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Posts Tagged ‘Tacitus trap’

China Crisis

Who owns the classical tradition, and who has the right to develop new interpretations of its significance for the present? As you might expect from someone who spent twenty years in Bristol, chanting “Meaning is realised at the point of reception!” and holding aloft my copy of the Little Red-and-Black Book*, my habitual answers are everyone and anyone. Yes, we can and should argue furiously about individual interpretations and appropriations, on political or moral or aesthetic or historical grounds, but what we can’t do is argue that certain people(s) have a special right or privilege, to the exclusion of others.

I’m thinking about this at the moment because the Tacitus Trap, China’s great contribution to the storehouse of snappy classical memes, is back in the news (more…)

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As I’ve remarked on here before, I really wish I had some grasp of Mandarin, in order to be able to get a proper sense of how Thucydides is being discussed in China: do they simply follow the conventional US international relations reading, and especially Allison’s Thucydides’s Trap theory, on the basis that this will help them understand American foreign policy thinking, or are they engaging with this and other classical texts (including Chinese ones) more creatively? A recent report from the Asia News International website (original link from @rogueclassicist) suggests the latter may be more likely, as it reports on an article from the official news agency Xinhua that speaks not of Thucydides but of the hitherto-unremarked Tacitus Trap. (more…)

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