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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



7543
Lucian, How To Write History, 39-41


nanThis he cannot do, if he is Artaxerxes's physician trembling before him, or hoping to get a purple cloak, a golden chain, a horse of the Nisaean breed, in payment for his laudations. A fair historian, a Xenophon, a Thucydides, will not accept that position. He may nurse some private dislikes, but he will attach far more importance to the public good, and set the truth high above his hate; he may have his favourites, but he will not spare their errors. For history, I say again, has this and this only for its own; if a man will start upon it, he must sacrifice to no God but Truth; he must neglect all else; his sole rule and unerring guide is this — to think not of those who are listening to him now, but of the yet unborn who shall seek his converse.


nanAny one who is intent only upon the immediate effect may reasonably be classed among the flatterers; and History has long ago realized that flattery is as little congenial to her as the arts of personal adornment to an athlete's training. An anecdote of Alexander is to the point. 'Ah, Onesicritus,' said he, 'how I should like to come to life again for a little while, and see how your stuff strikes people by that time; at present they have good enough reason to praise and welcome it; that is their way of angling for a share of my favour.' On the same principle some people actually accept Homer's history of Achilles, full of exaggerations as it is; the one great guarantee which they recognize of his truth is the fact that his subject was not living; that leaves him no motive for lying.


nanThere stands my model, then: fearless, incorruptible, independent, a believer in frankness and veracity; one that will call a spade a spade, make no concession to likes and dislikes, nor spare any man for pity or respect or propriety; an impartial judge, kind to all, but too kind to none; a literary cosmopolite with neither suzerain nor king, never heeding what this or that man may think, but setting down the thing that befell.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

12 results
1. Thucydides, The History of The Peloponnesian War, 1.21-1.22 (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

2. Cicero, Letters To His Friends, 5.12 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Polybius, Histories, 2.61, 12.15.9 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2.61. 1.  To take another instance, Phylarchus, while narrating with exaggeration and elaboration the calamities of the Mantineans, evidently deeming it a historian's duty to lay stress on criminal acts,,2.  does not even make mention of the noble conduct of the Megalopolitans at nearly the same date, as if it were rather the proper function of history to chronicle the commission of sins than to call attention to right and honourable actions,,3.  or as if readers of his memoirs would be improved less by account of good conduct which we should emulate than by criminal conduct which we should shun.,4.  He tells us how Cleomenes took the city, and before doing any damage to it, sent at once a post to the Megalopolitans at Messene offering to hand back their own native country to them uninjured on condition of their throwing in their lot with him. So much he lets us know, wishing to show the magimity of Cleomenes and his moderation to his enemies,,5.  and he goes on to tell how when the letter was being read out they would not allow the reader to continue until the end, and how they came very near stoning the letter-bearers.,6.  So far he makes everything quite clear to us, but he deprives us of what should follow and what is the special virtue of history, I mean praise and honourable mention of conduct noteworthy for its excellence.,7.  And yet he had an opportunity ready to his hand here. For if we consider those men to be good who by speeches and resolutions only expose themselves to war for the sake of their friends and allies, and if we bestow not only praise but lavish thanks and gifts on those who have suffered their country to be laid waste and their city besieged,,8.  what should we feel for the Megalopolitans? Surely the deepest reverence and the highest regard.,9.  In the first place they left their lands at the mercy of Cleomenes, next they utterly lost their city owing to their support of the Achaeans,,10.  and finally, when quite unexpectedly it was put in their power to get it back undamaged, they preferred to lose their land, their tombs, their temples, their homes, and their possessions, all in fact that is dearest to men, rather than break faith with their allies.,11.  What more noble conduct has there ever been or could there be? To what could an author with more advantage call the attention of his readers, and how could he better stimulate them to loyalty to their engagements and to true and faithful comradeship?,12.  But Phylarchus, blind, as it seems to me, to the most noble actions and those most worthy of an author's attention, has not said a single word on the subject. 12.15.9.  But Timaeus, blinded by his own malice, has chronicled with hostility and exaggeration the defects of Agathocles and has entirely omitted to mention his shining qualities, being unaware that it is just as mendacious for a writer to conceal what did occur as to report what did not occur. I myself, while refraining in order to spare him from giving full expression to my hostility to Timaeus, have omitted nothing less to the object I had in view. . . . .
4. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, On Thucydides, 41 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

5. Dionysius of Halycarnassus, Letter To Pompeius Geminus, 4-6, 3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

6. Plutarch, On The Malice of Herodotus, None (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Plutarch, Dion, 36.4 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Plutarch, Pericles, 13.16 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9. Aelius Aristides, Orations, 36.48 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. Herodian, History of The Empire After Marcus, 2.15.6-2.15.7 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

11. Lucian, How To Write History, 12-13, 40-42, 50, 61, 63, 7, 10 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

12. Papyri, P.Oxy., 71.4808



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aelius antipater Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
aelius aristides Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
alternatives Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
ancestors Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
asinius quadratus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
cassius dio Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
character (plutarchs and readers concern with) Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
criticism Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
digressions Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
encomium Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
envy Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
explanations Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
flattery, flatterers Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
flattery Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
fortune, contrasted with virtue Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
fortune, mis- Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
fortune, success/failure as result of Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
greece Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
herodotus Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
historiography Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159; Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4; Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
lucian, as self-conscious reception artist Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 195
lucian, how to write history Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 195
lucian, ideas of truth in Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 195
lucian, relation to historiography Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 195
lucian Kirkland, Herodotus and Imperial Greek Literature: Criticism, Imitation, Reception (2022) 195
lucian of samosata Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
memory Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
moderation Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
narrator Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
omissions Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
pleasure (in historiography) Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
readers, foreknowledge Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
second sophistic Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
septimius severus Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
sophists, sophistry Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
style/stylistic (interest in) Chrysanthou, Plutarch's 'Parallel Lives': Narrative Technique and Moral Judgement (2018) 159
style Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
thucydides Chrysanthou, Reconfiguring the Imperial Past: Narrative Patterns and Historical Interpretation in Herodian’s History of the Empire (2022) 4
truthfulness Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197
virtues' Jażdżewska and Doroszewski,Plutarch and his Contemporaries: Sharing the Roman Empire (2024) 197