Studies in Historia

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Sigurðarson, Eiríkur Smári 

This dissertation consists of four chapters plus introduction and conclusion. Each chapter is an independent study of some of the uses and meanings of the ιστορ-vocabulary in Archaic and Classical Greek literature, excluding tragedy. In the Introduction the theme of the dissertation is introduced and the two methodological approaches relied on, Cambridge history of ideas and Begriffsgeschichte, are discussed.

Chapter I deals with the earliest available material, with particular emphasis on the proem of Herodotus' Histories. Among the questions it tries to answer is whether any of the early uses of the ιστορ- vocabulary gives a key to Herodotus' use of ιστορίη. Chapter II takes a closer look at Herodotus' practice in the Histories by analysing his uses of ιστορίη and ιστορεῖν. These uses are largely confined to book II, the Egyptian logos. This chapter also deals with the uses of the ιστορ- vocabulary in some of the medical writings, particularly On Ancient Medicine and the Hellenistic sect known as the Empiricists. Chapter III is a detailed enquiry into the uses of the ιστορ-vocabulary in the only treatises of the Hippocratic collection that use it to any substantial degree: On Generation, On the Nature of the Child and Diseases IV. This material is compared with Aristotle's treatment of the same "embryological" problems in his zoological treatises and the question about the relation of observation and theory is discussed. Chapter IV takes a closer look at Aristotle's Historia Animalium, comparing it to Theophrastus' Historia Plantarum. The first half of the chapter concerns the status of living nature, the sublunary world, in the cosmology of Aristotle and Theophrastus. In the Conclusion I briefly pull together some of the main threads of the dissertation.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
The work on this thesis was supported by a three year grant from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities, the Cambridge Overseas Trust and the Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme.