Shaping the Geography of Empire: Man and Nature in Herodotus' Histories

ISBN : 9780198820437

Katherine Clarke
368 ページ
138 x 216 mm

This volume explores the spatial framework of Herodotus' Histories, focusing on the depiction of landscapes through careful geographical descriptions and how man's interaction with, and alteration of, the physical world serves to transform its geography from a neutral backdrop into a resonant landscape with its own role to play in the narrative. The fluid and complex web of spatial relationships that emerges allows focalization to be brought productively into play, and reveals that as the exercise of political power manifests both metaphorically and literally through control over the natural world, the map of imperial geography is constantly in flux.


I. Reading Herodotus in Context
1 . . . there was no Herodotus before Herodotus'
1.a Treading in the footsteps of giants
1.b Finding space in the study of Herodotus
1.b.i Herodotus' spaces, peoples, and places: the scholarly landscape
1.b.ii Sharpening the lens: bringing focalization into play
1.c Location, location, location: Herodotus' world and the dynamics of empire
II. Herodotus' Sense of Place and Space
2 Mapping out the World
2.a Mapping the extremes
2.b Filling in the broad canvas: continents and comparisons
2.c Marching through the landscape: the geography of expeditions
2.d Trade, tourism, and theoria
2.e The evocative list
3 Lines and Dots
3.a Criss-crossing the narrative: rivers and the articulation of space
3.b Fonts of rivers, spines of the land: mountains in Herodotus' landscape
3.c Islands
3.c.i The specialness of being nesiotes
3.c.ii Transformation and migration
3.c.iii The island as a commodity
III. Giving Meaning to Space
4 Depth and Resonance
4.a Wonderful world: works of nature, works of man
4.b The dimension of time: unlocking the mythical landscape
4.c Collapsing spaces, parallel places
5 Geographical Morality
5.a Good and bad control: modulating the moral landscape
5.b Negotiating the rivers, moral barometers
5.b.i Walking on water: sailing over land
5.b.ii Bridging rivers, bridging continents: crossing the great divide
5.b.iii Reaching the Promised Land: entering the Gardens of Midas
IV. Grand Designs
6 The Conquest of Nature: Herodotus' 'Military Narrative'
6.a The allure of beauty and the language of desire
6.b The metaphor of conquest: slavery, rage, punishment, and subjugation
6.c Nature joins battle: opposition and alliance
6.d (Mis)understanding the divine
7 Writing an Imperial Geography
7.a Determining nature's will: stability or mobility
7.b Thinking big: imperial designs and the problem of hybris
7.c Passion for power: a Persian paradigm?
7.d Herodotus and the geography of dynamis
Subject Index
Index of Passages Discussed


Katherine Clarke undertook her BA in Classics (Literae Humaniores) at St John's College, Oxford, before going on to obtain her D.Phil. in Ancient History also at Oxford in 1996, where she held a Graduate Scholarship followed by a Junior Research Fellowship, both at Christ Church. In 1998 she was appointed to the Tutorial Fellowship in Ancient History at St Hilda's College, where she has remained ever since. She was the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize for the period 2001-3 and has held various positions of responsibility in both her College and the university's Faculty of Classics including Vice Principal in College, 2013-16, and Chair of the Sub-Faculty, 2015-17.