Warfare is a terrible and tragic part of human existence, and the Greeks knew this all too well. Their men fought its battles, their women and children witnessed its horrors in and around their communities, and their leaders struggled with choices between their ultimate aspirations and the pressing challenges of warfare. The Greek way of war therefore demonstrates how Greek culture and society both (1) informed the decisions made during wartime, and (2) were challenged by a proto-utilitarian form of ‘military necessity.’
The first major military threat to the communities of Ancient Greece came in the Greco-Persian Wars. When the Greeks of Ionia (modern-day Turkey) rebelled against the Persian king, they received considerable support from their Greek neighbors to the west. This rebellion failed, however, and the Persians began planning a full-scale invasion of Greece as retribution for their support and participation in the revolts (Martin 99). From the outset, the culture of these two peoples could not have been more different. The Persians viewed individuals as subjects of the state, without value outside the role they fulfilled to the empire and therefore without rights outside those explicitly granted by the government. In contrast to this, the Greek’s maintained a much higher view of the individual, which demanded both the equal protection of laws and shared responsibilities to the community, even though civic participation was limited to free, male citizens.
These differences were further demonstrated by the composition of each army. The Persians marched on Greece as conscripts of a king they had probably never seen (much less met), while the Greeks fought alongside their family and neighbors. And even when a Greek king was present (such as the legendary Leonidas of Sparta) he fought not as their superior but as their peer, as even the Spartan word for a full citizen (homoioi) implies (Martin 77; Cartledge 111-129). Because of this sense of identity, freedom, and community, the behavior of the Greeks during the Persian Wars reflected the very best of human courage in battle. They never forgot that they fought for their wives, children, and homelands, and because of this were motivated to heroic feats of bravery and sacrifice. Even today we draw inspiration from their examples, as is the case with the 300 Spartans and their allies at the pass of Thermopylae (see Pressfield’s historical novel, Gates of Fire, the precursor to the graphic novel and film franchise, 300) and the Greek victory over the Persians at Marathon.
Greek ingenuity was also at its best. While Sparta led the Greeks on land, Athens ultimately led them at sea, producing naval victories that are just as impressive as their victories on land. Most spectacular was the victory at Salamis, where the Athenian commander Themistocles forced the vast Persian fleet into a narrow pass (practically eliminating the Persians’ advantage in numbers), where the Greeks were able to ram the Persian vessels and fight them off ship by ship (Martin 104). The effect of these two Greek victories was both practical and psychological; Xerxes was forced to return with his fleet back to Persia, leaving behind a much weaker ground force under the command of Xerxes’ general, Mardonius, whom the Greeks soon defeated.
War, however, does not always (or even usually) reveal the best parts of a people’s culture. Even in the Persian Wars, leaders were forced to employ no small amount of political creativity to gain the support needed to achieve these victories. These cracks in the unity and character of the Greeks fractured completely a generation later when open war broke out between the two leading communities of Greece: Athens and Sparta. The causes of the Peloponnesian War are still debated, but when ‘entangling alliances’ exacerbate age-old rivalries in trade, political philosophies, and territorial expansion, it does not take an historian to figure out the likely result. This does not mean, however, that war was inevitable or that there were not leaders on both sides of the conflict who spoke against it. And when war was decided, the wisest on both sides sought limited goals and a quick resolution, particularly the Spartan king Archidamus and his Athenian ‘guest-friend’ Pericles (Kagan 1-54).
Thucydides’ record of the Peloponnesian War provides a number of examples of the potential for humans to choose violence, brutality, and cruelty over the more noble behavior we should rightfully expect of one another. Corinth was more concerned about her honor and rights regarding Corcyra and Potidaea than the impact her actions would have on her allies. Sparta also chose the baser side of war in her later treatment of Potidaea. When she captured the community the Spartans put most of the men to death for not being able to affirm that they had “rendered Sparta any service in this war”—a tacit acceptance of Persian utilitarianism foreign to Greek thought up to that point (Kitto 151).
Athens was no more immune to these problems than her enemies. When the island of Lesbos revolted, the Athenians sent a ship to Mitylene, the primary settlement of the Lesbians, with the inhumane task of slaughtering the men and enslaving the women and children. Though they changed their minds and rescinded the order the next day, the second ship only barely prevented the massacre by making port on Lesbos as the first decree was being read to the citizens of the community (Kitto 143-147). Unfortunately, within a decade such moderation was lost completely when Athens killed or enslaved all the residents of the neutral community at Melos (Kitto 151-152).
There was also internal political turmoil caused by war, especially at Athens. In the preceding paragraph, we have already seen that the Athenian assembly was prone to overreaction and hasty decisions, but they had an equally troubling time trusting the decisions of their leadership. One telling sign of this is the frequent removal of Athenian generals (as happened with Thucydides[Kitto 147-148] and Alcibiades [Pressfield’s Tides of War]). Even Pericles himself experienced these vaccinations in public approval, though he had spoken against the war and led a successful defensive strategy of attrition designed to wear down the Spartans to exhaustion (Kitto 141-142). As a result of this turmoil, Athens for a time even established an oligarchic government, though after its brief reign the city gradually restored its well-known democratic form (Kitto 137).
War both manifests and challenges the character and culture of a people. At the outset of war, culture initially informs the purposes and methods of the conflict. But when these purposes and methods are tested by changing circumstances on the ground, such crises often lead not only to a refining of tactics, but also to a challenge to culture itself. The Greeks experienced just such a cultural shock in their wars against enemies from both without and within. The result was a Greek culture that was first defended, then surrendered, and thankfully reasserted for the benefit of all of us who have come along since.
Though a sundry of modern practices have their roots in the ancient Near East, it is the Greeks who absorbed these traditions and made them their own, thereby laying the foundation for Western Civilization. This is particular true in three realms of Greek thought: their uniquely Greek approach to philosophy, the concept of freedom it produced, and the literature that has preserved these thoughts for generations since.
Greek philosophy, like many other things Greek, had its roots in the thought of the ancient Near East, especially in the Ionian areas of modern-day Turkey (this also become the driving thesis of Freeman’s sweeping survey, Egypt, Greece and Rome). There, during Greece’s Archaic Age, Greek thinkers began to recognize the presence of certain laws of nature that seemed uniform and predictable, especially as they concerned the movements of the celestial bodies. Such a view, however, represented a clear departure from the popular beliefs of the day, which held that natural phenomena were the results of the arbitrary will of the divines rather than anything approaching an understandable order and pattern. The result was the recognition of logic (from the Greek word logos or ‘thought,’ ‘study’) as the uniquely human way of solving problems of everyday human life both in nature (as in the example above) as well as in humanity itself (psychologically and socially; see Martin 90-91).
Greek philosophy, however, was not limited to these subjects alone. Later in its development, Socrates introduced a moral aspect to philosophy that gave us another word used often today: ethics. Socrates’ focus was simple; justice was the goal of human existence and because of this, an individual could only be happy by achieving this justice in his own behavior toward others, a state Socrates defined as virtue. For Socrates, then, it was in the individual’s best interest to reflect on his own character, to challenge his assumptions and in doing so, to refine his own sense of right and wrong as he related to those around him. “Moral knowledge was all one needed for the good life, as Socrates defined it” (Martin 170). It was this foundation that was built upon by Socrates’ student Plato, crystallized by Plato’s student Aristotle, and eventually challenged by the later Cynics, Stoics and Epicureans of the Hellenistic Age (Martin 177-185, 212-217). In essence, then, prior to the second century before Christ, the Greeks had undertaken nearly every major issue and approach to human knowledge and happiness.
One major ideal served as both an underlying assumption and an overarching conclusion to such self- and natural examination: the Greek concept of freedom. Today, the word freedom is almost always understood in a political sense, and while such an understanding would concur with ancient Greek thoughts on the subject, the word itself implied much more than simple civil liberty. In a political sense, a Greek used the word simply to mean that “however his polity was governed it respected his rights,” whether he had any say in the matter or not (Kitto 9). “But ‘eleutheria’…was much more than this . . . . Slavery and despotism are things that maim the soul . . . . The Oriental custom of obeisance struck the Greek as not ‘eleutheron’; in his eyes it was an affront to human dignity” (Kitto 10). There was also then a spiritual connotation to the word that tied the welfare of the community inextricably to the welfare of individuals with both physical and spiritual natures. Freedom was not just a political ideal, but an overriding principle that led to a distinctively human way of solving problems rooted in our shared ability to observe and reason based on common human experience.
But for the Greeks, writing was not merely didactic. Instead, their thoughts on natural law, logic, ethics, and freedom, were most often transmitted artistically through literature and drama. As Kitto points out, “That which distils [sic], preserves and then enlarges the experience of a people is Literature” and human society at-large owes a great debt of gratitude to the Greeks in this respect (Kitto 8). Though various forms of poetry existed prior to the rise of Greek literature (religious, romantic, prophetic), the Greeks soon added both epic and lyric poetry to this list.
Epic poetry was especially important in preserving what would otherwise have been lost of Greece’s Mycenaean past on the Eurasian mainland. Homeric poetry mainly discussed the uniquely human value of excellence (Greek arete). The goal of the excellent life, however, was not moral in nature but involved the legacy one would leave behind, what the Greeks called their kleos, or “glorious reputation,” whether on the battlefield, through friendship with strangers (the literal meaning of hospitality), or through victory in the quadrennial Olympic games (Martin 41-46). Mythology also played a prominent role in the shaping of early Greek thought on their existence. The poet Hesiod sought to recast the myths of his forbearers “to reveal the divine origin of justice” as an absolute sense of right and wrong rooted in humanity’s common origins and their shared fate in death (Martin 48).
Lyric poetry came onto the scene much later with a greater emphasis on the musical aspects of poetry, varying the rhythm, including instrumental accompaniment, and being written for performances by choruses which often performed them while dancing rather simply seated or standing (Martin 89). Along with this change in form came a similar change in content, as the Greeks began putting their thoughts on politics and philosophy into writing for the first time, first in lyric poetry and then in prose, an innovation that had not previously been attempted on such a scale by any human society (Martin 90). It can be said with some truth then that most of the genres of literature recognize and work within today were “created and perfected by the Greeks” (Kitto 9).
The Greeks have impacted our collective consciousness in ways both simple and profound. They believed there was something that set us apart from the other creatures with which we share our planet. Because of this, they believed it was perfectly in keeping with their nature to look both internally and externally to explain their material, spiritual, ethical and political existence—all in the name of justice and the achievement of their own earthly happiness. And in doing so, they produced many of the greatest works in human thought. We remain the heirs of the Greeks, then, not because they are more than human but because they are precisely much like ourselves, and because of this, their experiences are ours, their aspirations are ours, and their lessons are for us all.
It may seem strange to discuss the identity of a Persian ruler in a series on the Greeks, but until the late nineteenth century, two Greek historians were our primary witnesses for the fall of Babylon to the Achaemenid (Medo-Persian) Empire in 539 B.C. History can be both enlightening and entertaining in its own right, but it is also instrumental in understanding the world the Bible was written in. Reading ancient historians therefore affords us additional insights to what the Bible says and what the Bible means, and is especially helpful concerning difficult passages of Scripture.
One particular problem they assist with is in determining the identity of the ruler known in the Bible as “Darius the Mede,” and Darius’ role in the Persian conquest of Babylon. In the fifth chapter of the book of Daniel, Daniel has just rebuked Belshazzar (the fifth king after Nebuchadnezzar) for using articles from the Jewish temple to worship “the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know” (Dan 5:23 ESV), and so Daniel interprets to him the (literal!) handwriting on the wall:
“Then from his [God’s] presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
The ESV Study Bible summarizes for us the historical problem posed by the passage:
The identity of Darius the Mede and the exact nature of his relationship to Cyrus is not certain. It is clear that Cyrus was already king of Persia at the time when Babylon fell to the Persians (539 B.C.), and thus far no reference to “Darius the Mede” has been found in the contemporary documents that have survived. (ESVSB on Dan 5:30-31)
Skeptics, of course, have been quick to jump on this unconfirmed claim to question the inspiration, authority, and inerrancy of Scripture. But judging by other historical sources from the period, the Bible appears to record these events in a very similar manner to other ancient sources. Another contemporary account that provides some additional insight is The Nabonidus Chronicle, which recounts many details from the reign of Belshazzar’s father, Nabonidus (more on this below):
In the month of Tashritu . . . . The 16th day, Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Gutium and the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle. Afterwards Nabonidus was arrested in Babylon when he returned (there). Till the end of the month, the shield(-carrying) Gutians were staying within Esagila (but) nobody carried arms in Esagila and its (pertinent) buildings, the correct time (for a ceremony) was not missed. In the month of Arahshamnu, the 3rd day, Cyrus entered Babylon, green twigs were spread in front of him—the state of “Peace” (šulmu) was imposed upon the city. Cyrus sent greetings to all Babylon. Gobryas, his governor, installed (sub-)governors in Babylon. (ANET 306-7, Pritchard 281-282)
Less than one hundred years later, Herodotus records an expanded account of the conquest in book one of The Histories (190-191 in my Penguin edition):
The Babylonians had taken the field and were awaiting his [Cyrus’] approach. When he arrived near the city they attacked him, but were defeated and forced to retire inside their defences . . . and as they had taken the precaution of accumulating in Babylon a stock of provisions sufficient to last many years, they were able to regard the prospect of a siege with indifference. The siege dragged on, no progress was made, and Cyrus was beginning to despair of success. Then somebody suggested or he himself thought up the following plan: he stationed part of his force at the point where the Euphrates flows into the city and another contingent at the opposite end where it flows out, with orders to both to force an entrance along the riverbed as soon as they saw that the water was shallow enough. Then, taking with him all his non-combatant troops, he withdrew to the spot where Nitocris had excavated the lake, and proceeded to repeat the operation which the queen had previously performed: by means of a cutting he diverted the river into the lake (which was then a marsh) and in this way so greatly reduced the depth of water in the actual bed of the river that it became fordable, and the Persian army, which had been left at Babylon for the purpose, entered the river, now only deep enough to reach about the middle of a man’s thigh, and, making their way along it, got into the town. If the Babylonians had learnt what Cyrus was doing or had seen it for themselves in time, they could have let the Persians enter and then, by shutting all the gates which led to the waterside and manning the walls on either side of the river, they could have caught them in a trap and wiped them out. But as it was they were taken by surprise. The Babylonians themselves say that owing to the great size of the city the outskirts were captured without the people in the centre knowing anything about it; there was a festival going on, and they continued to dance and enjoy themselves, until they learned the news the hard way. That, then, is the story of the first capture of Babylon.
One final account is also worth mentioning, from Xenophon’s Cyropaedia. Xenophon was born around the time Herodotus died, and is thus even further removed from the events he described, but his account also supports some of the claims made by our earlier sources. We will pick up his account (which I have greatly abbreviated), with the decision to divert the river:
Thereupon Cyrus took his measurements all round the city, and, leaving a space on either bank of the river large enough for a lofty tower, he had a gigantic trench dug from end to end of the wall, his men heaping up the earth on their own side. . . . [When] the trenches were dug . . . Cyrus heard that it was a time of high festival in Babylon when the citizens drink and make merry the whole night long. As soon as the darkness fell, he set his men to work. The mouths of the trenches were opened, and during the night the water poured in, so that the river-bed formed a highway into the heart of the town.
You really should read the whole thing, which makes for great reading, if not good history (in fact, Ridley Scott could have learned a thing or two). But the parallels between these four accounts are unmistakable. The king of Babylon at this time is actually Nabonidus himself. He had usurped the throne seventeen years earlier, but had since retired into Arabia, leaving Belshazzar as regent of Babylon in his stead (perhaps explaining why the prince, as Number Two, could only make Daniel, “the third ruler in the kingdom”). Cyrus and his allies then approached from the north and northwest, respectively.
As is indicated in Herodotus and Nabonidus, the combat troops at Babylon appear to be under the command of Gobryas/Ugbaru, an old ally of Cyrus’, leading the breach of the city during the ceremonial festival hosted by Belshazzar. Cyrus himself arrived at the city several days later, incorporating Babylonia into the empire, and rewarding Ugbaru with the governorship of the region. Ugbaru then conducted further reforms, including the appointment of lieutenants throughout the city. The biggest differences are that Nabonidus makes no mention of the river works, Herodotus makes no mention of Ubgaru, and Xenophon makes Cyrus the primary actor throughout.
Which brings us back to our original question: who is “Darius the Mede,” and how does he fit into this picture? In the same paragraph cited above, The ESV Study Bible summarizes the three most common solutions proposed by biblical scholars:
. . . thus far no reference to “Darius the Mede” has been found in the contemporary documents that have survived.  That absence, however, does not prove that the references to Darius in the book of Daniel are a historical anachronism. The book of Daniel recognizes that Cyrus reigned shortly after the fall of Babylon (1:1; 6:28), and knowledge of the history of this period, while substantial, may be incomplete. Until fairly recently there was no cuneiform evidence to prove the existence of Belshazzar either.  Some commentators argue that Darius was a Babylonian throne name adopted by Cyrus himself. On this view, 6:28 should be understood as, “during the reign of Darius the Mede, that is, the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”  Others suggest that Darius was actually Cyrus’s general, elsewhere named Gubaru or Ugbaru, and credited in the Nabonidus Chronicle with the capture of Babylon. (ESVSB on Dan 5:30-31)
The first response is a general truth that applies to any aspect of biblical history: history cannot prove a biblical statement to be false due to a lack of evidence, and Christians should not withhold their assent to a biblical statement simply because of a lack of historical confirmation. But this should also not be seen as an excuse for not engaging with known historical sources, or to simply win arguments or silence debate (all of which applies equally well to contemporary discussions on faith and science). The second theory is certainly possible in a strictly grammatical way, but this construction seems forced, and receives little attention from Bible translators.
The most likely explanation of our known sources, then, is that Darius is the name chosen by the biblical writer to refer to the Gobryas/Ugbaru/Gubaru mentioned in our sources. This fits especially well with the wording seen in Daniel: Darius “received the kingdom” and “was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans,” implying that his authority was derived from a superior (such as Cyrus; Dan 5:30-31; 9:1, emphases added; see 6:28). There are also parallels between the reforms attributed to Darius/Ugbaru, such as the appointment of satraps/sub-governors throughout the realm. So while historians now doubt aspects of the historical accounts (most notably, the diversion of the river; see below, Note 1), these accounts also provide important contextual information supporting the biblical account in the book of Daniel.
On the other hand, we must also point out that the Bible does not necessarily require us to believe that Darius the Mede and Ugbaru are the same person; this is simply the best inference we can make given our current understanding of the biblical text and the history surrounding it. So while we may not be able to state absolutely who Darius is, we can certainly assent with his testimony, as recorded in Scripture:
Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions. (Dan 6:25-27)
Note 1: Such as Marincola in note 80 to The Histories. In the same place he also states, “it is clear that there was treachery, perhaps because of the discontent aroused by Nabonidus, particularly towards the priestly caste who may thus have welcomed Cyrus. It is likely too that the large Jewish community at Babylon assisted Cyrus’ entry into the city; after its fall Cyrus returned the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem, with orders for the temple there to be rebuilt (Ezra 6.3-22).” This, however, appears to be mere supposition.
As I wrapped up my undergrad studies and first looked into graduate school, the first major that caught my eye was an MA in Ancient and Classical History. After two classes, however (one in historiography and the other in the Ancient Greeks), I quickly discovered that while the historical fascinated me, my interests were entirely too broad to be limited to the study of what once was.
History, however, remains an essential part of the humanities, and any approach to liberal learning must maintain an essentially historical approach. History helps us answer questions like, Where did we come from? What does it mean to be human? What was the “state of nature”? What brought about the rise of civilization? How does this affect our understanding of social and political community today? And on what basis can we determine right and wrong?
History is therefore the foundation of anthropology, sociology, civics, economics, and ethics. As Solomon once mused, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has been already in the ages before us” (Ecc 1:9-10 ESV). Understanding where we have come from is thus fundamental to understanding who we are, and where we are heading as a society.
By studying history, then, we develop skills of historical, literary, and philosophical reasoning that provide us an opportunity to better understand and orient our own lives today. In other words, perhaps the best way to understand history is not as what once was, but as what could be again.
But thinking historically is sometimes easier said than done. As David Hackett Fischer points out, historians must recognize and work within the inherent “logic of historical thought.” This does not imply that humans always make sense (far from it!), nor does it mean that historians are always consistent in their approach to understanding the past. What it does mean is that history, like any academic discipline, requires a clear and consistent understanding of its own internal workings. The very meaning of “history” implies that such must be the case.
Our word history is transliterated from the Greek word historiai, which means “investigations” (NIV 1283). This explains Fischer’s assertion that, “History is, in short, a problem-solving discipline,” which requires (1) “open-ended question[s] about past events,” (2) “a true descriptive statement about past events,” and (3) “an interactive structure of workable questions and factual statements” making sense of these past events (Fischer xv). Just as a scientist or detective gathers as much evidence as possible and allows that evidence to lead to her conclusions, the historian is primarily an investigator, meaning that conclusions must follow the evidence instead of preceding it.
Perhaps the greatest roadblock to understanding history, however, is the preconceptions, assumptions, and biases we bring to our study. Many frame the discussion by stating that we shouldn’t bring our worldview to bear on history, but it would be impossible for us not to. Instead, we must also work tirelessly to recognize and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the historian himself, both as a student of history examining the evidence and as a teacher who is presenting his case. This does not make history subjective; it merely recognizes what it takes to maintain objectivity in light of evidence.
Another way to state this goal is that the historian seeks fairness or (stated negatively) avoids bias. As McCullagh states, bias can be mitigated if properly defined and understood by recognizing our own limitations and desires. “To be fair, a description must describe all the predominant features of the chosen aspect of the subject, so that the description is not at all misleading” (McCullagh 42). Bias, on the other hand, occurs when “failures in historical inference, in historical description and interpretation, and in historical explanation” occur “because the historian wants the outcome she has produced” (McCullagh 40, emphasis added).
Such biases are manifest in virtually every stage of historical study. As Hackett discusses in his own work, historians make three basic types of fallacies: in inquiry (question-framing, factual verification, factual significance), explanation (generalization, narration, causation, motivation, composition, false analogy), and argument (semantical distortion and substantive distraction).
McCullagh focuses on four of these: “First, historians sometimes misinterpret evidence, so that they are not justified in asserting that the inferences about what happened in the past are true” (40). Similarly, in their explanations of historical events, historians occasionally “omit important features of their subject” and therefore lead the reader to believe he is reading a more complete account than what is actually presented (McCullagh 45). Others mislead readers by making implications that do not stand up in light of known evidence, thereby denying the reader a justifiable interpretation that reconciles the preponderance of known facts (McCullagh 48). Causal explanations can also fall short of “fair” by removing from consideration possible causes that are no less significant than those favored by the historian’s own interests.
The key to avoiding each of these biases is to ensure the breadth of an account is commensurate with the depth of detail provided on the subject, all of which must closely follow the evidence. “If the evidence is extensive and varied, and one explanation of what happened is far superior to any other, then historians quite rationally judge it likely to be true” (McCullagh 60). It is because of this that, “Historians prefer those [interpretations] which give meaning to a large number of facts about [a particular] subject, and which make their occurrence intelligible” (McCullagh 48). This does not mean, however, that sources should be trusted implicitly. Instead, “historians interpret documents by constructing the best available explanation for whole groups of reports and evidence about the events they study,” thereby maintaining a stronger sense of perspective in their conclusions (McCullagh 61, emphasis added).
Any approach to history, then, must be clear, consistent, and evidentiary in focus. Though at times our own biases remain undetected due to our own personal and cultural perspectives, this does not mean they are inevitable or insurmountable hurdles to a reasonable historiography. Instead, our biases may be raised to a level of awareness that allows the historian to recognize and critically assess the flaws in his own methodology in order to more consistently operate within the “logic of historical thought.” For history to be fair then, an historian must maintain “a commitment to standards of rational inquiry which is stronger than one’s commitment to a certain outcome” (McCullagh 55). Quite simply, to think historically begins by simply following the evidence.