When I was in kindergarten my favorite thing to do was play on the playground and nap. Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus a Greek city in southwest Asia Minor and lived in the 5th Century. Herodotus believes in divine retribution as a punishment of human impiety, arrogance, and cruelty, but his emphasis is always on human actions and character rather than on the interventions of the gods, in his descriptions of historical events. Herodotus believes in divine retribution as a punishment of human impiety, arrogance, and cruelty, but his emphasis is always on human actions and character rather than on the interventions of the gods, in his descriptions of historical events. The writing of Herodotus's great work, the Histories (the name is simply a transliteration of a Greek word that means primarily \"inquiries\" or \"research\"), must have occupied a considerable portion of his later life, but we do not know when, where, or in what order it was written. For example, Herodotus had no need to explain Greek geography, customs, or political systems to his Greek readers, but he did wish to describe the political situation at the relevant times of the many Greek cities later involved in the war. To Herodotus, the old moral “pride comes before a fall” was a matter of common observation and had been proved true by the greatest historical event of his time. Herodotus’ emphasis on evidence and autopsy is shared with the early medical writers of the Hippocratic corpus, for example. He is most notably known for his writing of The Histories. This is where my major rub lies with many attitudes towards him. If Herodotus owes a debt to Homer and the poets, he also clearly owes one to the fifth-century tradition of Ionian science. HERODOTUS (c. 484-425 B.C. The Histories. Herodotus himself clearly considered his narrative to contain a number of different logoi, or accounts. Students who complete Herodotus will have received writing instruction which is at least on par with a standard K-12 writing scope and sequence. Herodotus (/hɪˈrɒdətəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἡρόδοτος, Hêródotos, Attic Greek pronunciation: [hɛː.ró.do.tos]) was a Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484 – c. 425 BC), a contemporary of … Overall, the Histories narrates the events culminating in the great Persian Wars between the city-states of Greece and the empire of Achaemenid Persia. Herodotus was seen as lacking gravitas and not on par with Homer, Euripides, Thucydides, Cicero and their like. Indeed, Herodotus’ focus is not so much on difference as on the common human nature that generates so many interesting variations, and which can be explored thoroughly only through its many manifestations. Writers like Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Herodotus and more had their own writing style. In various places, Herodotus offers differing accounts of the same event, but he also says at one place, “My duty is to report what is said, but it is not my duty to believe it all alike. Structured around the first four Achaemenid kings—Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, and Xerxes— and their military campaigns against various peoples, the Histories contains a multitude of ethnographic digressions, which make up many of the most striking and memorable parts of the text. Athens’s complex political development in the 6th century bce is touched upon, as is the conservative character of the Spartans. ”[10] This shows how the style of writing by Herodotus is written through the belief of telling of the future and predictions which makes it not an accurate source of history. 1. Herodotus passes no judgement, but reports what he has heard, even when plainly ridiculous. Perhaps the most famous example comes when he recounts the report of Phoenicians who circumnavigated Africa and noted that at a certain point the sun started to appear on the right (IV, 42, 4). © 2020 The Foundation for Constitutional Government Inc. All rights reserved. Writing in prose, Herodotus conveys facts without artistic elaboration. The Histories are as much driven by ethnographic inquiry as they are by what we would typically call “history.” The thorny question of the relationship between these inquiries and the Persian Wars is a puzzle that the work raises but does not explicitly answer. "That sounds obvious to us now, but it wasn't at all obvious when Herodotus was writing in the 440s B.C.E.," says Dewald. Analyzing MotivesIf Herodotus was a Greek, was it possible for him to be completely objec-tive in his history? Similarly, in his political summaries he is commonly content with explaining events on the basis of trivial personal motives, yet there again he understood certain essentials: that the political meaning of the struggle between the great territorial empire of Persia and the small Greek states was not one of Greek independence only but the rule of law as the Greeks understood it; and that the political importance of the Battle of Marathon for the Greek world was that it foreshadowed the rise of Athens (confirmed by Salamis) to a position of equality and rivalry with Sparta and the end of the long-accepted primacy of the latter. Modern editions of Herodotus follow the medieval manuscript tradition in dividing the Histories into nine books. Homeric qualities can indeed be found in major elements of Herodotus’ writing, including the introductory proem. Herodotus’ interest in Greeks and barbarians may even reflect a desire to shed light on the unexamined assumptions of Greekness itself, since his initial readership would naturally be Greek. In the earlier portions of the work, the historical (or mythical) account is interspersed with descriptions of the customs and beliefs of various peoples, including the Persians, the Greeks, the Scythians, the Egyptians, and others, focusing particularly on their distinctive piety and its relationship to politics and war. Herodotus "invented" history as we know it, Dewald says, because he was the first to see these myriad stories from the past as small parts of one much bigger story — the story of the known human world. Herodotus' other famous nickname is 'the father of lies'. More prosaically, six out of the seven names he gives for Darius’ conspirators are confirmed by Darius’ inscription at Bisutun, suggesting a reliable Persian informant (III 7, 1–3), and even one of his most outré accounts, that of the ants who dig for gold (III 102, 5), has been rescued by recent scientific speculations (that suggest the ants may, in fact, have been marmots). Herodotus himself comments: “Some may believe this, but I do not.” Modern exploration has, of course, confirmed that this is indeed the case in the southern hemisphere. Also, he is more holistic; concerned with nature, culture, speech, art, with the cornucopia of the human condition. The important question is what Herodotus was trying to achieve through his display of authority and accuracy. Herodotus’ veracity or accuracy is perhaps the most disputed aspect of his writing. Modern editions of Herodotus follow the medieval manuscript tradition in dividing the, GREAT Herodotus was indeed popular during the Hellenistic period, but he was popular because every two-bit intellectual went abroad with the intent of writing a pamphlet disproving some facet of the History.<92> The only one of these pamphlets that has survived with the text intact is Plutarch's On the Malignity of Herodotus. My mom says that I only went to kindergarten in the afternoon session because at that time it was only necessary to go for half a day of kindergarten. Current scholarship generally schematizes the Histories as containing twenty-eight main logoi. Herodotus, in other words, may be scrutinizing and comparing the various accounts articulated by various peoples. Since the latter half of the twentieth century, many Western scholars have questioned the veracity of Herodotus’s historical record from the angle of writing style, narrative model, the use of sources, and purpose of writing. The History’s structure is more complex than that, and so is the author’s method of narration. There is a clear overlap between these two parts of the Histories: the wonders and peoples that Herodotus describes are those encountered by the expanding Persian empire, an expansionism that ultimately led to the Persian Wars. In Herodotus’ so-called Lydian logos, the Athenian Solon (one of seven wise men of ancient Greece) offers a rumination on fortune, happiness, and the god to the wealthy Lydian king Croesus. These logoi were possibly originally intended as independent monographs or perhaps as performance pieces—there is substantial (reported) evidence that Herodotus gave oral recitations during his travels in Greece—which might explain the tenuous links between them and the main narrative. An even more basic debt to Homer is his choice of subject matter. For Herodotus’ unremitting focus on the mythological or wondrous, Thucydides roundly criticizes him. Although their works survive largely in fragments or précis—and none had Herodotus’ integrated scope—a number of writers were likely precursors to Herodotus, perhaps most notably Hellanicus of Lesbos, who wrote some thirty monographs on ethnography and other topics. charming writing style. The story of Xerxes’ invasion of Greece is a clear illustration of the moral viewpoint here; a war that by all human reasoning should have been won was irretrievably lost. The story of Croesus in Book I gives Herodotus the occasion to foreshadow, as it were, in Croesus’s talk with Solon the general meaning of the story of the Greco-Persian Wars, and so of his whole History—that great prosperity is “a slippery thing” and may lead to a fall, more particularly if it is accompanied by arrogance and folly as it was in Xerxes. Greek historian, called the Father of History, was born at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, then dependent upon the Persians, in or about the year 484 BC. Homer’s theme of war between Greeks and barbarians is the direct precursor of Herodotus’ discussion, and signaled in the Histories by the work’s opening discussion of the retaliatory “abduction of women” between Greece and Asia, including of course Helen of Troy, over whom the Trojan War was (allegedly) fought. The Histories ends abruptly with Cyrus the Great’s comment that “soft lands breed soft men” and the subsequent Persian decision to continue to live and rule from the mountains. It is probable, however, that Herodotus did intend to end with the events of 479. And his combative rhetorical style is reminiscent of the Sophists. ), Greek historian, called the Father of History, was born at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, then dependent upon the Persians, in or about the year 484 B.C. Herodotus differs markedly in his style from either Homer or Hesiod. You could describe an event in history, or something in your life. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Thucydides is reporting on war, and war alone. Herodotus (; Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey).He is known for having written the book The Histories (Greek language: Ἱστορίαι Historíai), a detailed record of his "inquiry" (ἱστορία historía) on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. Essays and criticism on Herodotus - Critical Essays. Seen in this light, the perplexities would represent not inconsistencies but rather stimuli to the education of the attentive reader. Herodotus The most hateful human misfortune is for a wise man to have no influence 1. This brief account of the first half of Herodotus’s History not only conceals its infinite variety but is positively misleading insofar as it suggests a straightforward geographical, sociological, and historical description of a varied empire. The styles of writing differ through the fact that Einhard gives what seems to be accurate details, while Herodotus gives information through other people and personal beliefs. Consequently, the Histories were not considered central to the humanist canon. Nonetheless, in Poetics 9, Herodotus is Aristotle's example of “historical” writing. It concludes with the battle of Mycale, which, along with the battle of Plataea, ended the second Persian invasion of Greece, with the Greeks victorious. 2. For example, Herodotus mistakenly says the pass at Thermopylae runs north to south (VII 176, 3), while his account of Upper Egypt in Book II is so notorious for its many errors that some question whether he travelled to Egypt at all. Thucydides (c. 460/455 - 399/398 BCE) was an Athenian general who wrote the contemporary History of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, which lasted from 431 BCE to 404 BCE.However, Thucydides' History was never finished, and as such, ends mid-sentence in the winter of 411 BCE. May this rule govern my entire work” (VII 152, 3). One important and, indeed, remarkable feature of Herodotus’s History is his love of and gift for narrating history in the storyteller’s manner (which is not unlike Homer’s). The two themes, however, do not always appear to be integrated, which is sometimes considered a reason to think our text is not in the final form intended by Herodotus. At times, he even tells the reader that he was unable to obtain certain information, and he occasionally presents and adjudicates between various sources and accounts. Some have claimed that this is the Herodotean vision of human life itself, that happiness must be looked for only at the end of life, because fortune, fate, or the divine can always intervene to bring the ostensibly happy man to sadness and ruin. Herodotus' style was largely typical of Grecian-Roman historiography: that is, an emphasis on the sensational, the mythical, and a downplay on verifiable facts. As already mentioned, he sometimes reports what people say because it reveals what they actually think and not because he is somehow credulous. Herodotus presents his analytical method openly and candidly. Another possibility, however, is that Herodotus intends his readers to think through these connections. Moreover, external sources reveal some startling inaccuracies in the Histories. His comparative project may therefore have a non-parochial intention: to liberate the Greeks themselves (or certain of his Greek readers, at least) from the shackles of unreflective custom. Homer’s famous epics are the Iliad and the Odyssey, an experience of godlike warriors fighting during the Trojan War and a treacherous journey back home. It is that quality that makes the first half of his work not only so readable but of such historical importance. Herodotus announced the purpose and scope of his work at the beginning of his Histories: He was not writing for modern historians as an audience, or with the intention of doing the same things as modern history. This fundamentally rationalistic approach was an epochal innovation in Western historiography. In Thucydides’ prefatory pages, commonly known as the Archaeology, Thucydides even identifies several Herodotean “errors,” although he never mentions Herodotus by name. The literary models used in this book include selections from Herodotus’ Histories , the Greek myths, Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word of God , Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People , and Aeschylus’ trilogy The Oresteia , just to mention a few. Histories were written largely for popular consumption, and they were not often intended as scholarly works, but as a preservation of popular myths at the time of the writing. Herodotus’ Historiesfamously begins with the following sentence: “I, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, am here setting forth my history, that time may not draw the color from what man has brought into being, nor those great and wonderful deeds, manifested by both Greeks and barbarians, fail of their report, and, together with all this, the reason why they fought each other.” This sentence is programmatic for the work as a whole, which can be divided roughly into two major parts—an account of the wonders and peoples … The interesting problem that emerged already in the fourth century, as the genre of history separated itself from other sorts of prose inquiry, was the larger purpose to which historical narrative might be put—education, persuasion, and even entertainment. Herodotus Style of Writing 1. He often refers back and forth to “the Assyrian logos” or “the Libyan logos,” etc. Herodotus was a Greek Historian from Ionia. The two Greeks writing primarily about Greece, Herodotus and Thucydides , were predominantly writers that concerned themselves mostly with wars and the data surrounding Greek and the combatant’s life during the time of war. Cyrus was the first Achaemenid king and founder of the Persian empire, while Croesus was the Lydian king whose march against Cyrus, according to Herodotus, caused the Achaemenids to turn their attention to Ionia and to the Greek mainland. Custom may be king, but there may nevertheless be natural limits or natural currents running through the customs of various peoples, for human nature may not be infinitely plastic. Yet he understood at least one essential of the strategy of Xerxes’ invasion, the Persians’ dependence on their fleet though they came by land, and therefore Herodotus understood the decisive importance of the naval battle at Salamis. , Euripides, Thucydides, Plato, Herodotus is at times astonishingly.! 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