Whether the tradition which makes Ararat the resting-place of Noah's Ark is of any historical value or not, there is at least poetical fitness in the hypothesis, inasmuch as this mountain is about equally distant from the Black Sea and the Caspian, from the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.
Fortunately these words are of minor importance for the historical value of this priceless document.
So long as the Homeric poems were believed to represent Hellenic (and mainly Ionian) beliefs of the 9th century or later, the historical value of the traditions of a Dorian invasion was repeatedly questioned; most recently and thoroughly by J.
Aelian's story that Cleisthenes himself was the first to be ostracized is attractive in view of his overtures to Persia (see Cleisthenes), but it has little historical value and conflicts with the chapter in Aristotle's Constitution - which, however, may conceivably be simply the list of those recalled from ostracism at the time of Xerxes' Invasion, all of whom must have been ostracized less than ten years before 481 (i.e.
Its historical value was considered small, it being avowedly a panegyric, and contemporaries (including even Alexander himself) regarded it as untrustworthy.
The fictitious literature of the second and third centuries, known as the Apocryphal Gospels, offers no direct evidence of any historical value at all: it is chiefly valuable for the contrast which it presents to the grave simplicity of the canonical Gospels, and as showing how incapable a later age was of adding anything to the Gospel history which was not palpably absurd.
It was well known during the middle ages, and was largely used by William, archbishop of Tyre, for the first six books of his Belli sacri historic. In modern times its historical value has been seriously impugned, but the verdict of the best scholarship seems to be that in general it forms a true record of the events of the first crusade, although containing some legendary matter.
Pentateuch, Judges, Kings), and thus to give to these earlier sources an historical value higher than that which would be safely attributed to them as indistinguishable parts of a late compilation.
The historical value of these lists is very unequal; a careful study of the names often proves the lateness of the source, although an appreciation of the principles of genealogies sometimes reveals important historical information; see Caleb, Genealogy, Judah.
Exactly what modifications were first made in the system under which each month began by simple observation of the new moon we do not know, and opinions are not agreed as to the historical value of the rabbinical traditions; but probably the first step in the direction of astronomical precision would be the rule that no month could consist of less than twenty-nine or more than thirty days - to which appears to have been added, but at what date is uncertain, the further rule that Adar, the month preceding Nisan, was always to be limited to twentynine.