Book Series Cultural Encounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, vol. 30

Historiography and Identity IV: Writing History Across Medieval Eurasia

Walter Pohl, Daniel Mahoney (eds)

  • Pages: x + 377 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:6 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2021

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58658-8
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-58659-5
  • E-book
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Explores the social function of historical writing from across various world regions from Europe through the Islamic world to China, around the turn of the millennium, and how they construct and shape identities, as well as communicate ‘visions of community’ and legitimate political claims.


“Overall, the essays in this volume work well together to achieve the aims set out in the introduction, and scholars and students of global medieval history will certainly gain insight from the individual contributions but will also benefit greatly from taking this collection as a coherent set of case studies with a common goal.” (Young Richard Kim, in SPECULUM, 99/2, 2024, p. 618)


Walter Pohl is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Vienna and Director of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Daniel Mahoney is Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Department of Languages and Cultures, University of Ghent.


Historical writing has shaped identities in various ways and to different extents. This volume explores this multiplicity by looking at case studies from Europe, Byzantium, the Islamic World, and China around the turn of the first millennium. The chapters in this volume address official histories and polemical critique, traditional genres and experimental forms, ancient traditions and emerging territories, empires and barbarians. The authors do not take the identities highlighted in the texts for granted, but examine the complex strategies of identification that they employ. This volume thus explores how historiographical works in diverse contexts construct and shape identities, as well as legitimate political claims and communicate ‘visions of community’.



Introduction: Historiography and Identity in a Comparative Perspective — WALTER POHL

‘National History’ in Post-Imperial East Asia and Europe — Q. EDWARD WANG

The Wars of Procopius and the Jinshu of Fang Xuanling: Representations of Barbarian Political Figures in Classicizing Historiography — RANDOLPH B. FORD

Mythology and Genealogy in the Canonical Sources of Japanese History — BERNHARD SCHEID

Iran’s Conversion to Islam and History Writing as an Art for Forgetting — SARAH BOWEN SAVANT

Iran and Islam: Two Narratives — MICHAEL COOK

The Formation of South Arabian Identity in al-Iklīl of al-Hamdānī — DANIEL MAHONEY

Convergence and Multiplicity in Byzantine Historiography: Literary Trends in Syriac and Greek, Ninth to Twelfth Centuries — SCOTT FITZGERALD JOHNSON

The Byzantine Past as Text: Historiography and Political Renewal c. 900 — EMMANUEL C. BOURBOUHAKIS

Scriptores post Theophanem: Normative Aspects of Imperial Historiography in Tenth-Century Byzantium — YANNIS STOURAITIS

Who were the Lotharingians? Defining Political Community after the End of the Carolingian Empire — SIMON MACLEAN

Spaces of ‘Convivencia’ and Spaces of Polemics: Transcultural Historiography and Religious Identity in the Intellectual Landscape of the Iberian Peninsula, Ninth to Tenth Centuries — MATTHIAS M. TISCHLER

Mapping Historiography: An Essay in Comparison — WALTER POHL