International and Interdisciplinary Conference: “Historical Consciousness and Historiography (3000 BC–AD 600)”

HH ConferenceMerton College, Oxford, UK
17th – 19th Sep 2014

Despite ancient and modern critical attempts to separate formal historiography from other conceptions and representations of the past (e.g. myths, legends, folktales), the interpenetration between these strands of historical thinking has been observed in many fields of antiquity. For example, mythological and legendary materials are often present in historiographical sources, while historical events or characters are frequently mythologized in literary traditions. Yet, much remains to be explored in early relations and ongoing interactions between formal historiography and other cognitive and interpretative registers of human reckoning with the past, as well as in the implications of these interactions.

This conference brings together twenty experts, representing twelve research institutions, from Anthropology, Assyriology & Sumerology, Biblical & Jewish Studies, Classics, East Asian Studies, Egyptology, Hittitology, and Indo-European Studies to address three main issues: (1) the ways different traditions of historical consciousness informed or contributed to the rise of formal historiography; (2) the ways formal historiography and other traditions of historical consciousness interacted during their transmission; and (3) the implications of such interactions for cultural heritage, collective memory, and later understandings of history.

To read more about the conference theme, please visit:


Speakers and Presentation Topics


Nick Allen (Anthroplogy), University of Oxford:

‘Secession of Plebs, Secession of Achilles: Roman Pseudo-history and Indo-European Heritage’

John Baines (Egyptology), University of Oxford:

‘History and Historiography in the Material World: An Ancient Egyptian Perspective’

Emily Baragwanath (Classics), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:

‘Myth and History Entwined: Female Agency and Fraternal Strife in the Greek Historians’

Richard Buxton (Classics), University of Bristol:

The Cyclopes: Myth and Historiography’

Ken Dowden (Classics), University of Birmingham:

‘Tlepolemos, and the Dialectic of Mythology and History’

Amir Gilan (Hittitology), Tel Aviv University:

‘The Hittites and Their Past—Forms of Historical Consciousness in Hittite Anatolia’

Jonas Grethlein (Classics), University of Heidelberg:

‘Alternative Versions in Pindar and Herodotus’

Christina Kraus (Classics), Yale University:

‘Fabula and History in Livy’s Narrative of the Capture of Veii’

Alasdair Livingstone (Assyriology), University of Birmingham:

‘The Animal and Profession Taboos’

Peter Machinist (Hebrew Bible/Assyriology), Harvard University:

‘Periodization in Biblical Historiography: With Help from Mesopotamia’

Dirk Meyer (Chinese Studies), University of Oxford:

‘Shangshu Speeches’

Piotr Michalowski (Sumerology/Assyriology), University of Michigan:

‘The Domestication of Stranger Kings: Making History by List in Ancient Mesopotamia’

Na’aman Nadav (Jewish Studies), Tel Aviv University:

‘Writing the Early History of Israel as a Decisive Step in the Formation of “Biblical Israel”’

Christopher Pelling (Classics), University of Oxford:

‘Waiting for Herodotus: the Mindsets of 425’

Tim Rood (Classics), University of Oxford:

‘Thucydides, Myth, and Ethnography’

David Schaberg (Chinese Studies), University of California, Los Angeles:

‘The Scene of Inquiry in Early Chinese Historiography’

Rosalind Thomas (Classics), University of Oxford:

‘Historical Consciousness and the “Aetiology”’

Henriette van der Blom (Classics), University of Glasgow/University of Oxford:

‘Mythmaking and Turning Points: Cicero’s Creation of an Oratorical Past at Rome’

Tim Whitmarsh (Classics), University of Oxford/University of Cambridge:

‘Atheist Histories and the Resistance to Empire’

Roger Woodard (Classics & Indo-European Studies), University at Buffalo, SUNY:

‘Coriolanus: Writing the Primitive Dysfunctional Warrior into the History of Republican Rome’


Planning Team Members


John Baines, Emeritus Professor of Egyptology, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford

Samuel Chen, Research Fellow in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Wolfson College, Oxford

Christopher Pelling, Regius Professor of Greek, Faculty of Classics, Oxford

Nicholas Purcell, Camden Professor of Ancient History, Faculty of Classics, Oxford

Timothy Rood, University Lecturer in Classics, Faculty of Classics, Oxford

Henriette van der Blom, Lecturer in Classics, University of Glasgow/Wolfson College, Oxford

Kresimir Vukovic, D.Phil. Candidate in Classics, Merton College, Oxford




Chief Organiser: Samuel Chen

Assistant Organisers: Kathryn Kelley (D.Phil. Candidate in Assyriology, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford); Kresimir Vukovic

Funding and Supporting Organisations

The Faculty of Classics, the Faculty of Oriental Studies; the Craven Fund; the Jowett Copyright Trust; the John Fell OUP Research Fund; The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities; the Lancelyn Green Fund, Merton College; the Corpus Christi College Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity; the Maison Française d’Oxford; and the Hellenic Society


Costs & Registration


Due to the limited capacity of the conference
venue, places are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Registration is now open until Sunday 14 September 2014. To access information about costs and to register, please visit the following link:




Dr Samuel Chen, Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD, United Kingdom

Email:; Contact Phone: +(44)7956 694962

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