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View Poll Results: Was there a "Decline & Fall" of the Classical Historian in the 4th century?
NO 6 46.15%
YES 7 53.85%
OTHER 0 0%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 7th, 2016, 09:44 AM   #31

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
Political and military history seem to have been important for the narratives of classical historians. Religion obviously had its traditional and collegiate place in society in war and peace. I wouldn't think they were equivalent but they fit together in various ways. History is primary written by the victors unless, as in the case of history of the colonisation of the US, Australia and other places, the colonial history undergoes a form of revisionism to include the military and cultural resistance by the indigenous people against the invading colonists.

FWIW I so see "Ecclesiastical Histories" as analogous to the earlier colonial histories of recent empires. They are one sided.
So ALL history is one sided - ecclesiastical or otherwise.


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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
For the purposes of the OP I have defined it as that which is attributed to those historians who wrote histories between the 5th century BCE until the 4th century and the history of Ammianus. Around about the same time as the Historia Augusta was assembled.
But you keep failing to disclose what you, or anyone, think that attribution is. You haven't 'defined' what a classical historian is, only given a list of those that others have already defined as classical historians for you.

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
Can you suggest a convenient summary of the style(s) employed by these historians?
I asked first, so it would be nice if you could give us your knowledge on what the classical historian is defined by, since you started this thread. Otherwise I feel this is just a cut a paste job of a few quotes that you don't fully understand.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 09:56 AM   #32

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
(1)

Momigliano wrote that:
... the pagan historians of the fourth century were not really going to die. They were only going to sleep for some centuries. They belonged to that classical tradition in historiography for which ecclesiastical history, whatever its merits, was no substitute.
My opinion reflects this. Ecclesiastical history was, and still is, no substitute for the classical tradition in historiography. This is obviously independent of whatever definitions of "style" each of us may wish to attribute to the classical tradition. Does anyone disagree with any of this?
There hasn't been any definition of the classical 'style' whatsoever, so any discussion on whether the ecclesiastical style was a substitute for it or not is a no starter.

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Originally Posted by Kookaburra Jack View Post
(2)

Further, also following the above author "I am rather impervious to any claim that sacred history poses problems which are not those of profane history." It follows that, in the sense of scope, that church history is like some specialised form of a subset of the general field (or superset) of profane history. I believe that this is part of the reason that the author refers to the "Eccesiastical Historians" as the "insiders" and the classical historians as the "outsiders".
Principles of Historical research need not be different
from criteria of common sense. And common sense teaches
us that outsiders must not tell insiders what they should
do. I shall therefore not discuss directly what biblical
scholars are doing. They are the insiders.

[References at post #6]
Is there anyone in this forum who has any difficulty accepting these remarks?
Momigliano was actually talking about the method of classical vs the method of biblical scholars. And he is talking about 19/20th Century scholars, not about 4th/5th Century historians (I hope you are aware of this distinction in the works you are quoting).

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(3)

A question:

In what sense are Ammianus and Procopius commonly held to be the last major historians of the ?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procopius

Procopius belongs to the school of late antique secular historians who continued the traditions of the Second Sophistic; they wrote in Attic Greek, their models were Herodotus, Polybius and especially Thucydides, and their subject matter was secular history. They avoided vocabulary unknown to Attic Greek and inserted an explanation when they had to use contemporary words. Thus Procopius explains to his readers that ekklesia, meaning a Christian church, is the equivalent of a temple or shrine and that monks are "the most temperate of Christians ... whom men are accustomed to call monks" (Wars 2.9.14; 1.7.22). In classical Athens, monks had been unknown and an ekklesia was the assembly of Athenian citizens that passed the laws.

The secular historians eschewed the history of the Christian church, which they left to ecclesiastical history—a genre that was founded by Eusebius of Caesarea. However, Averil Cameron has argued convincingly that Procopius' works reflect the tensions between the classical and Christian models of history in 6th century Byzantium. This is supported by Mary Whitby's analysis of Procopius' depiction of Constantinople and the Church of Hagia Sophia in comparison to contemporary pagan panegyrics (Buildings, Book I). Procopius can be seen as depicting Justinian as essentially God's Vicegerent, making the case for buildings being a primarily religious panegyric.[23]

Procopius indicated (Secret History 26.18) that he planned to write an ecclesiastical history himself and, if he had, he would probably have followed the rules of that genre. But, as far as it is known, the ecclesiastical history remained unwritten.

The clue is in the definitions you use (or have inherited from other writers) - 'ancient Western world' &'late antique secular historian'. At some point in chronology 'ancient' and 'late antique' have to be replaced by more modern terms. Therefore someone had to be at the point of being 'the last one'.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 01:05 AM   #33

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So ALL history is one sided - ecclesiastical or otherwise.
Yes that's true but IMO some histories are more one sided than others.



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But you keep failing to disclose what you, or anyone, think that attribution is. You haven't 'defined' what a classical historian is, only given a list of those that others have already defined as classical historians for you.



I asked first, so it would be nice if you could give us your knowledge on what the classical historian is defined by, since you started this thread. Otherwise I feel this is just a cut a paste job of a few quotes that you don't fully understand.
AFAIK the classical historian (of the Graeco-Roman world) is an historian writing from classical antiquity from deep BCE to late antiquity (4th to 7th centuries CE).

During late antiquity and the rise of the Roman Christian State a new type of historian entered the arena - the Ecclesiastical historian. During late antiquity certain historians focussed upon political, military and secular history while at the same time omitting any reporting of church history. These historians, such as Ammianus and Procopius, are considered as continuators of the classical tradition, whereas the ecclesiastic historians of late antiquity are not.

There appears to be a fall off of the classical historians in late antiquity and a glut of church historians. When we look at later historians, already mentioned in this thread from the middle ages, such as Bede etc, are we able to ask whether they are continuators of the classical historian or are they continuators of the ecclesiastical tradition.

How would that question be answered?
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Old December 8th, 2016, 01:44 AM   #34

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Momigliano was actually talking about the method of classical vs the method of biblical scholars. And he is talking about 19/20th Century scholars, not about 4th/5th Century historians (I hope you are aware of this distinction in the works you are quoting).
Yes I am aware that AM is referring to and categorising modern classical historians and biblical historians as the "outsiders" and the "insiders" respectively.


And because as you say he is referring to method, such a comparison IMO may also be applied to classical historians and biblical historians in any epoch.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 01:45 PM   #35

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AFAIK the classical historian (of the Graeco-Roman world) is an historian writing from classical antiquity from deep BCE to late antiquity (4th to 7th centuries CE).

During late antiquity and the rise of the Roman Christian State a new type of historian entered the arena - the Ecclesiastical historian. During late antiquity certain historians focussed upon political, military and secular history while at the same time omitting any reporting of church history. These historians, such as Ammianus and Procopius, are considered as continuators of the classical tradition, whereas the ecclesiastic historians of late antiquity are not.

There appears to be a fall off of the classical historians in late antiquity and a glut of church historians. When we look at later historians, already mentioned in this thread from the middle ages, such as Bede etc, are we able to ask whether they are continuators of the classical historian or are they continuators of the ecclesiastical tradition.

How would that question be answered?
You seem to be defining 'classical historian' as solely pagan. And claiming that ecclesiastical historian, since they are not pagan, can not be of the 'classical' tradition.

But bear in mind that the distinction between 'classical' and 'ecclesiastical' history was one made during the Enlightenment, when Greek thought was idealised as scientific and secular. You are perpetuating this outdated idea that anything 'classical' is, by its very nature of being 'classical' superior to all that came after.

You yourself are extremely vague about what is a recognisable 'classical tradition' - resorting only to a timeframe or a list of authors - rather than any over arching elements in method/research/presentation that give any clear definition or distinction.

To say that 'classical history' is what came before 'ecclesiastical history' is not a definition. It's no different than saying that 'B.C.' comes before 'A.D.', and assuming that this artificial chronological labelling somehow automatically defines a distinction between the two.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 01:47 PM   #36

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Yes I am aware that AM is referring to and categorising modern classical historians and biblical historians as the "outsiders" and the "insiders" respectively.


And because as you say he is referring to method, such a comparison IMO may also be applied to classical historians and biblical historians in any epoch.
Then I suggest you reread Momigliano, rather than relying on what is increasingly reading like some old notes you made, but for which you now can't remember the full context of.
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Old December 8th, 2016, 10:52 PM   #37

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You seem to be defining 'classical historian' as solely pagan. And claiming that ecclesiastical historian, since they are not pagan, can not be of the 'classical' tradition.

The claim was simply that the ecclesiastical historians followed Eusebius, the inventor of the ecclesiastical history, and his notion of a 'universal early church" (among other things)


Quote:
But bear in mind that the distinction between 'classical' and 'ecclesiastical' history was one made during the Enlightenment, when Greek thought was idealised as scientific and secular. You are perpetuating this outdated idea that anything 'classical' is, by its very nature of being 'classical' superior to all that came after.
No I am not. The claim was essentially that the ("scanty and suspicious materials" of) ecclesiastical histories are inferior to the classical histories [for various reasons some of which have been mentioned above].


Quote:
You yourself are extremely vague about what is a recognisable 'classical tradition' - resorting only to a timeframe or a list of authors - rather than any over arching elements in method/research/presentation that give any clear definition or distinction.
Can you provide a reference to such a list?
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Old December 10th, 2016, 03:14 PM   #38

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But bear in mind that the distinction between 'classical' and 'ecclesiastical' history was one made during the Enlightenment, when Greek thought was idealised as scientific and secular. You are perpetuating this outdated idea that anything 'classical' is, by its very nature of being 'classical' superior to all that came after.
Indeed.

And in addition to your very excellent posts it is also safe to say that K-Jack’s non-academic nonsense (which stems from outdated and non-academic works of Edward Gibbon by the way) would not survive very long in the campus among the students of history today.

As an atheist and as one who had Antique and Middle Ages in the University as student of history, I can safely tell the readers that we historians, professors, adjunct professors and students of history are very pleasure with the outstanding effort the monks have put in where they practically preserved ancient classical learning for the eternity as best as they could(medicine, history, philosophy, rhetoric, mathematic, etc .) – Without their achievements and efforts the vast majority of our knowledge to the past would have been erased today.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 01:48 AM   #39

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As an atheist and as one who had Antique and Middle Ages in the University as student of history, I can safely tell the readers that we historians, professors, adjunct professors and students of history are very pleasure with the outstanding effort the monks have put in where they practically preserved ancient classical learning for the eternity as best as they could(medicine, history, philosophy, rhetoric, mathematic, etc .) – Without their achievements and efforts the vast majority of our knowledge to the past would have been erased today.

Three cheers for the monks !!! Too bad the middle ages church organisation for whom they slaved was utterly corrupt.


According to at least one author it looks like there was a "Decline and Fall" of Atheism in the 4th century:


Disbelieve it or not, ancient history suggests that atheism is as natural to humans as religion | University of Cambridge



The age of ancient atheism ended, Whitmarsh suggests, because the polytheistic societies that generally tolerated it were replaced by monotheistic imperial forces that demanded an acceptance of one, “true” God. Rome’s adoption of Christianity in the 4th Century CE was, he says, “seismic”, because it used religious absolutism to hold the Empire together.

Most of the later Roman Empire’s ideological energy was expended fighting supposedly heretical beliefs – often other forms of Christianity. In a decree of 380, Emperor Theodosius I even drew a distinction between Catholics, and everyone else – whom he classed as dementes vesanosque (“demented lunatics”). Such rulings left no room for disbelief.
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Old December 11th, 2016, 01:32 PM   #40

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Three cheers for the monks !!! Too bad the middle ages church organisation for whom they slaved was utterly corrupt.
That just underline how deeply uninformed you are as you are slave of outdated Gibbonic teachings from 1700’s that do not correspond very well with what the scholars state these days in the 21th century.

To refresh your memory as we have debated it before:

"Ancient classical physician continued throughout Late Antique and Middle Ages. People in Middle Ages looked towards ancient teaching when dealing with medical/physician aspects, such of Herophilos, Hippocrates and Galen’s works although they were quackery fraud in a higher degree. It was so until Vesalius and Paracelsus, trough lucid experiments and reason, realized the ancients physical teaching was incorrect.

Philosophy continued throughout Late Antique and Middle Ages. The vast majority of the classical philosophy are available to us thanks to the effort of Christian monasteries and Byzantine library where they studied and copied classical texts. By doing it, they preserved the vast cultural legacy for the posterity. Philosophy blossomed as well and as already mentioned Augustine, Isadore of Sevilla, Alcuin and Aquinas all discussed Plato/Aristotle.

Classical history continued throughout Late Antique and Middle Ages. The works of Hesiod, Herodotus, Thucydedes, Diodoros, Plutarch, Ovid and Sallust are available to us today because they were studied and recopied throughout Middle Ages by Christian monasteries and Byzantine libraries until Guttenberg’s invention in late Middle Ages saved them for the eternity. And when history works were made in Middle Ages they tried to imitated and use the narrative techniques of Tacitus or Thycydedes.

Classical mathematic continued throughout Late Antique and Middle Ages. Euclid’s geometry, Hippocrates works, Pythagoras’ sentence and Archimedes’s methods were all studied and thus preserved by the monasteries and byzantine libraries. Mathematic in Medieval Europe was superior to ancient Europe because the ancient Greeks/Romans rejected the concept/number of zero because of some dumb philosophical argument, and thus they frustrated themselves with the Roman digits. In Middle Ages Europeans adopted the concept of Zero such as Fibonacci did when he realized what opportunities that concept had, and onwards mathematic progressed in Medieval Europe in a much better shape than the ancient Romans/Greeks had. - You as a Gibbon-fan will probably also be dismayed if I told you that the theories of Archimedes first were secured for the eternity and made famous because of an effort of a Byzantine guy named Isidore of Miletus where he studied Archimedes intensively.

So to summarize it: After the Christianity gained ground around 400CE, the ancient learning continued throughout the Christian hemisphere throughout Late Antique and Middle Ages thanks to the effort of Christian monasteries and Byzantines(who were Greco-Romans). Later the western part of Europe were overran by Pagan “barbarians” from Germany and they saw no value in ancient learning in first place, but across the Western Europe outstanding vibrant Christian monasteries survived where they functioned as learning center and preserved aspect of Greco-Roman culture. Eventually these various primitive “Barbarians” would convert into Christianity, and by doing this they would gain access to Greco-Roman culture and onwards their society would progress where outstanding achievements in fields like farming, architecture, philosophy and practical science would be made.

Above is the basic history of Middle Ages, and anyone who has consulted modern scholarships on this would had realized it. That you, as an eager Gibbon reader, don’t know it, is not surprising giving that you rely on some outdated works from 1700’s."


And throughout Middle Ages the Christian states or kingdoms were always superior to the Pagan counterparts. And without the effort of the monks your Gibberish God would not have had an opportunity to write your Gibberish Bible in the 18th century you could rely on and be slave of it.

Did you know that the myth of the burning library of Alexandria in which you have perpetuated, probably in order to serve your atheistic idiosyncratic agenda, is indeed a myth caused in Edward Gibbon’s gibberish mind where he fabricated it?:

Armarium Magnum: "Agora" and Hypatia - Hollywood Strikes Again

The Mysterious Fate of the Great Library of Alexandria

Even a scientist named Carl Sagan who once made a reality TV about astronomy exhibited his ignorance on camera. How embarrassing


Quote:
According to at least one author it looks like there was a "Decline and Fall" of Atheism in the 4th century:
That doesn’t deal anything about a supposedly decline in term of history writing. It just says that monotheistic religions tend to be less tolerant than polytheistic one, indeed nothing new. Also the text does not say that an atheist can express his view freely without consequences as Socrates pretty much was sentenced to death and not to mention Anaxagoras. Also one could also face problems and death if one questioned the religions of Pagan Romans as they would feel that the gods would punish them, which was precisely the reason why Pagan Diocletian(plus a couple of other Pagan Roman rulers) persecuted the Christians and Manicheans in which you omit to mention as it doesn’t fit with your Gibbonic doctrine.

Also hardcore atheism as state religion found place under communistic regimes, and normally they tended to be intolerant and oppressive of nature just as the other religions.

Otherwise that just emphasize that you don’t have academic sources, but perhaps you thought that I would not read the link. So if you want to lie to promote your Gibberish crap then try to do it better next time as Gibbon did when he fabricated the myth of the burning library of Alexandria.

Last edited by El Cid; December 11th, 2016 at 01:40 PM.
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