This study employs a comparative approach using Greek models of historical enquiry, especially those of Herodotus, to illustrate how Romans prior to the Punic Wars, and indeed as early as the fifth and fourth centuries BC, might have developed their own historical consciousness and historical traditions concerning their early past in much the same way as we know the Greeks had done by the fifth century BC. What follows is not at all new. Many have identified Roman historical and historiographical roots, connections, and even parallels with Greek history and historians.
What follows reiterates those connections, explicitly by assessing how Herodotus presented his inquiries to his Greek audience, laying the foundations for the discipline of historia, and then by examining specifically the story of the Fabii at the Cremera in Livy, Dionysius and Diodorus. Through this one historical example, I hope to show that the roots of genuine historical thought can be found in the sources of our sources for early Roman traditions. Despite the fact that these traditions appear in works written much later than the events they describe, the nature of the stories preserved in our extant accounts suggests similar historiographical roots and interest as those preserved by Herodotus for the Greeks in the stories he told in his Histories.