The Past in the Present: Interpreting Herodotus after Charles W. Fornara

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The Past in the Present: Interpreting Herodotus after Charles W. Fornara
Liz Irwin
501 Schermerhorn
Columbia University

Fornara’s Herodotus. An Interpretative Essay  stands out in Herodotean scholarship, in particular for locating Herodotus in the context of the Atheno-Peloponnesian war and for its exploration of the Athens-Sparta conflict as a ‘red thread’ running through the Histories.  It also includes penetrating discussion of other issues: the relative unity of Herodotus’ work, the relationship between ethnographies and historical narrative; and the significance of ‘patterning’ within the Histories, the way (in Fornara’s words) in which ‘history became moral and Herodotus didactic’.

Forty years on from the publication of Herodotus. An Interpretative Essay, this conference brings together a group of international scholars with varying approaches and interpretative skills into dialogue with one another, to look afresh at the themes of Fornara’s Essay in the light of the scholarship of the intervening years.

If you would like to attend the conference, or if you have any queries, please contact the organisers, Tom Harrison ( or Liz Irwin (

This conference is funded by the Stanwood Cockey Lodge Fund of the Department of Classics, The University Seminar in Classical Civilization, the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean (Columbia University), and the John Percival Postgate Trust (University of Liverpool)

Conference Website