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Arnaldo Momigliano, Ancient History and the Antiquarium

Arnaldo Momigliano, Ancient History and the Antiquarium

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Arnaldo Momigliano Ancient History and the Antiquarium
Arnaldo Momigliano Ancient History and the Antiquarium

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Ancient History and the AntiquarianAuthor(s): Arnaldo MomiglianoReviewed work(s):Source:
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes,
Vol. 13, No. 3/4 (1950), pp. 285-315Published by:
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ANCIENTHISTORYAND THEANTIQUARIANByArnaldoMomigliano
Pergliottant'annidelmiomaestroGaetanoDeSanctis
Introduction
In
theeighteenthcenturya new humanismcompetedwiththetraditionalone.Itwasorganizedinlearned societies instead ofbeingcentredintheuniversities;itwas fosteredby gentlemenrather thanbyschoolmasters.Theypreferred travel totheemendation oftexts andaltogethersubordinatedliterarytexts tocoins, statues,vases andinscriptions.Addisondiscussed therelevance ofcoins toliterarystudies,'andGibbon,who hadtaken leaveofOxford,renewed his educationbyspendingtwentypoundsonthetwentyvolumes oftheMemoirsoftheAcademyofInscriptions. Italywas stillthecentreofattraction,bothforthelearnedandthecurious. But itwasamorecomplexItaly,where Etruscanantiquitiescountedhardlyless thanRomanruins,andwhereextraordinarydiscoveriesbeganto beannounced,from Herculaneumin1736andfromPompeiiin1748.Furthermore theantiquitiesofGreece weregrowinginsignificancebothfortheluckyfew-chieflyEnglishmenandFrenchmen-whocould visitthem,'andfor thelarger,butstillrestrictednumber whocould afford tobuythesplendidbooks inwhichtheywereillustrated:primarilytheAntiquities fAthensbyStuartand
Revett(1762).
What is moreimportant,menslowlybecameaware thattheycouldfindbeautyandemotionofa new kindiftheysimplylooked attheirparishchurchorattheneighbouringcastle-justastheycould findpoetryiftheylistenedto thesongsandstories ofisolated farmers. TheGrecian,the Celtic andtheGothicrevivals,spreadingfromEnglandtoEurope,sealedthetriumphof aleisured class whichwas indifferenttoreligious controversy,uninterestedingrammaticalniceties,andcraved forstrongemotionsinart,to counter-balancethepeaceandsecurityof its ownexistence.2Such,ifIamnotmistaken,is theconventionalview of theAgeof the Anti-quaries:aviewwhich,thoughit isincomplete,Ihavenoreasontochallenge.
This is avery provisionalmapofafieldthatneeds muchdetailedexploration.1J.Addison,"Dialoguesuponthe useful-
nessofAncientMedals,"MiscellaneousWorks,III,1830,pp.
59-199.
2
See,forinstance,C.Justi,Winckelmannund seineZeitgenossen,3rded.1923(isted.1866);L.Hautecoeur,Rome etlaRenaissancedel'Antiquitd
a
ajinduXVIIIsiecle,
1912
(Bibl.t?colesAthhnesetRome,
105);
L.Custand S.Colvin,HistoryoftheSocietyofDilettanti,
secondissue
1914
(1898), pp.i-xli;E. D.
Snyder,TheCelticRevivalinEnglishLiterature,Cambridge,Mass.,
1923;
P.Yvon,LeGothiqueetlaRenaissanceGothiqueenAngleterre,Caen,93x;K.Clark,TheGothicRevival,AnEssayintheHistory ofTaste,2nded.,London,
1950;
H. R.Steeves,Learned SocietiesandEnglishScholarship,NewYork,19 13
Essentialdocuments:Comte deCaylus,
Recueild'Antiquites,1752-67;G.B.Piranesi,Antichitaromane,1756;R.Wood,RuinsofPalmyra,1753;Idem,RuinsofBaalbec,1757;R.Chandler,MarmoraOxoniensia,1763;A.Gori,Symbolaeitterariae,FlorenceandRome,
1748-51.
BaudelotdeDairval,Del'utilite'desvoyagesetdel'avantage quelarecherchedesanti-quitezprocureauxsfavans,I,1686,pp.1-70is
aninvaluable document forthe "ethics" oftheantiquarians.
285
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286ARNALDOMOMIGLIANO
But theAgeoftheAntiquariesmeantnotonlyarevolutionintaste;itmeanta revolutioninhistoricalmethod. Hereperhapsistudentofhistoriographycan intervene.TheAgeoftheAntiquariessetstandardsandposed problemsof historical methodwhichwecanhardlycall obsoleteto-day.Thewholemodernmethod ofhistoricalresearch isfoundeduponthe dis-tinctionbetweenoriginalandderivative authorities.By originalauthoritieswe meaneither statementsby eye-witnesses,ordocuments,andother materialremains,thatarecontemporarywith theevents whichtheyattest.Byderiva-tive authoritieswe meanhistorians orchroniclers who relate anddiscussevents whichtheyhavenot witnessed but whichtheyhave heard ofor inferreddirectlyorindirectlyfromoriginalauthorities.Wepraise originalauthorities-orsources-forbeingreliable,butwepraisenon-contemporaryhistorians-orderivative authorities-fordisplayingsoundjudgmentintheinterpre-tationandevaluation of theoriginalsources.Thisdistinctionbetweenoriginalauthoritiesandnon-contemporaryhistorians became thecommonpatrimonyofhistoricalresearchonlyinthe late seventeenthcentury.Thedistinctionisof course tobefoundbeforethattime,but it wasnot formulatedwithanydegreeofaccuracyorgenerallyconsidered to be anecessary pre-suppositionofhistoricalstudy.Inthe formationof thenew historicalmethod-andconsequentlyinthe creation ofmodern historicalwritingon the ancientworld-the so-calledantiquaries playedaconspicuous partandposedessentialproblems. Theyshowedhowto usenon-literaryevidence,buttheyalso madepeoplereflect onthe differencebetweencollectingfactsandinterpretingfacts.It is thepurposeof thisessaytoexplain,first,theoriginsofantiquarianresearch;secondly, whytheantiquaries playedsuchapartinthe reform ofhistoricalmethodintheeighteenthcentury;andfinally, whyinthe nineteenthcenturyitbecameincreasinglyevidentthat therewas nolonger anyjustifi-cationformakingadistinctionbetweenantiquarianandhistorical studies.ITheOriginsofAntiquarianesearchFirst ofall wemustaskourselveswho theantiquarieswere. I wishIcouldsimplyrefer toaHistoryofAntiquarianStudies.Butnoneexists.' AllIcando here is toenumeratea fewelementaryfacts.Iassume that tomanyof us theword"antiquary"suggeststhenotionofa studentof thepastwho is notquiteahistorianbecause:(I)historianswriteinachronologicalorder;antiquarieswriteinasystematicorder:(2)historiansproducethosefactswhichserve toillustrateorexplainacertainsituation;antiquariescollect allthe itemsthatare connected withacertainsubject,whetherthey helptosolveaproblemor not. Thesubject-mattercontributes
1
Thebest isinC.B.Stark,SystematikundGeschichtederArchdologiederKunst,Leipzig,I88o.Much information alsoinJ.W.ThompsonandB.J.Holm,AHistory ofHistoricalWriting,II,1942,andofcoursein
J.
Sandys,AHistoryofClassicalScholarship,Cambridge,I-III,
1906-08;
Ch.-V.Langlois,Manuel deBibliographieHistorique,Paris,
19o0.
ForEnglandcf. H.B.Walters,TheEnglishAntiquaries oftheSixteenth,Seventeenth,andEighteenthCenturies,London,
1934.
ForFrance,S.Reinach,"Esquissed'unehistoiredel'archeologie gauloise,"RevueCeltique,XIX,1898,pp.
101-17,
292-307 (seebelow,
p.314,note
I).
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