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Document Details :

Title: Herodotus' Scythians Viewed from a Central Asian Perspective
Subtitle: Its Historicity and Significance
Author(s): KIM, Hyun Jin
Journal: Ancient West & East
Volume: 9    Date: 2010   
Pages: 115-134
DOI: 10.2143/AWE.9.0.2056304

Abstract :
The literary interpretation of Herodotus in classical scholarship has arguably abandoned the fixation with the historical veracity of Herodotus’ account that characterised earlier Herodotean scholarship. The critical analyses of Detlev Fehling and François Hartog on the historian’s Scythian logos (singled out for criticism) in different ways acted as catalysts for this development which heralded a generation of more sophisticated critique of the text as essentially a work of literature rather than history. Such an approach has had some positive results, especially in identifying the various levels of literary colouring that characterise the historian’s work. However, this article argues that the historical element simply cannot be removed from its former position of centrality in literary interpretation. It calls for a greater appreciation of the historicity of the Scythian logos by challenging the arguments through which Hartog and Fehling triggered the movement away from ‘history’ to ‘literature’. The article shows that a more intensive application of comparative, Central Asian historical and archaeological material in literary analysis, reveals that the logos as a whole is far more deeply immersed in the world of steppe nomadism than is often thought possible in classical scholarship.

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