Intentional history and its appropriateness in Classical Antiquity

Surikov, Igor Evgenyevich
D.Sc. in History, Chief Research Fellow, RAS Institute of General History, Professor, Humanities & Social Sciences Center, MIPT University, Moscow, Russia


The notion of intentional history was introduced by the prominent German historian H.-G. Gehrke and it obtained recognition in scholarship. According to formulation by Gehrke himself, intentional history “means, in any case, such historical views – or, to say better and more generally, views of the past, – which are decisive and typical for the identity of the group”. Sometimes also the following definition of the concept in question is given: intentional history is “views of the past, which make people to thought of themselves as of a social or cultural group… Studies of the past are not directed at the reconstruction of facts; instead, the past was constructed by “the Greeks” as a “space” intended for satisfying necessities of the present”. The paper will deal with how the intentional history works in Greek antiquity and which appropriateness became manifest in the course of it evolution. In particular, at first times that history was reproduced in oral form, through myths and legends. Its traditions, however, were preserved also when written historiography emerged in Greece.

Keywords: Intentional history, H.-G. Gehrke, Classical Antiquity, Greece, early historical writing, myths