The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) Authors of the first works of ancient Greek historical prose. The first logographers appeared in Ionia in the mid-sixth century B.C. Two generations of logographers are distinguished: the older (from the sixth to the first half of the fifth century; Cadmus of Miletus, Hecataeus of Miletus, Charon, and Scyllax) and the younger (second half of the fifth century; Xanthus, Pherecydes, and Hellanicus).

Relying on myths and legends, the logographers sought to reestablish the legendary history of the Greek poleis and the barbarian countries, as well as the genealogy of aristocratic families (this is apparent from the surviving fragments of the works of Hecataeus, Charon, and Xanthus). Some works of the logographers, based on personal impressions from travels, contain valuable ethnographic and geographic information (Hecataeus and Scyllax). The younger logographers utilized city chronicles and lists of officials in their attempt to establish the chronological order of events of early Greek history. The most famous is the Atthis by Hellanicus, a chronicle of events from the history of Athens and ancient Greek poleis.

The logographers believed that epic traditions were based on real events; they attempted to identify these events by the naive and rationalistic interpretation of myths and by the elimination of incongruities and supernatural elements. Only scant fragments have been preserved from the works of the logographers. Excerpts from the works of the logographers have been published in the following editions: C. Müller, Fragmenta historicorum Graecorum, vols. 1–5, Paris, 1846–70; F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, vols. 2–3, Leiden, 1961–64.


Pearson, L. Early Ionian Historians. Oxford, 1939.
(2) Writers of speeches for litigants in Athenian courts (beginning in the late fifth century B.C.). They prepared speeches which matched the personality of the “client.” The most celebrated logographer was Lysias.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
This mythical tale, of which the subject was a history of the wars of the Athenians against the Island of Atlantis, is supposed to be founded upon an unfinished poem of Solon, to which it would have stood in the same relation as the writings of the logographers to the poems of Homer.
For example, the first offering contains few words, but underpins Lakes claim that early Greek approaches to history developed from the works of logographers: 'Hecateus of Miletus speaks thusly: I write these things as they appear to me to be true.
In doing this, Plato--whether intending to or not--employed forensic oratory both to draw from the rhetorical devices of the logographers and simultaneously to alter such topoi to expand the existing methods of fourth century discourse to include the new discursive practice of philosophy.
Further, insofar as the rule was that a litigant had to argue his own case, logographers wrote many of the speeches.
To this we may add the customary mistrust of professional logographers the average Athenian felt.
News from logographers, storytellers and historians such as Herodotus, Hellanicus of Lesbos and Philistos of Syracuse--these, coeval with Thucydides--several treaties of peace, in addition to charts and inscriptions, likely compose the bulk of these sources (GOMME 2001-2002, v.
(25) They charge each other with being sophists and logographers, that is, those who write for pay (e.g., Aeschines 2.180, 3.16; Demosthenes 19.246, 250; 18.276), and each suggests that the other treats his body as something to be sold (e.g., [LANGUAGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Aeschines 2.23; Demosthenes 18.131, 262).
If their intention is to shed light on the performative peculiarity and social meaning of women's "speech genres" on the one hand, and to question the imitation of women's "voices" by composers of epic, tragedians, and logographers, on the other, chronology does not adequately serve this goal.
Even if we allow for the distortions introduced by the process of survival, which has left us not just with a collection of published speeches only, speeches by professionals (politicians and/or logographers who will have played the tactical games available within the system with greater skill than the untutored litigant unable to afford professional assistance), and even then only a portion (since we must allow for the loss of a large number of speeches by minor logographers which did not reach the library at Alexandria as well as the host of lost speeches by major writers for which we have evidence), it is difficult to believe that if exomosia was a frequent occurrence it would not be better represented within the surviving corpus of forensic oratory.
This dating of Semonides is therefore entirely conjectural and is based on no solid historical information within either his own work or that of early logographers. It should be trusted no more than the obviously incorrect dates which the same tradition generates for Hipponax and Aristoxenus of Selinus.
As professor of Latin eloquence, Vico may intend that his tetrad of authors are his logographers, the writers of his own speech.