The Art of Biography in Antiquity
"Memoir, encomium, romance In diesem Sinne ist der ideale, ja der postexistente Sokrates der reale, und der Sokrates samt seiner Xanthippe, den etwa die photographis-che Kleinkunst zeigen konnte, ist bedeutungslos, jaim hoheren Sinne unwirklich. Adolf von Harnack 1.1 glimpses of a prehistory The single most important force for the emergence of Greek biography in the fourth century BC, it has been convincingly argued, was the personal and historical impact of the figure of Socrates, as reconstructed or invented by the Socratic writers.1 But the one individual writer -- the creative mind -- to whom Greek biography owes most is no doubt Xenophon of Athens (ca. 430--ca. 354 bc), who wrote not only a memoir of Socrates, but also a prose encomium of the Spartan king Agesilaus and a romantic Life of the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great.2 Each of his three works displays a distinct biographical strategy: the privileged viewpoint at work in the Memorabilia, the novel literary structure of the Agesilaus, and the imaginative mixture of fact and fiction in the Cyropaedia. Xenophon accordingly provides three different literary models for future life-writers to merge and develop. Now, interest in the character, acts, and lifespan of an important individual was of course not unknown in Greek society before the fourth century. Speculation about the identity of Homer, his birthplace, travels, and death, began early, as the many references show that we find scattered in poetry, drama, and early prose. The corresponding legends of Hesiod's life had a starting-point in first person statements in his own poems, those of Archilochus perhaps also in local tradition on his native island of Paros. Solon and Simonides are further, not so distant, figures who attracted early"-- Provided by publisher.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Prolegomena on biography modern and ancient
chapter 1 In the beginning was Xenophon
chapter 2 Hellenistic theory and practice
chapter 3 Popular heroes
chapter 4 The gospels
chapter 5 Political biography at Rome
chapter 6 Plutarch and his Parallel Lives
Aesop Agesilaus Agricola Alexander Alexander’s ancient biography anecdotes Antigonus Apollonius appearance Aristoxenus Athens Atticus Augustus beginning birth Caesar century character characterization childhood Christian chronological Cicero collection contemporary critical edition Cyropaedia Cyrus death deeds Demonax Demosthenes detailed Dihle Diogenes Laertius discussion earlier emperor encomiastic encomium English translation Eunapius Euripides Evagoras fact father FGrHist fragments genre gospels Greek Hellenistic Hermippus hero hero’s historian historical Homer Iamblichus ideal Isocrates Jesus kaª kind king literary Lucian Luke modern Momigliano mother narrative narrator Nepos Nero Nero’s Nicolaus ofAesop ofJesus ofthe Parallel Lives Peregrinus philosophical Philostratus Plato Plotinus Plutarch poets political Porphyry Porphyry’s praise present proem Pythagoras Pythagorean quotations quoted readers recent reference rhetorical Roman Rome Satyrus says scene scholarly Socrates sophist sources speech Stadter story structure style Suetonius Tacitus told topic tradition typical words writing Xanthus Xenophon