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A comparison of historical authors herodotus and tacitus

Yet the roots of this vast and complex field are ingrained in the Ancient World. In fact, many of the earliest histories date back to the Ancient Egyptian World. These histories, however, are anonymous. What separated these historians from their Egyptian and Babylonian predecessors was the sense of inquiry they had in their work.

  • Thucydides work was well respected due to the factual content;
  • An analysis of the topic of the abstinence movement The a business analysis of the goodyear company New Testament, as usually received in the Christian an analysis of the rio riot Churches, is an analysis of distinguishing sandy koufaz An analysis of the truman decision made up of twenty-seven different books attributed to [S]ound historical method must lead a scholar to distrust any source much of which can be shown to be false unless truly an analysis of experiences and privileges reliable material exists outside that.

They were self-consciously even-handed, focusing on eyewitness accounts rather than working from original documents. Hence, for them, reliable history was largely contemporary. Despite an emphasis on the ideas of military strength and states which were used as a guide for contemporary rulerstheir work also contained aspects of cultural, religious and social history. Polybius 200 — 118 BCEone of these authors, was originally from Greece, but was taken hostage by Rome.

He valued truth and political history, and chose to promote the idea of universal history a result of the rise of Rome.

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Like the Greeks, Roman historians emphasised the idea of states and empire, particularly their rise and fall. During the fall of the Roman Empire, Tacitus 56 — 117 AD displayed interest in connecting the success of the empire to the moral fibre of its people. This was done by contrasting the luxury of the declined Roman Empire to the simplicity of the Germanic people on the northern edges of their empire.

Of course, one must not place too much focus on the classical world; it does not provide a complete picture. Rather, one must also look at the Eastern World, especially the writing of history in Ancient China and the often overlooked Ancient India, Persia and Mesopotamia. Similarly, the understanding of Judeo-Christian historiography and its origins can be gained from the Bible.

There are certain themes that can be seen in the writing of these historians, yet at the same time, key differences something that this website aims to demonstrate. In ancient historiography, there was a great awareness of their predecessors a comparison of historical authors herodotus and tacitus in a tradition.

Furthermore, the historians were also keen to record portents; signs that something momentous will soon happen. This led to the production of large-scale histories — local histories were rare. The Legacy of the Ancient Historians Modern historians are becoming increasingly interested in the work of ancient historians, and in particular, how they chose to write history, in an attempt to answer the complex question: There was a change in the historiography, shown through the works of modern historians; this change was a shift from grouping all ancient historians together into one group and finding general attributes, to more specific research into individual historians and how they fit into a greater narrative.

Moreover, historians are beginning to challenge the traditional views of past historians. John Burrows, for example, demonstrates the change in attitudes to the field by debunking four myths that were often stated by historians regarding ancient historiography: All history was contemporary history.

Ancient historiography was exclusively political and military. There was no conception of long term historical change. There was a notion that all change was cyclical. In the past, the views of ancient historians were different.

  • Of course, there is much debate regarding whether Bede and other writers of his time were truly ancient historians; there are certainly differences in the ways they wrote their histories;
  • He was also primarily interested in human affairs rather than in the general laws of nature or in metaphysical questions about changing phenomena.

During the Renaissance, the writings of many of these authors was highly regarded; much more so than it is now. There was less criticism than there is at present. Much emphasis was placed on occidental historians from Greece and Rome, rather than that of the East. The educated and cultured believed themselves to be on par with their ancient ancestors, hence an interest in a classical renewal.

There was a sense of an upcoming apocalypse highlighted by such events as the Reformation. After all, literacy rates were low, and as a result the ancient texts could not be read.

But to what extent was this true? The fall of the Roman Empire is often cited as a divisive point between these two periods.

What are the main differences between Tacitus and Thucydides?

However, in recent historiography led by Peter Brown a new, transitional period has been promoted: This period loosely spans the period between c. Particular emphasis is placed on the continuing power of the Byzantine Empire in the East, and the unity of the Mediterranean land before the rise and expansion of Islam. Indeed, similarities are present between Bede and classical writers. Of course, there is much debate regarding whether Bede and other writers of his time were truly ancient historians; there are certainly differences in the ways they wrote their histories.

Yet it is clear that in the Middle Ages, there was a greater sense of historical awareness than those in the Renaissance would like to believe. Further Reading Arnold, John, History: Burrows, John, A History of Histories: However, it is not clear whether or not the ancient Greeks treated history as an individual subject, but it is likely that it was seen as part of a larger body of non-philosophical writing. Nevertheless, history was often looked at in relation to other subjects such as poetry, rhetoric, and philology — connections revived during the Renaissance Kelly and Smith, 2011, p13.

Although the ancient Greeks were not the first to record human events, they were the first to criticise and analyse events, and thus can be seen as being the first historians Bay, 1908, p. Yet, the famous ancient Greek historians, such as Herodotus and Thucydides did not necessarily have converging ideas of what the study and documenting of history should involve.

A comparison of historical authors herodotus and tacitus

Additionally, Thucydides focused on the role of the individual, and how an individual could change the course of history, and, unlike Herodotus, explicitly contends that historical enquiry rests on evidence Collingwood, 1946, p. In it, Lucien does not seem to agree strongly with either Herodotus or Thucydides, but instead believed the task of historians was to include recording events whilst avoiding praise, providing a political understanding, and using literary skills Kelly, 2001, p.

The cyclical model for change, popular among the Ionian thinkers with whom Greek historian Herodotus is associated, became widespread in Greek popular and philosophical conceptions. Greek historians Herodotus, Thucydides and Polybius have in turn been described as historians with a cyclical view of time and it is to these men whom this cyclical theory largely attributed to.

In his works The Persian Wars, Herodotus described a dynamics of history that he characterised as a wheel or cycle, whereby: Trompf believe that the Polybian Anacyclosis is a key example of that cyclical thinking about history so commonly related with the Greek view of life. Identifying six types of constitutions, Polybius tried to show how they always followed one another in a field of sequence: Kingship, tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, democracy and finally mob rule.

King James Bible 1: Arnaldo Momigliano in particular is of the view that Herodotus, attributed to the Persian war as a unique, non-cyclical significance and that it was chiefly a conflict between men and slaves. Momigliano also implies that whilst most supporters of the cyclical view in Greek historiography generally fall back on Polybius, Polybius himself liked cyclical time only as a philosophical theory and not particularly as a historical one.

Trompf shares a very similar view and makes it a point to note that whilst it is regarded that Polybius shared this cyclical view, he also used a variety of paradigms. He was also primarily interested in human affairs rather than in the general laws of nature or in metaphysical questions about changing phenomena. So whilst we can see why it is a generally shared conception by historians that the theory of cyclical time is characteristically Greek, we can also see instances where this view is not completely shown by ancient Greek historians and that it is also a theory picked a comparison of historical authors herodotus and tacitus by other ancient historians e.

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Kelley and Bonnie G. The role of historians in classical society. This piece of work will look at how historians were viewed in their society and how they were treated. It will discuss their social status and will also look at how their work was viewed by society at the time and how important they were to the community.

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Herodotus decided to record these accounts and recorded the events he heard which he then would write about and read to people. Herodotus would often give readings to large groups in public places.

He made money from such events and was often paid by officials. He was considered highly by society and people would gather to hear of events he had recorded and to listen to his works in general. This quote shows the extent that historians but in particular Herodotus were highly regarded in society. It is a view that has been agreed with by a number of historians. He used eye witnesses more so than ever before and his experiences from the war himself to create a strong account of what happened during the wars that his work was written on.

His work was especially highly regarded at the time he wrote it and even to the present day due to the fact that his work, although concentrated very much on the wars he experienced, included questions that still hold relevance to the present day.

Thucydides work was well respected due to the factual content. Thucydides and his fame was concreted much later after his death.

The Ancient Historians

Instead he was much more concerned with a factual analysis of the Peloponnesian war. Thucydides may not have been as influential or important in society at the time but his work is seen as being the first that used modern ideals, in terms of his use of eye witnesses and how his work was structured and the questions asked. There is no doubt to the importance of Thucydides to History and rightly is considered one of the great historians.