The Arabian Seas: The Indian Ocean World of the Seventeenth Century (review)

The Arabian Seas: The Indian Ocean World of the Seventeenth Century (review) nations as an object of philological and, later, historical, study. A reliance on Tacitus's Germania as a historiographical model produced problems from the start, according to Geary, because Tacitus relied less on Herodotus (whom Geary sees as a "pre-Orientalist" [p. 47] in his "value-neutral approach to the customs and peoples he observed" [p. 46]) than on Pliny the Elder and the subsequent Christian historiographical tradition that originated with Augustine and Jerome. It is Herodotus's identification of peoples and tribes based on fluid geographic and cultural distinctions subject to change over time that Geary praises over Pliny's insistence that peoples possessed eternal, essentially distinguishing characteristics. As well, Geary usefully provides a survey of the breakup of the Roman empire, arguing that this event as crucial to nationalist claims of primary acquisition. Again, he reiterates that historiography is at fault here, especially a narrative historiography that makes the continuity of an ethnic continuity its major theme. As a corrective, Geary disrupts this continuity by demonstrating the fluid nature both of peoples and the geographic territories they occupied. Rather than any real continuous link with the past, Geary posits a nominal one in which, despite "the constant shifting of allegiances, intermarriages, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of World History University of Hawai'I Press

The Arabian Seas: The Indian Ocean World of the Seventeenth Century (review)

Journal of World History, Volume 15 (2)

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-8050
Publisher site
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Abstract

nations as an object of philological and, later, historical, study. A reliance on Tacitus's Germania as a historiographical model produced problems from the start, according to Geary, because Tacitus relied less on Herodotus (whom Geary sees as a "pre-Orientalist" [p. 47] in his "value-neutral approach to the customs and peoples he observed" [p. 46]) than on Pliny the Elder and the subsequent Christian historiographical tradition that originated with Augustine and Jerome. It is Herodotus's identification of peoples and tribes based on fluid geographic and cultural distinctions subject to change over time that Geary praises over Pliny's insistence that peoples possessed eternal, essentially distinguishing characteristics. As well, Geary usefully provides a survey of the breakup of the Roman empire, arguing that this event as crucial to nationalist claims of primary acquisition. Again, he reiterates that historiography is at fault here, especially a narrative historiography that makes the continuity of an ethnic continuity its major theme. As a corrective, Geary disrupts this continuity by demonstrating the fluid nature both of peoples and the geographic territories they occupied. Rather than any real continuous link with the past, Geary posits a nominal one in which, despite "the constant shifting of allegiances, intermarriages,

Journal

Journal of World HistoryUniversity of Hawai'I Press

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