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The earliest known systematic historical thought emerged in ancient Greece, a

development which would be an important influence on the writing of history elsewhere

around the Mediterranean. Greek historians greatly contributed to the development of
historical methodology. The earliest known critical historical works were The Histories,
composed by Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484 BC–ca.425 BC) who later became known
as the 'father of history' (Cicero). Herodotus attempted to distinguish between more and
less reliable accounts, and personally conducted research by travelling extensively, giving
written accounts of various Mediterranean cultures. Although Herodotus' overall
emphasis lay on the actions and characters of men, he also attributed an important role to
divinity in the determination of historical events.

The generation following Herodotus witnessed a spate of local histories of the individual
city-states (poleis), written by the first of the local historians who employed the written
archives of city and sanctuary. Dionysius of Halicarnassus characterized these historians
as the forerunners of Thucydides, and these local histories continued to be written into
Late Antiquity, as long as the city-states survived. Two early figures stand out: Hippias of
Elis, who produced the lists of winners in the Olympic Games that provided the basic
chronological framework as long as the pagan classical tradition lasted, and Hellanicus of
Lesbos, who compiled more than two dozen histories from civic records, all of them now

Thucydides largely eliminated divine causality in his account of the war between Athens
and Sparta, establishing a rationalistic element which set a precedent for subsequent
Western historical writings. He was also the first to distinguish between cause and
immediate origins of an event, while his successor Xenophon (ca. 431–355 BC)
introduced autobiographical elements and character studies in his Anabasis.

The proverbial Philippic attacks of the Athenian orator Demosthenes (384-322 BC) on
Philip II of Macedon marked the height of ancient political agitation. The now lost
history of Alexander's campaigns by the diadoch Ptolemy I (367-283 BC) may represent
the first historical work composed by a ruler. Polybius (ca. 203–120 BC) wrote on the
rise of Rome to world prominence, and attempted to harmonize the Greek and Roman
points of view.

The Chaldean priest Berossus (fl. 3rd century) composed a Greek-language History of
Babylonia for the Seleucid king Antiochus I, combining Hellenistic methods of
historiography and Mesopotamian accounts to form a unique composite. Reports exist of
other near-eastern histories, such as that of the Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon; but
he is considered semi-legendary and writings attributed to him are fragmentary, known
only through the later historians Philo of Byblos and Eusebius, who asserted that he
wrote before even the Trojan war

The Greeks

While the Greeks were by no means the first

people to write history, they invented the word (historia, investi-
gation) and were the first to apply it to an account of past events.
Although generalizations about the whole of Greek thought from
900 B.C. to 600 A.D. are unusually hazardous, two points can
be made: 1. Greeks stressed the ideal of the man who does every-
thing well, and every one of the best historical writers had at
least one other career. Most of them also had a normal interest
in drama, poetry, rhetoric and often other fields as well. Nor were
Greek patterns in the past always by historians: several of the
selections were not intended as history at all. Thus Greek philos-
ophy of history cannot be studied by itself: it is involved in every
other aspect of their thought. 2. Until Hellenistic times Greek
fife was bound up in the polis, and Greek writers caried its values
into historical writing. The polis was not only a political unit,
but a cultural and moral one as well: politics was the everyday
concern of educated men. This is why almost all Greek historical
writing is political. Further, it always had a cultural or a moral

flavor: it was either intended to offer esthetic satisfaction as an

art, or to offer an analysis of past mistakes with the intention of
preventing their recurrence as far as possible.

The early Hellenes did not think of history as separate from

poetry, myth, and drama. Homer's epics, which combine all
these elements, remained for some centuries the normal standard
for other writers to elaborate, and even to add to. For example,
Hesiod, a Boeotian, shows both epic and historical characteristics.
The sequence of metallic ages in his Works and Days, declining
from gold to iron, is a very ancient legend, perhaps with an
archaeological basis, and is found in other cultures; but Hesiod
inserts a fifth age of heroes. It has no particular connection with
the other four; this age of heroes is his attempt to combine legend
with the actual events of the Trojan War.

The change from epic and partly-epic poetry to prose narrative

took place in Ionia, among the seventh-centurylogographoi. He-
rodotus is less the Father of History than a developer of the lo-
gographers' methods. He continued the separation of history
from poetry and myth, not using an ordinary narrative (this
would not have been history) but a dramatized and artistic one,
dealing with a particular set of relationships in the immediate
past between Greek and non-Greek (barbarian) people

Roman Historiography is indebted to the Greeks, who invented the form. The Romans
had great models to base their works upon, such as Herodotus and Thucydides. Roman
historiographical forms are different than the Greek ones however, and voice very Roman
concerns. Unlike the Greeks, Roman historiography did not start out with an oral
historical tradition. 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 republic.

The foundation of Roman historiography

The most well-known originator of Roman historiography was Quintus Fabius Pictor,
also known as the “Founder of Historiography”. Before the second Punic war, there was
no historiography in Rome, but after, it was needed to commemorate this important
occasion. Q. Fabius Pictor took up the task and wrote a history of Rome in Greek, not
Latin. This choice of writing about the war in Greek arose from a need to address the
Greeks and counter another author, Timaeus, who also wrote a history of Rome until the
Second Punic War. Timaeus wrote with a negative view of Rome. Therefore, in defense
of the Roman state, Q. Fabius Pictor wrote in Greek, using Olympiad dating and a
Hellenistic style. Q. Fabius Pictor’s style of writing history defending the Roman state
and its actions, and using propaganda heavily, eventually became a defining
characteristic of Roman historiography.

The annalistic tradition

The authors who used the Annalistic tradition wrote histories year-by-year, from the
beginning, which was most frequently from the founding of the city, usually up
until the time that they were living in.

The monographic tradition

Monographs are more similar to the history books that we are used to today; they are
usually on a single topic, but most importantly, they do not tell history from the
beginning, and they are not even necessarily annalistic. An important sub
category that emerged from the monographic tradition was the biography

Factionalized history

Often, especially in times of political unrest or social turmoil, historians re-wrote history
to suit their particular views of the age. So, there were many different historians
each rewriting history a little bit to bolster their case. This was especially evident
in the 70s BC when the social wars were going on between the populists lead by
Marius, and the senatorials lead by Sulla. Several authors wrote histories during
this time, each taking a side.

The historiography we most readily identify with the Romans, coming from sources such
as Caesar, Sallust, Livy, Tacitus, and other minor authors, owes much to its early roots
and Greek predecessors. However, contrary to the Greek form, the Roman form included
various attitudes and concerns that were considered strictly Roman. As the recording of
Roman history began to evolve and take shape, many characteristics came to define what
we know today as Roman historiography, most notably the strong defense of and
allegiance to the Roman state and its wide variety of moral ideals, the factional nature of
some histories, the splitting of historiography into two distinct categories, the Annals and
the Monograph, and the rewriting of history to suit the author’s needs.

Senatorial History” describes history written by or with information from a Roman

Senator. Senatorial histories are generally particularly informative due to their “insider’s”
perspectiveRoman historiography is also very well known for subversive writing styles.
The information in the ancient Roman histories is often communicated by suggestion,
innuendo, implication and insinuation because their attitudes would not always be well
received. In Roman historiography commentarii is simply a raw account of events often
not intended for publication. It was not considered traditional “history” because it lacked
the necessary speeches and literary flourishes. Commentarii was usually turned into
“history” later onAncient Roman historians did not write for the sake of writing, they
wrote in an effort to convince their audiences. Propaganda is ever present and is the
function of Roman historiography. Ancient Roman historians traditionally had personal
and political baggage and were not disinterested observers. Their accounts were written
with the specific moral and political Caesar Livy Sallust Suetonius Tacitus