Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Factoids in ancient history: the case of fifth-century Cyprus


Maier, Franz Georg (1985). Factoids in ancient history: the case of fifth-century Cyprus. Journal of Hellenic Studies, 105:32-39.

Abstract

Factoids—a word coined by Norman Mailer in his introduction to<jats:italic>Marilyn</jats:italic>—are mere speculations or guesses which have been repeated so often that they are eventually taken for hard facts. There is something decidedly unbiological about such factoids: the tendency to get stronger the longer they live is one of their most insidious qualities. Factoids occur in all branches of scholarship and many are of course still well disguised—their complete discovery would create havoc in the subjects concerned. Archaeology, converted from treasure hunting into an historical discipline, is for obvious reasons prone to create a number of factoids.The process by which mere hypotheses attain the apparent rank of established fact, without ever having been proved, presents a linguistic and a psychological aspect. Linguistically, words or particles indicating the hypothetical character of a statement are dropped one by one in a process of constant repetition. The subjunctive is exchanged for the indicative, and in the end the factoid is formulated as a straightforward factual sentence. Psychologically, the repetition of unproved hypotheses is facilitated by an attitude which is as indispensable in research as it is ambivalent: a certain amount of implicit trust in the results of other scholars' research.

Abstract

Factoids—a word coined by Norman Mailer in his introduction to<jats:italic>Marilyn</jats:italic>—are mere speculations or guesses which have been repeated so often that they are eventually taken for hard facts. There is something decidedly unbiological about such factoids: the tendency to get stronger the longer they live is one of their most insidious qualities. Factoids occur in all branches of scholarship and many are of course still well disguised—their complete discovery would create havoc in the subjects concerned. Archaeology, converted from treasure hunting into an historical discipline, is for obvious reasons prone to create a number of factoids.The process by which mere hypotheses attain the apparent rank of established fact, without ever having been proved, presents a linguistic and a psychological aspect. Linguistically, words or particles indicating the hypothetical character of a statement are dropped one by one in a process of constant repetition. The subjunctive is exchanged for the indicative, and in the end the factoid is formulated as a straightforward factual sentence. Psychologically, the repetition of unproved hypotheses is facilitated by an attitude which is as indispensable in research as it is ambivalent: a certain amount of implicit trust in the results of other scholars' research.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
10 citations in Web of Science®
21 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

6 downloads since deposited on 18 Oct 2018
6 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:470 Latin & Italic languages
480 Classical & modern Greek languages
Language:English
Date:1 November 1985
Deposited On:18 Oct 2018 10:11
Last Modified:24 Nov 2018 03:00
Publisher:Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies
ISSN:0075-4269
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.2307/631520
Related URLs:https://www.swissbib.ch/Search/Results?lookfor=nationallicencecambridge102307631520 (Library Catalogue)

Download

Download PDF  'Factoids in ancient history: the case of fifth-century Cyprus'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF (Nationallizenz 142-005)
Size: 807kB
View at publisher