But because history prevents the past from “being erased by time,” it acquires another temporal quality oriented toward the future. Therefore, history takes on a judgmental and moral value, a fact fully developed with Polybius: “And yet judgments concerning either the victors or the vanquished which are based on nothing more than just the outcome of battles cannot possibly be final… In this way our contemporaries will be enabled to see clearly whether the rule of Rome is something to be welcomed or to be avoided at all costs, and future generations to judge whether they should praise and admire or condemn it” (III.4).

All these basic elements would determine the future course of historical literature, and it would continue as such up until the 15th century after the fall of Constantinople. One has a sense of continuity in such later historians as Psellos or Anna Comnena who, for example, introduces her Alexiad with the very same goal in mind: “But the tale of history forms a very strong bulwark against the stream of time, and to some extent checks its irresistible flow, and, of all things done in it, as many as history has taken over, it secures and binds together, and does not allow them to slip away into the abyss of oblivion.”

In fact, almost every period in Mediterranean history since Herodotus has had its historian, Greek or Roman, and if one includes the Byzantine historians until after 1453, one will have an almost uninterrupted history spanning about two millenia–even if other elements have been added to it in later times, this is a quality that proves the impact and importance of the historical search to our civilization.