Top Ten Best Ancient HistoriansHistory is very important and I cannot overstate that. In our times of early writing we had men, yes mostly men, that would record the events of the time that gives us a clear image of what happened, the people of the time, and the culture. These Ancient Historians would form history. This list will feature the best of these historians. For the sake of practicality I will not be including religious writers. Feel free to add them though. Feel free to add whoever you feel worthy. Enjoy!
Herodotus is the known as "The Father of History" for a reason. Herodotus was a Greek Historian from 484 B.C. to 425/413 B.C. While you can often tell his writing are highly fictionalized, he is oftentimes reliable in the basic concepts in history. He even admitted that and he simply wrote down what the majority of the people's remembrance of tradition and history. Herodotus travelled the world and recorded everything from the people's culture, people, and traditions. His writing would become known as "Histories". Thus the term history. He would die because of the Plague of Athens during the Peloponnesian War.
Plutarch is so underrated. When I was researching for this list, Plutarch never came up. I knew of him, because of multiple school projects and the research I did for other list. Plutarch was a philosopher and historian from Greece. He was born on 46 A.D. and died sometime after 120 A.D. His most famous contribution to history was his series of biographies called "Parallel Lives". These biographies would contribute massively to our knowledge of former peoples. He would often compare two historical figures, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great for example. He also contributed a lot in the areas of philosophy and writing.
Plutarch is my favorite. We would know so much less about Roman history without him
Suetonius was a Roman Writer born in 69 A.D. and died anytime from 130 A.D. to 140 A.D, I am confused as to why we never know their exact death dates. Suetonius is primarily known for his biographies on the 12 Caesars. Suetonius is one of the primary sources to use when learning about Roman history in the late B.C.'s and first century. One of the greatest historians in history.
Livy is a very important historian. He lived from around 59 B.C. to 17 A.D. Livy recorded the history of Rome from its founding to the reign of Augustus Caesar. Like Herodotus, a lot of his writing was hearsay, most historians still believe him to be a credible and accurate source. Without Livy's work we wouldn't know near as much about Roman history.
Lucius Cassius Dio was a Roman historian and statesman 155 A.D. to 235 A.D. He was an incredibly important historian. He wrote 80 volumes about the founding of Rome all the way to 227 A.D. Unlike many of the people on this list, almost all of his work is still intact. Many historians get their information from Cassius Dio. Much of his work though was based off the work of others with revisions.
Titus Flavius Josephus was a Jewish Priest, scholar, and historian from 37 A.D. or 38 A.D. to 100 A.D. He wrote about the Hebrew Wars and Jewish Revolts. He also is one of the writers that recorded the life of Jesus of Nazareth outside of the Apostles of Christ. To say the least, Josephus was a very important historian in history.
Polybius was a Greek Historian from c. 200 B.C. to 118 B.C. He was vital in terms of his documentation of Roman conquest. He also provides an eyewitness account to the Sacks of both Carthage and Corinth. He was an important Hellenistic writer.
Sallust was a Roman historian from 86 B.C. to 35 B.C. After a unsuccessful military career and after he was expulsed from the Senate after a fight with the great orator Cicero. Saullust turned to writing. He recorded the chaos of his time and talked about his opinion that Roman Morality was falling.
Thucydides was a Greek historian from c. 460 B.C. to c. 400 B.C. He recorded the 30 year Peloponessian War and unlike Herodotus everything he wrote was eyewitness. He was a very credible and reliable historian.
There are no exact dates of his life, but he was active around the 1st century B.C. as a Greek historian. He wrote from the mythical times of the Mediterranean area to 60 B.C. Known for his "Bibliotheca Historia". I hope you enjoyed the list. Feel free to comment, remix, or even share. Thanks for reading.