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The Genre: Universal History

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Chapter Summary

Examining Diodorus' wording reveals that he assigns to the historian a greater importance, like the gods and culture-heroes, whose journeys he describes at length in his first five books. One may find in the introductory chapters of his Bibliotheke several criteria which reveal his definition of universal history. First, an author composing a universal history must begin with the events of earliest times. Second, historian must record the affairs of the universe all together, as though they were of a certain single city. Third, author should refer to very many and most varied circumstances. Fourth, historian should attach to each event its proper time. Finally, Diodorus defines the best historical work as "the systematic treatise which contains a connected account of affairs in a single line of narrative". Hence the best historical work is that in which the author creates a sequence by connecting the events to one another.

Keywords: Bibliotheke; circumstances; composing; culture-heroes; Diodorus; events; historian; historical work; universal history



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