ABOUT THIS BOOK
Tracing the growth of ancient biography from the fifth century to the first century B.C., Arnaldo Momigliano asks fruitful questions about the origins and development of Greek biography. By clarifying the social and intellectual implications of the fact that the Greeks kept biography and autobiography distinct from historiography, he contributes to an understanding of a basic dichotomy in the Western tradition of historical writing. The Development of Greek Biography is fully annotated, and includes a bibliography designed to serve as an introduction to the study of biography in general.
This classic study is now reissued with the addition of Momigliano’s essay “Second Thoughts on Greek Biography” (1971).
Momigliano sets out to ‘provide an elementary but independent introduction to an important problem: the separation of biography and historiography.’ The result is a small, compact book of great importance… The book is a pleasure to read and to study.
-- F. W. Walbank History and Theory
With urbane wit and omnivorous scholarship this little book gives great pleasure and profit. It succeeds admirably in its declared aims, improving the available foundations for advance work and exploring with sensitivity the subtle variations of Greek experiments in biographic writing before Plutarch against their shifting intellectual and cultural background, and their changing relationships with more orthodox historiography. In particular, Momigliano shows convincingly that Greek biography was neither wholly ‘Socratic’ in origin and conception, nor in its more mature state the product and monopoly of the Aristotelian School… An extensive classified bibliography of very great interest and value for all topics covered by the book and many more [adds] a final touch of distinction to an exegesis which shows all the mastery that we have come to expect of its eminent author.
-- R. G. Lewis Classical Review
Tightly packed and brilliantly intelligent… There are two interesting features about this book. One of them is the examination, in some depth, of a significant subject. The other is the satisfaction to be derived from reading the conclusions based on many years of incisive study, reached by an exceptional scholar.
-- Times Literary Supplement
Lucid and authoritative… Every page glistens with acute observations and epigrammatic insights worth whole chapters.
-- A. J. Podlecki Classical World
Books by Momigliano, the foremost contemporary student of ancient historiography, are rare treats… [An] elegantly written book.