Blog, Historiography

Explain the character of Greek Historiography?

Until the fifth century BCE the Greek historical interest remained centred on the city-state of Greece. The geographical area was political unit and what happened within state engaged the thinking of historians. As foreigners like Macedonians and Persian were considered as enemies, their doing did not figure in their writing. But this attitude outmoded, when the Greek forces and Greek ideas crossed the geographical frontiers and conquered alien lands. Not only did the ancient Greeks contribute the ‘history’ to the realm of knowledge but also did enrich its content.

Homeric poems, it received acceptance as a system of enquirey.

To Herodotus enquirey included description of the geographical features of the Lands and the occupation as well as achievements of the people.

Thucydides wanted history to be a objective in its approach and pragmatic in its guidance.

For Aristotle, it involvoved research and analysis, leading to the discovery of true knowledge.

Under Polybius, the character of history marked a shift from enquirey to narrative.

During the age of Greek historians, history assumned essential characteristics. It became humanistic, for it dealt with what the human beings did. The work of men and states served as the basis of enquirey, criticism and analysis. Varacity and presentation received due attention. No other civilization dis so much for history as the Greeks did.

A geographers and observers, they developed a curiosity to learn and seek truth. Added to these, their age was marked by developments of great magnitude, working of democracy, struggle among city-states fro supremacy, expansion of Macedonia, spread of Hellenic civilization and imperialism of Rome. They furnished rich materials for writing. However, it cannot be denied that the Greek historians had concentrated upon contemporary history rather than past history.

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