The man next to him acts similarly, and so do they all in turn. If you neglect the critics, and indulge in the cloying sweetness of tales and eulogies and such baits, you will soon find your history a 'Heracles in Lydia. May my composition, dearest Asclepius, be such that all may see it as a starting point of a display, not as a defence. The old saying must be true, and war be the father of all things, seeing what a litter of historians it has now teemed forth at a birth. That is why people suppose that I had been put into chains. Lucian challenged us to see the world rightly and not get caught up in conspiracies, lies, and. The agreeable is no doubt an addition, if it is present; so is beauty to an athlete; but a Nicostratus, who is a fine fellow and proves himself a better man than either of his opponents, gets his recognition as a Heracles, however ugly his face may be; and if one opponent is the handsome Alcaeus himself--handsome enough to make Nicostratus in love with him, says the story--, that does not affect the issue.
This last group is especially interesting because, as an outsider, Lucian was interested in the proper usage of language, and yet he was able to see the excesses involved in such interest. Indeed it is a pretty common belief at present that you are writing like Thucydides, if you just use his actual words, mutatis mutandis. Ἀλέξανδρος ἢ Ψευδόμαντις Alexander Alexander the False Prophet An account of the fraudulent prophet. About the seventh day, the fever was relieved, in some cases by a violent flow of blood from the nose, in others by perspiration not less violent. Ornament should be unobtrusive, and never smack of elaboration, if it is not to remind us of over-seasoned dishes. Besides, you could not even live in your cities if the poor were not your fellow-citizens and did not contribute in thousands of ways to your happiness; and you would have no one to admire your wealth if you were rich in isolation, privately, and in obscurity.
In this prophetic vein, he sweeps hastily on to the end of his work; yet he finds time for the foundation in Mesopotamia of a city, greatest of the great, and fairest of the fair; he is still debating, however, whether the most appropriate name will be Victoria, Concord, or Peacetown; that is yet unsettled; we must leave the fair city unnamed for the present; but it is already thickly populated--with empty dreams and literary drivellings. The trousers of Vologesus and the bit of his horse — Heavens! For example, he only just got through his descriptionof the emperor's shield in a whole book, with its Gorgon on the boss, her eyes of blue, white, and black, her girdle like the rainbow, the ringlets and curls of her serpents. And in the number slain he even contradicted the officers' despatches with his false figures : at Europus, he said, the enemy lost 70,236 killed, while the Romans lost just two and had nine wounded. Nicostratus was the seventh to do this Pausanias, V, 21, 9-18. There are many more like complaints of meanness, complaints that bring little credit to gentlemen. Lucian was critical of and , because he regarded them as encouraging of superstition.
I remembered something I saw a certain person doing the other day — shall I name him? Paul Turner observes that Lucian's Cynicus reads as a straightforward defense of Cynicism, but also remarks that Lucian savagely ridicules the Cynic philosopher Peregrinus in his Passing of Peregrinus. A report that Philip was marching on the town had thrown all Corinth into a bustle; one was furbishing his arms, another wheeling stones, a third patching the wall, a fourth strengthening a battlement, every one making himself useful somehow or other. Anyone who the year before missed his share through absence shall be given it now as an extra gift. Then for the future I shall face the world with a brave heart. Booksellers and Librarians: Our recent titles are available via. Ultimately, Lucian is an amusing skeptic, though not a serious thinker, and extremely difficult to set within a typology of litterateurs; in a way he is sui generis. The risk is not slight, if in ignorance we rush into one of the by-ways instead of the straight route in the hope that fortune will make a better choice on our behalf — I think you see that.
Late in life he fell on hard times and accepted an official post in Egypt. It is true, there is a school which makes a pretty division of history into the agreeable and the useful, and defends the introduction of panegyric on the ground that it is agreeable, and pleases the general reader. Passing from that point, I wish to put on record some fresh recollections of Ionian histories — supported, now I think of it, by Greek analogies also of recent date — both concerned with the war already alluded to. Now to my concerns: First, what does the historian have to arrange if they were supposedly providing straight reportage? Perhaps you will say some- thing important. Oh yes, the dinners and their dining with you — they asked me to add this to my letter, that at present you gorge alone behind locked doors, and, if ever at long intervals you are veiling to entertain any of them, there is more annoyance than good cheer in the dinner, and most of what happens is done to hurt them — that business of not drinking the same wine as you, for instance — goodness! The material once complete, or nearly so, an abstract should be made of it, and a rough draught of the whole work put down, not yet distributed into its parts; the detailed arrangement should then be introduced, after which adornment may be added, the diction receive its colour, the phrasing and rhythm be perfected. In his treatise, How to Write History, Lucian criticizes the historical methodology used by writers such as Herodotus and Ctesias, who wrote vivid and self-indulgent descriptions of events they had never actually seen. Most educated people of Lucian's time adhered to one of the various Hellenistic philosophies, of which the major ones were , , , and.
Lucian wrote for people who hold nothing as sacred. For history, I say again, has this and this only for its own; if a man will start upon it, he must sacrifice to no God but Truth; he must neglect all else; his sole rule and unerring guide is this — to think not of those who are listening to him now, but of the yet unborn who shall seek his converse. Some of them go off and rob their friends at the banquet ; others revile you when they ought not and smash the dice, which are cer- tainly not responsible for what they do of their own free will. . He has to make of his brain a mirror, unclouded, bright, and true of surface; then he will reflect events as they presented themselves to him, neither distorted, discoloured, nor variable. He will consider very rightly that no man of sense will blame him for recounting the effects of misfortune or folly in their entirety; he is not the author, but only the reporter of them. Περὶ τοῦ Ἐνυπνίου ἤτοι Βίος Λουκιανοῦ Somnium sive Vita Luciani The Dream or Lucian's Career Lucian tells how a vision inspired him to abandon a career in sculpture for one in literature.
The poor have recently written me complaining that you don't let them share what you have, and, to be brief, they asked me to make the good things common to all and let everyone have his bit. Prefaces of this character have been employed by the best historians--by Herodotus, 'to the end that what befell may not grow dim by lapse of time, seeing that it was great and wondrous, and showed forth withal Greeks vanquishing and barbarians vanquished'; and by Thucydides, 'believing that that war would be great and memorable beyond any previous one; for indeed great calamities took place during its course. Another is a keen emulator of Thucydides, and by way of close approximation to his model starts with his own name--most graceful of beginnings, redolent of Attic thyme! Lucian, in this letter to his friend Philo, after having exposed the absurdities of some contemporary historians with infinite humor, whose works having been consigned to oblivion have never reached us, Lucian lays down excelent rules and directions for writing history. As he got near his point of departure, he threw in a word for his native town of Miletus, adding that he was thus improving on Homer, who never so much as mentioned his birthplace. Well then, my perfect historian must start with two indispensable qualifications; the one is political insight, the other the faculty of expression; the first is a gift of nature, which can never be learnt; the second should have been acquired by long practice, unremitting toil, and loving study of the classics. It certainly cannot, I am sure, be as pleasant to have your fill by yourselves, as they say lions and lone wolves do, as to mix with clever 2 Kai add.
Come, I will tell you my idea for campaigning in safety, and keeping well out of range. According to Turner, although Lucian makes fun of , he displays a temperamental inclination towards that philosophy. Before him there was Toxaris, a wise man, who loved beauty and was eager in pursuit of the best styles of living. Notable for the Attic purity Lucian's best work in the field of literary criticism is his treatise How to Write History. Just think of the dignity of history, and the Thucydidean style — the Attic embroidered with these Latin words, like a toga relieved and picked out with the purple stripe — so harmonious! But the general principle I would have remembered — it will ever be on my lips — is this: do not write merely with an eye to the present, that those now living may commend and honour you; aim at eternity, compose for posterity, and from it ask your reward; and that reward? He corresponds, you see, to one of my previous examples; only he is a second Herodotus, and the other a second Thucydides.