Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Alethes Historia

[posted by Callimachus]

"The historian's one task is to tell the thing as it happened. This 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 favorites, but he will not spare their errors. For history, I say again, has this and only this 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." [Lucian (c.120-190 C.E.), "The Way to Write History"]