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Bards, Historians And Historiographers Of Ancient Greece

Bards, Historians And Historiographers Of Ancient Greece

Greece, a modern country found in Southeastern Europe, has for more than a thousand years presented the world with famous battles, fine art, wine, poetry, gods, and tales that at times bewilder the mind. But none of this could have happened had it not been developed by men of various backgrounds and experiences. Men like Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus and Thucydides, wrote the history of Greece as it is known today. These men of poetry and prose brought more to the discussion than just dreary stories.

Symposium scene: banqueters playing the kottabos game while a girl plays the aulos. National Archaeological Museum ( CC BY-SA 2.5 )

What is often overlooked, and upon closer inspection, is the struggle between men and gods. Ideas were fraught with complications. To break free from the supernatural and embrace the natural elements that surrounded them and to orientate their cognition to "rational thinking" was a struggle to say the least. The Greek historians were able to present to the people of their times, and the people of today, a vast array of thought, whether it be their history, religion, political turmoil, making contact with a foreign nation for the first time, or even going to war. The ancient Greeks who wrote, the reasons they wrote, and how each stood on the shoulders of the previous, to see what they saw, deserve modern recognition.

Roman bust of Homer (second century AD) Representation of Hesoid ( CC BY-SA 2.5 )

Bards And Storytellers

Early Greek historians were primarily bards. Bards were unique professional storytellers, who compartmentalized and composed poetic songs of stories through the oral transference. The duty or art of the bard was to tell stories of various events, whether small or epic, as in the case of the Iliad or Odyssey. These bards would travel from town-to-town, entertaining people with primordial tales about the struggle between men and gods. The bard would train a younger person in the stories he was taught as a young man and thus the story lived on through generations of bards, for the bard was a walking history book seeking an audience interested in being entertained by the stories of yesteryear. The popularity of bards would slowly become obsolete, due to parchment. While bards eventually died out as being the most popular media brand to parchment, writers utilized this material and kept their voices alive by inking every jot and tittle.

Roman historiography

Roman historiography stretches back to at least the 3rd century BC and was indebted to earlier Greek historiography. The Romans relied on previous models in the Greek tradition such as the works of Herodotus (c. 484 – 425 BC) and Thucydides (c. 460 – c. 395 BC). Roman historiographical forms are usually different from their Greek counterparts, however, and often emphasize Roman concerns. The Roman style of history was based on the way that the Annals of the Pontifex Maximus, or the Annales Maximi, were recorded. The Annales Maximi include a wide array of information, including religious documents, names of consuls, deaths of priests, and various disasters throughout history. Also part of the Annales Maximi are the White Tablets, or the "Tabulae Albatae", which consist of information on the origin of the Roman Republic.

During the Second Punic War with Carthage, Rome's earliest known annalists Quintus Fabius Pictor and Lucius Cincius Alimentus recorded history in Greek, and relied on Greek historians such as Timaeus. Roman histories were not written in Classical Latin until the 2nd century BC with the Origines by Cato the Elder. Contemporary Greek historians such as Polybius wrote about the rise of Rome during its conquest of Greece and ascension as the primary power of the Mediterranean in the 2nd century BC. Moving away from the annalist tradition, Roman historians of the 1st century BC such as Sallust, Livy, and even Julius Caesar wrote their works in a much fuller narrative form. While Caesar's De Bello Gallico focused specifically on his wars in Gaul, Roman works that served as a broad universal history often placed heavy emphasis on the origin myth of the founding of Rome as a starting point. These works formed the basis of the Roman historiographic models utilized by later Imperial authors of the Principate era, such as Tacitus and Suetonius.

Historians Admit To Inventing Ancient Greeks

WASHINGTON—A group of leading historians held a press conference Monday at the National Geographic Society to announce they had “entirely fabricated” ancient Greece, a culture long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization.

The group acknowledged that the idea of a sophisticated, flourishing society existing in Greece more than two millennia ago was a complete fiction created by a team of some two dozen historians, anthropologists, and classicists who worked nonstop between 1971 and 1974 to forge “Greek” documents and artifacts.

“Honestly, we never meant for things to go this far,” said Professor Gene Haddlebury, who has offered to resign his position as chair of Hellenic Studies at Georgetown University. “We were young and trying to advance our careers, so we just started making things up: Homer, Aristotle, Socrates, Hippocrates, the lever and fulcrum, rhetoric, ethics, all the different kinds of columns—everything.”

The fact that wars give rise to intensive propaganda campaigns has made many persons suppose that propaganda is something new and modern. The word itself came into common use in this country as late as 1914, when World War I began. The truth is, however, that propaganda is not new and modern. Nobody would make the mistake of assuming that it is new if, from early times, efforts to mobilize attitudes and opinions had actually been called &ldquopropaganda.&rdquo The battle for men&rsquos minds is as old as human history.

In the ancient Asiatic civilization preceding the rise of Athens as a great center of human culture, the masses of the people lived under despotisms and there were no channels or methods for them to use in formulating or making known their feelings and wishes as a group. In Athens, however, the Greeks who made up the citizen class were conscious of their interests as a group and were well informed on the problems and affairs of the city-state to which they belonged. Differences on religious and political matters gave rise to propaganda and counterpropaganda. The strong-minded Athenians, though lacking such tools as the newspaper, the radio, and the movies, could use other powerful engines of propaganda to mold attitudes and opinions. The Greeks had games, the theater, the assembly, the law courts, and religious festivals, and these gave opportunity for propagandizing ideas and beliefs. The Greek playwrights made use of the drama for their political, social, and moral teachings. Another effective instrument for putting forward points of view was oratory, in which the Greeks excelled. And though there were no printing presses, handwritten books were circulated in the Greek world in efforts to shape and control the opinions of men.

From that time forward, whenever any society had common knowledge and a sense of common interests, it made use of propaganda. And as early as the sixteenth century nations used methods that were somewhat like those of modern propaganda. In the days of the Spanish Armada (1588), both Philip II of Spain and Queen Elizabeth of England organized propaganda in a quite modern way.

On one occasion, some years after the Spanish Armada, Sir Walter Raleigh complained bitterly about the Spanish propaganda (though he didn&rsquot use that name). He was angry about a Spanish report of a sea battle near the Azores between the British ship Revenge and the ships of the Spanish king. He said it was &ldquono marvel that the Spaniard should seek by false and slanderous pamphlets, advisoes, and letters, to cover their own loss and to derogate from others their own honours, especially in this fight being performed far off.&rdquo And then he recalled that back at the time of the Spanish Armada, when the Spaniards &ldquopurposed the invasion&rdquo of England, they published &ldquoin sundry languages, in print, great victories in words, which they pleaded to have obtained against this realm and spread the same in a most false sort over all parts of France, Italy, and elsewhere.&rdquo The truth of course was that the Spanish Armada suffered a colossal disaster in 1588.

The Spanish claims, though described in the language of Queen Elizabeth&rsquos time, have a curiously modern ring. Make a few changes in them, here and there, and they sound like a 1944 bulletin from the Japanese propaganda office.

The term &ldquopropaganda&rdquo apparently first came into common use in Europe as a result of the missionary activities of the Catholic church. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV created in Rome the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. This was a commission of cardinals charged with spreading the faith and regulating church affairs in heathen lands. A College of Propaganda was set up under Pope Urban VIII to train priests for the missions.

In its origins &ldquopropaganda&rdquo is an ancient and honorable word. Religious activities which were associated with propaganda commanded the respectful attention of mankind. It was in later times that the word came to have a selfish, dishonest, or subversive association.

Throughout the Middle Ages and in the later historic periods down to modern times, there has been propaganda. No people has been without it. The conflict between kings and Parliament in England was a historic struggle in which propaganda was involved. Propaganda was one of the weapons used in the movement for American independence, and it was used also in the French Revolution. The pens of Voltaire and Rousseau inflamed opposition to Bourbon rule in France, and during the revolution Danton and his fellows crystallized attitudes against the French king just as yarn Adams and Tom Paine had roused and organized opinion in the American Revolution.

World War I dramatized the power and triumphs of propaganda. And both fascism and communism in the postwar years were the centers of intense revolutionary propaganda. After capturing office, both fascists and communists sought to extend their power beyond their own national borders through the use of propaganda.

In our modern day, the inventive genius of man perfected a machinery of communication which, while speeding up and extending the influence of information and ideas, gave the propagandists a quick and efficient system for the spread of their appeals. This technical equipment can be used in the interests of peace and - international good will. Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo preferred to seize upon this magnificent nervous system for selfish ends and inhumane purposes, and thus enlarged the role of propaganda in today&rsquos world. While the United Nations were slow at first to use the speedy and efficient devices of communication for propaganda purposes, they are now returning blow for blow.

The modern development of politics was another stimulus to propaganda. Propaganda as promotion is a necessary part of political campaigns in democracies. When political bosses controlled nominations, comparatively little promotion was needed before a candidate was named to run for office, but under the direct primary system the candidate seeking nomination must appeal to a voting constituency. And in the final election he must appeal to the voters for their verdict on his fitness for office and on the soundness of his platform. In other words, he must engage in promotion as a legitimate and necessary part of a political contest.

In democracies, political leaders in office must necessarily explain and justify their courses of action to an electorate. Through the use of persuasion, those in office seek to reconcile the demands of various groups in the community. Prime ministers, presidents, cabinet members, department heads, legislators, and other officeholders appeal to the citizens of community and nation in order to make a given line of policy widely understood and to seek popular acceptance of it.

In peacetime the promotional activities of democratic governments usually consist of making the citizens aware of the services offered by a given department and of developing popular support for the policies with which the department is concerned. The purpose is to make these services &ldquocome alive&rdquo to the everyday citizen, and in the long run official information and promotion tend to make the average man more conscious of his citizenship. If the public is interested in the work done in its name and in its behalf, intelligent public criticism of governmental services can be stimulated.

Recent economic changes have expanded the volume of propaganda. Under the conditions of mass production and mass consumption, techniques of propaganda and public relations have been greatly developed to help sell commodities and services and to engender good will among consumers, employees, other groups, and the public at large.

Suetonius and Plutarch

This is even more true of the De vita Caesarum ( Lives of the Caesars), written by Suetonius in the 2nd century. His treatments consist of an account of each emperor’s administrative and military accomplishments followed by a description of his character and personal life. Although Suetonius, a former imperial secretary, drew upon the imperial archives in composing his Lives, the work is best known for the scandalous details it provides regarding the private lives of the emperors. In this he differed from the best-known of the ancient biographers, Plutarch, whose Bioi paralloi ( Parallel Lives) juxtaposed the life stories of 24 Romans and 24 Greeks who had faced similar experiences. His purpose was to draw moral lessons from the lives of these figures. If they responded differently to their challenges, it was partly a consequence of character, but weaknesses of character could—and should—be overcome by a strenuous exercise of virtue.

Despite its origins in Greek historical thought, Roman historiography was in many ways more like Chinese than Greek historiography. The Romans lacked the speculative interests of the Greeks, and their historians made little effort to propound grand or even middle-range theories. This is one reason why they were content for so long with the annalistic form. The Romans of the republic had scarcely less regard for their ancestors than the Chinese did, and both believed that histories should propound moral lessons. Indeed, this was one of the Roman legacies to medieval Christian historiography.

And there are among them composers of verses whom they call Bards these singing to instruments similar to a lyre, applaud some, while they vituperate others.

Diodorus Siculus Histories 8BCE

Bardic schools formed around a Chief Poet and their attendants. A good deal of time was spent in learning by rote, to strengthen the memory and learn the fantastic number of tales and poems required of an accomplished bard.

Records from both the Western Highlands and Ireland show that much work was undertaken through the technique we would now term sensory deprivation. Their accommodation was spartan in the extreme, and much time would be spent incubating poems and seeking inspiration in total darkness. It is only recently that we have rediscovered, through the pioneering work of John Lilly, the fertile power of the darkness found in the isolation tank.

Their curriculum shows that they were accumulating in memory a vast store of stories and poems. But this was only half their work. They were training to become masters of both Record and Inspiration. It was only one of their tasks to record the lore, laws and genealogy of the Tribe. Just as important as performing this task of keeping alive tradition and heritage, they were entrusted with coming to a knowledge of the sacred power of the Word – manifest as the ability to become inspired and to inspire others. To carry the records of the tribe they needed to know the stories and poems which preserved the lineage and the lore of their people, but to be Masters or Mistresses of Inspiration they needed to compose their own poems and tales. It was for this reason that they practised sensory deprivation, and employed the arts of invocation. Such a training naturally awoke inner powers. A powerful memory, and an ability to plumb the depths and roam the heights of consciousness in search of inspiration and the creative flame, developed within the bard an ability to see into the future and influence the world around them in a way that foreshadowed the work of the Ovate and the Druid, and which allowed them to carry the spirit of Druidry through the centuries when the light of both the Ovate and the Druid could not be seen in the world.

It is fitting that this first level or grade of Druid training should so encompass both the Ovate and the Druid work. It seems that the Druid would concur with the opening words of John’s gospel: ‘In the beginning was the Word’. The way in which the word could create, command, nourish, heal, cut through, purify, invoke, unite, provoke, deter and bind was a power that the Bard in their long training came to know and utilise in the service of their patron, their King or Queen, their Druid, and their God or Goddess.

O Hear the voice of the Bard
Who present, past and future sees
Whose ears have heard the holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees…

William Blake, First Song of Experience

Now that we know something of what the Bards did and how they were trained, we can ask ourselves what relevance Bardic work might have for us today.

In the training of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, we begin our study in Druidry with the Bardic Grade – and this is deeply meaningful. Bardism is understood in its widest sense as the development of the artistic and creative Self, and its importance as a foundation for our lives and character and spiritual development is no less significant than it was thousands of years ago, and it could be argued that it is even more essential today than it was then. The clue to understanding why this should be so lies in the realisation that the historical Bards worked with Record and with Inspiration. one of the prime reasons for modern humanity’s sense of alienation lies in the fact that we have cut ourselves adrift from both the natural world and from the roots of our past. Practising Druidry is about healing this alienation – reconnecting to our past and to the world of nature. In the Bardic grade we open ourselves to the inspiration of the natural world, and we allow the mandala of the Eightfold Seasonal Cycle to be grounded in our beings. Working with Record means working with heritage, lineage, and the mythology and stories of the tribe – it helps us reconnect to the past.

Discover More

Learn about Druidry and how to Join the Order

The practice of Druidry used to be confined to those who could learn from a Druid in person. But now you can take an experience-based course wherever you live, and when you enrol on this course, you join the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, and begin an adventure that thousands of people all over the world have taken. It works with the ideas and practices of Druidry in a thoroughly practical, yet also deeply spiritual way.

Working with Inspiration means opening ourselves to our innate creativity. Many of the problems that we suffer from in the developed world result from our suppression and denial of the artistic – in all its forms. Modern brain research shows that for most of us, our primary mode of functioning comes from the dominant cerebral hemisphere, which mediates the function of analytical thinking. The opposite hemisphere has less of a say in our current way of living – it is the hemisphere that mediates the synthesising, non-analytic forms of thought and expression: it is the part of the brain considered responsible for artistic expression. It is generally agreed that to become complete we need to allow both sides of ourselves adequate opportunities for development and expression. This truth was expressed by the Alchemists (and there is a strong tradition of Alchemy within Druidry) and later by Carl Jung (whose work first began to influence modern Druidry through Ross Nichols). Jung developed his theory of the personal animus and anima – male and female aspects of the psyche – which for our development need to relate and periodically conjoin. Alchemists knew of the importance of this conjunction, and they termed it the Mystical Marriage or the Mysterium Coniunctionis.

Our education has, for the most part, concentrated on developing our skills of analytical and mathematical thinking, but when we enter the Bardic Way, we begin a process that develops our less dominant hemisphere. We open ourselves to the artistic, the creative self. This is no simple task, and in a way typical of Druidry, the work is undertaken in an apparently round-about way. Through working with the eightfold festival scheme, and with the power of the four elements that are allocated to the cardinal points in the sacred circle of Druid working, the Bard is brought to a stage where they have acknowledged and worked with the four aspects of their being – represented by Earth, their practicality and sensuality Water, their receptivity and feelings Air, their reasoning and Fire their intuition and enthusiasm. As these four elements and parts of the Self are explored and harmonised, the Bard finds him or herself naturally opening to their inner creativity. Gradually the resources of their body and heart, mind and intuition become more fully available to guide and inspire them.

By working in this way, we learn to by-pass the rational mind, which so loves to create limits to understanding. To be able to operate, the intellect creates distinctions, categories, mental constructions – through which experience can be comprehended and acted upon. This is essential for our survival and progress in the world. The problems arise when this ability to create frames of reference is not counter-balanced by the ability to transcend these frames and open oneself to the trans-rational – the inexplicable-in-words-but-no-less-true. Poetry and music are supremely competent at helping us to go beyond frames and viewpoints. Sound – spoken, sung or played – stretches our boundaries, opens horizons, invokes energies that the intellect alone cannot grasp or categorise with its workings. Here is the power of the Bard – to dissolve our boundaries, our frames of reference – even if only for a moment.

Take this poem, by the modern Bard Jay Ramsay:

Fathomless unknown,
Behind and in everything –
Valley – kestrel – celandine:
You nowhere, and in everything –

And being nothing, being silenced,
Being unable to speak
You see everything,
And I see You
And I see I am
The core I am seeing:

The sun closening
To meet the man
Who has crossed the line,
Who has walked out of himself

Stands ahead there,
Naked in the light.

One’s mind cannot fully grasp the power of such a poem – one is impacted by the force of the words and imagery in a way that defies description or explanation. This is the work of poetry – of the bard. To go beyond. To travel. To bring back. Professor Michael Harner, a world authority on shamanism, speaks of the shamanic way as one which is best defined as a method to open a door and enter a different reality . This is precisely what happens with powerful and effective poetry.

The difference between ‘secular’ poetry writing, reading and reciting and the same activities undertaken in the spirit of bardism is that in the latter this shamanic process is consciously acknowledged and worked with. Creativity and inspiration are seen as gifts of the Gods, as powers entering the vessel of the Self through the Superconscious. Appropriate preparation, ritual, visualisation, prayer and meditation create the channels through which such generative, creative power can flow. In Druidry this power is known as Awen, which is Welsh for ‘Inspiration’ or ‘Flowing Spirit’.

The relevance of this work to the contemporary artistic scene is clear: when art became secularised what it gained in freedom of expression, it lost in depth of inspiration. Now we have turned full circle and are able to spiritualise our art once again – freed at last from the limitations of religious dogma. The potential for enhanced creativity is immense when we recontextualise our creativity in terms of the sacred. Previously this involved being bound by Christian themes and dogma. Now it means recognising the sacredness, not only of the Spirit, but of the Earth, and the four elements, and of our body and sexuality too.

The Bardic stream is not simply a body of knowledge we once possessed and which we attempt to regain – it is a spiritualised mode of artistic creative consciousness which is dynamic and living – the future holds as much, if not greater promise than the past.

In addition to reciting poetry and story-telling, the Bards undoubtedly made music and danced. There are intriguing stories of Druid dances remembered in Brittany, and it is possible that traces of this early sacred and celebratory dancing is contained within Morris dancing, the Abbot’s Bromley Horn dance and other folk dances. Our challenge is to rediscover the music, chants and dances of the Druids – by contacting the archetypal sources of inspiration within. These sources are transpersonal and out-of-time. They fed the Druids in the past and they can feed us now. We know some of the instruments they probably would have used: in the early days of animistic proto-Druidry they would most likely have used flutes made from birds’ bones (eagle bone flutes have been found in Scotland). They would probably have banged stones on hollow ringing rocks, which produce a bell-like sound. The Dord, a form of horn, with a sound like the Australian Aborigine’s didgeridoo was clearly a sacred instrument of the Bronze Age, as were almost certainly an animal-skin drum which later evolved into the bodhran, and the claves – two sticks of wood banged together to produce a rhythm alone or counterpoised with that of the drum.

Those who choose to explore Druidry by entering the Bardic course of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids open themselves to what it means to be living on the earth with the ability to be creative. Although this is the first stage of Druid training, its purpose reaches to the very heart of Druidry – which is the development of an intimate knowledge of the powers of generation – at the Bardic level this involves the generation of creative works – of music, song, poetry and art in all its forms.

In common with oral indigenous spiritual traditions the world over, the ancient Druids encoded their teachings in story form. The Bards learnt these stories and were therefore able to preserve the memory of the teachings across the centuries, despite the fact that they were never written down. Fortunately for us, the Christian scribes recorded these tales, and even though some details may have been omitted or distorted, we can still discern the teachings of the Druids encoded within them. one such story is the Tale of Taliesin, which recounts the progress of a young boy who eventually becomes the finest Bard in the land. He does this by drinking three drops of Awen – inspiration – from the cauldron of the Goddess Ceridwen.

In the home-learning programme of the Order, as we enter the Bardic Grade we are told this story and then are invited to explore it in depth over a year, since encoded within the tale is an entire curriculum that shows each of us how we can become the ‘finest bard’. The story of the young person’s journey towards a full flowering of their creativity interacts with our own personal story, gradually helping to release the Bard, the Creative Self, within.

The tree which represents the Bardic Grade is the Birch – appropriately it is the first tree of the Druid’s Ogham tree-alphabet, and the tree which represents new beginnings, pioneering and giving birth. The West is the place of the Bard. It is from the West that we enter the circle in Druid ceremonies, and the West is therefore the place of Entrance, of beginnings – the receptive, feminine West that faces the East of the Dawn Ray. The times associated with the Bardic Grade are the Spring, and Dawn – times when we are fresh and ready to begin a new cycle of learning and experience.

Greco-Roman world Edit

Classical period Edit

    (484 – c. 420 BCE), Halicarnassus, wrote the Histories, which established Western historiography (460 – c. 400 BCE), Peloponnesian War (431 – c. 360 BCE), Athenian knight and student of Socrates (early 4th century BCE), Greek historian of Assyrian, Persian, and Indian history

Hellenistic period Edit

    (c. 400–330 BCE), Greek history (c. 380 – c. 315 BCE), Greek history (c. 370 – c. 300 BCE), Greek historian of science (367 – c. 283 BCE), general of Alexander the Great, founder of Ptolemaic Dynasty (c. 350 – post-281 BCE), Greek history (early 3rd century BCE), Babylonian historian (c. 345 BCE – c. 250 BCE), Greek history (3rd century BCE), Egyptian historian and priest from Sebennytos (ancient Egyptian: Tjebnutjer) living in the Ptolemaic era (born c. 254 BCE), Roman history (late 3rd – early 2nd cc. BCE), Jewish historian of Ptolemaic Egypt (234–149 BCE), Roman statesman and historian, author of the Origines (late 2nd century BCE), Roman history (fl. 155 BCE), Roman history (fl. mid–2nd century BCE), Greek history (203 – c. 120 BCE), early Roman history (in Greek) (c. 158 – post-91 BCE), early Roman history (1st century BCE), Roman history (1st century BCE), Roman history (1st century BCE), Greek history (c. 135 – 51 BCE), Greek and Roman history (fl. mid 1st-c. BCE), Roman history

Roman Empire Edit

    (100 – c. 44 BCE), Gallic and civil wars (86–34 BCE), Roman history (c. 60 – post-7 BCE), Roman history (c. 59 BCE – c. 17 CE), Roman history (fl. 1st century CE), Greek and Roman history (63 BCE – 24 CE), geography, Greek history (c. 19 BCE – c. 31 CE), Roman history (10 BCE – 54 CE), Roman, Etruscan and Carthaginian history (female historian active under Nero, r. 54–68), Greek history , (fl. 41–69), Roman history (c. 60–70), Greek history (37–100), Jewish history (c. 40 – c. 115 CE), history of the Getae (early 2nd c. CE), Roman history (c. 56–120), early Roman Empire (c. 46–120), Parallel Lives of important Greeks and Romans (fl. 100), history of the Getae and the Dacian Wars (c. 69 – post-122), Roman emperors up to the Flavian dynasty (c. 95 – c. 165), Roman history (c. 92–175), Greek history (2nd century), Roman history (2nd century), Greek history (c. 2nd c. CE), Roman history (c. 160 – post-229), Roman history (c. 160 – c. 230), biography of Roman emperors (fl. c. 230), history of Greek philosophers (c. 160 – c. 240), early Christian (c. 170 – c. 240), Roman history (early 3rd c.) (fl. 248), Roman history (c. 210 – 273), Roman history (late 3rd century), Roman history (late 3rd century), Roman history (died 273), history of Alexandria (c. 275 – c. 339), early Christian (fl. early 4th century), Greek and Roman history (fl. 370), Roman history (c. 320 – c. 390), Roman history (died 390), Roman history (c. 325 – c. 391), Roman history (334–394), Roman history (fl. late 4th century), Roman history (c. 340–410), early Christian (346–414), biographies of philosophers and universal history (c. 375 – post-418), early Christian (368 – c. 439), early Christian (c. 380 – unknown date), early Christian (5th century), Armenian history (5th century), Byzantine history (c. 400 – c. 450), early Christian (c. 393 – c. 457), early Christian (13 January 410–488), Armenian history (c. 400 – c. 469), chronicler of Hispania (c. 400/405 – c. 493), early Christian (5th c.), Armenian history (441/443–510/515), Armenian history (fl. 491–518), late Roman history (6th century), history of the Goths (c. 491–578), Early Christian

China Edit

    (左丘明, 556–451 BCE), attributed author of Zuo zhuan, history of Spring and Autumn period (司馬談, 165–110 BCE), historian and father of Sima Qian, who completed his Records of the Grand Historian (司馬遷, c. 145 – c. 86 BCE), founder of Chinese historiography, compiled Records of the Grand Historian (though preceded by Book of Documents and Zuo zhuan) (劉向, 77–76 BCE) (Chinese Han Dynasty), Chinese history (班彪, CE 3–54) (Chinese Han Dynasty), the Book of Han, completed by son and daughter (班固, CE 32–92) (Chinese Han Dynasty), Chinese history (班昭, CE 45–116) (Chinese Han Dynasty, China's first female historian) (陈寿, 233–297) (Chinese Jin Dynasty) compiled Records of the Three Kingdoms. (法顯, c. 337 – c. 422), Chinese Buddhist monk and historian (范曄, 398–445), Chinese history, compiled the Book of Later Han. (沈約, 441–513), Chinese history of the Liu Song Dynasty (420–479)

Byzantine sphere Edit

    (c. 500 – c. 565), writings on reigns of Justinian and Theodora (late 9th – early 10th c.), Bulgarian historian (c. 1056 – c. 1114, in Kiev), author of the Primary Chronicle (1083–1153), Byzantine princess (12th c.), Byzantine chronicler (died c. 1220) (1210–1264), Serbian monk and chronicler

Latin sphere Edit

Early Middle Ages Edit

    (538–594), A History of the Franks (fl. c. 600), Frankish nun who wrote a biography of Radegund (fl. c. 650), Irish historian (fl. c. 655), Irish biographer of Saint Patrick (7th c.), Irish historian (625–704), Irish historian (c. 672–735), Anglo-Saxon England (8th c.), Langobards (9th c.), biographer of Charlemagne (c. 9th c.), Wales (9th c.), anecdotal biography of Charlemagne (819–875), Irish teacher and historian , Bishop of Sherborne (died 908/909), Welsh historian (died 915)

High Middle Ages Edit

Fl. 10th century Edit
Fl. 11th century Edit
    (25 July 975 – 1 December 1018), German, Polish, and Russian affairs (1018 – c. 1078), Greek politician and historian (1028–1082/1083), Irish chronicler (c. 1015 – c. 1080), Byzantine historian (1053–1124), Benedictine historian (c. 1066 – c. 1124), post-Conquest English history (later 11th c.), historian of Scandinavia, Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum
Fl. 12th century Edit
    (fl. c. 1100), historian of the First Crusade (fl. 1143), English chronicler (fl. 1190s), Anglo-Norman writer of verse narrative of the Third Crusade (Anna Comnena, 1083 – post-1148), Byzantine princess and historian (died 1118), English chronicler (12th c.), Flemish chronicler (fl. 11th – 12th centuries), Polish historian (fl. 1130s), Anglo-Norman chronicler (c. 1100 – c. 1155), churchman/historian (c. 1160–1212) (ca. 1120 – post-1177), German chronicler (fl. 1150s), English chronicler (c. 1114–1158), German chronicler (died 1153), Iberian bishop/historian (12th c.), Danish chronicler (c. 1140/1150 – unknown date), Danish historian (died post-1129), English chronicler (1095–1143), English historian (1135–1198), English historian called "the father of historical criticism" (c. 1128–1186)
Fl. 13th century Edit
    (c. 1146 – c. 1223) (1161–1223), Polish historian (died c. 1233), English hagiographer and writer, abbot of Eynsham Abbey (c. 1178–1241), Icelandic historian (died 1259), English chronicler and illuminator (c. 1227 – c. 1290), Viennese historian and poet (c. 1230–1314), end of the Crusades

Late Middle Ages Edit

Historians of the Italian Renaissance listed under "Renaissance"

    (died c. 1307) (1224–1319) (1276–1348), Italian chronicler from Florence who wrote the Nuova Cronica' (fl. 1333–1349), Irish historian (died 1372), Irish historian (died 1373) (died 1384), Scottish chronicler (died 1387), Irish historian (c. 1337 – c. 1405), chronicler (c. 1345–1418), ecclesiastic history (c. 1365 – c. 1430), historian, poet and philosopher (1370–1460) (fl. 1390–1418) (1393–1464) (1396–1456) (c. 1400–1453), French chronicler (c. 1405 or 1415–1475), Burgundian chronicler (1412–1491), French historian (1415–1480), Polish historian and chronicler (1420–1482), French chronicler (1425–1502), Burgundian chronicler (1435–1507), French chronicler (1439–1498), compiler and annalist (1447–1511)

Islamic world Edit

    (10th c.), Persian historian and traveler (995–1077), Persian historian and author (838–923), Great Persian historian (973–1048), Persian historian (987–1075), Al-Andalus historian (994–1064), Al-Andalus historian (born 1003), Al-Andalus historian (fl. 1150), Moroccan historian (1095–1188) (1160–1233) (born 1185), Moroccan historian (died 1239), Moroccan historian (1226–1283), Persian historian (died 1298), Moroccan historian (fl. 1315), Moroccan historian (late 13th/early 14th c.), Moroccan historian (1247–1317), Persian historian
  • Abdullah Wassaf (1299–1323), Persian historian (1332–1406), North African historian "of the world" (1387–1406), Moroccan historian

Far East Edit

    (房玄齡, 579–648, Chinese Tang Dynasty) compiled the Book of Jin. (姚思廉, died 637, Chinese Tang Dynasty) compiled the Book of Liang and Book of Chen. (魏徵, 580–643), Chinese historian and lead editor of the Book of Sui (劉知幾, 661–721), Chinese history, author of Shitong, the first Chinese work on Chinese historiography and methods (太安万侶, died 723), Japanese chronicler and editor of Kojiki and Nihon Shoki (劉昫,888–947), Chinese historian and lead editor of Old Book of Tang (李昉, 925–996), Chinese editor of Four Great Books of Song (宋祁, 998–1061), Chinese historian and co-author of New Book of Tang (歐陽脩, 1007–1072), Chinese historian and co-author of New Book of Tang (司馬光, 1019–1086), Chinese historiographer and politician (김부식, 1075–1151), Korean historian, author of Samguk Sagi (일연, 1206–1289), Korean historian, author of Samguk Yusa (黎文休, 1230–1322), Vietnamese history (脫脫, 1314–1356) (Chinese Yuan Dynasty), Mongol historian who compiled History of Song (宋濂, 1310–1381) (Chinese Ming Dynasty), wrote History of Yuan. ( 朱權, 1378–1448), Chinese history

South Asia Edit

    (c. 12th c.), historian of Kashmir and Indian Subcontinent (12th c.), Jain polymath (14th c.), Indian historian and poet (15th c.) Kashmiri historian and Sanskrit poet (15th c.), Indian poet and historian (15th c.), Delhi Sultanate

Renaissance Europe Edit

    (1336–1385), chronicler and historian of the 14th century (1370–1444), humanist historian (1392–1463), humanist historian (1447–1511), French historian (died 1513), London alderman and chronicler (1469–1527), author of Florentine Histories (1465–1536), Scottish philosopher and historian, author of Historia Gentis Scotorum (1450–1517), German historian (c. 1470–1555), Tudor history (1483–1540), historian of the Italian Wars, "Storia d'Italia" (1486–1552), historian of the Italian Wars and the Renaissance Papacy, Historiae (1552–1623), historian of the Council of Trent (c. 1490–1570), Swedish ecclesiastic (1496–1570), Portuguese historian (1505–1572), Swiss historian (1530–1576), Swiss classicist (1546–1609), Denmark (died c. 1580), chronicler, source for Shakespeare plays (1538–1607), ecclesiastical historian (1486–1566), Muscovite affairs (1540–1598), Venetian historian (1539–1616), Spanish historian of Inca history (fl. 1579–1590). Irish historian

Early modern period Edit

Western historians of the Early modern and Enlightenment period, c. 1600–1815

Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography

This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Online publication date: January 2010
  • Print publication year: 1997
  • Online ISBN: 9780511584831
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511584831
  • Subjects: Ancient History, Classical Studies, Classical Literature

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Book description

This book is a study of the various claims to authority made by the ancient Greek and Roman historians throughout their histories and is the first to examine all aspects of the historian's self-presentation. It shows how each historian claimed veracity by imitating, modifying, and manipulating the traditions established by his predecessors. Beginning with a discussion of the tension between individuality and imitation, it then categorises and analyses the recurring style used to establish the historian's authority: how he came to write history the qualifications he brought to the task the inquiries and efforts he made in his research and his claims to possess a reliable character. By detailing how each historian used the tradition to claim and maintain his own authority, the book contributes to a better understanding of the complex nature of ancient historiography.


‘… the right man for the right job, in the right place at the right time … John Marincola offers a sober presentation of the historians’ remarks about themselves and their conceptions of their role: a thought-provoking phalanx of upbeat position-statements, and awesome lines in self-marketing.’

J. G. W. Henderson Source: The Times Literary Supplement

‘… quite outstanding … Marincola exercises a complete and a masterly control over the great mass of material he presents. This book is a ‘must’.’

Evolution Of Historiography In Greek Civilization

Greek history is always an important source for the historians to look for the beginning of the historiography or writing of the history. This emphasizes the need for understanding the source from where and how this historiography evolved in Greek civilization. Greek history has very rich resources in literature, theology, myths and historical description that it is always an attraction for the scholars. All these are the major sources to trace the evolution of historiography in Greek civilization. Works from the Greek writers are the major source for providing the complete detail about the historical background of the ancient Greece. There were various prose writers, epic writers, geographers and other historians who contributed in developing and expanding the history of ancient Greek. In the beginning, when there was no concept of writing history, even then, the chronicles, reports of journeys, mythical accounts and different other literary sources were constructing and generating a source for the Greek history.

It does not evolved as a field, but eventually the written historical accounts by various ancient Greek scholars and writers contributed in the evolution of writing history. Ancient Greek history is not only rich in historiography, but also in historiographers who provides the grounds in the evolution of historiography. There are various famous Greek historians such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Callisthenes. Among these famous Greek historians, Herodotus is known as the 'father of history'.One of these major accounts in the history of Greek is written by Herodotus who serves as the major contributor and founder in the historiography. He started his education in the Greek literature and his interest in it led to the collection of gathering all the material. His travels to the different countries enrich his knowledge and information in the historical account which required proper maintenance of all the record.

Herodotus is known as father of history and he has major contribution in the evolution of historiography in Greek civilization.

Herodotus was born in Asia Minor in 484 B.C in a respectable family. His education and knowledge about the Greek literature enabled him to collect and account all the information he gathered from these materials in a complete and proper chronological order. His interest in literature and the information he gathered from all the collected works of different ancient writers, geographers, and other resources are the allow him to expand his knowledge and familiarity with the various events of the ancient Greek. He also travelled different place in the ancient Greece which increased his knowledge and information about the Greek literature which assist him in exploring the historical accounts. One of the most important aspects of the writings of Herodotus is that, it provides complete and detailed information about the all the places and people that he encountered with. His historical account also provides geographical descriptions and maps of the places to provide complete detail. Some major sources which assist Herodotus in becoming a historian are consist of .

Watch the video: Antikes Griechenland erklärt I Geschichte (January 2022).