This overview mentions only the most important sources, selected from the complete list of sources and translations which is also available sorted by date. Throughout the overview, there are links to the Wikipedia entry for each author.
Chapter 13 The Biographical Tradition in Greece and Rome Nepos may well have been the first author to produce a collection of biographies on different professionals. This innovative project, however, drew on a rich tradition of Greek and Roman authors who had praised famous men—and the rare woman.
Today, biography is generally expected to provide a full and detailed account of a person's life, from birth to death or at least up to the present. In antiquity, the genre of biography was slow to coalesce and encompassed a range of approaches, styles, and traditions, many of which left traces on Nepos' varied collection.
Of course, the deeds of a person's life, his upbringing, and motivations are intrinsic components of any historical account t moves beyond a simple recitation of events to describe people in action.
Nevertheless, it is biography's focus on the experiences of a single, extraordinary individual rather than a collective or cooperative event that differentiates biography from other forms of historical writing.
The origins of biography as a distinct genre can be found in Classical Greece. Biographical elements feature prominently in the writings of Plato and Xenophon, in particular those that deal with the trial and death of their mentor, Socrates. Several of Xenophon's other works reveal a keen interest in commemorating the exemplary characters of extraordinary individuals.
In his biographical novel, The Education of Cyrus, Xenophon creates an idealized portrait of a Persian king by documenting Cyrus' ancestry, upbringing, and the events of his youth. Xenophon also composed a biographical eulogy for his friend, the Spartan king Agesilaus, in which he recounts Agesilaus' life in chronological order before concluding with an extensive catalogue of the king's manifold virtues.
Aristotle never wrote biography, but his work on ethics—or those principles that guide a person's behavior—inspired a host of authors to explore the qualities that are distinctive to an individual's character.
Some of these authors catalogued the types of characters that appeared in literature; others sought insights about the characters of great philosophers and poets. During the period of scholarly experimentation in the fourth and third centuries BC, many Greek authors composed works that were essentially biographical in nature, often with the aim of exposing the truth about a figure's character.
Only fragments of works by these Hellenistic authors—e. Sotion, who wrote thirteen books on the succession of teachers and their pupils in the various philosophical schools—survive.
In what remains, however, we can discern the essential features that would come to define the genre of biography: The Hellenistic period also witnessed a sustained interest in three quite different men: Alexander the Great, Homer, and Aesop, the writer of fables. While scholars focused their attention on the lives of generals, philosophers, and poets, many anecdotes about the members of this larger-than-life trio evolved through a symbiotic relationship between folk tradition and scholarship, in which a democratic, oral or sub-literary tradition of storytelling provided material that scholars would elaborate and correct.
The fourth-century historian Theopompus was praised for examining "even the hidden reasons for actions and the motives of their agents, and the feelings in their hearts. Of particular importance for the development of Roman biography were the laudationes funebres, the "graveside eulogies" that extolled the achievements of the deceased and the glories of his prestigious ancestors.
Rome's relentless climate of political competition also promoted a vibrant tradition of autobiographical writing by ambitious Romans, who sought to spread word of their successes—and excuse their failures.
Among the over six hundred works composed by Varro —27 BC were two autobiographies and a biographical work on poets.
Nepos may have been inspired to juxtapose illustrious Greeks and Romans in different professions by Varro's Imagines, a compilation of seven hundred portraits of philosophers, poets, kings, dancers, and other famous men.
Each portrait seems to have been accompanied by a short epigram and commentary in prose. Nepos' biographies doubtlessly owe a great deal to these earlier efforts by Greek and Roman authors.This chapter focuses on specialized forms of writing about art and architecture in ancient Greece and Rome, especially those produced by the practitioners of the arts themselves.
Ancient Roman History; Ancient Science and Medicine; Ancient Sports and Athletics; The Historiography of Greek and Roman Art and Architecture; Conserving Greek.
The Olympic Medal: It's All Greek to Us! inquire of Zeus of the flashing thunderbolt, if he has any message to give concerning men whose spirits are seeking to attain great excellence and a .
Greek Writers of Roman History Some Reflections Upon the Authorities Used by Plutarch and Appianus by Johann Christoph Vollgraff. As a teaching aid, Meyer drew 70 models of historical writing samples ranging from ancient Greek stone inscriptions of the fifth century BC to contemporary sans serif.
The drawings were published in his book, The Development of Writing (Die Schriftenwicklung) in Carlstak (Interested in all aspects of Classical Greece and Rome) Cattyboi (self-taught mythology guy) Chickadee46 MinisterForBadTimes (Military history of Rome and Greece) Morel Mrld Neddyseagoon Neil Clancy Rjdeadly (Ancient Greek and Roman history .
Fabius Pictor's style of writing history defending the Roman state and its actions, and using propaganda heavily, eventually became a defining characteristic of Roman historiography.
Q. Fabius Pictor is known for the establishment of the "ab urbe condita" tradition of historiography which is writing history "from the founding of the city".