2008 | 6 | 4(21) | 57-68
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The article deals with the very notion of 'social anthropology' as used in relation to the classical antiquity and particularly in the field of classics by some scholars studying the Greek history and culture. The first one who introduced this term to the classical studies was eminent French scholar Louis Gernet (1882-1962). It should be however stressed that already in the 18th century, some students of the Greek customs paid attention to the so-called 'savage' people, and the material collected by the ethnologists was of great interest to many students of Greek culture in the 19th century. On the other side, the pattern of studying the other peoples and different cultures is the work of Herodotus, eminent Greek historian of the 5th century B.C. who was not only 'father of history' but 'father of anthropology' as well. To-day anthropological method in studying Greek culture does not consist in comparative analysis but in describing it from the point of view of an ethnologist who lives among the people being the object of his studies and participates in its everyday life. The effect should be understanding of the whole social life without dividing it into different domains as politics, religion, art etc. However, modern historian cannot, like an ethnologist, live among the ancient Greeks. To be anthropologist in relation to a society from the past means to posesss a special kind of imagination which could be called 'anthropological imagination'.
  • Wlodzimierz Lengauer, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Historyczny, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland
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