Monday, October 5, 2020

"The First Pagan Historian"

New from Oxford University Press: The First Pagan Historian: The Fortunes of a Fraud from Antiquity to the Enlightenment by Frederic Clark.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The History of the Destruction of Troy, Dares the Phrygian boldly claimed himself as eyewitness to the Trojan War, challenging the accounts of two of the ancient world's most canonical poets, Homer and Virgil. For over a milennium, Dares' work was circulated as the first pagan history. It promised facts and only facts about what really happened at Troy--precise casualty figures, no mentions of mythical phenomena, and a claim that Troy fell when Aeneas and other Trojans betrayed their city and opened gates to the Greeks. But for all its intrigue, the work was as sensational as it was fake.

From the late antique encyclopedist Isidore of Seville to Thomas Jefferson, The First Pagan Historian offers the first comprehensive account of Dares' rise and fall. Along the way, it reconstructs Dares' central place in longstanding debates over the nature of history, fiction, criticism, philology, and myth, from ancient Rome to the Enlightenment.
--Marshal Zeringue