The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.


in the beginning of the reign of Artaxerxes, B.C. 465.1 Charon continued the researches of Hecataeus into Eastern ethnography. He wrote (as was the custom of these early historians) separate works upon Persia, Libya, Ethiopia, &c. He also subjoined the history of his own time, and he pre­ceded Herodotus in narrating the events of the Persian war, although Herodotus nowhere mentions him. From the fragments of his writings which remain, it is manifest that his relation to Herodotus was that of a day chronicler to a historian, under whose hands every thing acquires life and character. Charon wrote, besides, a chronicle of his own coun­try, as several of the early historians did, who were thence called Horog-raphers ('tipoypdtyoi). The fragments of Charon, together with those of Hecatseus and Xanthus, have been published by Creuzer. Hist. gtcec. An-tiquiss. Fragmenta, Heidelb., 1806, 8vo, and also in Didot's Fragm. Histor. Grac., by C. and T. Miiller, vol. i., p. 32, seqq., Paris, 1841.

XII. hellanicus ('EAAamios)2 of Mytilene, in the island of Lesbos, was almost a contemporary of Herodotus, since we know that at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war he was sixty-five years old,3 and still continued to write. The character of Hellanlcus as a mythographer and historian is essentially different from that of the early chroniclers, such as Acu-silaus and Pherecydes. He has far more the character of a learned com­piler, whose object is not merely to note down events, but to arrange his materials, and to correct the errors of others. Besides a number of writings upon particular legends and local fables, he composed a work en­titled "the Priestesses of Juno of Argos," in which the women who had filled this priesthood were enumerated up to a very remote period (on no better authority than of certain obscure traditions), and various striking events of the heroic times were arranged in chronological order, accord­ing to this series. Another work, the Carneomca (Kapi/eoMKcu), contained a list of the victors in the musical and poetical contests of the Carnea at Sparta. It was, therefore, one of the first attempts at literary history. Hellanicus was a very prolific writer, and, if we were to look upon all the titles that have come down to us as titles of genuine productions and dis­tinct works, their number would amount to nearly thirty. But the recent investigations of Preller* have shown that several works bearing his name are spurious and of later date, and that many others, which are referred to as separate works, are only chapters or sections of other productions. Among the works deemed spurious, we may mention the accounts of Phoenicia, Persia, and Egypt, and also a description of a journey to the oracle of Jupiter Ammon. Thucydides5 charges Hellanicus with want of accuracy if i chronology. In his geographical view, also, he seems to have been gveatly dependent upon his predecessors, and gave, for the most part, what he found in them. But the censure for falsehood, and the like, bestowed on him by such writers as Ctesias,6 Theopompus,7 Eflhorus,8 and Strabo,9 is evidently one-sided, and should not bias us in

i Smith, Diet. Biogr., s. v. ; Pint., Themist., 27. 2 Miiller, p. 264. 3 Pamphila ap. Gell., xv., 23. * De Hellanico Lesbio Historico, Dorpat, 1840, 4to. 5 Thucyd., i., 97. 6 Ctes. ap. Phot.,Bibl. Cod., 72. 7 Theopomp. ap. Strab., p. 43. 8 Ephor. ap. Joseph, c. Apion., i., 3. 9 Strab., x., p. 541 ; xi,, p. 508; xiii., p. 602.


About | Preface | Contents | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.