A Level Ancient History Author evaluation help??

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georgia447
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misplaced my notes and its impossible to find anything on the internet for each author
I'm taking OCR ancient history, the units I am doing are the Athenian Democracy and Cicero and the late Republic.
I need a couple of strengths and weaknesses for these authors, any help and/or revision tips would be very much appreciated !!

Aristotle
Herodotus
Thucydides
Plato
Cicero
Plutarch
Suetonius
Sallust
Xenophon


thank you in advance !!
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Bigbarlow180
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Hey, I'm studying the course too, but am doing Sparta and Cicero, so some of my notes may be a little biased towards Sparta

Aristotle- Lived 384-322 BC. He wrote about events before his time, and wouldn't have had access to first-hand sources. He came from Macedonia, so may have harboured some basic bias against the Greeks.

Herodotus- Lived 484-426 BC. He was writing during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. He came from Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire, but was very well travelled, so could have spoken to loads of different sources. He might have harboured some Athenian bias as they gave him a home in Thurii- an Athenian colony in Sicily. He was neither a soldier or a politician, so wouldn't have had great knowledge in these areas.

Thucydides- Born in 460 BC. He was a politician and aristocrat who analysed historical evidence carefully. He wrote about events of his own time. He himself admits that during his accounts of speeches, he only had a "general sense" of what the people said.

Xenophon- Lived 430-350 BC. He was a general from Athens, but was exiled for supposedly fighting with the Spartans. Was a close friend of Spartan King Agesilaus II. He had great knowledge of warfare, but might have had some anti-Athenian bias as he was exiled.

Cicero- Cicero's letters are generally very reliable, as he could give his honest opinion in them as they were private (so know the date!), but he does often change his mind or become melodramatic (59 letters). His speeches were published after they were given, and no-one was taking notes of what he said. Although he couldn't change the gist of what he said in the speech, he could change how he said something. He glorifies himself in his speeches and makes himself look better (simply look at the ending of Against Catiline IV).

Plutarch- Was writing c.100 AD. He didn't have first-hand knowledge and wrote about events long before his time. He often allows his personal biases into his work ("thanks were due to Cicero and to Cicero alone") and was often prone to simply copying out other sources. For Greece, he would have read the work of lost Messenian Historians, so might have had some other knowledge that we don't have.

Suetonius- Was writing c. 120 AD. THIS IS THE MOST RELIABLE SOURCE. He was OBJECTIVE, trying to let no bias into any of his work. He was an Imperial Librarian in Alexandria-the biggest library in the world. He therefore had access to a HUGE range of sources.

Sallust- Was writing c. 40 BC. Sallust was writing in order to 'sell scrolls', so often liked to create drama where there wasn't any. He was also very biased, being a great friend of Caesar's but hating Cicero. In his work he "acknowledges but doesn't glorify Cicero" (use that quote), and also sometimes uses his work to put forward his own theory on Rome's decline ("growing love of money and the lust for power that followed it engendered every kind of evil").

I don't have any notes for Plato, but I really hope this helps!

Best of luck )))
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georgia447
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(Original post by Bigbarlow180)
Hey, I'm studying the course too, but am doing Sparta and Cicero, so some of my notes may be a little biased towards Sparta

Aristotle- Lived 384-322 BC. He wrote about events before his time, and wouldn't have had access to first-hand sources. He came from Macedonia, so may have harboured some basic bias against the Greeks.

Herodotus- Lived 484-426 BC. He was writing during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. He came from Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire, but was very well travelled, so could have spoken to loads of different sources. He might have harboured some Athenian bias as they gave him a home in Thurii- an Athenian colony in Sicily. He was neither a soldier or a politician, so wouldn't have had great knowledge in these areas.

Thucydides- Born in 460 BC. He was a politician and aristocrat who analysed historical evidence carefully. He wrote about events of his own time. He himself admits that during his accounts of speeches, he only had a "general sense" of what the people said.

Xenophon- Lived 430-350 BC. He was a general from Athens, but was exiled for supposedly fighting with the Spartans. Was a close friend of Spartan King Agesilaus II. He had great knowledge of warfare, but might have had some anti-Athenian bias as he was exiled.

Cicero- Cicero's letters are generally very reliable, as he could give his honest opinion in them as they were private (so know the date!), but he does often change his mind or become melodramatic (59 letters). His speeches were published after they were given, and no-one was taking notes of what he said. Although he couldn't change the gist of what he said in the speech, he could change how he said something. He glorifies himself in his speeches and makes himself look better (simply look at the ending of Against Catiline IV).

Plutarch- Was writing c.100 AD. He didn't have first-hand knowledge and wrote about events long before his time. He often allows his personal biases into his work ("thanks were due to Cicero and to Cicero alone") and was often prone to simply copying out other sources. For Greece, he would have read the work of lost Messenian Historians, so might have had some other knowledge that we don't have.

Suetonius- Was writing c. 120 AD. THIS IS THE MOST RELIABLE SOURCE. He was OBJECTIVE, trying to let no bias into any of his work. He was an Imperial Librarian in Alexandria-the biggest library in the world. He therefore had access to a HUGE range of sources.

Sallust- Was writing c. 40 BC. Sallust was writing in order to 'sell scrolls', so often liked to create drama where there wasn't any. He was also very biased, being a great friend of Caesar's but hating Cicero. In his work he "acknowledges but doesn't glorify Cicero" (use that quote), and also sometimes uses his work to put forward his own theory on Rome's decline ("growing love of money and the lust for power that followed it engendered every kind of evil").

I don't have any notes for Plato, but I really hope this helps!

Best of luck )))




that's perfect thank you so much! good luck to you too
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ancienthistory
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These exams are honestly my highest concern, due to timing and the qmount of quotes :/
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georgia447
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(Original post by ancienthistory)
These exams are honestly my highest concern, due to timing and the qmount of quotes :/
same :/ in my mock i ran out of time on the 45 mark question (the only one i knew a decent amount of quotes for) and basically rushed to fit quotes in and didnt evaluate-.- the exam should definitely be longer
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ancienthistory
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(Original post by georgia447)
same :/ in my mock i ran out of time on the 45 mark question (the only one i knew a decent amount of quotes for) and basically rushed to fit quotes in and didnt evaluate-.- the exam should definitely be longer
I only got three arguments done for that question, but I thankfully still came out with a B (god knows how), I really need an A in the real exam! The Athens side seems much easier than Cicero and Late Republic Rome, where the sources imo much more detailed :/ panicking
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georgia447
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i got a C but hoping to get at least a B in the real one, i agree i hope the questions are nice for the Rome exam
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ancienthistory
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How are you all revising this? I'm intending to do, at least, one question per night
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