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Ctesias as a Military Historian

"Ctesias is famous, or infamous, for court-history. But his work was sufficiently like ordinary Greek historiography to deal with military confrontation, so his status as a military historian is a question that ought at least to be raised. His qualifications were not especially strong. He is known to have (claimed to have) been present at one major battle, that at which Cyrus' rebellion was brought to an abrupt end. But his role was medical and, apart from that occasion, personal contact with warfare is not readily visible. His putative pro-Spartan disposition (T7b = Plutarch Artoxerxes 13) does not guarantee a particular engagement with things military, and its bearing on the re-timing of Plataea is arguable. We do hear of our historian in possession of a pair of rather special swords (45[9]), but they were gifts from his royal employers, not objects actually to be wielded in anger: and it is poetically just that they are made of magical Indian metal - just the sort of swords Ctesias would have had, one might say.Military history plays..."

Author(s):  Tuplin, Christopher
Format:  Article
Publisher:  Achemenet
Publication City:  Paris
Date:  2009
Source:  Paper finalised in November 2006 (and not substantively updated since) for publication in: J.Wiesehöfer et al. (edd.), Ktesias und der Orient