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Grant number like: FT-55677-08

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Sarah Brown Ferrario
Catholic University of America (Washington, DC 20064-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2008 – 7/31/2008

Athens the Great? The Ascendancy of the Individual in Classical Greek Historical Thought

This book project employs literary and archaeological evidence to show that the 'great man' of later Greek historical thought (best exemplified by Alexander) is the product of traceable changes in ancient ideas about the meaning and impact of an individual life. At least as early as the birth of Athenian democracy, questions about the ownership of history were being publicly posed and publicly challenged. The responses to these questions, however, gradually shifted over time, in reaction to historical and political developments during the fifth and fourth centuries BC. These ideological changes are illuminated by portrayals of the roles of individuals and groups in significant historical events, as depicted in historiography, funerary monuments, and inscriptions. The emergence in these media of the individual as an indispensable agent of history provides an additional explanation for the unique reception of Alexander: the Greek world had long been preparing to understand him as it did.