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Science in the ArchivesPasts, Presents, Futures$
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Lorraine Daston

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226432229

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226432533.001.0001

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Ancient History in the Age of Archival Research

Ancient History in the Age of Archival Research

Chapter:
(p.137) Five Ancient History in the Age of Archival Research
Source:
Science in the Archives
Author(s):

Suzanne Marchand

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226432533.003.0005

This essay traces the impact of the rise of modern source criticism, Quellenkritik, on the credibility of ancient history in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It argues that through-going, historicized source criticism had a corrosive effect on ancient history in particular, calling into question the veracity of previously admired ancient writers such and Thucydides and especially Herodotus. In an age, also, of greater and greater scholarly specialization, older forms of ‘universal history’ became increasingly suspect, and writers began to focus on individual, national trajectories. It was against this background that Leopold von Ranke and other nineteenth-century would-be authors of ‘scientific’ history made the use of archives—for which ancient historians had no real equivalent—the foundation of their scholarly authority. Since that time, modern and ancient historians have largely parted methodological ways—to the detriment, it is argued, of both.

Keywords:   ancient history, source criticism, history of historiography, Quellenkritik, history of historiography, Leopold von Ranke, Historicism, George Grote

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