How to Write History
The first part of Lucian’s essay involved a critical attack on contemporary historians for confusing history with panagyric; overloading it with irrelevant details; and weighing it down with overblown rhetoric. Instead, he recommended the virtues of clear narration, and the valorisation of truth. Lucian considered that the historian should write for all times, as “a free man, fearless, incorruptible, the friend of truth”.
- The early Renaissance saw the essay taken up by figures like Guarino da Verona and Giovanni Pontano.
- Edward Gibbon, who wrote of “the inimitable Lucian”, owned the 1776 edition of Quomodo Historia Conscribenda Sit (Oxford)
- Lucian and Historiography
- S H Butcher, Harvard Lectures on Greek Subjects (London 1904) p. 249
- M Winkler, Fall of the Roman Empire (2012) p. 181-2
- S H Butcher, Harvard Lectures on Greek Subjects (London 1904) p. 250
- D Marsh, Lucian and the Latins (1998) p. 29
- E Gibbon, Abridged Decline and Fall (Penguin 2005) p. 63 and p. 782