Blog, Historiography

Roman Historians: Assess the contribution of Romans to the development of Historiography?

The Roman contribution to historical writing was considerable but not as remarkable  as Greek. The Rome had no glorious past, for it had little  worth in term of record in  the humble story of its existence as a small group of villages. For long it struggled against the states of Latium until it gained recognition as the principal city.

It was only after it began to conquer the Mediterranean region that it came to receive wider attention.  Further, the Romans had developed no racial pride as the Greeks. The Greeks exercised a lot of influence on the historical thinking of Romans as in religion and poetry that the latter ignored their own history. Time was needed to develop a sense of their own historical individuality. The registers of annual events prepared by the religious heads and the annals written for the glorification of the deeds of the chieftains represented the early historical writing of the Romans.

Subsequently, several writers wrote on historical themes like the rise of Rome and the Punic Wars. Among them were Naevius, Ennius and Pictor. However, the real founder of Roman history was Porcius Cato, who lived during the third century BCE. The treatises that he wrote on history, politics and war were of considerable historical interest. Julius Caesar wrote his Commentaries, presented in a lucid style; it furnishes much information about peace, war and popular customs in the Roman Empire. However, the greatest historians of the Roman Empire were Livy and Tacitus.

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