histories providing not chronological order, but aetiological and causal connections expressed through descent. Keywords: Genealogy, Chronology, Greek Historiography, Lists, Intentional History I Introduction A dominant narrative of the development of Greek historiography assigns genealogy a particular, formative role as an important precursor to historiography: because genealogies presented generations over time, they provided a chronological impetus, example, or tool for organizing information by passing http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ancient History de Gruyter

Stories told in lists: formulaic genealogies as intentional histories

Journal of Ancient History , Volume 3 (2) – Dec 1, 2015

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by the
ISSN
2324-8106
eISSN
2324-8114
DOI
10.1515/jah-2015-0014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Scholarship has often assigned genealogy a particular, formative role in the development of Greek historiography as chronological impetus, example, or tool which organized information by generation and therefore time. This paper argues against the genealogical origins of chronology and posits that genealogical thinking was a way of connecting things, people, and places causally and aetiologically, not chronologically. Although genealogies do imply the passage of time through recounting passing generations, early Greek genealogies do not do so in ways that easily inspire chronological systems or synchronization. The incomplete, mythical, and story-telling character of early Greek genealogy point to its importance to thinking and writing about the past as a biological or kinship model. The few extant formulaic genealogical lists tell stories, in which chronological and genealogical thinking blend. Even at their most formulaic, genealogies were intentional histories providing not chronological order, but aetiological and causal connections expressed through descent. Keywords: Genealogy, Chronology, Greek Historiography, Lists, Intentional History I Introduction A dominant narrative of the development of Greek historiography assigns genealogy a particular, formative role as an important precursor to historiography: because genealogies presented generations over time, they provided a chronological impetus, example, or tool for organizing information by passing

Journal

Journal of Ancient Historyde Gruyter

Published: Dec 1, 2015

References