Ancient Historians

Baltis

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,995
Texas
#2
Being considered the father of history, I'm sure Herodotus should get a mention for his book on the Persian Wars. Also Thucydides for his work on the Peloponnesian War.
 
Likes: Rovi
Oct 2015
671
Virginia
#3
If you mean the period of Roman/Hellenistic interaction (~323-146BC) probably Polybius was (is) the most "influential" since scholars think many other surviving works used him as a source.

Polybius books I-V and most of VI survive, as do fragments of VII-XL. The work covered Greece, the Hellenistic Kingdoms and the rise of Rome from 264-146BC.

Livy's Roman history books XXI-XLV survive, and record events between 218-167BC including the Macedonian and Syrian Wars (Livy seems to have used Polybius as a source).

Diodorus Siculus books XVII-XX are extant and give an account of the Diadochi down to 301BC.

Plutarch's biographies of the figures of the period are also important.

There is also Pompieus Trogus which survives (sort of) in Justins' epitome which outlines the rise of Macedon and Hellenistc Asia.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2015
671
Virginia
#5
Oops...well, if so a student could as easily get the raw data elsewhere on the internet...still has to write the essay.(?)
Also I left out the fragments of Cassius Dio books IX-XXI and Zonaras' epitome.
 
Nov 2018
12
Ireland
#6
Polybius, I believe, was (is) probably the most influential, even to this day, in terms of how we gather and analyse evidence, as well as how we view Rome during the period 264-146 B.C.
He certainly did not think much of his contemporaries, as is evident from his criticism of Theopompus, Philinus of Agrigentum, Fabius Pictor, Phylarchus and poor Timaeus who had the whole of Book XII dedicated to his criticism.
 
Aug 2014
943
United States of America
#7
I would venture to say Polybius. But that's based on mostly subjective factors - authors with whom I am familiar and have enjoyed reading and studying.

What criteria determine "most influential"?
 
Nov 2018
12
Ireland
#8
Influential in terms of how we interpret their period in history, is their work canon? Is their narrative and evidence seen as credible, factual etc? Have they had any influence on historiography in general through their method of gathering evidence, analysis and writing form? They could be some of the criteria maybe?
 
Aug 2014
943
United States of America
#9
Influential in terms of how we interpret their period in history, is their work canon? Is their narrative and evidence seen as credible, factual etc? Have they had any influence on historiography in general through their method of gathering evidence, analysis and writing form? They could be some of the criteria maybe?
On these bases, I would say that Polybius is probably still the most influential. To take one major example of the influence of his work, his analysis of Roman governments and their contribution to Rome's domination of the Mediterranean has preoccupied many historians and that very method and mindset has been used by many political scientists and historians up through to today.
 
Aug 2018
56
Anatolia
#10
Debated, yet I would say the authors of canonical gospels. True or not they were narrations of recently past events for their time and their influence was out of question.
Being considered the father of history, I'm sure Herodotus should get a mention for his book on the Persian Wars. Also Thucydides for his work on the Peloponnesian War.
I have been told that Peloponnesian War is also accepted as a fundamental, a must-read book in the field of science politique/international relations.
 

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