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). It is generally believed that the histories were first intended to be orated by the author himself in the same manner as a recitation of Homer. Overall, the Histories narrates the events culminating in the great Persian Wars between the city-states of Greece and the empire of Achaemenid Persia. 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. By the mid-fifth century BCE writing in Greece had existed for only about 300 years. Writers like Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Herodotus and more had their own writing style. Plutarch’s view was that it was a rhetorical strategy, used to gain unjustified credibility for, essentially, mendacious testimony. On the other hand, Herodotus is at times astonishingly accurate. Herodotus himself clearly considered his narrative to contain a number of different logoi, or accounts. Herodotus’ veracity or accuracy is perhaps the most disputed aspect of his writing. You could describe an event in history, or something in your life. These divisions, and the ascription of each book to one of the nine muses, can be attributed to the librarians of Alexandria and is first attested in the first century BCE. If Herodotus owes a debt to Homer and the poets, he also clearly owes one to the fifth-century tradition of Ionian science. This he achieved by means of digressions skillfully worked into his main narrative. Modern editions of Herodotus follow the medieval manuscript tradition in dividing the, GREAT 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. Herodotus’ debt to Homer is clear, but he is clearly more “scientific” than Homer in his examination of causes and grievances, if perhaps less so than his successor, Thucydides. Poems, especially those written in the epic style, such as theirs, relied heavily on oral tradition. 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. Herodotus The most hateful human misfortune is for a wise man to have no influence 1. Not necessarily, but it is a fair thesis to entertain. Herodotus. Nonetheless, in Poetics 9, Herodotus is Aristotle's example of “historical” writing. Herodotus passes no judgement, but reports what he has heard, even when plainly ridiculous. The main narrative ends in the previous chapter with the phrase “and nothing else happened that year” (IX, 121), leaving this short passage tacked on. All of this, and much besides, some of it only included because of Herodotus’s personal interest, helps to explain the positions of these Greek states in 490, the year of the Battle of Marathon, and in 480, the year in which Xerxes invaded Greece. 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. For Herodotus’ unremitting focus on the mythological or wondrous, Thucydides roundly criticizes him. charming writing style. Writing in prose, Herodotus conveys facts without artistic elaboration. 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. And his combative rhetorical style is reminiscent of the Sophists. Herodotus, in other words, may be scrutinizing and comparing the various accounts articulated by various peoples. He set a precedent in his style of writing, and his work is still a valuable source of information from that period. He was neither naive nor easily credulous. 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. Herodotus was thus born a Persian subject, and such he con~ tinued until he was thirty or fiveandthirty years of age. May this rule govern my entire work” (VII 152, 3). 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. Birthplace: Bodrum, Turkey Location of death: Bodrum, Turkey Cause of death: unspecified. As Herodotus (Ἡρόδοτος) was the founder of historical writing, references to written or archival records in his Histories (The History) are of particular interest. Consequently, the Histories were not considered central to the humanist canon. The most common style in use in the field of Classical Studies is the author-date style, also known as Chicago 2, but MLA is also quite common and perfectly acceptable. Herodotus was a great traveler with an eye for detail, a good geographer, a man with an indefatigable interest in the customs and past history of his fellow citizens, and a man of the widest tolerance, with no bias for the Greeks and against the barbarians. 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. Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus a Greek city in southwest Asia Minor and lived in the 5th Century. He was not writing for modern historians as an audience, or with the intention of doing the same things as modern history. Of course, this leads to the question of whether the reversal is a divine response to transgression, the natural result of purely human overreaching, or, indeed, purely chance. Questions 1. The best way to find Herodotus' style is to look at his works. Another possibility, however, is that Herodotus intends his readers to think through these connections. about Greek history originates from writers. Thucydides is reporting on war, and war alone. If Herodotus suggests that “everywhere custom (nomoi) is king” (III, 38), does that make him a cultural relativist in the common sense of that term? Herodotus, however, unlike Homer, writes in prose, not poetry. Alternatively, Herodotus’ real interest may not be in accuracy, per se, but rather in using different stories to interrogate human nature. "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. 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. 3. Seth Benardete, Herodotean Inquires, South Bend: 2008. 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. 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 important question is what Herodotus was trying to achieve through his display of authority and accuracy. 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. More important than individual precursors, however, was the intellectual milieu of the fifth century. Herodotus is one of the first Western thinkers to consider deeply and comprehensively the wide range of human experience for good or ill, as well as the relationship between human beings to the divine. Homeric qualities can indeed be found in major elements of Herodotus’ writing, including the introductory proem. The History was divided into 13 separate books by later scholars, but is now, in its … 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). He distinguishes between autopsy—“seeing for oneself,” or first-hand knowledge—and akoe—oral testimony, or things “heard by report.” He manifestly prefers the first to the second, although he accepts, and interrogates, the latter when he has no personal knowledge of a particular issue. Herodotus was seen as lacking gravitas and not on par with Homer, Euripides, Thucydides, Cicero and their like. The accuracy of the works of Herodotus has been controversial since his own era. The Greek word that forms its title, historiai, from which our word “history” derives, means inquiries—and so a more accurate title might be the Inquiries of Herodotus of Halicarnassus. This fundamentally rationalistic approach was an epochal innovation in Western historiography. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. In the second half he is largely, but by no means only, writing military history, and it is evident that he knew little of military matters. This fundamentally rationalistic approach was an epochal innovation in Western historiography. “This is the bitterest pain among men,” Herodotus writes in one of his final thoughts, “to have much knowledge but no power” (IX 16, 10). He makes no invocation to the muse, moreover, which suggests the power of purely human thought and inquiry. Herodotus is known as the “Father of History” for writing the first great narrative of history, which documented the events and wars between Greece and Persia in the 5th century BCE. It is also important to note that there is sometimes little correlation between the length of digressions on particular countries and the importance of those countries in the Persian Wars. Good luck! THINKERS. The primary narrative arc traces eighty years. Although this maxim of geographical determinism is not an inappropriate ending to Herodotus’ ethnographic observations, it is sometimes believed that the work remains unfinished. Essays and criticism on Herodotus - Critical Essays. 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. Herodotus announced the purpose and scope of his work at the beginning of his Histories: Herodotus Style of Writing 1. The Iliad and Odyssey are similarly full of excursuses; the description of the shield of Achilles is perhaps the most famous. HERODOTUS (c. 484-425 B.C. 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. 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. Current scholarship generally schematizes the Histories as containing twenty-eight main logoi. 2. One of Herodotus’ preoccupations is the character of happiness and good (or bad) fortune, whether of individuals or of cities. 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. The historian Duris of Samos called Herodotus a "myth-monger". The History’s structure is more complex than that, and so is the author’s method of narration. It is probable, however, that Herodotus did intend to end with the events of 479. Although Herodotus’ stories may be false in certain particulars, however, they may also reveal the horizon of the peoples that he was studying, and so accurately record the internal view of their beliefs. 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. 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. 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