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date: 02 December 2022

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  • Lionel Pearson
  •  and Simon Hornblower

Extract

The word λογογράφος, as used by the contemporaries of *Demosthenes (2), commonly means a speech-writer for litigants in the courts, or else a writer of prose, as distinct from a poet (cf. Arist. Rh. 2. 11. 7 with the note in Cope's edition). Modern practice, however, has usually followed *Thucydides (2) (1. 21) in applying the term to the predecessors and contemporaries of *Herodotus (1) who were the pioneers of history-writing; but it has been held that even Thucydides uses it in the forensic or Demosthenic sense: Grethlein. Early writers of narrative prose are called λογοποιοί, ‘tellers of tales’, by Herodotus (2. 134, 143). But like the early philosophers and natural scientists, those who claimed to offer a faithful account of human activities considered their task as an investigation (ἱστορία), as scientific rather than poetic.No manuscripts of these authors have survived, but there are numerous references to them and occasional direct quotations in later Greek writers. Some later writers (e.g. Strabo 11. 6. 2, 12. 3. 21) have a low opinion of their accuracy and accuse them of fabricating names and incidents; others stress their lack of critical judgement; all agree that they wrote in simple style and language (cf. esp. Dion. Hal. Thuc.

Subjects

  • Greek Law

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