Project B07

The Anecdote as a Form of Knowledge

This project investigates the epistemic potentials of the anecdote as a form of knowledge transfer in Latin antiquity and analyses the specific function of this narrative representation of knowledge. In doing so, it is of central importance to ask which kind of knowledge is presented to the readers, which one is omitted or even rejected, which selection criteria are applied, and if and how contexts of knowledge are consolidated or disrupted by the anecdote’s narrative structure. Anecdotes focus strongly on the respective agents of knowledge and depict them not only as teaching, but also as acting individuals. While two of the subprojects enquire into the literary historical (Lives of Virgil) and political-historiographical dimension of the anecdote (Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars), the third subproject outlines the anecdotal strategies for conveying philosophical teaching and rhetorical technique in Cicero’s philosophical-rhetorical works.