This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 The preservation of Homer's Poems by memory, and not by his own writing them down, and that thence they were styled Rhapsodies, as sung by him, like ballads, by parts, and not composed and connected together in complete works, are opinions well known from the ancient commentators; though such supposal seems to myself, as well as to Fabricius Biblioth. Grace. I. p. 269, and to others, highly improbable. Nor does Josephus say there were no ancienter writings among the Greeks than Homer's Poems, but that they did not fully own any ancienter writings pretending to such antiquity, which is trite.
2 It well deserves to be considered, that Josephus here says how all the following Greek historians looked on Herodotus as a fabulous author; and presently, sect. 14, how Manetho, the most authentic writer of the Egyptian history, greatly complains of his mistakes in the Egyptian affairs; as also that Strabo, B. XI. p. 507, the most accurate geographer and historian, esteemed him such; that Xenophon, the much more accurate historian in the affairs of Cyrus, implies that Herodotus's account of that great man is almost entirely romantic. See the notes on Antiq. B. XI. ch. 2. sect. 1, and Hutchinson's Prolegomena to his edition of Xenophon's, that we have already seen in the note on Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 10. sect. 3, how very little Herodotus knew about the Jewish affairs and country, and that he greatly affected what we call the marvelous, as Monsieur Rollin has lately and justly determined; whence we are not always to depend on the authority of Herodotus, where it is unsupported by other evidence, but ought to compare the other evidence with his, and if it preponderate, to prefer it before his. I do not mean by this that Herodotus willfully related what he believed to be false, (as Cteeias seems to have done,) but that he often wanted evidence, and sometimes preferred what was marvelous to what was best attested as really true.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.