Daniele Miano

University of Oslo
Paris IAS
10 months

Research interests: Early and Republican Rome and Italy, Ancient and Modern Historiography, Ancient Religions

Research Project

The Relics of Livy: Historia and the Origins of Rome (1300-1650 CE)

The project will be based on a methodology inspired by recent scholarship on European intellectual history focused on long-term development of historical knowledge. An interdisciplinary framework will complement this methodology, combining perspectives from anthropology and cultural history – especially, but not only, with regard to how antiquity can be fixated on material remains, and engaging with cultural memory. These methodological approaches from historical disciplines will be used to test the broader theoretical framework of how intellectual communities operate.

The project has a twofold aim. On the one hand, it wants to question the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century representation of historical knowledge in the period of 1300-1650 as an evolutionary genealogy of modern historical science. On the other hand, the project does not simply want to deconstruct. Its further aim is to explore new ways in which analytical tendencies concerning reading and writing ancient histories were formulated. These tendencies must be seen as a product of cultural contexts that have, in fact, much in common with ancient and medieval practices of production and transmission of knowledge. A key hypothesis is that historical knowledge did not develop in a linear way.  Therefore, stepping back from the teleological perspective of the search for “precursors” of modernity, these practices of learning must be studied through the lenses of other categories and objects, such as relics, monuments, religion, but also ancient and medieval pedagogical and rhetorical theories and practices. Especially in the later part of this period, the study of ancient historians was used to actively construct theories of modernity, although these theories were markedly different from those that eventually prevailed in the eighteenth century.


Daniele Miano is Professor of Ancient History at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation, and History of the University of Oslo. His main areas of expertise are polytheism in ancient Rome, and the history and historiography of early Rome and Italy. His most recent projects concern the history of universal history writing from antiquity to the early modern period, and antiquity in the history of knowledge.