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Roman historiography




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The Romans adopted the Greek tradition, becoming the first people to write history in a non-Greek language. While early Roman works were still written in Greek, the Latin Origins, composed by the Roman statesman Cato the Elder (234–149 BC) in a conscious effort to counteract the Greek cultural influence, marked the beginning of Latin historiography. Hailed for its lucid style, Julius Caesar's (100 BC–44 BC) Bellum Gallicum may represent the earliest autobiographical war coverage. The politician and orator Cicero (106–43 BC) introduced rhetorical elements in his political writings.

Strabo (63 BC–ca. AD 24) was a main exponent of the Greco-Roman tradition of combining geography with history, presenting a descriptive history of peoples and places known to his era. Livy (59 BC–AD 17) recorded the rise of Rome from city-state to world dominion. His inquiry into the question of what would have happened if Alexander the Great had marched against Rome represents the first known instance of alternate history.

Biography, although popular throughout antiquity, was introduced as a branch of history by the works of Plutarch (c. 46 - 127) and Suetonius (c. 69-after 130) who described the deeds and characters of ancient personalities, stressing their human side. Tacitus (c. 56–c. 117) denounced Roman immorality by praising German virtues, elaborating on the tops of the Noble savage.

Writing history was popular among Christian monks in the Middle Ages. They wrote about the history of Jesus Christ, the Church and of their patrons, the dynastic history of the local rulers. History was written about states or nations during the Renaissance. The study of history changed during the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Voltaire described the history of certain ages that were important according to him, instead of describing events in a chronological order. History became an independent discipline. It was not called philosophia historiae anymore, but merely history (historia).

III. Give synonyms to the underlined words:

- recorded in a narrative format;

- to emerge independently;

- reliable account;

- divinity in the determination;

- to attempt to distinguish;

- a descriptive history;



- inquiry into the question;

- to denounce immorality;

- lucid style;

- instance of alternate history;

- conducted research;

- world dominion

 

IV. Study the given below lexical units (provide the Ukrainian variant):

- a universal human need;

- philosophical question;

- narrative format;

- for the purpose of informing;

- an important influence;

- written accounts;

- rationalistic element;

- immediate origins;

- political agitation;

- rhetorical elements;

- world dominion

 


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