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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.

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