His research is centered in four distinct areas: (1) Greek historiography, (2) the history of the Athenian empire, (3) Sophocles, and (4) the Roman history of Ammianus Marcellinus. For present purposes, he divides his description of his current research into two categories: I. Work which he is now writing up, and which he will have completed within the next four or five months, if not before; II. Work in which his research progresses, but the final product is a degree more distant.
I.(1). He returns to the question of the compositional 'unity' of Herodotus' history (see his publication on Herodotus, "An Interpretative Essay," 1971) by presenting new or rather unconsidered evidence of a fundamental inconsistency of historical perspective within the work, which can best be explained, indeed, can only be explained, by the hypothesis that some sections of his history were written well before he attained his final conception of world history. The presence of such 'levels' in the completed work permits us to mark some of the stages of his intellectual development as he compiled his history.
With a gifted graduate student, he is writing a paper about one of the fragments of the great Atthidographic historian, Philochorus (FGrHist 328 F 181), which Felix Jacoby seems to have erroneously identified as a quotation in Harpocration, which was (he inferred) taken from Philochorus'
. They argue against these propositions.
He is writing two reviews (one for
, the other for
). The first is on a commentary by Lionel Scott on Herodotus Book 6, which entails discussion (though in limited space) of Herodotus' sources and his personal inclinations as indicated in his treatment of the Ionian Revolt and subsequent battle of Marathon. The other review is concerned with a text, translation, and commentary on Ktesias of Knidos, by Dominique Lenfant (Budé 2004). Lenfant's work is a major contribution and deserves a thorough analysis.
I.(2). The Kallias Decrees (IG. I 3rd ed. 52) are central to modern reconstructions of Athenian financial history. He gave a paper on this subject in Athens in July 2006, returning to this problem after having dealt with it almost 30 years ago (see full publications list). These two financial decrees stand back-to-back on one stone, and the date and purpose of one of them (Face A) has been the subject of immense debate. Normally though not invariably dated to the year 434/3 B.C., he will again propose a later date.
I.(3). See below.
I.(4). His continuous interest in Ammianus Marcellinus takes different forms at different times. Just now he is finishing a paper presenting certain emendations in the text of 17.1.10, 17.3.5, which, though not of any special historical significance, improve the language and coherence of these passages.
II.(1). He is gradually revising and collecting together portions of a (not altogether completed) commentary he had written on Manethon, the Egyptian historian. This was intended to comprise the second fascicule of his continuation of Jacoby's great commentary on the fragments of the Greek historians (see full publications list for the first fascicule). Chapters will deal with, among other things, the vita Manethonis, the apocryphal works, the textual tradition as it reached Sextus Julius Africanus and Eusebius, and an exhaustive treatment of some of the more difficult fragments.
II.(3) For some years he has been planning a monograph on Sophocles. Because Sophocles is an enigmatic playwright, unlike Aeschylus and Euripides, who, in their different ways reveal their fundamental beliefs and message, the (irresistible) temptation to 'explain' Sophocles and extract higher meaning from his plays has, he thinks, been shown to be counterproductive by the very multiplicity of competing interpretations occurring in modern literature. Sophocles, he believes, was a traditionalist who kept to himself his private and perhaps more exalted notions of divinity and the world, and he secluded these notions from his dramaturgy. Though he accepted, for the sake of the play, the conventional mythical ingredients, he had no interest in either refining them or supporting them. His way was to develop the conflicts and relationships developing there from.
II.(4). Certain incidents in Ammianus seem to him to deserve more extensive treatment than they have heretofore received. One that he is currently investigating involves his treatment of Julian before the Battle of Strasburg. As is well known, Julian initially attempted to persuade his army to delay the battle (16.12.9ff.), and his rather puzzling decision to interfere in this manner (he was only the titular leader of the army) is of singular interest. Giovanni Pighi, in his
Nuovi Studi Ammiani
, last studied the whole question in detail in 1936, and greatly as he admires the work of this fine scholar, he does not think his account (which remains more or less authoritative) is satisfactory. He is reexamining the whole tradition about this affair.