By Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
In the direction of the tip of the 5th century BC Ctesias of Cnidus wrote his 23 booklet historical past of Persia. Ctesias is a awesome determine: he lived and labored within the Persian court docket and, as a physician, tended to the world’s strongest kings and queens. His place gave him specified perception into the workings of Persian court docket lifestyles and entry to the gossip and scandal surrounding Persian background and courtroom politics, previous and current. His historical past of Persia was once accomplished at a time while the Greeks have been serious about Persia and turns out greatly to cater to modern curiosity in Persian wealth and opulence, robust Persian girls, the establishment of the harem, kings and queens, eunuchs and mystery plots. awarded the following in English translation for the 1st time with commentaries, Ctesias deals a desirable perception into Persia within the 5th century BC.
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Additional resources for Ctesias' 'History of Persia': Tales of the Orient (Routledge Classical Translations)
31 INTRODUCTION writing both in terms of the broader picture of Greek and Near Eastern investigations into the past and of how Ctesias himself might have conceptualized his work. 87 But this is not quite true. We have already seen that modern scholarship is divided on the level of Ctesias’ dependability; ancient criticism of Ctesias is similarly divided. The picture is more nuanced than is usually acknowledged. If we look at the following table, we can see clearly how opinion on Ctesias varies in the Testimonia gathered together by Jacoby and others.
30 INTRODUCTION suggests that Ctesias’ ‘performance fell far wide of his professions’. 85 IV. (DE)CONSTRUCTING CTESIAS In what ways is Ctesias a disappointment? And to whom is he disappointing? The general consensus suggests that ‘serious’ historians are apt to disregard his style of history as less than authoritative because of its preoccupation with what is termed ‘petite histoire’. A similar perception had for a long time coloured the readings of Plutarch; he too suffered the reputation of being a poor author of history ‘proper’, far removed from the periods he investigated and reliant on secondary source materials.
An epitome by a Byzantine Christian Bishop named Photius. 40 This covers Persica 7–23. It is possible that by the early Christian period a separate edition of the first six books of the Persica existed and that the Persica had become divided into two distinct (but unequal) halves. Since Photius’ epitome only begins with Book 7, it has been suggested that the first half of the Persica was missing from the copy he used for inclusion in his Bibliotheca. The Photian epitome is made up of pure, unadulterated, Ctesian material but its coverage of the material is imbalanced (even when taking into account the fact that Ctesias’ own text must have been disproportionate in its distribution of space to the time periods covered).
Ctesias' 'History of Persia': Tales of the Orient (Routledge Classical Translations) by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones