History and historiography
in Rhetoric and the writing of history, 400 –1500
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The writing of history in the Middle Ages took as one of its fundamental reference points a series of works by classical historians which had survived in, or were copied from, manuscripts of the late antique period. If the influence of Sallust's approach to historiography was dominated by its overarching moral critique, then its impact extended to the series of self-conscious reflections on the nature of writing history with which he chose to introduce both works. The Bible was fundamental to how medieval writers saw the nature and purpose of the historical process, but the task of tracing the range of its influence on the actual writing of 'history' in the Middle Ages is a complex one. The tension between chronography and eschatology was to reappear at various points throughout the Middle Ages, but the purely formal consequences of a computational annalistic tradition for the writing of history were profound.


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