Salvatore Tufano: Boiotia from Within. The Beginnings of Boiotian Historiography. TSO Vol. 2, 2019.
Boiotians are not known as the most cultivated people. In Greek antiquity, they were widely viewed as backward. The legacy continues: in several modern languages, the term ‘Boiotian’ may be used as a synonym for ‘boorish' or 'rude.’ This volume challenges this reading through the study of a specific cultural output: historiography. Not only, in fact, did Boiotia give birth to memorable authors such as Pindar and Plutarch, but there was also a lively historiographical scene. Between the end of the fifth century BCE and the years of the Theban Hegemony (371-362 BCE), this literary genre developed gradually in the region, speaking to a series of critical societal themes: who are the Boiotians? What do they believe? Why do the fighting roosters of Tanagra wear iron sticks? Through a detailed commentary on the fragments of the first historiographers of Boiotia (Hellanikos, Armenidas, Aristophanes, and Daimachos), the author brings to life the local history of the region. The volume unlocks a body of evidence, local historiography, which is of pivotal importance for a multi-facetted approach to ancient Boiotia - from within.