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Keywords:

  • antiquarianism;
  • genealogy;
  • historiography;
  • disciplinarity;
  • Herodotus;
  • contingency;
  • doubt;
  • certainty

ABSTRACT

This essay uses Arnaldo Momigliano's genealogy of antiquarianism and historiography to propose a new method for engaging the past. Momigliano traced antiquarianism from its advent in ancient Greece and later growth in Rome to its early modern efflorescence, its usurpation by history, and its transformation into anthropology and sociology in late modernity. Antiquarianism performed for Momigliano the work of excavating past archives while infusing historiographical inquiry with a much-needed dose of contingency. This essay aims to advance our understanding of the mutual imbrications of antiquarian methods with modern conceptions of history, while also suggesting how antiquarianism can generate alternatives to historical inquiry.