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LOGOGRAPHI
Form: Gr. logographoi, i.e. writers in prose.
The name given to the oldest Greek historians, who by their first attempts at disquisitions in prose marked the transition from narrative poetry to prose history. As in the case of epic poetry, so these earliest historical writings emanated from Ionia, where the first attempts at an exposition of philosophic reflexions in prose were made at about the same time by Pherecydes, Anaximander, and Anaximeues; and, in both cases alike, it was the Ionic dialect that was used. This class of writing long preserved in its language the poetic character which it inherited from its origin in the epic narrative. It was only by degrees that it approached the tone of true prose. It confined itself absolutely to the simple telling of its story, which was largely made up of family and local traditions. It never classified its materials from a more elevated point of view, or scrutinised them with critical acumen. The logographers flourished from about 550 B.C. down to the Persian Wars. Their latest representatives extend, however, down to the time of the Peloponnesian War. When true history arose with Herodotus, they soon lapsed into oblivion, whence they were rescued in Alexandrian days. Many of the works ascribed to them were however believed to be spurious, or at least interpolated. We possess fragments only of a few. The larger number of the historic writers who are described as logographers were Asiatic Greeks, e.g. CADMUS of Miletus, author of a history of the founding of Miletus and the colonization of Ionia (he lived about 540 B.C., and was considered the first writer of historic prose); further, DIONYSIUS of Miletus, a writer of Persian history, HECATAeUS (q.v.) Of MiletUS (550-476), XANTHUS of Sardis (about 496), a writer of Lydian history, HELLANICUS (q.v.) of Lesbos (about 480-400), CHARON of Lampsacus (about 456), a compiler of Persian history and annals of his native town, PHERECYDES of the Carian island Leros (died about 400 B.C.), who lived at Athens, and in his great collection of myths in ten books treated chiefly of the early days of Attica. Some belonged to the colonies in the West, e.g. HIPPYS of Rhegium, at the time of the Persian War the oldest writer on Sicily and Italy. The only representative from Greece itself is ACUSILAUS of Argos in Boeotia, the author of a genealogical work.
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