The Blackwell-Bristol Lectures 2014

The 2014 series of Blackwell-Bristol lectures took place on 6, 7, 13, and 14 May and were given by Andrew Feldherr, Princeton University.

'After the Past:  Sallust on History and Writing History'

Tuesday May 6

Lives and Times: Perspectives on Sallust (1hr, 6min)
Response by Shane Butler, Professor of Latin, Bristol (13min)

Wednesday May 7

Words and Deeds: The Social History of Historiography in the Catiline (56min)
Response by Ellen O'Gorman, Senior Lecturer in Latin, Bristol (15min)

Tuesday May 13

Jugurtha’s Tragic History (1 hr)
Response by Christopher Pelling, Regius Professor of Greek, Oxford (17min)

Wednesday May 14

Brevitatis Artifex: Sallust as Text (1 hr 4min)
Response by Christiopher Whitton, Lecturer in Latin Literature, Cambridge (15min)

Andrew Feldherr is Professor of Classics at the University of Princeton.  His interests include republican and early imperial Latin language, literature and historiography. 

The aim of these lectures is to connect the history Sallust represents with the literary histories he composes.  His works repeatedly draw attention to how historical circumstances shape the way in which history itself is written and read.  Authors distort the past in the service of their political ambitions. An audience’s willingness to believe what they read depends upon their own jealousies and rivalries.  The very language with which consensus might be created has already been appropriated by competing political factions.  But Sallust also constructs an imaginary audience who respond to Roman history from outside and after the battles of the present.   Reading Sallust thus involves a perpetual interpretative struggle.  And the attention Sallust draws to that struggle translates each response to his text into an evaluation of the position of author and reader in relation to the real history of the state.   This new understanding of the political function of Sallustian history provides the basis for reconsidering his place in the intellectual and literary transformations that accompanied the transition from republic to empire.

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