previous next

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.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: