Ancient History, analysing sources

Essay by belroseHigh School, 11th gradeA-, March 2004

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Preliminary Course Ancient History Assessment Task #1:

Assessing Written and Archaeological sources

Factors which influenced an ancient writer -


A)How did Thucydides' experiences, aims and sources help him to write as accurately as possible?

Thucydides' experiences in the war gave him access to information that would help him to write accurately. Being an eyewitness to many events himself, he could draw from his own experiences when writing his history. It also meant he would be know people who had been involved in other battles and ask for their accounts of what had happened.

He also travelled around Greece to gain others views of events, ad stories of what had happened across the country, giving him more dimensions to add to his own opinions and stories. He would not have been biased towards the politicians, as he disagreed with their views and seems to have had no want to please them.

Being a General in the war, he would have been present at many battles and important event throughout the war, so his writing would be largely based on his own first hand account, rather than heavily relying on hearsay or previously written inaccurate documents. He crosschecked his references and, because of conflicting accounts treated his own eyewitnesses with scepticism. His efficiency in these matters allowed him to write as accurately as possible. He aimed to show future generations the mistakes of his time, so that it was not repeated. He wanted top reveal the tragedies of war, which would stop him from glorifying war, this would need him to be as accurate as possible.

B)Explain how his background, political view and experiences might have created some bias in his account

His memories of Athens being such a great power under the decisive ruling of Pericles would provide...