‘Das Altertum das sich nicht übersetzen lässt’: Translation and Untranslatability in Ancient History *
This chapter considers ideas of translation and untranslatability, and the way that they are put into practice in ancient historiography. Historians' resistance to the perceived threat of anachronism, which leads them to seek to allow the past to speak ‘in its own terms’ through the transliteration rather than translation of certain key concepts, derives in part from the belief that language both shapes and reveals culture. However, transliteration also serves as an alibi for the historian's work of interpretation by creating the impression of a past ‘as it really was’ emerging spontaneously from the ancient evidence. Finally, it reflects a conviction of the untranslatability of ancient culture as a whole, and works as a technique of rhetoric to represent antiquity as unique, wholly unlike modernity — in a word, classic.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.