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Ancient World Seminar: Irene de Jong (Amsterdam), "The ‘beginning of evils’ in Herodotus Histories"

Wanneer:di 18-06-2019 16:15 - 17:30
Waar:Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (Oude Boteringestraat 38), Court Room
Lecture Irene de Jong
Lecture Irene de Jong


Beginnings are an important topic in the Histories: starting with the Persian logioi in book 1, historical characters discuss, problematize and exploit the topic of ‘who began’ a conflict. The Herodotean narrator himself in 5.28 and 97 uses Homeric language to mark emphatically the start of the Ionian revolt and the Athenian involvement in it. This interest need not surprise, seeing that already in Homer Paris’ beginning of evil (by abducting Helen) is thematised and that from Roman law onwards acts can officially qualify as a ‘casus belli’ or justification to start a war. In my talk I will discuss the various passages dealing with the beginning of a conflict in the Histories, by way of illustration of the narratological commentary on Herodotus on which I am currently working.

About the speaker

Irene J.F. de Jong is professor of Ancient Greek at the University of Amsterdam. She is a specialist of Homer, Herodotus, and ancient narrative in general. She is the editor of a multi-volume history of ancient Greek narrative of which four volumes, on Narrators, narratees, and narratives, Time, Space, and (edited by E. van Emde Boas and K. de Temmerman) Characterization, have appeared so far. Her publications include Narrators and Focalizers. The Presentation of the Story in the Iliad (Amsterdam 1987, reprinted London 2004), A narratological commentary on the Odyssey (Cambridge 2001), Homer Iliad Book XXII (Cambridge 2012), and Narratology and Classics. A Practical Guide (Oxford 2014), recently translated as Narratologia dei classici: Teoria e prassi narratologiche applicate agli autori greci e latini, Roma 2017.