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Satire and Historiography

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The Reception of Classical Models and the Construction of the Author’s Persona in Lucian’s De historia conscribenda

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This paper examines the reception of classical historiography in Lucian’s De historia conscribenda by suggesting that classical historians constitute a vehicle through which the author constructs his own persona; while presenting the rules of historiography, Lucian often equates himself to the classical historians. After offering a brief outline of the relevant vocabulary, expressions and allusions, I argue that Lucian’s exploitation of classical historiography does not aim merely at aesthetic imitation or parody, but serves a deeper function: Lucian wishes to establish a connection between the act (traits, process) and the theory of history writing and uses the former in order to legitimize the latter. Furthermore, his adaptation of classical historians (especially Thucydides) has a self-referential aspect, since the ideal historian should possess the qualities of the competent orator that Lucian himself represents. I interpret these traits of Lucian’s treatise by taking into account the cultural context of the second sophistic, as well as Lucian’s thematic interests and priorities.

Affiliations: 1: University of Crete, Dept. of Philology


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