One of the most fertile and fast-developing themes of recent historiography is treated by the 10 new papers in this volume. The history of the ancient world has traditionally been studied with a view to tracing the origins of those grand developments which eventually occurred. The writing of history is often simplified, by modern scholars as by some ancient sources, so as to read almost teleologically. 'Who', it may have been asked, 'wants to understand what did t happen?' But the most respected of our ancient sources, Herodotos, Thucydides, Tacitus and others, frequently describe the actors in their narratives as guided by fears and hopes concerning developments which did t happen, or by reflection on events which had happened but which subsequently did t play out as anticipated. As Tacitus wrote of Boudicca's revolt, the Britons were motivated by past Roman offences 'and the fear of worse'. Such - superficially - sterile, even vague, expectations tend to be neglected in scholarly discourse. But t only were unfulfilled expectations facts in themselves; they generated real actions. Further, even real and quite grand events - such as a battle won in a campaign eventually unsuccessful - are likely to be neglected if they do t seem to have led to larger developments still: in short, if they are inconvenient for a grand narrative or a syllabus. Yet, history cant be understood without such things. Restoring them to their due prominence offers scope for a wide-ranging scholarly activity which is t only legitimate but necessary.