Reference : Assyria in Early Modern Historiography
Parts of books : Contribution to collective works
Arts & humanities : Classical & oriental studies
Assyria in Early Modern Historiography
Sarha, Jennifer mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > >]
Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient <near East in Early Modern Europe
Grogan, Jane
Oxford University Press
United Kingdom
[en] historiography ; classical reception ; assyria
[en] This article provides a starting point for the understudied pre-nineteenth-century reception of Assyria. In early modern Europe, knowledge about ancient Assyria was mainly derived from a small pool of classical authors; an entirely textual tradition, centred around the figures of Semiramis and Sardanapalus, which was transmitted through strict repetition in late medieval and early modern history writing. The narrow scope and repetitive nature of this tradition raise questions for historiography – what kind of historical knowledge can be produced from such limited sources? And, crucially, what notions about Assyria can emerge here? By examining the treatment of Semiramis and Sardanapalus in three geographically and chronologically diverse case-studies (Giovanni Boccaccio, Johannes Carion and Philip Melanchthon, and Walter Ralegh), this article sheds light on the negotiations between received practices and historiographical trends, the influence of moral imperatives and gendered logic, and establishes the longevity and pan-European spread of the historiographical tradition on Assyria.

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