He wrote: 'Pytheas tells us that Thule is one day's sail from the congealed sea... and this Pytheas saw with his own eyes - or so he would have us believe.
Mainly the mood or the conjunction bewildered me.
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
I love AMERICAN English!
"-/, or so he/she/they would have us/you believe." implies that the precedent may be being presented a falsehood, lie, or misrepresentation.
In your example, it implies that Pytheas may be bearing false witness and was in fact, not an eyewitness to the event(s).
Example: "Monsanto is a lovely corporation that makes safe products, or so they would have you believe." implies Monsanto is (or may be) in fact, not a lovely corporation AND/OR does not make safe products. This could indicate direct mirepresentation by Monsanto, or by third parties ('they') such as new outlets or attorneys.