Comparing Ancient Chronographic Histiographies from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Judah, and Greece in the Persian and Early Hellenistic Period


This research unit aims to advance the comparative exploration of ancient historiographies from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Judah, and Greece in the Persian and early Hellenistic periods. To this end we will pay significant attention to the following matters: the underlying assumptions and basic world-shaping conceptualizations on which these works were grounded (including conceptualizations of time, periodization, causality); the generative grammars and narrative patterns at work in these historiographical texts; the interrelation between genre, social location, and historical contingency, and intersections between local, ‘global’ and ‘glocal’ cultural traditions in shaping historiography.


Ancient Historiography, Comparative Historiography, Babylonian Chronicles, Herodotus, 1-2 Chronicles, Demotic Historiography, Aramaic-Demotic Cultural Interactions and Historiography


Ehud Ben Zvi
University of Alberta 


Sylvie Honigman

Tel Aviv University

Caroline Waerzeggers
Leiden University

Member Area

Syracuse 2023 Call for Papers

Space-Mapping in Ancient Chronographic Historiographies

The second meeting of this research unit focuses on the topic of space-mapping. Space-mapping is never a simple endeavor. Imagining and construction "territorial" spaces and boundaries involves matters of ideology, agency and authority; it conveys claims of legitimacy and at times utopian (or dystopian) images. Moreover, at times, multiple pictures of partially overlapping "territorial spaces" were held simultaneously, each communicating its own messages, and ideological space-mapping may or may not reflect historical realities of the past or the present. 


In this meeting, we ask how ancient (Near Eastern) historiographies organized and divided "territorial" space, imagined boundaries, border areas, both permeable and impermeable boundaries and the like. We invite speakers to address these questions from a comparative perspective or to trace developments across traditions of the mid- to late first millennium BC.


We plan two sessions around the following sub-topics: 

1) The construction, organisation and “mapping” of territorial space 

  • The intersection of space-mapping with time-mapping

  • Scope of histories: universal histories, local histories, various combinations of both

  • Scope of constructions of territorial space: 'Four corners of the world', ecumene, empires, house of the king/god or kingdom, 'nation'/ethnie, city, countryside, etc.

  • Borderland and borderland studies

2) Imperial and local spaces, practiced and imagined

  • Imperial itineraries and movement through space

  • First, Second and Third Spaces

  • Imagined territorial landscapes

  • Hyperbolic claims for actual control of territory