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Form: Ktesias.
A Greek historian, born in Cnidus in Caria, and a contemporary of Xenophon. He belonged to the family of the Asclepiadae at Cnidus. In 416 B.C. he came to the Persian court, and became private physician to King Artaxerxes Mnemon. In this capacity he accompanied the king on his expedition against his brother Cyrus, and cured him of the wound which be received in the battle of Cunaxa, B.C. 401. In 399 he returned to his native city, and worked up the valuable material which he had collected during his residence in Persia. partly from his own observation, and partly from his study of the royal archives, into a History of Persia (Persica) in twenty-three books. The work was written in the Ionic dialect. The first six books treated the history of Assyria, the remaining ones that of Persia, from the earliest times to events within his own experience. Ctesias' work was much used by the ancient historians, though he was censured as untrustworthy and indifferent to truth; a charge which may be due to the fact that he followed Persian authorities, and thus often differed, to the disadvantage of the Greeks, from the version of facts current among his countrymen. Only fragments and extracts of the book survive. The same is true of his Indica, or notices of the observations which he had made in Persia on the geography and productions of India.
Type: Standard
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