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Geography of Libya

BYZACIA is near the Syrtes; it has a circumference of two thousand stades, and is circular in shape. . . .

Hippo, Singa, Tabraca, are cities in Libya. Chalkeia, however, is not, as Demosthenes ignorantly states, the name of a city, but means only a "bronze-factory.". . .

The Lotus

The lotus is not a large tree; but it is rough and thorny,
The lotus. See Herodotus, 2, 92.
and has a green leaf, like the rhamnus (black or white thorn), a little longer and broader. The fruit is like white myrtle-berries when they are come to perfection; but, as it grows, it becomes purple in colour, and in size about equal to round olives, and has a very small stone. When it is ripe they gather it: and some of it they pound up with groats of spelt, and store in vessels for their slaves; and the rest they also preserve for the free inhabitants, after taking out the stones, and use it for food. It tastes like a fig or a date, but is superior to them in aroma. A wine is made of it also by steeping it in water and crushing it, sweet and pleasant to the taste, like good mead; and they drink it without mixing it with water. It will not keep, however, more than ten days, and they therefore only make it in small quantities as they want it. Vinegar also is made out of it. . . .

Timaeus Wrong about Libya

The excellence of the soil of Libya must excite our admiration.
Misstatements of Timaeus about Libya,
But one would feel inclined to say of Timaeus, not merely that he had never studied the country, but that he was childish and entirely unintelligent in his notions; completely enslaved to those old traditional stories of Libya being wholly sandy, parched, and barren. The same too holds good about its animals. The supply of horses, oxen, sheep, and goats in it is beyond anything to be found in any other part of the world; because many of the tribes in Libya do not use cultivated crops, but live on and with their flocks and herds. Again what writer has failed to mention the vast number and strength of its elephants, lions, and panthers, or the beauty of its buffalos, or the size of its ostriches? Of these not one is to be found in Europe, while Libya is full of them. But Timaeus, by passing them over without a word, gives, as though purposely, an impression exactly the reverse of the truth.

And just in the same random way in which he has spoken

and Corsica,
about Libya, he has also done about the island called Cyrnus. For, when mentioning it in his second book, he says that wild goats, sheep, wild oxen, stags, hares, wolves, and some other animals are plentiful in it; and that the inhabitants employ themselves in hunting them, and in fact spend most of their time in that pursuit. Whereas in this island there are not only no wild goats or wild oxen, but not even hare, wolf, or stag, or any animal of the sort, except some foxes, rabbits, and wild sheep. The rabbit indeed at a distance looks like a small hare; but when taken in the hand, it is found to be widely different both in appearance and in the taste of its flesh; and it also lives generally underground.

The Errors of Timaeus

The idea, however, of all the animals in the island
the reason of his mistake.
being wild, has arisen in the following way: The caretakers cannot keep up with their animals, owing to the thick woods and rocky broken nature of the country; but, whenever they wish to collect them, they stand on some convenient spots and call the beasts together by the sound of a trumpet; and all of them flock without fail to their own trumpets. Now, when ships arrive at the coast. and the sailors see goats or cattle grazing without any one with them, and thereupon try to catch them, the animals will not let them come near them, because they are not used to them, but will scamper off. But as soon as the keeper sees the men disembarking and sounds his trumpet, they all set off running at full speed and collect round the trumpet. This gives the appearance of wildness; and Timaeus, who made only careless and perfunctory inquiries, committed himself to a random statement.

Now this obedience to the sound of a trumpet is

Swine-keeping in Italy.
nothing astonishing. For in Italy the swineherds manage the feeding of their pigs in the same way. They do not follow close behind the beasts, as in Greece, but keep some distance in front of them, sounding their horn every now and then; and the animals follow behind and run together at the sound. Indeed, the complete familiarity which the animals show with the particular horn to which they belong seems at first astonishing and almost incredible. For owing to the populousness and wealth of the country, the droves of swine in Italy are exceedingly large, especially along the sea coast of the Tuscans and Gauls: for one sow will bring up a thousand pigs, or sometimes even more. They therefore drive them out from their night styes to feed, according to their litters and ages. Whence, if several droves are taken to the same place, they cannot preserve these distinction of litters; but they of course get mixed up with each other, both as they are being driven out, and as they feed, and as they are being brought home. Accordingly the device of the horn-blowing has been invented to separate them, when they have got mixed up together, without labour or trouble. For as they feed, one swineherd goes in one direction sounding his horn, and another in another: and thus the animals sort themselves of their own accord, and follow their own horns with such eagerness that it is impossible by any means to stop or hinder them. But in Greece, when the swine get mixed up in the oak forests in their search for the mast, the swineherd who has most assistants and the best help at his disposal, when collecting his own animals, drives off his neighbour's also. Sometimes too a thief lies in wait, and drives them off without the swineherd knowing how he lost them; because the beasts straggle a long way from their drivers, in their eagerness to find acorns, when they are just beginning to fall. . . .

It is difficult to pardon such errors in Timaeus,
False criticisms of Timaeus on Theopompus and Ephorus.
considering how severe he is in criticising the slips of others. For instance he finds fault with Theopompus for stating that Dionysius sailed from Sicily to Corinth in a merchant vessel, whereas he really arrived in a ship of war. And again he falsely charges Ephorus with contradicting himself, on the ground that he asserts that Dionysius the Elder ascended the throne at the age of twenty-three, reigned forty-two years, and died at sixty-three. Now no one would say, I think, that this was a blunder of the historian, but clearly one of the transcriber. For either Ephorus must be more foolish than Coroebus and Margites, if he were unable to calculate that forty-two added to twenty-three make sixty-five; or, if that is incredible in the case of a man like Ephorus, it must be a mere mistake of the transcriber, and the carping and malevolent criticism of Timaeus must be rejected.

Again, in his history of Pyrrhus, he says that the Romans
His false account of the October horse.
still keep up the memory of the fall of Troy by shooting to death with javelins a war-horse on a certain fixed day, because the capture of Troy was accomplished by means of the "Wooden Horse." This is quite childish. On this principle, all non-Hellenic nations must be put down as descendants of the Trojans; for nearly all of them, or at any rate the majority, when about to commence a war or a serious battle with an enemy, first kill and sacrifice a horse. In making this sort of ill-founded deduction, Timaeus seems to me to show not only want of knowledge, but, what is worse, a trick of misapplying knowledge. For, because the Romans sacrifice a horse, he immediately concludes that they do it because Troy was taken by means of a horse.

These instances clearly show how worthless his account of Libya, Sardinia, and, above all, of Italy is; and that, speaking generally, he has entirely neglected the most important element in historical investigation, namely, the making personal inquiries.
The reason of his mistakes a want of care in making inquiries.
For as historical events take place in many different localities, and as it is impossible for the same man to be in several places at the same time, and also impossible for him to see with his own eyes all places in the world and observe their peculiarities, the only resource left is to ask questions of as many people as possible; and to believe those who are worthy of credit; and to show critical sagacity in judging of their reports.

And though Timaeus makes great professions on this
Nor is he to be trusted even in matters that fell under his own observation.
head, he appears to me to be very far from arriving at the truth. Indeed, so far from making accurate investigations of the truth through other people, he does not tell us anything trustworthy even of events of which he has been an eye-witness, or of places he has personally visited. This will be made evident, if we can convict him of being ignorant, even in his account of Sicily, of the facts which he brings forward. For it will require very little further proof of his inaccuracy, if he can be shown to be ill-informed and misled about the localities in which he was born and bred, and that too the most famous of them. Now he asserts that the fountain Arethusa at Syracuse has its source in the Peloponnese, from the river Alpheus, which flows through Arcadia and Olympia.
For that this river sinks into the earth, and, after being carried for four thousand stades under the Sicilian Sea, comes to the surface again in Syracuse; and that this was proved from the fact that on a certain occasion a storm of rain having come on during the Olympic festival, and the river having flooded the sacred enclosure, a quantity of dung from the animals used for sacrifice at the festival was thrown up by the fountain Arethusa; as well as a certain gold cup, which was picked up and recognised as being one of the ornaments used at the festival. . . .

Aristotle's Account of Locri is Correct

I happened to have visited the city of the Locrians on several occasions, and to have been the means of doing them important services.
The traditions of the colonisation of Locri Epizephyrii agree with the account in Aristotle, rather than with that of Timaeus.
For it was I that secured their exemption from the service in Iberia and Dalmatia, which, in accordance with the treaty, they were bound to supply to the Romans, And being released thereby from considerable hardship, danger, and expense, they rewarded me with every mark of honour and kindness. I have therefore reason to speak well of the Locrians rather than the reverse. Still I do not shrink from saying and writing that the account of their colonisation given by Aristotle is truer than that of Timaeus. For I know for certain that the inhabitants themselves acknowledge that the report of Aristotle, and not of Timaeus, is the one which they have received from their ancestors. And they give the following proofs of this. In the first place, they stated that every ancestral distinction existing among them is traced by the female not the male side.1 For instance, those are reckoned noble among them who belong to "the hundred families"; and these "hundred families" are those which were marked out by the Locrians, before embarking upon their colonisation, as those from which they were in accordance with the oracle to select the virgins to be sent to Ilium. Further, that some of these women joined the colony: and that it is their descendants who are now reckoned noble, and called "the men of the hundred families." Again, the following account of the "cup-bearing" priestess had been received traditionally by them. When they ejected the Sicels who occupied this part of Italy, finding that it was a custom among them for the processions at their sacrifices to be led by a boy of the most illustrious and high-born family obtainable, and not having any ancestral custom of their own on the subject, they adopted this one, with no other improvement than that of substituting a girl for one of their boys as cupbearer, because nobility with them went by the female line.

The Epizephyrian Locrians

And as to a treaty, none ever existed, or was said
The trick of the Locrians.
to have existed, between them and the Locrians in Greece; but they all knew by tradition of one with the Sicels: of which they give the following account. When they first appeared, and found the Sicels occupying the district in which they are themselves now dwelling, these natives were in terror of them, and admitted them through fear into the country; and the newcomers made a sworn agreement with them that "they would be friendly and share the country with them, as long as they stood upon the ground they then stood upon, and kept heads upon their shoulders." But, while the oaths were being taken, they say that the Locrians put earth inside the soles of their shoes, and heads of garlic concealed on their shoulders, before they swore; and that then they shook the earth out of their shoes, and threw the heads of garlic off their shoulders, and soon afterwards expelled the Sicels from the country. This is the story current at Locri. . . .

By an extraordinary oversight Timaeus of Tauromenium commits himself to the statement that it was not customary with the Greeks to possess slaves.2 . . .

These considerations would lead us to trust Aristotle rather

Locri Epizephyrii colonised by certain slaves who had obtained their freedom, and by some free born women.
than Timaeus. His next statement is still more strange. For to suppose, with Timaeus, that it was unlikely that men, who had been the slaves of the allies of the Lacedaemonians, would continue the kindly feelings and adopt the friendships of their late masters is foolish. For when they have had the good fortune to recover their freedom, and a certain time has elapsed, men, who have been slaves, not only endeavour to adopt the friendships of their late masters, but also their ties of hospitality and blood: in fact, their aim is to keep them up even more than the ties of nature, for the express purpose of thereby wiping out the remembrance of their former degradation and humble position; because they wish to pose as the descendants of their masters rather than as their freedmen. And this is what in all probability happened in the case of the Locrians. They had removed to a great distance from all who knew their secret; the lapse of time favoured their pretensions; and they were not therefore so foolish as to maintain any customs likely to revive the memory of their own degradation, rather than such as would contribute to conceal it. Therefore they very naturally called their city by the name of that from which the women came; and claimed a relationship with those women: and, moreover, renewed the friendships which were ancestral to the families of the women.

And this also indicates that there is no sign of Aristotle

The Locrians then were naturally friends of Sparta and enemies of Athens.
being wrong in saying that the Athenians ravaged their territory. For it being quite natural, as I have shown, that the men who started from Locri and landed in Italy, if they were slaves ten times over, should adopt friendly relations with Sparta, it becomes also natural that the Athenians should be rendered hostile to them, not so much from regard to their origin as to their policy.

It is not, again, likely that the Lacedaemonians should themselves send their young men home from the

The reason of the women of Locris (in Greece) leaving their homes with the slaves.
camp for the sake of begetting children, and should refuse to allow the Locrians to do the same. Two things in such a statement are not only improbable but untrue. In the first place, they were not likely to have prevented the Locrians doing so, when they did the same themselves, for that would be wholly inconsistent: nor were the Locrians, in obedience to orders from them, likely to have adopted a custom like theirs. (For in Sparta it is a traditional law, and a matter of common custom, for three or four men to have one wife, and even more if they are brothers; and when a man has begotten enough children, it is quite proper and usual for him to sell his wife to one of his friends.) The fact is, that though the Locrians, not being bound by the same oath as the Lacedaemonians, that they would not return home till they had taken Messene, had a fair pretext for not taking part in the common expedition;3 yet, by returning home only one by one, and at rare intervals, they gave their wives an opportunity of becoming familiar with the slaves instead of their original husbands, and still more so the unmarried women. And this was the reason of the migration. . . .

Timaeus and the Character of a Historian

Timaeus makes many untrue statements; and he appears to have done so, not from ignorance, but because his view was distorted by party spirit. When once he has made up his mind to blame or praise, he forgets everything else and outsteps all bounds of propriety.
Timaeus and Aristotle.
So much for the nature of Aristotle's account of Locri, and the grounds on which it rested. But this naturally leads me to speak of Timaeus and his work as a whole, and generally of what is the duty of a man who undertakes to write history. Now I think that I have made it clear from what I have said, first, that both of them were writing conjecturally; and, secondly, that the balance of probability was on the side of Aristotle. It is in fact impossible in such matters to be positive and definite. But let us even admit that Timaeus gives the more probable account. Are the maintainers of the less probable theory, therefore, to be called by every possible term of abuse and obloquy, and all but be put on trial for their lives? Certainly not. Those who make untrue statements in their books from ignorance ought, I maintain, to be forgiven and corrected in a kindly spirit: it is only those who do so from deliberate intention that ought to be attacked without mercy.

Timaeus Criticises Aristotle

It must then either be shown that Aristotle's account of Locri was prompted by partiality, corruption, or personal enmity; or, if no one ventures to say that, then it must be acknowledged that those who display such personal animosity and bitterness to others, as Timaeus does to Aristotle, are wrong and ill advised.

The epithets which he applies to him are "audacious,"

The vulgar abuse of Timaeus.
"unprincipled," "rash"; and besides, he says that he "has audaciously slandered Locri by affirming that the colony was formed by runaway slaves, adulterers, and man-catchers." Further, he asserts that Aristotle made this statement, "in order that men might believe him to have been one of Alexander's generals, and to have lately conquered the Persians at the Cilician Gates in a pitched battle by his own ability; and not to be a mere pedantic sophist, universally unpopular, who had a short time before shut up that admirable doctor's shop."
B. C. 333.
Again, he says that he "pushed his way into every palace and tent:" and that he was "a glutton and a gourmand, who thought only of gratifying his appetite." Now it seems to me that such language as this would be intolerable in an impudent vagabond bandying abuse in a law court; but an impartial recorder of public affairs, and a genuine historian, would not think such things to himself, much less venture to put them in writing.

Timaeus's Statement of Method

Let us now, then, examine the method of Timaeus, and
Timaeus's account of his investigations in the history of the colony of Locri.
compare his account of this colony, that we may learn which of the two better deserves such vituperation. He says in the same book: "I am not now proceeding on conjecture, but have investigated the truth in the course of a personal visit to the Locrians in Greece. The Locrians first of all showed me a written treaty which began with the words, 'as parents to children.' There are also existing decrees securing mutual rights of citizenship to both. In fine, when they were told of Aristotle's account of the colony, they were astonished at the audacity of that writer. I then crossed to the Italian Locri and found that the laws and customs there accorded with the theory of a colony of free men, not with the licentiousness of slaves. For among them there are penalties assigned to man-catchers, adulterers, and run-away slaves. And this would not have been the case if they were conscious of having been such themselves."

The Investigations of Timaeus

Now the first point one would be inclined to raise is, as
Criticism of the above statement of Timaeus.
to what Locrians he visited and questioned on these subjects. If it had been the case that the Locrians in Greece all lived in one city, as those in Italy do, this question would perhaps have been unnecessary, and everything would have been plain. But as there are two clans of Locrians, we may ask, Which of the two did he visit? What cities of the one or the other? In whose hands did he find the treaty? Yet we all know, I suppose, that this is a speciality of Timaeus's, and that it is in this that he has surpassed all other historians, and rests his chief claim to credit,—I mean his parade of accuracy in studying chronology and ancient monuments, and his care in that department of research. Therefore we may well wonder how he came to omit telling us the name of the city in which he found the treaty, the place in which it was inscribed, or the magistrates who showed him the inscription, and with whom he conversed: to prevent all cavil, and, by defining the place and city, to enable those who doubted to ascertain the truth. By omitting these details he shows that he was conscious of having told a deliberate falsehood. For that Timaeus, if he really had obtained such proofs, would not have let them slip, but would have fastened upon them with both hands, as the saying is, is proved by the following considerations. Would a writer who tried to establish his credit on that of Echecrates,—he mentioning him by name as the person with whom he had conversed, and from whom he had obtained his facts about the Italian Locri,—taking the trouble to add, by way of showing that he had been told them by no ordinary person, that this man's father had formerly been entrusted with an embassy by Dionysius,—would such a writer have remained silent about it if he had really got hold of a public record or an ancient tablet?

Timaeus's Use of Chronological Records

This is the man forsooth who drew out a comparative
Timaeus and the Olympic registers.
list of the Ephors and the kings of Sparta from the earliest times; as well as one comparing the Archons at Athens and priestesses in Argos with the list of Olympic victors, and thereby convicted those cities of being in error about those records, because there was a discrepancy of three months between them! This again is the man who discovered the engraved tablets in the inner shrines, and the records of the guest-friendships on the doorposts of the temples. And we cannot believe that such a man could have been ignorant of anything of this sort that existed, or would have omitted to mention it if he had found it. Nor can he on any ground expect pardon, if he has told an untruth about it: for, as he has shown himself a bitter and uncompromising critic of others, he must naturally look for equally uncompromising attacks from them.

Being then clearly convicted of falsehood in these points, he goes to the Italian Locri: and, first of all, says that the two Locrian peoples had a similar constitution and the same ties of amity, and that Aristotle and Theophrastus have maligned the city. Now I am fully aware that in going into minute particulars and proofs on this point I shall be forced to digress from the course of my history. It was for that reason however that I postponed my criticism of Timaeus to a single section of my work, that I might not be forced again and again to omit other necessary matter. . . .

Timaeus On Divination

Timaeus says that the greatest fault in history is want
Timaeus condemned out of his own mouth.
of truth; and he accordingly advises all, whom he may have convicted of making false statements in their writings, to find some other name for their books, and to call them anything they like except history. . . .

For example, in the case of a carpenter's rule, though it may be too short or too narrow for your purpose, yet if it have the essential feature of a rule, that of straightness, you may still call it a rule; but if it has not this quality, and deviates from the straight line, you may call it anything you like except a rule. "On the same principle," says he, "historical writings may fail in style or treatment or other details; yet if they hold fast to truth, such books may claim the title of history, but if they swerve from that, they ought no longer to be called history." Well, I quite agree that in such writings truth should be the first consideration: and, in fact, somewhere in the course of my work I have said "that as in a living body, when the eyes are out, the whole is rendered useless, so if you take truth from history what is left is but an idle tale."

See 1, 14.
I said again, however, that "there were two sorts of falsehoods, the ignorant and the intentional; and the former deserved indulgence, the latter uncompromising severity." . . . These points being agreed upon—the wide difference between the ignorant and intentional lie, and the kindly correction due to the one and the unbending denunciation to the other—it will be found that it is to the latter charge that Timaeus more than any one lays himself open. And the proof of his character in this respect is clear. . . .

There is a proverbial expression for the breakers of an agreement, "Locrians and a treaty."

The proverb Λοκροὶ τὰς συνθήκας.
An explanation given of this, equally accepted by historians and the rest of the world, is that, at the time of the invasion of the Heracleidae, the Locrians agreed with the Peloponnesians that, if the Heracleidae did not enter by way of the isthmus, but crossed at Rhium, they would raise a war beacon, that they might have early intelligence and make provisions to oppose their entrance. The Locrians, however, did not do this, but, on the contrary, raised a beacon of peace; and therefore, when the Heracleidae arrived opposite Rhium, they crossed without resistance; while the Peloponnesians, having taken no precautions, found that they had allowed their enemies to enter their country, because they had been betrayed by the Locrians. . . .

Many remarks depreciatory of divination and dream interpretation may be found in his writings.4 But

Timaeus's attitude towards the art of divination.
writers who have introduced into their books a good deal of such foolish talk, so far from running down others, should think themselves fortunate if they escape attack themselves. And this is just the position in which Timaeus stands.
He remarks that "Callisthenes was a mere sycophant for writing stuff of this sort; and acted in a manner utterly unworthy of his philosophy in giving heed to ravens and inspired women; and that he richly deserved the punishment which he met with at the hands of Alexander, for having corrupted the mind of that monarch as far as he could." On the other hand, he commends Demosthenes, and the other orators who flourished at that time, and says that "they were worthy of Greece for speaking against the divine honours given to Alexander; while this philosopher, for investing a mere mortal with the aegis and thunderbolt, justly met the fate which befell him from the hands of providence. . . ."

Timaeus On Demochares and Agathocles

Timaeus asserts that Demochares was guilty of
unnatural lust, and that his lips therefore were unfit to blow the sacred fire; and that in morals he went beyond any stories told by Botrys and Philaenis and all other writers of indecent tales. Foul abuse and shameless accusations of this sort are not only what no man of cultivation would have uttered, they go beyond what you might expect from the lowest brothels. It is, however, to get credit for the foul and shameless accusations, which he is always bringing, that he has maligned this man: supporting his charge by dragging in an obscure comic poet. Now on what grounds do I conjecture the falsity of the accusation? Well, first, from the fact of the good birth and education of Demochares; for he was a nephew of Demosthenes. And in the second place, from the fact that he was thought worthy at Athens, not only of being a general, but of the other offices also; which he certainly would not have obtained, if he had got into such troubles as these. Therefore it seems to me that Timaeus is accusing the people of Athens more than Demochares, if it is the fact that they committed the interests of the country and their own lives to such a man. For if it had been true, the comic poet Archedicus would not have been the only one to have made this statement concerning Demochares, as Timaeus alleges: it would have been repeated by many of the partisans of Antipater, against whom he has spoken with great freedom, and said many things calculated to annoy, not only Antipater himself, but also his successors and friends. It would have been repeated also by many of his political opponents: and among them, by Demetrius of Phalerum, against whom Demochares has inveighed with extraordinary bitterness in his History, alleging that "his conduct as a prince, and the political measures on which he prided himself, were such as a petty tax-gatherer might be proud of; for he boasted that in his city things were abundant and cheap, and every one had plenty to live upon." And he tells another story of Demetrius, that "He was not ashamed to have a procession in the theatre led by an artificial snail, worked by some internal contrivance, and emitting slime as it crawled, and behind it a string of asses; meaning by this to indicate the slowness and stupidity of the Athenians, who had yielded to others the honour of defending Greece, and were tamely submissive to Cassander." Still, in spite of these taunts, neither Demetrius nor any one else has ever brought such a charge against Demochares.

No Place in History for Abusive Language

Relying therefore on the testimony of his own countrymen, as safer ground than the virulence of Timaeus, I feel no hesitation in declaring that the life of Demochares is not chargeable with such enormities. But even supposing that Demochares had ever so disgraced himself, what need was there for Timaeus to insert this passage in his History? Men of sense, when resolved to retaliate upon a personal enemy, think first, not of what he deserves, but of what it is becoming in them to do. So in the case of abusive language: the first consideration should be, not what our enemies deserve to be called, but what our self respect will allow us to call them. But if men measure everything by their own ill temper and jealousy, we are forced to be always suspicious of them, and to be ever on our guard against their exaggeration. Wherefore, in the present instance, we may fairly reject the stories to the discredit of Philochares told by Timaeus; for he has put himself out of the pale of indulgence or belief, by so obviously allowing his native virulence to carry him beyond all bounds of propriety in his invectives.

Timaeus Blinded by Personal Malignity

For my part I cannot feel satisfied with his abuse of
Agathocles defended against the aspersions of Timaeus.
Agathocles either, even admitting him to have been the worst of men. I refer to the passage at the end of his History in which he asserts that in his youth Agathocles was "a common stale, extravagantly addicted to every unnatural vice," and that "when he died, his wife in the course of her lamentations exclaimed Ah, what have I not done for you I what have you not done to me?" To such language one can only repeat what has been already said in the case of Demochares, and express one's astonishment at such extravagant virulence. For that Agathocles must have had fine natural qualities is evident from the narrative of Timaeus itself. That a man who came as a runaway slave to Syracuse, from the potter's wheel and smoke and clay, at the early age of eighteen, should have within a short time advanced from that humble beginning to be master of all Sicily, and after being a terror to the Carthaginians, should have grown old in office and died in enjoyment of the royal title,—does not this prove that Agathocles had some great and admirable qualities, and many endowments and talents for administration? In view of these the historian ought not to have recounted to posterity only what served to discredit and defame this man, but those facts also which were to his honour. For that is the proper function of history. Blinded, however, by personal malignity, he has recorded for us with bitterness and exaggeration all his defects; while his eminent achievements he has passed over in entire silence: seeming not to be aware that in history such silence is as mendacious as misstatement. The part of his history, therefore, which was added by him for the gratification of his personal spite I have passed over, but not what was really germane to his subject. . . .

The Laws of Zaleucus

Two young men had a dispute about the ownership of
The laws of Zaleucus, and an incident in their working at Locri (for which he legislated, see Arist. Pol. 2, 12).
a slave. This slave had been in the possession of one of them for a long time; but two days before, as he was going to the farm without his master, the other laid violent hands upon him and dragged him to his house. When the first young man heard of this, he came to the house, seized the slave, and taking him before the magistrate asserted his ownership and offered sureties. For the law of Zaleucus ordained that the party from whom the abduction was made should have possession of the property in dispute, pending the decision of the suit. But the other man in accordance with the same law, alleged that he was the party from whom the abduction had been made, for the slave had been brought before the magistrate from his house. The magistrates who were trying the case were in doubt, and calling in the Cosmopolis5 referred the point to him. He interpreted the law as meaning that "the abduction was always from that party in whose possession the property in dispute had last been for a certain period unquestioned; but that if another abducted this property from a holder, and then the original holder repossessed himself of it from the abductor, this was not abduction in the sense of the law." The young man, who thus lost his case, was not satisfied, and alleged that such was not the intention of the legislator. Thereupon the Cosmopolis summoned him to discuss the interpretation in accordance with the law of Zaleucus; that is, to argue on the interpretation of the law with him before the court of the one thousand, and with a halter round the neck of each: whichever should be shown to be wrong in his interpretation was to lose his life in the sight of the thousand. But the young man asserted that the compact was not a fair one, for the Cosmopolis, who happened to be nearly ninety, had only two or three years of life left, while in all reasonable probability he had not yet lived half his life. By this adroit rejoinder the young man turned off the affair as a jest: but the magistrates adjudged the question of abduction in accordance with the interpretation of the Cosmopolis.

A Criticism on Ephorus and Callisthenes

That I may not be thought to detract wantonly from
Callisthenes and the battle of Issus, B.C. 333.
the credit of such great writers, I will mention one battle, which is at once one of the most famous ever fought, and not too remote in point of time; and at which, above everything else, Callisthenes was himself present. I mean the battle between Alexander and Darius in Cilicia. He says that "Alexander had already got through the pass called the Cilician Gates: and that Darius, availing himself of that by the Amanid Gates, made his way with his army into Cilicia; but on learning from the natives that Alexander was on his way into Syria, he followed him; and having arrived at the pass leading to the south, pitched his camp on the bank of the river Pinarus. The width of the ground from the foot of the mountain to the sea was not more than fourteen stades, through which this river ran diagonally. On first issuing from the mountains its banks were broken, but in its course through the level down to the sea it ran between precipitous and steep hills." Starting with this description of the ground, he goes on to say that "When Alexander's army faced about, and, retracing its steps, was approaching to attack them, Darius and his officers determined to draw up their whole phalanx on the ground occupied by his encampment, as it then was, and to defend his front by the river, which flowed right along his camp." But he afterwards says that Darius "stationed his cavalry close to the sea, his mercenaries next along the river, and his peltasts next resting on the mountains."

The Battle of Issus

Now it is difficult to understand how he could have drawn up these troops in front of his phalanx, considering that the river ran immediately under the camp:6 especially as their numbers were so great, amounting, on Callisthenes's own showing, to thirty thousand cavalry and thirty thousand mercenaries. Now it is easy to calculate how much ground such a force would require. At the most cavalry in a regular engagement is drawn up eight deep, and between each squadron a clear space must be left in the line to enable them to turn or face about. Therefore eight hundred will cover a stade of front; eight thousand, ten stades;7 three thousand two hundred, four stades; and so eleven thousand two hundred would cover the whole of fourteen stades. If therefore he were to put his whole thirty thousand on the ground, he would have to mass his cavalry alone nearly three times the usual depth; and then what room is left for his large force of mercenaries? None, indeed, unless on the rear of the cavalry. But Callisthenes says this was not the case, but that these latter engaged the Macedonians first. We must therefore understand half the front, that nearest the sea, to have been occupied by the cavalry; the other half, that nearest the mountains, by the mercenaries. We may by these data easily calculate the depth of the cavalry, and the distance the river must have been from the camp to allow of it.

Again, he says that "on the approach of the enemy Darius himself, who was on the centre, ordered up the mercenaries from the wing." It is difficult to see what he means by this: for the point of junction of the mercenaries and the cavalry must have been at the centre. Where and how then, and to what point could Darius, who was himself actually among the mercenaries, be said to "order them up"?

Lastly, he says that "the cavalry on the right wing charged Alexander; and that his men stood the charge gallantly, and, making a counter charge, kept up an obstinate fight." But he quite forgets that there was a river between them, a river, too, of the nature that he had just himself described.8

Callisthenes Vague on Alexander's Movements

His account of the movements of Alexander are equally vague. He says that "he crossed into Asia with forty thousand infantry and four thousand five hundred cavalry; but that when he was about to enter Cilicia he was joined by a reinforcement of five thousand infantry and eight hundred cavalry." From these numbers, if one were to make the liberal allowance of three thousand absentees from the infantry and three hundred from the cavalry on various services, there would still remain forty-two thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry. Starting with these numbers, he goes on to say "that Alexander heard of the entrance of Darius into Cilicia when he was a hundred stades away from him, having already marched through the pass:9 that he therefore retraced his steps through the pass, his phalanx on the van, his cavalry next, and his baggage on the rear. But that as soon as he had debouched upon the open country, he gave general orders to form up into a phalanx, at first thirty-two deep; then sixteen; and lastly, when they were nearing the enemy, eight deep." Now this is a worse blunder than the last. A stade, allowing for the distances which must be kept on a march, and reckoning the depth at sixteen, admits of one thousand six hundred men, each man covering six feet. It is plain, therefore, that ten stades will admit of only sixteen thousand men, and twenty twice that number. Hence, when Alexander caused his men to form sixteen deep, he would have wanted a width of ground of twenty stades; and even then, the whole of the cavalry and ten thousand infantry would have been unaccounted for.

Inaccuracies about Tactics

Again, he says that Alexander was marching in line when he was about forty stades from the enemy. A greater blunder it is difficult to conceive. For where could one find a ground, and especially in Cilicia, twenty stades broad by forty deep, for a phalanx armed with sarissae to march in line? It would not be easy to count all the impossibilities in the way of such an arrangement and such a movement. One that is mentioned by Callisthenes himself is sufficient to establish the point. For he remarks that the winter torrents which descend from the hills make so many gullies in the plain, that, in the course of the flight, the chief part of the Persians are said to have lost their lives in deep places of that kind. But, it may be urged, Alexander wished to be ready for battle as soon as the enemy were in sight. But what could be less ready than a phalanx in a disordered and straggling line? Is it not much easier to form up a phalanx from a proper column of route, than to bring a disordered and straggling line back into the same alignment, and get it into order of battle on a broken and woody ground? It was, therefore much better to march twice or four times the ordinary depth of a phalanx10 in good order, for which sufficient ground could possibly be found. And it was easy to deploy his men quickly into the line of the phalanx, because he was able by means of scouts to ascertain the presence of the enemy in plenty of time. But in this case, beside other absurdities, while bringing his men in line across the level, he did not even (we are told) put the cavalry in front, but marched with them in the same alignment.

Worst Misstatement of Callisthenes

But the greatest blunder is still to come. "As soon as Alexander," he says, "was within distance of the enemy he caused his men to take up order eight deep," which would have necessitated ground forty stades wide for the length of the line; and even had they, to use the poet's expression, "laid shield to shield and on each other leaned," still ground twenty stades wide would have been wanted, while he himself says that it was less than fourteen. [We have also to deduct from these fourteen stades the space occupied by the two divisions of the cavalry, one on the left next the sea, the other on the right];11 and to allow for the fact that the whole force was kept a considerable distance from the hills, to avoid being exposed to the enemy occupying the skirts of the mountains; for we know that Callisthenes represents the wing to have been facing these, at an angle with the centre. We are also leaving out of account the ten thousand foot, whom we showed to be too many according to his own calculation.

The upshot is that eleven stades at most is left for the whole length of the phalanx, even taking Callisthenes's own account, in which thirty-two thousand men standing shield to shield must necessarily be drawn up thirty deep; while he asserts that they fought eight deep. Such blunders admit of no defence: for the facts at once demonstrate the impossibility of the assertion. We have only to compare the space occupied by each man, the width of the whole ground, and the number of the men, to prove its falsity.

Further Absurdities

It would be tedious to mention all his other absurdities in connexion with this battle. I must be content with a very few. He says, for instance, that "Alexander took care in arranging his order of battle to be himself personally opposed to Darius; and that at first Darius was equally anxious to be opposite Alexander, but afterwards altered his mind." But he does not vouchsafe to tell us how these kings learnt at what part of their respective forces they were each posted, or to what point in his own line Darius re-transferred himself. Again, how could a phalanx mount to the edge of the river bank, when it was precipitous and covered with brushwood? Such a piece of bad generalship must not be attributed to Alexander, because he is acknowledged by all to have been a skilful strategist and to have studied the subject from childhood: we must rather attribute it to the historian's want of ability to descern between what is or is not practicable in such movements. So much for Ephorus and Callisthenes. . . .

Timaeus Exalts Timoleon To Excess

Timaeus attacks Ephorus with great severity, though he
Timaeus's over-estimate of Timoleon.
is himself liable to two grave charges—bitterness in attacking others for faults of which he is himself guilty, and complete demoralisation, shown by the opinions which he expresses in his memoirs, and which he endeavours to implant in the minds of his readers. If we are to lay it down that Callisthenes deserved his death, what ought to happen to Timaeus? Surely there is much more reason for Providence to be wroth with him than with Callisthenes. The latter wished to deify Alexander; but Timaeus exalts Timoleon above the most venerable gods. The hero of Callisthenes, again, was a man by universal consent of a superhuman elevation of spirit; while Timoleon, far from having accomplished any action of first-rate importance, never even undertook one. The one expedition which he achieved in the course of his life took him no farther than from Corinth to Syracuse; and how paltry is such a distance when compared with the extent of the world! I presume that Timaeus believed that if Timoleon, by gaining glory in such a mere saucer of a place as Sicily, should be thought comparable to the most illustrious heroes, he too himself, as the historian of only Italy and Sicily, might properly be considered on a par with the writers of universal history. This will be sufficient defence of Aristotle, Theophrastus, Callisthenes, Ephorus, and Demochares against the attacks of Timaeus: and it is addressed to those who believe that this historian is impartial and truthful. . . .

Timoleon. Phalaris

We may fairly judge Timaeus on the principles which
The incapacity of Timaeus for forming a judgment.
he has himself laid down. According to him, "poets and historians betray their own tastes by the incidents which they repeatedly record in their writings. Thus the poet12 by his fondness for banqueting scenes shows that he is a glutton; and in the same way Aristotle, by frequently describing rich food in his writings, betrays his love of dainty living and his greediness." On the same principle he judges Dionysius the tyrant because he "was always very particular in the ornamentation of his dining-couches, and had hangings of exquisite make and variegated colours." If we apply this principle to Timaeus, we shall have abundant reason to think badly of him. In attacking others he shows great acuteness and boldness; when he comes to independent narrative he is full of dreams, miracles, incredible myths,—in a word, of miserable superstition and old wives' tales. The truth is that Timaeus is a proof of the fact, that at times, and in the case of many men, want of skill and want of judgment so completely destroy the value of their evidence, that though present at and eye-witnesses of the facts which they record, they might just as well have been absent or had no eyes. . . .

General Remarks on Timaeus as an Historian

The story of the brazen bull is this. It was made by
The brazen bull of phalaris.
Phalaris at Agrigentum; and he used to force men to get into it, and then by way of punishment light a fire underneath. The metal becoming thus red hot, the man inside was roasted and scorched to death; and when he screamed in his agony, the sound from the machine was very like the bellowing of a bull. When the Carthaginians conquered Sicily this bull was removed from Agrigentum to Carthage. The trap door between the shoulders, through which the victims used to be let down, still remains; and no other reason for the construction of such a bull in Carthage can be discovered at all: yet Timaeus has undertaken to upset the common story, and to refute the declarations of poets and historians, by alleging that the bull at Carthage did not come from Agrigentum, and that no such figure ever existed there; and he has composed a lengthy treatise to prove this. . . .

What epithet ought one to apply to Timaeus, and what word will properly characterise him? A man of his kind appears to me to deserve the very bitterest of the terms which he has applied to others. It has already been sufficiently proved that he is a carping, false and impudent writer; and from what remains to be said he will be shown to be unphilosophical, and, in short, utterly uninstructed. For towards the end of his twenty-first book, in the course of his "harangue of Timoleon," he remarks that "the whole sublunary world being divided into three parts —Asia, Libya, and Europe. . . ."13 One could scarcely believe such a remark to have come, I don't say from Timaeus, but even from the proverbial Margites. . . .

The proverb tells us that one drop from the largest vessel is sufficient to show the whole contents. This is applicable to the present case. When one or two false statements have been discovered in a history, and they have been shown to be wilful, it is clear that nothing which such an historian may say can be regarded as certain or trustworthy. But in order to convince the more careful student, I must speak on his method and practice in regard to public speeches, military harangues, ambassador's orations, and all compositions of that class; which are, as it were, a compendium of events and an epitome of all history. Now that he has given these in his writings with entire disregard of truth, and that of set purpose, can any reader of Timaeus fail to be aware? He has not written down the words actually used, nor the real drift of these speeches; but imagining how they ought to have been expressed, he enumerates all the arguments used, and makes the words tally with the circumstances, like a school-boy declaiming on a set theme: as though his object were to display his own ability, not to give a report of what was in reality said. . . .

The special province of history is, first, to ascertain what the actual words used were; and secondly, to learn why it was that a particular policy or argument failed or succeeded. For a bare statement of an occurrence is interesting indeed, but not instructive: but when this is supplemented by a statement of cause, the study of history becomes fruitful. For it is by applying analogies to our own circumstances that we get the means and basis for calculating the future; and for learning from the past when to act with caution, and when with greater boldness, in the present. The historian therefore who omits the words actually used, as well as all statement of the determining circumstances, and gives us instead conjectures and mere fancy compositions, destroys the special use of history. In this respect Timaeus is an eminent offender, for we all know that his books are full of such writing.

But perhaps some one may raise the question as to how it comes about that, being the sort of writer that I am showing him to be, he has obtained acceptance and credit among certain people. The reason is that his work abounds with hostile criticism and invective against others: and he has been judged, not by the positive merits of his own composition and his independent narrative, but by his skill in refuting his fellow historians; to which department he appears to me to have brought great diligence and an extraordinary natural aptitude. The case of the physicist Strato is almost precisely similar. As long as this man is endeavouring to discredit and refute the opinions of others, he is admirable: directly he brings forward anything of his own, or expounds any of his own doctrines, he at once seems to men of science to lose his faculties and become stupid and unintelligent. And for my part, I look upon this difference in writers as strictly analogous to the facts of everyday life. In this too it is easy to criticise our neighbours, but to be faultless ourselves is hard. One might almost say that those who are most ready at finding fault with others are most prone to errors in their own life.

Besides these I may mention another error of Timaeus. Having stayed quietly at Athens for about fifty years, during which he devoted himself to the study of written history, he imagined that he was in possession of the most important means of writing it. To my mind this was a great mistake. History and the science of medicine are alike in this respect, that both may be divided broadly into three departments; and therefore those who study either must approach them in three ways. For instance the three departments of medicine are the rhetorical, the dietetic, and the surgical and pharmaceutical. [The second of these though important is discredited by some.]14 The first, which takes its rise from the school of Herophilus and Callimachus of Alexandria, does indeed rightly claim a certain position in medical science; but by its speciousness and liberal promises acquires so much reputation that those who are occupied with other branches of the art are supposed to be completely ignorant. But just bring one of these professors to an actual invalid: you will find that they are as completely wanting in the necessary skill as men who have never read a medical treatise. Nay, it has happened before now that certain persons, who had really nothing serious the matter with them, have been persuaded by their powerful arguments to commit themselves to their treatment, and have thereby endangered their lives: for they are like men trying to steer a ship out of a book. Still such men go from city to city with great éclât, and get the common people together to listen to them. But if, when this is done, they induce certain people to submit as a specimen to their practical treatment; they only succeed in reducing them to a state of extreme discomfort, and making them a laughing stock to the audience.15 So completely does a persuasive address frequently get the advantage over practical experience. The third branch of the medical science, though it involves genuine skill in the treatment of the several cases, is not only rare in itself, but is also frequently cast into the shade, thanks to the folly of popular judgment, by volubility and impudence.

In the same way the science of genuine history is threefold: first, the dealing with written documents and the arrangement of the material thus obtained; second, topography, the appearance of cities and localities, the description of rivers and harbours, and, speaking generally, the peculiar features of seas and countries and their relative distances; thirdly, political affairs. Now, as in the case of medicine, it is the last branch that many attach themselves to, owing to their preconceived opinions on the subject. And the majority of writers bring to the undertaking no spirit of fairness at all: nothing but dishonesty, impudence and unscrupulousness. Like vendors of drugs, their aim is to catch popular credit and favour, and to seize every opportunity of enriching themselves. About such writers it is not worth while to say more.

But some of those who have the reputation of approaching history in a reasonable spirit are like the theoretical physicians. They spend all their time in libraries, and acquire generally all the learning which can be got from books, and then persuade themselves that they are adequately equipped for their task. . . . Yet in my opinion they are only partially qualified for the production of genuine history. To inspect ancient records indeed, with the view of ascertaining the notions entertained by the ancients of certain places, nations, polities and events, and of understanding the several circumstances and contingencies experienced in former times, is useful; for the history of the past directs our attention in a proper spirit to the future, if a writer can be found to give a statement of facts as they really occurred. But to persuade one's self, as Timaeus does, that such ability in research is sufficient to enable a man to describe subsequent transactions with success is quite foolish. It is as though a man were to imagine that an inspection of the works of the old masters would enable him to become a painter and a master of the art himself.

This will be rendered still more evident from what I have

Ephorus was fairly acquainted with naval, but not with military tactics.
now to say, particularly from certain passages in the history of Ephorus. This writer in his history of war seems to me to have had some idea of naval tactics, but to be quite unacquainted with fighting on shore. Accordingly, if one turns one's attention to the naval battles at Cyprus and Cnidus, in which the generals of the king were engaged against Evagoras of Salamis16 and then against the Lacedaemonians, one will be struck with admiration of the historian, and will learn many useful lessons as to what to do in similar circumstances.
B.C. 371. B.C. 362.
But when he tells the story of the battle of Leuctra between the Thebans and Lacedaemonians, or again that of Mantinea between the same combatants, in which Epaminondas lost his life, if in these one examines attentively and in detail the arrangements and evolutions in the line of battle, the historian will appear quite ridiculous, and betray his entire ignorance and want of personal experience of such matters. The battle of Leuctra indeed was simple, and confined to one division of the forces engaged, and therefore does not make the writer's lack of knowledge so very glaring: but that of Mantinea was complicated and technical, and is accordingly unintelligible, and indeed completely inconceivable, to the historian. This will be rendered clear by first laying down a correct plan of the ground, and then measuring the extent of the movements as described by him. The same is the case with Theopompus, and above all with Timaeus, the subject of this book. These latter writers also can conceal their ignorance, so long as they deal with generalities; but directly they attempt minute and detailed description, they show that they are no better than Ephorus. . . .

It is in fact as impossible to write well on the operations in a war, if a man has had no experience of actual service, as it is to write well on politics without having been engaged in political transactions and vicissitudes. And when history is written by the book-learned, without technical knowledge, and without clearness of detail, the work loses all its value. For if you take from history its element of practical instruction, what is left of it has nothing to attract and nothing to teach. Again, in the topography of cities and localities, when such men attempt to go into details, being entirely without personal knowledge, they must in a similar manner necessarily pass over many points of importance; while they waste words on many that are not worth the trouble. And this is what his failure to make personal inspection brings upon Timaeus. . . .

In his thirty-fourth book Timaeus says that "he
Timaeus's want of practical knowledge.
spent fifty continuous years at Athens as an alien, and never took part in any military service, or went to inspect the localities." Accordingly, when he comes upon any such matters in the course of his history, he shows much ignorance and makes many misstatements; and if he ever does come near the truth, he is like one of those animal-painters who draw from models of stuffed skins. Such artists sometimes preserve the correct outline, but the vivid look and life-like portraiture of the real animal, the chief charm of the painter's art, are quite wanting. This is just the case with Timaeus, and in fact with all who start with mere book-learning; there is nothing vivid in their presentment of events, for that can only come from the personal experience of the writers. And hence it is, that those who have gone through no such course of actual experience produce no genuine enthusiasm in the minds of their readers. Former historians showed their sense of the necessity of making professions to this effect in their writings. For when their subject was political, they were careful to state that the writer had of course been engaged in politics, and had had experience in matters of the sort; or if the subject was military, that he had served a campaign and been actually engaged; and again, when the matter was one of everyday life, that he had brought up children and had been married; and so on in every department of life, which we may expect to find adequately treated by those writers alone who have had personal experience, and have accordingly made that branch of history their own. It is difficult perhaps for a man to have been actually and literally engaged in everything: but in the most important actions and most frequently occurring he must have been so.

And that this is no impossibility, Homer is a convincing instance; for in him you may see this quality of personal knowledge frequently and conspicuously displayed. The upshot of all this is that the study of documents is only one of three elements in the preparation of an historian, and is only third in importance. And no clearer proof of this could be given than that furnished by the deliberative speeches, harangues of commanders, and orations of ambassadors as recorded by Timaeus. For the truth is, that the occasions are rare which admit of all possible arguments being set forth; as a rule, the circumstances of the case confine them to narrow limits. And of such speeches one sort are regarded with favour by men of our time, another by those of an earlier age; different styles again are popular with Aetolians, Peloponnesians, and Athenians. But to make digressions, in season and out of season, for the purpose of setting forth every possible speech that could be made, as Timaeus does by his trick of inventing words to suit every sort of occasion, is utterly misleading, pedantic, and worthy of a schoolboy essayist. And this practice has brought failure and discredit on many writers. Of course to select from time to time the proper and appropriate language is a necessary part of our art: but as there is no fixed rule to decide the quantity and quality of the words to be used on a particular occasion, great care and training is required if we are to instruct and not mislead our readers. The exact nature of the situation is difficult to communicate always; still it may be brought home to the mind by means of systematic demonstration, founded on personal and habitual experience. The best way of securing that this should be realised is for historians, first, to state clearly the position, the aims, and the circumstances of those deliberating; and then, recording the real speeches made, to explain to us the causes which contributed to the success or failure of the several speakers. Thus we should obtain a true conception of the situation. and by exercising our judgment upon it, and drawing analogies from it, should be able to form a thoroughly sound opinion upon the circumstances of the hour. But I suppose that tracing causes is difficult, while stringing words together in books is easy. Few again have the faculty of speaking briefly to the point, and getting the necessary training for doing so; while to produce a long and futile composition is within most people's capacity and is common enough.

To confirm the judgment I have expressed of Timaeus,
Timaeus on Sicilian history.
on his wilful misstatements as well as his ignorance, I shall now quote certain short passages from his acknowledged works as specimens. . . . Of all the men who have exercised sovereignty in Sicily, since the elder Gelo, tradition tells us that the most able have been Hermocrates, Timoleon, and Pyrrhus of Epirus, who are the last persons in the world on whom to father pedantic and scholastic speeches.
B.C. 413. Thucyd. 7, 42 sqq.
Now Timaeus tells us in his twenty-first book that on his arrival in Sicily Eurymedon urged the cities there to undertake the war against Syracuse; that subsequently the people of Gela becoming tired of the war, sent an embassy to Camarina to make a truce; that upon the latter gladly welcoming the proposal, each state sent ambassadors to their respective allies begging them to despatch men of credit to Gela to deliberate on a pacification, and to secure the common interests. Upon the arrival of these deputies in Gela and the opening of the conference, he represents Hermocrates as speaking to the following effect: "He praised the people of Gela and Camarina first, for having made the truce; secondly, because they were the cause of the assembling of this peace congress; and thirdly because they had taken precautions to prevent the mass of the citizens from taking part in the discussion, and had secured that it should be confined to the leading men in the states, who knew the difference between peace and war." Then after making two or three practical suggestions, Hermocrates is represented as expressing an opinion that "if they seriously consider the matter they will learn the profound difference between peace and war,"—although just before he had said that it was precisely this which moved his gratitude to the men of Gela, that "the discussion did not take place in the mass assembly, but in a congress of men who knew the difference between peace and war." This is an instance in which Timaeus not only fails to show the ability of an historian, but sinks below the level of a school theme. For, I presume, it will be universally admitted that what an audience requires is a demonstration of that about which they are in ignorance or uncertainty; but to exhaust one's ingenuity in finding arguments to prove what is known already is the most futile waste of time. But besides his cardinal mistake of directing the greater part of the speech to points which stood in need of no arguments at all, Timaeus also puts into the mouth of Hermocrates certain sentences of which one could scarcely believe that any commonplace youth would have been capable, much less the colleague of the Lacedaemonians in the battle of Aegospotami, and the sole conqueror of the Athenian armies and generals in Sicily.

Sophistical Commonplaces

For first he "thinks that he should remind the congress
B.C. 405. Hermocrates was not there. Xen. Hellen. 1, 1, 27-31.
that in war sleepers are woke at dawn by bugles, in peace by cocks."17 Then he says that "Hercules established the Olympic games and the sacred truce during them, as an exemplification of his own principles;" and that "he had injured all those persons against whom he waged war, under compulsion and in obedience to the order of another, but was never voluntarily the author of harm to any man."18 Next he quotes the instance of Zeus in Homer as being displeased with Ares, and saying19— “"Of all the gods that on Olympus dwell
I hold thee most detested; for thy joy
Is ever strife and war and battle."
” And again the wisest of the heroes says20— “"He is a wretch, insensible and dead
To all the charities of social life,
Whose pleasure is in civil broil and war."
” Then he goes on to allege that Euripides agrees with Homer in the lines21— “"O well of infinite riches!
O fairest of beings divine!
O Peace, how alas! thou delayest;
My heart for thy coming is fain.
I tremble lest age overtake me,
Ere thy beauty and grace I behold;
Ere the maidens shall sing in their dancing,
And revels be gladsome with flowers."
” Next he remarks that "war is like disease, peace like health; for that the latter restores those that are sick, while in the former even the healthy perish. Moreover, in time of peace, the old are buried by the young as nature directs, while in war the case is reversed; and above all in war there is no security even as far as the city walls, while in peace it extends to the frontier of the territory"—and so on. I wonder what other arguments would have been employed by a youth who had just devoted himself to scholastic exercises and studies in history; and who wished, according to the rules of the art, to adapt his words to the supposed speakers? Just these I think which Timaeus represents Hermocrates as using.

Again, in the same book, Timoleon is exhorting the
Timoleon's victory over the Carthaginians, B.C. 344.
Greeks to engage the Carthaginians;22 and when they are on the very point of coming to close quarters with the enemy, who are many times superior to them in number, Timaeus represents him as saying, "Do not look to the numbers of the foe, but to their cowardice. For though Libya is fully settled and abounds in inhabitants, yet when we wish to express complete desolation we say 'more desolate than Libya,' not meaning to refer to its emptiness, but to the poor spirit of its inhabitants. And after all, who would be afraid of men who, when nature gives hands as the distinctive feature of man among all living creatures, carry them about all their life inside their tunics idle?23 And more than all, who wear shirts under their inner tunics, that they may not even when they fall in battle show their nakedness to their enemies? . . ."

When Gelo promised to help the Greeks with twenty
Gelo. See Herod. 7, 157-165, B.C. 481.
thousand land forces and two hundred decked ships, if they would concede to him the chief command either by land or sea, they say that the congress of Greeks, sitting at Corinth, gave Gelo's envoys a most spirited answer. They urged Gelo to come to their aid with his forces, and observed that the logic of facts would give the command to the bravest. This is not the language of men depending for succour on the Syracusans, as a last resource; but of men who felt confidence in themselves, and challenged all comers to a rivalry of courage and for the crown of valour. In spite of this, Timaeus spends such a wealth of rhetoric and earnestness on these points, in his desire to exalt the importance of Sicily above all the rest of Greece, to represent its history as the most splendid and glorious of all the world, its men as the wisest of all who have been great in philosophy, and the Syracusans as the most consummate and divine of statesmen, that he could scarcely be surpassed by the cleverest schoolboy declaimers when undertaking to prove such paradoxes as that "Thersites was an excellent man," or "Penelope a bad wife," or other thesis of that description.

However, the only effect of such extravagant exaggeration is to bring ridicule upon the men and the transactions which it is his intention to champion; while he himself incurs the same discredit as ill-trained disputants in the Academy; some of whom, in their desire to embarrass their opponents on all subjects, possible or impossible alike, carry their paradoxical and sophistical arguments to such a length as to dispute whether it is possible for people at Athens to smell eggs cooking at Ephesus: and to offer to maintain that, while they are discussing these points, they are lying on their couches at home and carrying on a second discussion on other subjects. This extravagance of paradox has brought the whole school into such disrepute, that even reasonable discussions have lost credit with the world. And apart from their own futility, these persons have inspired our young men with so depraved a taste, that they pay no attention whatever to questions of ethics and politics, which bring benefit to those who study them; but spend their lives in pursuit of an empty reputation for useless and paradoxical verbiage.

This is just the case with Timaeus and his imitators in history. Paradoxical and tenacious, he has dazzled the multitude by skill in words; and has forced attention to himself by a show of veracity, or has conciliated confidence by a pretence of producing proof of his assertions. The most conspicuous instances of his success in inspiring this confidence are those parts of his work which treat of colonies, founding of cities, and the relationships of nations. In these points he makes such a parade of minute accuracy, and inveighs so bitterly when refuting others, that people came to imagine that all other historians have been mere dreamers, and have spoken at random in describing the world; and that he is the only man who has made accurate investigations, and unravelled every history with intelligence.

As a matter of fact, his books contain much that is sound, but also much that is false. Those, however, who have spent much time on his earlier books, in which the passages I have alluded to occur, when the confidence which they have fully given to his exaggerated professions is disturbed by some one pointing out that Timaeus is obnoxious to the same reproaches which he has brought with such bitterness against others (as, for instance, in the misstatements as to the Locrians, and other instances lately mentioned by me), become angry and obstinate in controversy, and difficult to convince. And that, I might almost say, is all the benefit which the most diligent students of his history get from their reading. While those who devote their attention to his speeches, and generally to the didactic part of his work, become pedantic, sophistical, and wholly insensible to truth, for reasons which I have already stated.

An Historian Needs Practical Experience

Moreover, when he comes to deal with facts in his history, we find a combination of all the faults which I have mentioned. The reason I will now proceed to state. It will not, perhaps, to most people seem to his credit, and it is in truth the real source of his errors. For whereas he is thought to have possessed great and wide knowledge, a faculty for historical inquiry, and extraordinary industry in the execution of his work, in certain cases he appears to have been the most ignorant and indolent person that ever called himself an historian. And the following considerations will prove it.
Cp. Herod. 1, 8. Hor. A, P. 180.
Nature has bestowed on us two instruments of inquiry and research, hearing and sight. Of these sight is, according to Heracleitus, by far the truer; for eyes are surer witnesses than ears. And of these channels of learning Timaeus has chosen the pleasanter and the worse; for he entirely retrained from looking at things with his own eyes, and devoted himself to learning by hearsay. But even the ear may be instructed in two ways, reading and answers to personal inquiries: and in the latter of these he was very indolent, as I have already shown. The reason of his preference for the other it is easy to divine. Study of documents involves no danger or fatigue, if one only takes care to lodge in a city rich in such records, or to have a library in one's neighbourhood. You may then investigate any question while reclining on your couch, and compare the mistakes of former historians without any fatigue to yourself. But personal investigation demands great exertion and expense; though it is exceedingly advantageous, and in fact is the very corner-stone of history. This is evident from the writers of history themselves. Ephorus says, "if writers could only be present at the actual transactions, it would be far the best of all modes of learning." Theopompus says, "the best military historian is he who has been present at the greatest number of battles; the best speech maker is he who has been engaged in most political contests." The same might be said of the art of healing and of steering. Homer has spoken even more emphatically than these writers on this point. For when he wishes to describe what the man of light and leading should be, he introduces Odysseus in these words— “"Tell me, oh Muse, the man of many shifts
Who wandered far and wide."
” and then goes on— “"And towns of many saw, and learnt their mind,
And suffered much in heart by land and sea."
” and again24— “"Passing through wars of men and grievous waves."

Mere Inquiry Is Insufficient

It is such a man that the dignity of history appears to
Historians must be practical men.
me to require. Plato says that "human affairs will not go well until either philosophers become kings or kings become philosophers."25 So I should say that history will never be properly written, until either men of action undertake to write it (not as they do now, as a matter of secondary importance; but, with the conviction that it is their most necessary and honourable employment, shall devote themselves through life exclusively to it), or historians become convinced that practical experience is of the first importance for historical composition. Until that time arrives there will always be abundance of blunders in the writings of historians. Timaeus, however, quite disregarded all this. He spent his life in one place, of which he was not even a citizen; and thus deliberately renounced all active career either in war or politics, and all personal exertion in travel and inspection of localities: and yet, somehow or another, he has managed to obtain the reputation of a master in the art of history.
Timaeus on ephorus.
To prove that I have not misrepresented him, it is easy to bring the evidence of Timaeus himself. In the preface to his sixth book he says that "some people suppose that more genius, industry, and preparation are required for rhetorical than for historical composition." And that "this opinion had been formerly advanced against Ephorus." Then because this writer had been unable to refute those who held it, he undertakes himself to draw a comparison between history and rhetorical compositions: a most unnecessary proceeding altogether. In the first place he misrepresents Ephorus. For in truth, admirable as Ephorus is throughout his whole work, in style, treatment, and argumentative acuteness, he is never more brilliant than in his digressions and statements of his personal views: in fact, whenever he is adding anything in the shape of a commentary or a note. And it so happens that his most elegant and convincing digression is on this very subject of a comparison between historians and speech-writers. But Timaeus is anxious not to be thought to follow Ephorus. Therefore, in addition to misrepresenting him and condemning the rest, he enters upon a long, confused, and in every way inferior, discussion of what had been already sufficiently handled by others; and expected that no one living would detect him.

However, he wished to exalt history; and, in order to do so, he says that "history differs from rhetorical composition as much as real buildings differ from those represented in scene-paintings." And again, that "to collect the necessary materials for writing history is by itself more laborious than the whole process of producing rhetorical compositions." He mentions, for instance, the expense and labour which he underwent in collecting records from Assyria, and in studying the customs of the Ligures, Celts, and Iberians. But he exaggerates these so much, that he could not have himself expected to be believed. One would be glad to ask the historian which of the two he thinks is the more expensive and laborious,—to remain quietly at home and collect records and study the customs of Ligures and Celts, or to obtain personal experience of all the tribes possible, and see them with his own eyes? To ask questions about manœuvres on the field of battle and the sieges of cities and fights at sea from those who were present, or to take personal part in the dangers and vicissitudes of these operations as they occur? For my part I do not think that real buildings differ so much from those in stage - scenery, nor history from rhetorical compositions, as a narrative drawn from actual and personal experience differs from one derived from hearsay and the report of others. But Timaeus had no such experience: and he therefore naturally supposed that the part of an historian's labour which is the least important and lightest, that namely of collecting records and making inquiries from those who had knowledge of the several events, was in reality the most important and most difficult. And, indeed, in this particular department of research, men who have had no personal experience must necessarily fall into grave errors. For how is a man, who has no knowledge of such things, to put the right questions as to manœuvering of troops, sieges of cities, and fights at sea? And how can he understand the details of what is told him? Indeed, the questioner is as important as the narrator for getting a clear story. For in the case of men who have had experience of real action, memory is a sufficient guide from point to point of a narrative: but a man who has had no such experience can neither put the right questions, nor understand what is happening before his eyes. Though he is on the spot, in fact, he is as good as absent.

1 Cp. a similar custom of the Lycians, Herod. 1, 173.

2 He may have been referring to pre-Homeric times, cp. Herod. 6, 137,οὐ γὰρ εἷναι τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον σφίσι κω οὐδὲ τοῖσι ἄλλοισι Ἕλλησι οἰκέτας.

3 lines 32 and 33: "had a fair pretext for not taking part in the common expedition" should read "very naturally took no part in the general despatch of men home to their wives."

4 The text is very imperfect here.

5 For this title see on 22, 19. It is found in inscriptions in Thasos, Crete, and Cibyra. C. I. G. 2163, c; 2583; 4380, b.

6 Both Curtius and Arrian seem to have found in their authorities that Darius crossed the Pinarus. Curt. 3, 8; Arrian, 2, 8.

7 Reckoning the stade at 600 feet (Greek).

8 See note to previous chapter.

9 The Cilician gates.

10 That is, sixteen or thirty-two deep.

11 The text here is in hopeless confusion.

12 Homer, who is generally spoken of as "the poet." We may remember Horace Ep. 1, 19, 6)Laudibus arguitur vini vinosus Homerus.

13 See 3, 37. The point seems to be that the remark was too commonplace to put into the mouth of a hero.

14 The text is again hopeless.

15 The text is uncertain, and I am not at all sure of the meaning of ἐπ᾽ ὀνόματος, cp. 25 k, 27. These public harangues of doctors to attract patients are noticed in Xenophon, Memorab. 4, 2, 5.

16 Tyrant of Salamis in Cyprus, B.C. 404-374. See Isocrates, Orat. x.

17 For this proverb see Plutarch, Nicias, ch. 9,ἡδέως μεμνημένοι τοῦ εἰπόντος ὅτι τοὺς ἐν εἰρήνῃ καθεύδοντας οὐ σάλπιγγες ἀλλ᾽ ἀλεκτρυόνες ἀφυτνίζουσι.

18 Ib. ch. 25.

19 Homer, Il. 5. 890.

20 Homer Il. 9, 63.

21 Euripides, fr.

22 Battle of the Crimesus. See Plutarch, Timol. ch. 27.

23 He refers to the habit of Eastern nations thrusting their hands into long sleeves in the presence of their rulers. See Xenophon, Hellen. 2, 1, 8.

24 Homer, Odyss. 1, 1-4; 8, 183.

25 Republic, v. 473 C. vi. 499 B.

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