In my thesis I am currently looking at ways to set the patterns I have illustrated over the course of chapters 2 & 3 into wider socio-political contexts.
It seems evident to me that Classical text has a special place in the formation of historical narrative of place. Not only does the ubiquity of classical allusion within the learned sphere create a sense of expectation that authors will touch on common points of ‘understanding’ but it also suggests a referential framework with which to compare and contrast places and peoples outside of the central Greco-Roman tradition. I am however struggling to find scholarly commentary on the use of Classics in historiography (literature easy but..).
Out of this general truism I specifically think that the creation/emphasis of a classical heritage is used to connect places to particular cultural values and to confer status both on the place and on the writing (ie not only does the place seem better for being part of the dominant cultural civilisation but the inclusion of classical material immediately allows the writing to appear more scholarly)
This is then related to the appropriation of classical material by groups outside of the dominant hegemony in order to create a direct and unmediated link and simultaneously re-evaluate the nature of the cultural values assigned to classical material by the dominant group. This is most clearly seen in post-colonial re-interpretations of greco-roman literary material (eg African Re-writings of Antigone) but is also seen in eg French emphasis on Roman Provincial Culture and Emperors in contrast to Italian dominance of Imperial iconography. Again I would really like to find scholarship to back me up on these points…
Ok Back to the actual chapter writing now.