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The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World

Ephorus , of Cyme 

(c.405–330 bc),

a historian whose lost work is important because Diodorus (2) Siculus followed it extensively. The 30‐book History avoided the mythological period, beginning with the Return of the Heraclids and reaching the siege of Perinthus, in 340. His work was grand in scope and far longer than 5th‐cent. histories. Acc. to Polybius, he was the first universal historian, combining a focus on Greek history with events in the barbarian east. Ephorus provided each book with a separate proem. Individual books were apparently devoted to a particular area (southern and central Greece, Macedonia, Sicily, Persia), but within each book events were sometimes retold episodically, sometimes synchronically.

Ephorus drew on diverse sources, at times using good judgement (he preferred the Oxyrhynchus historian to Xenophon ), at other times making unfortunate choices (he coloured Thucydides' (2) account with material from 4th‐cent. pamphleteers). Esp. interesting to Ephorus were migrations, the founding of cities, and family histories (see genealogy).

The History was widely quoted in antiquity and was generally commended for its accuracy (except in military descriptions). In paraphrasing Ephorus, Diodorus supplies crucial information, esp. about 4th‐cent. mainland history.