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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Total War History » Historical writers
Topic Subject:Historical writers
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 05-14-14 01:10 AM EDT (US)         
So who would be your favorite historical writers from antiquity?

Personally, despite all the issues within his work- i love Herodotus. Whenever i read him i just imagine myself sitting in front of a bonfire with a bard recounting these fantastic and miraculous stories. My second favorite would have to be Plato. His handling of the Apology and The Republic is interesting and recently i had to study a section of it for a philosophy essay and it was just fascinating

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
posted 05-14-14 05:45 AM EDT (US)     1 / 5       
My personal favourite is Xenophon. His Cyrou Anabasis is excellent: clear language, descriptions of foreign lands and the tale of one of the greatest ancient adventures. What more could a man wish for?

After him, I'd probably go with either Thucydides or Plutarch...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
Terikel Grayhair
(id: Terikel706)
posted 05-15-14 03:47 AM EDT (US)     2 / 5       
Xenophon is good, Caesar was also very good- a dry and direct style like a military report.

I still like Tacitus and Suetonius though, even if we cannot trust their writings blindly (they were very biased, and had a personal stake in some of thier scribblings).

Still, I find their style and way of writing fascinating. Especially that old gossip-monger Tacitus.

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[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 05-15-2014 @ 03:47 AM).]

posted 05-15-14 04:51 AM EDT (US)     3 / 5       
I always picture Suetonius as the ancient equivalent of a tabloid journalist writing muck-raking biography.

Herodotus, probably. If nothing else he had good stories. Sallust or Livy maybe, though Cicero was apparently good company, with his propensity to drop witty remarks left, right and centre.

Definitely not Cato, elder or younger.

"Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins

[This message has been edited by Pitt (edited 05-15-2014 @ 04:52 AM).]

posted 05-15-14 04:53 PM EDT (US)     4 / 5       
Oh they're all biased and operating on a different level of truth than us. Thucydides and Polybius, perhaps, had some idea of "the truth" that approached ours, but even they operate in ways so foreign to our way of thinking that we must always be conscious of the difference between "history" and "historiography."

As for who is the best read? Sallust is my personal favorite, though, just as the ancients, I am quite biased. I just earned my doctorate thanks to him. Either way, the final battle of Catiline is a wonderful scene of pathos, and the snail hunt in the Jugurtha is rather charming. For all the claims that Sallust was the Roman Thudycides, he had a great knack for the Herodotean logos.

Livy has far greater nuance than I had ever expected, and I'm looking forward to reading him more closely in the future. Tacitus, of course, is a gem, but everyone knows that already.

As for Cato the Elder, Pitt, give him another try. The "Caedicius" fragment (fr. 83 in ORF=Aulus Gellius 3.7) is downright delightful. The whole idea of an anonymous history is incredibly fascinating, such a bizarre blip in the history of history.
posted 05-16-14 10:58 AM EDT (US)     5 / 5       
I'm a Thucydides man myself. A superb account of (most) of the Peleponnesian War, and not given to the obvious bias and self-aggrandising of ancient authors.
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