« AnteriorContinua »
of the Roman Historians, informs us, that the Gauls, after they had been in full Possession of all things, and Masters of Rome it self for seven Months, returned home, voluntarily delivering up the City; without any hurt or force from the Romans, but with great Spoil: and that the News, that the Veneti had invaded their own Country, was the cause of their Return. bius Pictor the most ancient Roman Historian, lived in Hanibals time, and wrote, Greek, an Account of the Carthaginian War; but m Polybius says, he differed from Philinus, and both were partial ; Philinus to the Carthaginians, and Fabius to the Romans. But does Livy confute Philinus, or acknowledge the Partiality of Fabius
Livy declares, that most of the Monuments of Antiquity, whether publick or private, were destroyed, when the City was burnt by the Gauls, and that for this Reason, his History to the rebuilding of the City, near Four hundred Years after it was first built, is but uncertain.
The most ancient Writings, which had any relation to History among the Romans, were their Funeral Orations : These were preserved in their several Families, which as Tully confefseth, caused their History to be faulty, many things being inserted in this sort of Works,
χάeis gδόνες ή πόλιν, άθραυσοι και ασινάς έχονίες και wo fijetav, els te orreiay crapñador. Polyb. 1. ii.
Liv. l. i. C. 44. l. xxii. c. 17. Dion. Halicarn. 1. i. * Polyb. l. vi.
a Liv. lib. vi. c. I. Cic. Bruc:
which were never done, false Triumphs, falle Consulships, and false Genealogies. The P Annales Maximi were of good use, but they contained only the first Lines and rough Draughts of History, which appeared quite another thing, when it was filled up, and represented entire, with the Reasons and circumstances of Affairs, according to the Pleasure or Skill of the Writer. But the Praises 9 of their Ancestors were sung in Verse at their Banquets, where strict Truth could rarely be heard. The first Publishers of History, in the Latin Tongue, were Poets; Nevius wrote the first Punick War in Verse, and was punilhed for defaming the Metelli : After him, Ennius wrote his Annals in Eighteen Books, and was in great Favour and Esteem with Scipio Africanus and Scipio Afiaticus. The Generals of Armies sometimes had s their Historians or Poets along with them, whom they liberally rewarded; we may be sure, not for telling when they were beaten. t Atticus, in Tully, says, it was a thing of course to relate Matters of History, not according to Truth, but in such a manner, as might best shew the Wit and Eloquence of the Writers.
u Tully lays it down as a known and fundamental Rule of History, that an Historian should dare to say any Truth, but nothing that is false. Yet in an
p Id. de Orar. lib. ii.
a Id. Brut. i Voff. de Hist. Lat. 1. i. c. 2.
s Id. Pro Archia Poeta. ' Quoniam quidem conceffum eft Rhetoribus emenciri in Hifto. riis, ut aliquid dicere poflint argutius. Id. Bruc. * De Orac. lib. ii.
Epistle to Luceius , whom he entreats to write the History of his own Ministration of Affairs, he earnestly beseeches * Luceius, in plain Terms to neglect the Laws of History in his Favour and to disregard Truth. And as if this bad been a thing not unusual, or, at least
, warrantable enough; he commends this Epistle in another to Atticus, and desires him to promote the Design. It has been remarked by some as a Fate upon Cicero, that this Testimony of his Vanity should remain, when the History, of which he was so desirous, is lost, if it was ever written: But who knows how many such Epistles are lost , when the Histories are preserved ? y Trebonius made the like Request to Cicero, and Pliny wrote in the like manner to Tacitus, and both with the fame Fate. Pliny wrote Instructions of what he desired might be inserted concerning himself, ? intimating withal, that Tacitus would give to every thing a Lustre and Grandeur , exceeding the Truth, and beyond what he required. This is in common with the Greek and Latin Historians, that they put such Speeches as they think fit, into the Mouths of the several Persons concerned in the Actions they relate, which gives another View and Appearance to the Scene of Affairs, and acquaints us, not what such Persons said or thought, but what the Historian would have spoke, and what Advice he would have given, if he had been in their place. It is strange to see the Difference between a Cæsar's own Speeches in his Commentaries, and those which Dion Cassius makes for him, both in the Circumstances and Reasons of things. But the Historians left their proper Business, and play?d the Orators upon these occafions. And therefore b. Diodorus Siculus found fault with this way of inserting set Orations into Histories, and < Trogus Pompeius" blam'd it particularly in Livy and Sallust, " But Herodotus has much of the Simplicity of Ancient times his Speeches are Natural, containing for the most part but a bare Narrative of what was said or done, only the Persons tell their own Story, But of all the Speeches which are to be' met withal in any History, there are none so Natural, or which have such plain Characters of Truth in them, as those in the Scriptures.
Epist. Famil. lib. v. Epift. 12. Ad Attic. lib. iv. Epist. 6. y Cic. Epist. Fam. 1. xii.
2 Hæc utcunque fe habent, notiora , clariora , majora tu facies : quanquam non exigo, ut excedas actæ rei modum. Plin. Epist. 1. vi. Ep. ult.
The Antiquities of China were destroy'd about two hundred years before Christ, and from the several Relations given of that matter by different Authors, it appears, that the Chineses are rather willing to have it believ'd, that their old Books were in some strange manner or other preserv’d, than that they are able to make it
It was the Custom of the Ægyptians to omit the mention of these Persons, of whom they
a Cæsar. Commenr. J. vii. Dion. Caff. 1. xxxviii.
had any Dislike, or who had made themselves odious to them. Thus in the xxth Dynasty of their Kings, there is a total Vacancy for the space of clxvíi Years, which the Learned Mr. Greaves, with great Probability, supplies with the Names of those Kings, who built the Pyramids, two whereof, Cheops and Chephren, as d Herodotus says, the Ægyptians, out of Hatred to them, would not so much as name, but call’d the Pyramids, which they had erected, the Pyramids of Philition, a Shepherd, who iií those days fed his Cattle there : The which Hatred, fays @ Mr. Greaves, occasion d' by their Oppressions, as Diodorus also mentions, might caufe Manethos to omit the rest, especially Sabachus an Æthiopian, and an Vsurper. But whatever acaint is to be given of the Ægyptian History in that particular, this makes the fiftory of that Nation in general very uncertain, and may af
, ford a sufficient Reason, why the Jews are either omitted, or '
misrepresented by Heathen Hi-? storians, who had what they relate of them from the Ægyptians ; and the Hebrews neither liv'd with the Ægyptians, nor left them, upon such terms as to have their Story faithfuily told by a Nation, who would suffer nothing to pass down to Posterity , if they could help it that was displeasing to them, when it happen'd, but if any thing were so notorious, as not to be capable of being wholly stifled, they would
i Herod. lib. ii. C. 128.
Diodor. Sic. 1. I. Greaves Pyramidographi.