Images and Insults
The Pyrrhic War attracted a great deal of attention in antiquity as the first contest between the burgeoning Roman Empire and the powers of the Hellenistic world. While blame for the initiation of hostilities fell squarely upon the polity of the Tarentines, scholars have long been wary of accounts relating how this conflict began. Three episodes set at Taras prove important for the construction both of Roman history and of narratives in antiquity. Approached as a case study of inventio in historiography, this monograph examines the aims and techniques of authors from Polybius to Zonaras in their depictions of the war's onset. No two of our sources offer the same version of events and new details emerge over the course of time. Analysis of the perception of injury, on the part of the Romans and the Tarentines, considers the implications of the 'just' war on the writing of history.
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