The development of the preface in Roman historiography
McGowan, Lauren Frances
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This study traces the development of the preface in Latin historiography through the works of the major extant Roman historians Sallust, Livy, and Tacitus. While each author must meet the expectation of a preface to introduce his work, he has substantial freedom in executing this convention of the historiographical genre. The style and content reflects the author’s approach to his text and his audience. The preface, as place both of tradition and innovation, also reveals the author’s conception of his own position among historiographers. Through a close reading of these prefaces, I show how each author borrows from and expands upon his predecessors and how the subgenre of the preface evolves.