Herodotus

Herodotus[a] (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC) (the Romanized version of Ηροδοτος (Herodotos), his actual name) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey). He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" (ἱστορία historía) on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. He is widely considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and then critically arranging them into a historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero.[1]

Despite Herodotus's historical significance, little is known about his personal life. His Histories primarily deals with the lives of Croesus, Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius, and Xerxes and the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Artemisium, Salamis, Plataea, and Mycale; however, his many cultural, ethnographical, geographical, historiographical, and other digressions form a defining and essential part of the Histories and contain a wealth of information. Herodotus has been criticized for the fact that his book includes a large number of obvious legends and fanciful accounts. Many authors, starting with the late fifth-century BC historian Thucydides, have accused him of making up stories for entertainment. Herodotus, however, states that he is merely reporting what he has been told. A sizable portion of the information he provides has since been confirmed by historians and archaeologists.

Herodotus
Herodotos Met 91.8
A Roman copy (2nd century AD) of a Greek bust of Herodotus from the first half of the 4th century BC
Native name
Ἡρόδοτος
Bornc. 484 BC
Diedc. 425 BC (aged approximately 60)
OccupationHistorian
Notable work
The Histories
Parent(s)
  • Lyxes (father)
  • Dryotus (mother)
Relatives
  • Theodorus (brother)
  • Panyassis (uncle or cousin)

Place in history

Herodotus announced the purpose and scope of his work at the beginning of his Histories[b] as such:

Here are presented the results of the enquiry carried out by Herodotus of Halicarnassus. The purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, and to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks; among the matters covered is, in particular, the cause of the hostilities between Greeks and non-Greeks.

— Herodotus, The Histories
Robin Waterfield translation (2008)

Predecessors

His record of the achievements of others was an achievement in itself. though the extent of it has been debated. Herodotus's place in history and his significance may be understood according to the traditions within which he worked. His work is the earliest Greek prose to have survived intact. However, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a literary critic of Augustan Rome, listed seven predecessors of Herodotus, describing their works as simple, unadorned accounts of their own and other cities and people, Greek or foreign, including popular legends, sometimes melodramatic and naïve, often charming – all traits that can be found in the work of Herodotus himself.[3]

Modern historians regard the chronology as uncertain, but according to the ancient account, these predecessors included Dionysius of Miletus, Charon of Lampsacus, Hellanicus of Lesbos, Xanthus of Lydia and, the best attested of them all, Hecataeus of Miletus. Of these, only fragments of Hecataeus's works survived, and the authenticity of these is debatable,[4] but they provide a glimpse into the kind of tradition within which Herodotus wrote his own Histories.

Writing style

In his introduction to Hecataeus's work, Genealogies:

POxy v0017 n2099 a 01 hires
Fragment from the Histories VIII on Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2099, early 2nd century AD

Hecataeus the Milesian speaks thus: I write these things as they seem true to me; for the stories told by the Greeks are various and in my opinion absurd.

This points forward to the "folksy" yet "international" outlook typical of Herodotus. However, one modern scholar has described the work of Hecataeus as "a curious false start to history",[5] since despite his critical spirit, he failed to liberate history from myth. Herodotus mentions Hecataeus in his Histories, on one occasion mocking him for his naive genealogy and, on another occasion, quoting Athenian complaints against his handling of their national history.[6] It is possible that Herodotus borrowed much material from Hecataeus, as stated by Porphyry in a quote recorded by Eusebius.[7] In particular, it is possible that he copied descriptions of the crocodile, hippopotamus, and phoenix from Hecataeus's Circumnavigation of the Known World (Periegesis / Periodos ges), even misrepresenting the source as "Heliopolitans" (Histories 2.73).[8]

But Hecataeus did not record events that had occurred in living memory, unlike Herodotus, nor did he include the oral traditions of Greek history within the larger framework of oriental history.[9] There is no proof that Herodotus derived the ambitious scope of his own work, with its grand theme of civilizations in conflict, from any predecessor, despite much scholarly speculation about this in modern times.[5][10] Herodotus claims to be better informed than his predecessors by relying on empirical observation to correct their excessive schematism. For example, he argues for continental asymmetry as opposed to the older theory of a perfectly circular earth with Europe and Asia/Africa equal in size (Histories 4.36 and 4.42). However, he retains idealizing tendencies, as in his symmetrical notions of the Danube and Nile.[11]

His debt to previous authors of prose "histories" might be questionable, but there is no doubt that Herodotus owed much to the example and inspiration of poets and story-tellers. For example, Athenian tragic poets provided him with a world-view of a balance between conflicting forces, upset by the hubris of kings, and they provided his narrative with a model of episodic structure. His familiarity with Athenian tragedy is demonstrated in a number of passages echoing Aeschylus's Persae, including the epigrammatic observation that the defeat of the Persian navy at Salamis caused the defeat of the land army (Histories 8.68 ~ Persae 728). The debt may have been repaid by Sophocles because there appear to be echoes of The Histories in his plays, especially a passage in Antigone that resembles Herodotus's account of the death of Intaphernes (Histories 3.119 ~ Antigone 904–920).[12] However, this point is one of the most contentious issues in modern scholarship.[13]

Homer was another inspirational source.[c] Just as Homer drew extensively on a tradition of oral poetry, sung by wandering minstrels, so Herodotus appears to have drawn on an Ionian tradition of story-telling, collecting and interpreting the oral histories he chanced upon in his travels. These oral histories often contained folk-tale motifs and demonstrated a moral, yet they also contained substantial facts relating to geography, anthropology, and history, all compiled by Herodotus in an entertaining style and format.[15]

Contemporary and modern critics

It is on account of the many strange stories and the folk-tales he reported that his critics in early modern times branded him "The Father of Lies".[16][17] Even his own contemporaries found reason to scoff at his achievement. In fact, one modern scholar[18] has wondered if Herodotus left his home in Greek Anatolia, migrating westwards to Athens and beyond, because his own countrymen had ridiculed his work, a circumstance possibly hinted at in an epitaph said to have been dedicated to Herodotus at one of his three supposed resting places, Thuria:

Herodotus the son of Sphynx
lies; in Ionic history without peer;
a Dorian born, who fled from slander's brand
and made in Thuria his new native land.[19]

Yet it was in Athens where his most formidable contemporary critics could be found. In 425 BC, which is about the time that Herodotus is thought by many scholars to have died, the Athenian comic dramatist Aristophanes created The Acharnians, in which he blames the Peloponnesian War on the abduction of some prostitutes – a mocking reference to Herodotus, who reported the Persians' account of their wars with Greece, beginning with the rapes of the mythical heroines Io, Europa, Medea, and Helen.[20][21]

Similarly, the Athenian historian Thucydides dismissed Herodotus as a "logos-writer" (story-teller).[22] Thucydides, who had been trained in rhetoric, became the model for subsequent prose-writers as an author who seeks to appear firmly in control of his material, whereas with his frequent digressions Herodotus appeared to minimize (or possibly disguise) his authorial control.[23] Moreover, Thucydides developed a historical topic more in keeping with the Greek world-view: focused on the context of the polis or city-state. The interplay of civilizations was more relevant to Greeks living in Anatolia, such as Herodotus himself, for whom life within a foreign civilization was a recent memory.[22]

Before the Persian crisis, history had been represented among the Greeks only by local or family traditions. The "Wars of Liberation" had given to Herodotus the first genuinely historical inspiration felt by a Greek. These wars showed him that there was a corporate life, higher than that of the city, of which the story might be told; and they offered to him as a subject the drama of the collision between East and West. With him, the spirit of history was born into Greece; and his work, called after the nine Muses, was indeed the first utterance of Clio.

Life

Relief Herodotus cour Carree Louvre
Relief of Herodotus by Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1806), Louvre, Paris

Modern scholars generally turn to Herodotus's own writing for reliable information about his life,[25] supplemented with ancient yet much later sources, such as the Byzantine Suda, an 11th century encyclopaedia which possibly took its information from traditional accounts.

The data are so few – they rest upon such late and slight authority; they are so improbable or so contradictory, that to compile them into a biography is like building a house of cards, which the first breath of criticism will blow to the ground. Still, certain points may be approximately fixed ...

Childhood

Modern accounts of his life typically[27][28] go something like this: Herodotus was born at Halicarnassus around 484 BC. There is no reason to disbelieve the Suda's information about his family: that it was influential and that he was the son of Lyxes and Dryo, and the brother of Theodorus, and that he was also related to Panyassis – an epic poet of the time. The town was within the Persian Empire at that time, making Herodotus a Persian subject,[29][30] and it may be that the young Herodotus heard local eye-witness accounts of events within the empire and of Persian preparations for the invasion of Greece, including the movements of the local fleet under the command of Artemisia I of Caria. Inscriptions recently discovered at Halicarnassus indicate that her grandson Lygdamis negotiated with a local assembly to settle disputes over seized property, which is consistent with a tyrant under pressure. His name is not mentioned later in the tribute list of the Athenian Delian League, indicating that there might well have been a successful uprising against him some time before 454 BC. The epic poet Panyassis – a relative of Herodotus – is reported to have taken part in a failed uprising. Herodotus expresses affection for the island of Samos (III, 39–60), and this is an indication that he might have lived there in his youth. So it is possible that his family was involved in an uprising against Lygdamis, leading to a period of exile on Samos and followed by some personal hand in the tyrant's eventual fall.

Herodotusstatue
The statue of Herodotus in his hometown of Halicarnassus, modern Bodrum, Turkey

Herodotus wrote his Histories in the Ionian dialect, yet he was born in Halicarnassus, which was a Dorian settlement. According to the Suda, Herodotus learned the Ionian dialect as a boy living on the island of Samos, to which he had fled with his family from the oppressions of Lygdamis, tyrant of Halicarnassus and grandson of Artemisia. The Suda also informs us that Herodotus later returned home to lead the revolt that eventually overthrew the tyrant. Due to recent discoveries of inscriptions at Halicarnassus dated to about Herodotus's time, we now know that the Ionic dialect was used in Halicarnassus in some official documents, so there is no need to assume (like the Suda) that he must have learned the dialect elsewhere.[31] Further, the Suda is the only source which we have for the role played by Herodotus as the heroic liberator of his birthplace. That itself is a good reason to doubt such a romantic account.[32]

Early travels

As Herodotus himself reveals, Halicarnassus, though a Dorian city, had ended its close relations with its Dorian neighbours after an unseemly quarrel (I, 144), and it had helped pioneer Greek trade with Egypt (II, 178). It was, therefore, an outward-looking, international-minded port within the Persian Empire, and the historian's family could well have had contacts in other countries under Persian rule, facilitating his travels and his researches.

Herodotus's eye-witness accounts indicate that he traveled in Egypt in association with Athenians, probably some time after 454 BC or possibly earlier, after an Athenian fleet had assisted the uprising against Persian rule in 460–454 BC. He probably traveled to Tyre next and then down the Euphrates to Babylon. For some reason, possibly associated with local politics, he subsequently found himself unpopular in Halicarnassus, and some time around 447 BC, migrated to Periclean Athens – a city whose people and democratic institutions he openly admires (V, 78). Athens was also the place where he came to know the local topography (VI, 137; VIII, 52–55), as well as leading citizens such as the Alcmaeonids, a clan whose history features frequently in his writing.

According to Eusebius[33] and Plutarch,[34] Herodotus was granted a financial reward by the Athenian assembly in recognition of his work. It is possible that he unsuccessfully applied for Athenian citizenship, a rare honour after 451 BC, requiring two separate votes by a well-attended assembly.

Later life

In 443 BC or shortly afterwards, he migrated to Thurium as part of an Athenian-sponsored colony. Aristotle refers to a version of The Histories written by "Herodotus of Thurium", and some passages in the Histories have been interpreted as proof that he wrote about southern Italy from personal experience there (IV, 15,99; VI, 127). Intimate knowledge of some events in the first years of the Peloponnesian War (VI, 91; VII, 133, 233; IX, 73) indicate that he might have returned to Athens, in which case it is possible that he died there during an outbreak of the plague. Possibly he died in Macedonia instead, after obtaining the patronage of the court there; or else he died back in Thurium. There is nothing in the Histories that can be dated to later than 430 BC with any certainty, and it is generally assumed that he died not long afterwards, possibly before his sixtieth year.

Author and orator

Herodotus would have made his researches known to the larger world through oral recitations to a public crowd. John Marincola writes in his introduction to the Penguin edition of The Histories that there are certain identifiable pieces in the early books of Herodotus's work which could be labeled as "performance pieces". These portions of the research seem independent and "almost detachable", so that they might have been set aside by the author for the purposes of an oral performance. The intellectual matrix of the 5th century, Marincola suggests, comprised many oral performances in which philosophers would dramatically recite such detachable pieces of their work. The idea was to criticize previous arguments on a topic and emphatically and enthusiastically insert their own in order to win over the audience.[35]

It was conventional in Herodotus's day for authors to "publish" their works by reciting them at popular festivals. According to Lucian, Herodotus took his finished work straight from Anatolia to the Olympic Games and read the entire Histories to the assembled spectators in one sitting, receiving rapturous applause at the end of it.[36] According to a very different account by an ancient grammarian,[37] Herodotus refused to begin reading his work at the festival of Olympia until some clouds offered him a bit of shade – by which time the assembly had dispersed. (Hence the proverbial expression "Herodotus and his shade" to describe someone who misses an opportunity through delay.) Herodotus's recitation at Olympia was a favourite theme among ancient writers, and there is another interesting variation on the story to be found in the Suda: that of Photius[38] and Tzetzes,[39] in which a young Thucydides happened to be in the assembly with his father, and burst into tears during the recital. Herodotus observed prophetically to the boy's father, "Your son's soul yearns for knowledge."

Eventually, Thucydides and Herodotus became close enough for both to be interred in Thucydides' tomb in Athens. Such at least was the opinion of Marcellinus in his Life of Thucydides.[40] According to the Suda, he was buried in Macedonian Pella and in the agora in Thurium.[41]

Reliability

Dedication page for the Historiae by Herodotus printed at Venice 1494
Dedication in the Histories, translated into Latin by Lorenzo Valla, Venice 1494

The Histories were occasionally criticized in antiquity,[d] but modern historians and philosophers generally take a positive view.[42] Despite the controversy,[43][e] Herodotus still serves as the primary, and often only, source for events in the Greek world, Persian Empire, and the region generally in the two centuries leading up until his own day.[16][45] Herodotus, like many ancient historians, preferred an element of show[f] to purely analytic history, aiming to give pleasure with "exciting events, great dramas, bizarre exotica."[47] As such, certain passages[48][49] have been the subject of controversy and even some doubt, both in antiquity and today.[50][51][52][53][54][55][56][g]

The accuracy of the works of Herodotus has been controversial since his own era.[h] Cicero[i][58] Aristotle, Josephus, Duris of Samos,[j][59] Harpocration[k][60] and Plutarch all commented on this controversy.[61][62] Generally, however, he was regarded as reliable in antiquity, and is especially so today. Many scholars, ancient and modern, routinely cite Herodotus (e.g., Aubin, A. H. L. Heeren, Davidson, Cheikh Anta Diop, Poe, Welsby, Celenko, Volney, Pierre Montet, Bernal, Jackson, DuBois, Strabo). Many of these scholars (Welsby, Heeren, Aubin, Diop, etc.) explicitly mention the reliability of Herodotus's work[l] and demonstrate corroboration of Herodotus's writings by modern scholars.[m][63] A.H.L. Heeren quoted Herodotus throughout his work and provided corroboration by scholars regarding several passages (source of the Nile, location of Meroe, etc.).[64] To further his work on the Egyptians and Assyrians, Aubin uses Herodotus's accounts in various passages and defends Herodotus's position. Aubin said that Herodotus was "the author of the first important narrative history of the world".[65] Diop provides several examples (the inundations of the Nile) which, he argues, support his view that Herodotus was "quite scrupulous, objective, scientific for his time." Diop argues that Herodotus "always distinguishes carefully between what he has seen and what he has been told." Diop also notes that Strabo corroborated Herodotus's ideas about the Black Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Colchians.[66][67]

Herodotus world map-en
Reconstruction of the Oikoumene (inhabited world), ancient map based on Herodotus, c. 450 BC

Egypt

The reliability of Herodotus' writing about Egypt is sometimes criticized.[56][n] Alan B. Lloyd argues that, as a historical document, the writings of Herodotus are seriously defective, and that he was working from "inadequate sources".[50] Nielsen writes: "Though we cannot entirely rule out the possibility of Herodotus having been in Egypt, it must be said that his narrative bears little witness to it."[51] German historian Detlev Fehling questions whether Herodotus ever traveled up the Nile River, and considers doubtful almost everything that he says about Egypt and Ethiopia.[68][52] Fehling states that "there is not the slightest bit of history behind the whole story" about the claim of Herodotus that Pharaoh Sesostris campaigned in Europe, and that he left a colony in Colchia.[54][53][o]

Science

Goldinpan
Gold dust and nuggets
The Indian Gold Hunters
The Indian Gold Hunters, after Herodotus: gold ants pursuing gold hunters.

Herodotus provides much information about the nature of the world and the status of science during his lifetime, often engaging in private speculation. For example, he reports that the annual flooding of the Nile was said to be the result of melting snows far to the south, and he comments that he cannot understand how there can be snow in Africa, the hottest part of the known world, offering an elaborate explanation based on the way that desert winds affect the passage of the Sun over this part of the world (2:18ff). He also passes on reports from Phoenician sailors that, while circumnavigating Africa, they "saw the sun on the right side while sailing westwards", although, being unaware of the existence of the southern hemisphere, he says that he does not believe the claim. Owing to this brief mention, which is included almost as an afterthought, it has been argued that Africa was circumnavigated by ancient seafarers, for this is precisely where the sun ought to have been. [69]His accounts of India are among the oldest records of Indian civilization by an outsider.[70][71][72]

Discoveries made since the end of the 19th century have generally added to Herodotus's credibility. He described Gelonus, located in Scythia, as a city thousands of times larger than Troy; this was widely disbelieved until it was rediscovered in 1975. The archaeological study of the now-submerged ancient Egyptian city of Heracleion and the recovery of the so-called "Naucratis stela" give credibility to Herodotus's previously unsupported claim that Heracleion was founded during the Egyptian New Kingdom.

Claude Vignon - Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Croesus Receiving Tribute from a Lydian Peasant, by Claude Vignon

After journeys to India and Pakistan, French ethnologist Michel Peissel claimed to have discovered an animal species that may illuminate one of the most bizarre passages in Herodotus's Histories.[73] In Book 3, passages 102 to 105, Herodotus reports that a species of fox-sized, furry "ants" lives in one of the far eastern, Indian provinces of the Persian Empire. This region, he reports, is a sandy desert, and the sand there contains a wealth of fine gold dust. These giant ants, according to Herodotus, would often unearth the gold dust when digging their mounds and tunnels, and the people living in this province would then collect the precious dust. Peissel reports that, in an isolated region of northern Pakistan on the Deosai Plateau in Gilgit–Baltistan province, there is a species of marmot – the Himalayan marmot, a type of burrowing squirrel – that may have been what Herodotus called giant ants. The ground of the Deosai Plateau is rich in gold dust, much like the province that Herodotus describes. According to Peissel, he interviewed the Minaro tribal people who live in the Deosai Plateau, and they have confirmed that they have, for generations, been collecting the gold dust that the marmots bring to the surface when they are digging their underground burrows. Later authors such as Pliny the Elder mentioned this story in the gold mining section of his Naturalis Historia.

Peissel offers the theory that Herodotus may have confused the old Persian word for "marmot" with the word for "mountain ant". Research suggests that Herodotus probably did not know any Persian (or any other language except his native Greek) and was forced to rely on many local translators when travelling in the vast multilingual Persian Empire. Herodotus did not claim to have personally seen the creatures which he described.[73][74] Herodotus did, though, follow up in passage 105 of Book 3 with the claim that the "ants" are said to chase and devour full-grown camels.

Accusations of bias

Some "calumnious fictions" were written about Herodotus in a work titled On the Malice of Herodotus by Plutarch, a Chaeronean by birth, (or it might have been a Pseudo-Plutarch, in this case "a great collector of slanders"), including the allegation that the historian was prejudiced against Thebes because the authorities there had denied him permission to set up a school.[75] Similarly, in a Corinthian Oration, Dio Chrysostom (or yet another pseudonymous author) accused the historian of prejudice against Corinth, sourcing it in personal bitterness over financial disappointments[76] – an account also given by Marcellinus in his Life of Thucydides.[77] In fact, Herodotus was in the habit of seeking out information from empowered sources within communities, such as aristocrats and priests, and this also occurred at an international level, with Periclean Athens becoming his principal source of information about events in Greece. As a result, his reports about Greek events are often coloured by Athenian bias against rival states – Thebes and Corinth in particular.[78]

The Histories were sometimes criticized in antiquity,[p] but modern historians and philosophers take a more positive view of Herodotus's methodology, especially those searching for a paradigm of objective historical writing. A few modern scholars have argued that Herodotus exaggerated the extent of his travels and invented his sources,[79] yet his reputation continues largely intact. Herodotus is variously considered "father of comparative anthropology",[16] "the father of ethnography",[45] and "more modern than any other ancient historian in his approach to the ideal of total history".[42]

Use of sources and sense of authority

It is clear from the beginning of Book 1 of the Histories that Herodotus utilizes (or at least claims to utilize) various sources in his narrative. K.H. Waters relates that "Herodotos did not work from a purely Hellenic standpoint; he was accused by the patriotic but somewhat imperceptive Plutarch of being philobarbaros, a pro-barbarian or pro-foreigner."[80]

Herodotus at times relates various accounts of the same story. For example, in Book 1 he mentions both the Phoenician and the Persian accounts of Io.[81] However, Herodotus at times arbitrates between varying accounts: "I am not going to say that these events happened one way or the other. Rather, I will point out the man who I know for a fact began the wrong-doing against the Greeks."[82] Again, later, Herodotus claims himself as an authority: "I know this is how it happened because I heard it from the Delphians myself."[83]

Throughout his work, Herodotus attempts to explain the actions of people. Speaking about Solon the Athenian, Herodotus states "[Solon] sailed away on the pretext of seeing the world, but it was really so that he could not be compelled to repeal any of the laws he had laid down."[84] Again, in the story about Croesus and his son's death, when speaking of Adrastus (the man who accidentally killed Croesus' son), Herodotus states: "Adrastus ... believing himself to be the most ill-fated man he had ever known, cut his own throat over the grave."[85]

While Herodotus had not met these people whom he is discussing, he claims to understand their thoughts and intentions.

Mode of explanation

Herodotus writes with the purpose of explaining; that is, he discusses the reason for or cause of for an event. He lays this out in the proem: "This is the publication of the research of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, so that the actions of people shall not fade with time, so that the great and admirable achievements of both Greeks and barbarians shall not go unrenowned, and, among other things, to set forth the reasons why they waged war on each other."[86]

This mode of explanation traces itself all the way back to Homer,[87] who opened the Iliad by asking:

Which of the immortals set these two at each other's throats?
Apollo,
Zeus’ son and Leto’s, offended
by the warlord. Agamemnon had dishonored
Chryses, Apollo's priest, so the god
struck the Greek camp with plague,
and the soldiers were dying of it.[88]

Both Homer and Herodotus begin with a question of causality. In Homer's case, "who set these two at each other's throats?" In Herodotus's case, "Why did the Greeks and barbarians go to war with each other?"

Herodotus's means of explanation does not necessarily posit a simple cause; rather, his explanations cover a host of potential causes and emotions. It is notable, however, that "the obligations of gratitude and revenge are the fundamental human motives for Herodotus, just as ... they are the primary stimulus to the generation of narrative itself."[89]

Some readers of Herodotus believe that his habit of tying events back to personal motives signifies an inability to see broader and more abstract reasons for action. Gould argues to the contrary that this is likely because Herodotus attempts to provide the rational reasons, as understood by his contemporaries, rather than providing more abstract reasons.[90]

Types of causality

Herodotus attributes cause to both divine and human agents. These are not perceived as mutually exclusive, but rather mutually interconnected. This is true of Greek thinking in general, at least from Homer onward.[91] Gould notes that invoking the supernatural in order to explain an event does not answer the question "why did this happen?" but rather "why did this happen to me?" By way of example, faulty craftsmanship is the human cause for a house collapsing. However, divine will is the reason that the house collapses at the particular moment when I am inside. It was the will of the gods that the house collapsed while a particular individual was within it, whereas it was the cause of man that the house had a weak structure and was prone to falling.[92]

Some authors, including Geoffrey de Ste-Croix and Mabel Lang, have argued that Fate, or the belief that "this is how it had to be," is Herodotus's ultimate understanding of causality.[93] Herodotus's explanation that an event "was going to happen" maps well on to Aristotelean and Homeric means of expression. The idea of "it was going to happen" reveals a "tragic discovery" associated with fifth-century drama. This tragic discovery can be seen in Homer's, Iliad as well.[94]

John Gould argues that Herodotus should be understood as falling in a long line of story-tellers, rather than thinking of his means of explanation as a "philosophy of history" or "simple causality". Thus, according to Gould, Herodotus's means of explanation is a mode of story-telling and narration that has been passed down from generations prior:[95]

Herodotus' sense of what was 'going to happen' is not the language of one who holds a theory of historical necessity, who sees the whole of human experience as constrained by inevitability and without room for human choice or human responsibility, diminished and belittled by forces too large for comprehension or resistance; it is rather the traditional language of a teller of tales whose tale is structured by his awareness of the shape it must have and who presents human experience on the model of the narrative patterns that are built into his stories; the narrative impulse itself, the impulse towards 'closure' and the sense of an ending, is retrojected to become 'explanation'.[96]

Herodotus and myth

Although Herodotus considered his "inquiries" a serious pursuit of knowledge, he was not above relating entertaining tales derived from the collective body of myth, but he did so judiciously with regard for his historical method, by corroborating the stories through enquiry and testing their probability.[97] While the gods never make personal appearances in his account of human events, Herodotus states emphatically that "many things prove to me that the gods take part in the affairs of man" (IX, 100).

In Book One, passages 23 and 24, Herodotus relates the story of Arion, the renowned harp player, "second to no man living at that time," who was saved by a dolphin. Herodotus prefaces the story by noting that "a very wonderful thing is said to have happened," and alleges its veracity by adding that the "Corinthians and the Lesbians agree in their account of the matter." Having become very rich while at the court of Periander, Arion conceived a desire to sail to Italy and Sicily. He hired a vessel crewed by Corinthians, whom he felt he could trust, but the sailors plotted to throw him overboard and seize his wealth. Arion discovered the plot and begged for his life, but the crew gave him two options: that either he kill himself on the spot or jump ship and fend for himself in the sea. Arion flung himself into the water, and a dolphin carried him to shore.[98]

Herodotus clearly writes as both historian and teller of tales. Herodotus takes a fluid position between the artistic story-weaving of Homer and the rational data-accounting of later historians. John Herrington has developed a helpful metaphor for describing Herodotus's dynamic position in the history of Western art and thought – Herodotus as centaur:

The human forepart of the animal ... is the urbane and responsible classical historian; the body indissolubly united to it is something out of the faraway mountains, out of an older, freer and wilder realm where our conventions have no force.[99]

Herodotus is neither a mere gatherer of data nor a simple teller of tales – he is both. While Herodotus is certainly concerned with giving accurate accounts of events, this does not preclude for him the insertion of powerful mythological elements into his narrative, elements which will aid him in expressing the truth of matters under his study. Thus to understand what Herodotus is doing in the Histories, we must not impose strict demarcations between the man as mythologist and the man as historian, or between the work as myth and the work as history. As James Romm has written, Herodotus worked under a common ancient Greek cultural assumption that the way events are remembered and retold (e.g. in myths or legends) produces a valid kind of understanding, even when this retelling is not entirely factual.[100] For Herodotus, then, it takes both myth and history to produce truthful understanding.

In Popular Culture

Herodotus is a supporting character in the 2018 video game Assassin's Creed Odyssey, where he travels alongside the player character through the classical Greek world.[101]

See also

Critical editions

  • C. Hude (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs prior: Libros I–IV continens. (Oxford 1908)
  • C. Hude (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs alter: Libri V–IX continens. (Oxford 1908)
  • H. B. Rosén (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Vol. I: Libros I–IV continens. (Leipzig 1987)
  • H. B. Rosén (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Vol. II: Libros V–IX continens indicibus criticis adiectis (Stuttgart 1997)
  • N. G. Wilson (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs prior: Libros I–IV continens. (Oxford 2015)
  • N. G. Wilson (ed.) Herodoti Historiae. Tomvs alter: Libri V–IX continens. (Oxford 2015)

Translations

Several English translations of The Histories of Herodotus are readily available in multiple editions. The most readily available are those translated by:

  • Henry Cary (judge), translation 1849: text Internet Archive
  • George Rawlinson, translation 1858–1860. Public domain; many editions available, although Everyman Library and Wordsworth Classics editions are the most common ones still in print.
  • A. D. Godley 1920; revised 1926. Reprinted 1931, 1946, 1960, 1966, 1975, 1981, 1990, 1996, 1999, 2004. Available in four volumes from Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99130-3 Printed with Greek on the left and English on the right:
    • A. D. Godley Herodotus : The Persian Wars : Volume I : Books 1–2 (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1920)
    • A. D. Godley Herodotus : The Persian Wars : Volume II : Books 3–4 (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1921)
    • A. D. Godley Herodotus : The Persian Wars : Volume III : Books 5–7 (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1922)
    • A. D. Godley Herodotus : The Persian Wars : Volume IV : Books 8–9 (Cambridge, Massachusetts 1925)
  • Aubrey de Sélincourt, originally 1954; revised by John Marincola in 1996. Several editions from Penguin Books available.
  • David Grene, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.
  • Robin Waterfield, with an Introduction and Notes by Carolyn Dewald, Oxford World Classics, 1997. ISBN 978-0-19-953566-8
  • Strassler, Robert B., (ed.), and Purvis, Andrea L. (trans.), The Landmark Herodotus, Pantheon, 2007. ISBN 978-0-375-42109-9 with adequate ancillary information.
  • The Histories of Herodotus Interlinear English Translation by Heinrich Stein (ed.) and George Macaulay (trans.), Lighthouse Digital Publishing, 2013.
  • Herodotus. Herodotus: The Histories: The Complete Translation, Backgrounds, Commentaries. Translated by Walter Blanco. Edited by Jennifer Tolbert Roberts. New York: W. W. Norton &, 2013.
  • "The Histories, Herodotus". Translated by Tom Holland, with introduction and notes by Paul Cartledge. New York, Penguin, 2013.

Notes

  1. ^ /hɪˈrɒdətəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἡρόδοτος, Hêródotos, Attic Greek pronunciation: [hɛː.ró.do.tos]
  2. ^ For the past several hundred years, the title of Herodotus's work has been translated rather roughly as The Histories or The History. The original title can be translated from the Greek as "researches" or "inquiries".[2]
  3. ^ “In the scheme and plan of his work, in the arrangement and order of its parts, in the tone and character of the thoughts, in ten thousand little expressions and words, the Homeric student appears.”[14]
  4. ^ See Lucian of Samosata, who went as far as to deny him a place among the famous on the Island of the Blessed in Verae Historiae.
  5. ^ Some regard his works as being at least partly unreliable. Fehling writes of "a problem recognized by everybody", namely that Herodotus frequently cannot be taken at face value.[44]
  6. ^ Boedeker comments on Herodotus' use of literary devices.[46]
  7. ^ For Detlev Fehling, the sources are simply not credible that Herodotus claims for many stories that he reports. Persian and Egyptian informants tell stories to Herodotus that dovetail neatly into Greek myths and literature, yet show no signs of knowing their own traditions. For Fehling, the only credible explanation is that Herodotus invented these sources, and that the stories themselves were concocted by Herodotus himself.[57]
  8. ^ Kenton L. Sparks writes, "In antiquity, Herodotus had acquired the reputation of being unreliable, biased, parsimonious in his praise of heroes, and mendacious".
  9. ^ Cicero (On the Laws I.5) said that the works of Herodotus were full of legends or "fables".
  10. ^ Duris of Samos called Herodotus a myth-monger.
  11. ^ Harpocration wrote a book on "the lies of Herodotus".
  12. ^ such as on the Nile Valley
  13. ^ Welsby said that "archaeology graphically confirms Herodotus' observations."
  14. ^ Herodotus claimed to have visited Babylon. The absence of any mention of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in his work has attracted further attacks on his credibility. In response, Dalley has proposed that the Hanging Gardens may have been in Ninevah rather than in Babylon.[55]
  15. ^ Fehling concludes that the works of Herodotus are intended as fiction. Boedeker concurs that much of the content of the works of Herodotus are literary devices.[54][46]
  16. ^ For example, they were criticized for inaccuracy by Lucian of Samosata, who attacked Herodotus as a liar in Verae Historiae and went as far as to deny him a place among the famous on the Island of the Blessed

References

  1. ^ T. James Luce, The Greek Historians, 2002, p. 26.
  2. ^ "Herodotus" Encyclopedia of World Biography. The Gale Group. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  3. ^ Burn (1972), p. 23, citing Dionysius On Thucydides
  4. ^ Burn (1972), p. 27
  5. ^ a b Murray (1986), p. 188
  6. ^ Herodotus, Histories 2.143, 6.137
  7. ^ Preparation of the Gospel, X, 3
  8. ^ Immerwahr (1985), pp. 430, 440
  9. ^ Immerwahr (1985), p. 431
  10. ^ Burn (1972), pp. 22–23
  11. ^ Immerwahr (1985), p. 430
  12. ^ Immerwahr (1985), pp. 427, 432
  13. ^ Richard Jebb (ed), Antigone, Cambridge University Press, 1976, pp. 181–182, n. 904–920
  14. ^ Rawlinson (1859), p. 6
  15. ^ Murray (1986), pp. 190–191
  16. ^ a b c Burn (1972), p. 10
  17. ^ David Pipes. "Herodotus: Father of History, Father of Lies". Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  18. ^ Rawlinson (1859)
  19. ^ Burn (1972), p. 13
  20. ^ Lawrence A. Tritle. (2004). The Peloponnesian War. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 147–148
  21. ^ John Hart. (1982). Herodotus and Greek History. Taylor and Francis. p. 174
  22. ^ a b Murray (1986), p. 191
  23. ^ Waterfield, Robin (trans.) and Dewald, Carolyn (ed.). (1998). The Histories by Herodotus. University of Oxford Press. “Introduction”, p. xviii
  24. ^ Richard C. Jebb, The Genius of Sophocles, section 7
  25. ^ Burn (1972), p. 7
  26. ^ Rawlinson (1859), p. 1
  27. ^ Rawlinson (1859), Introduction
  28. ^ Burn (1972), Introduction
  29. ^ Dandamaev, M. A. (1989). A Political History of the Achaemenid Empire. Brill. p. 153. ISBN 978-90-04-09172-6. The ‘Father of History’, Herodotus, was born at Halicarnassus, and before his emigration to mainland Greece was a subject of the Persian empire.
  30. ^ Kia, Mehrdad (2016). The Persian Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-61069-391-2. At the time of Herodotus’ birth southwestern Asia Minor, including Halicarnassus, was under Persian Achaemenid rule.
  31. ^ Burn (1972), p. 11
  32. ^ Rawlinson (1859), p. 11
  33. ^ Eusebius Chron. Can. Pars. II p. 339, 01.83.4, cited by Rawlinson (1859), Introduction
  34. ^ Plutarch De Malign. Herod. II p. 862 A, cited by Rawlinson (1859), Introduction
  35. ^ The Histories. Introduction and Notes by John Marincola; Trans. by Aubrey de Selincourt. Penguin Books. 2003. pp. xii.
  36. ^ Rawlinson (1859), p. 14
  37. ^ Montfaucon’s Bibliothec. Coisl. Cod. clxxvii p. 609, cited by Rawlinson (1859), p. 14
  38. ^ Photius Bibliothec. Cod. lx p. 59, cited by Rawlinson (1859), p. 15
  39. ^ Tzetzes Chil. 1.19, cited by Rawlinson (1859), p. 15
  40. ^ Marcellinus, in Vita. Thucyd. p. ix, cited by Rawlinson (1859), p. 25
  41. ^ Rawlinson (1859), p. 25
  42. ^ a b Murray (1986), p. 189
  43. ^ Mikalson (2003), pp. 198–200
  44. ^ Fehling (1994), p. 2
  45. ^ a b Jones (1996)
  46. ^ a b Boedeker (2000), pp. 101–102
  47. ^ Saltzman (2010)
  48. ^ Archambault (2002), p. 171
  49. ^ Farley (2010), p. 21
  50. ^ a b Lloyd (1993), p. 4
  51. ^ a b Nielsen (1997), pp. 42–43
  52. ^ a b Baragwanath & de Bakker (2010), p. 19
  53. ^ a b Fehling (1994), p. 13
  54. ^ a b c Marincola (2001), p. 34
  55. ^ a b Dalley (2003)
  56. ^ a b Dalley (2013)
  57. ^ Fehling (1989), pp. 4, 53–54
  58. ^ Roberts (2011), p. 2
  59. ^ Marincola (2001), p. 59
  60. ^ Cameron (2004), p. 156
  61. ^ Sparks (1998), p. 58
  62. ^ Asheri, Lloyd & Corcella (2007)
  63. ^ Welsby (1996), p. 40
  64. ^ Heeren (1838), pp. 13, 379, 422–424
  65. ^ Aubin (2002), pp. 94–96, 100–102, 118–121, 141–144, 328, 336
  66. ^ Diop (1981), p. 1
  67. ^ Diop (1974), p. 2
  68. ^ Fehling (1994), pp. 4–6
  69. ^ http://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodotus/herodotus-on-the-first-circumnavigation-of-africa/
  70. ^ The Indian Empire The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 2, p. 272.
  71. ^ Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign Accounts. Delhi: Ocean Books. ISBN 978-81-8430-106-9.
  72. ^ Majumdar, R. C. (1981). The Classical accounts of India: Being a compilation of the English translations of the accounts left by Herodotus, Megasthenes, Arrian, Strabo, Quintus, Diodorus, Siculus, Justin, Plutarch, Frontinus, Nearchus, Apollonius, Pliny, Ptolemy, Aelian, and others with maps. Calcutta: Firma KLM.
  73. ^ a b Peissel (1984)
  74. ^ Marlise Simons (25 November 1996). "Himalayas offer clue to legend of gold-digging 'ants'". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  75. ^ Rawlinson (1859), pp. 13–14
  76. ^ "Dio Chrysostom Orat. xxxvii, p11". Penelope.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  77. ^ Marcellinus, Life of Thucydides
  78. ^ Burn (1972), pp. 8, 9, 32–34
  79. ^ Fehling (1989)
  80. ^ Waters (1985), p. 3
  81. ^ Blanco (2013), pp. 5–6, §1.1, 1.5
  82. ^ Blanco (2013), p. 6, §1.5
  83. ^ Blanco (2013), p. 9, §1.20
  84. ^ Blanco (2013), p. 12, §1.29
  85. ^ Blanco (2013), p. 17, §1.45, ¶2
  86. ^ Blanco (2013), p. 5
  87. ^ Gould (1989), p. 64
  88. ^ Homer, Iliad, trans. Stanley Lombardo (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1997): 1, Bk. 1, lines 9–16.
  89. ^ Gould (1989), p. 65
  90. ^ Gould (1989), p. 67
  91. ^ Gould (1989), pp. 67–70
  92. ^ Gould (1989), p. 71
  93. ^ Gould (1989), pp. 72–73
  94. ^ Gould (1989), pp. 75–76
  95. ^ Gould (1989), pp. 76–78
  96. ^ Gould (1989), pp. 77–78
  97. ^ Wardman (1960)
  98. ^ Histories 1.23–24.
  99. ^ Romm (1998), p. 8
  100. ^ Romm (1998), p. 6
  101. ^ "Herodotus - Assassin's Creed Odyssey | Ubisoft (US)". www.assassinscreed.ubisoft.com. Retrieved 9 February 2019.

Sources

  • Archambault, Paul (2002). "Herodotus (c. 480–c. 420)". In Alba della Fazia Amoia & Bettina Liebowitz Knapp. Multicultural Writers from Antiquity to 1945: a Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 168–172. ISBN 978-0-313-30687-7.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Asheri, David; Lloyd, Alan; Corcella, Aldo (2007). A Commentary on Herodotus, Books 1–4. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-814956-9.
  • Aubin, Henry (2002). The Rescue of Jerusalem. New York: Soho Press. ISBN 978-1-56947-275-0.
  • Baragwanath, Emily; de Bakker, Mathieu (2010). Herodotus. Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guide. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-980286-9.
  • Blanco, Walter (2013). The Histories. Herodotus. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-93397-0.
  • Boedeker, Deborah (2000). "Herodotus' genre(s)". In Mary Depew & Dirk Obbink. Matrices of Genre: Authors, Canons, and Society. Harvard University Press. pp. 97–114. ISBN 978-0-674-03420-4.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Burn, A.R. (1972). Herodotus: The Histories. Penguin Classics.
  • Cameron, Alan (2004). Greek Mythography in the Roman World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-803821-4.
  • Dalley, S. (2003). "Why did Herodotus not mention the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?". In P. Derow & R. Parker. Herodotus and his World. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 171–189. ISBN 978-0-19-925374-6.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Dalley, S. (2013). The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: an Elusive World Wonder Traced. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-966226-5.
  • Diop, Cheikh Anta (1974). The African Origin of Civilization. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books. ISBN 978-1-55652-072-3.
  • Diop, Cheikh Anta (1981). Civilization or Barbarism. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books. ISBN 978-1-55652-048-8.
  • Farley, David G. (2010). Modernist Travel Writing: Intellectuals Abroad. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press. ISBN 978-0-8262-7228-7.
  • Fehling, Detlev (1989) [1971]. Herodotos and His 'Sources': Citation, Invention, and Narrative Art. Arca Classical and Medieval Texts, Papers and Monographs. 21. Translated from the German by J.G. Howie. Leeds: Francis Cairns. ISBN 978-0-905205-70-0.
  • Fehling, Detlev (1994). "The art of Herodotus and the margins of the world". In Z.R.W.M. von Martels. Travel Fact and Travel Fiction: Studies on Fiction, Literary Tradition, Scholarly Discovery, and Observation in Travel Writing. Brill's studies in intellectual history. 55. Leiden: Brill. pp. 1–15. ISBN 978-90-04-10112-8.
  • Gould, John (1989). Herodotus. Historians on historians. London: George Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-79339-7.
  • Heeren, A.H.L. (1838). Historical Researches into the Politics, Intercourse, and Trade of the Carthaginians, Ethiopians, and Egyptians. Oxford: D.A. Talboys. ASIN B003B3P1Y8.
  • Immerwahr, Henry R. (1985). "Herodotus". In P.E. Easterling & B.M.W. Knox. Greek Literature. The Cambridge History of Classical Greek Literature. 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-21042-3.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
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  • Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign Accounts. Delhi: Ocean Books. ISBN 978-81-8430-106-9.
  • Lloyd, Alan B. (1993). Herodotus, Book II. Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l'Empire romain. 43. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-07737-9.
  • Majumdar, R.C. (1981). The Classical accounts of India: Being a compilation of the English translations of the accounts left by Herodotus, Megasthenes, Arrian, Strabo, Quintus, Diodorus, Siculus, Justin, Plutarch, Frontinus, Nearchus, Apollonius, Pliny, Ptolemy, Aelian, and others with maps. Calcutta: Firma KLM. ISBN 978-0-8364-0704-4
  • Marincola, John (2001). Greek Historians. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-922501-9.
  • Mikalson, Jon D. (2003). Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-2798-7.
  • Murray, Oswyn (1986). "Greek historians". In John Boardman, Jasper Griffin & Oswyn Murray. The Oxford History of the Classical World. Oxford University Press. pp. 186–203. ISBN 978-0-19-872112-3.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  • Nielsen, Flemming A.J. (1997). The Tragedy in History: Herodotus and the Deuteronomistic History. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-85075-688-0.
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  • Rawlinson, George (1859). The History of Herodotus. 1. New York: D. Appleton and Company.
  • Roberts, Jennifer T. (2011). Herodotus: a Very Short Introduction. OXford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-957599-2.
  • Romm, James (1998). Herodotus. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-07229-7.
  • Saltzman, Joe (2010). "Herodotus as an ancient journalist: reimagining antiquity's historians as journalists". The IJPC Journal. 2: 153–185.
  • Sparks, Kenton L. (1998). Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel: Prolegomena to the Study of Ethnic Sentiments and their Expression in the Hebrew Bible. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns. ISBN 978-1-57506-033-0.
  • Wardman, A.E. (1960). "Myth in Greek historiography". Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte. 9 (4): 403–413. JSTOR 4434671.
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  • Welsby, Derek (1996). The Kingdom of Kush. London: British Museum Press. ISBN 978-0-7141-0986-2.

Further reading

  • Bakker, Egbert J.; de Jong, Irene J.F.; van Wees, Hans, eds. (2002). Brill's companion to Herodotus. Leiden: E.J. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-12060-0.
  • Baragwanath, Emily (2010). Motivation and Narrative in Herodotus. Oxford Classical Monographs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-964550-3.
  • Bury, J.B.; Meiggs, Russell (1975). A History of Greece (Fourth Edition). London: MacMillan Press. pp. 251–252. ISBN 978-0-333-15492-2.
  • De Selincourt, Aubrey (1962). The World of Herodotus. London: Secker and Warburg.
  • Dewald, Carolyn; Marincola, John, eds. (2006). The Cambridge companion to Herodotus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83001-0.
  • Evans, J.A.S. (2006). The beginnings of history: Herodotus and the Persian Wars. Campbellville, Ont.: Edgar Kent. ISBN 978-0-88866-652-9.
  • Evans, J.A.S. (1982). Herodotus. Boston: Twayne. ISBN 978-0-8057-6488-8.
  • Evans, J.A.S. (1991). Herodotus, explorer of the past: three essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-06871-8.
  • Flory, Stewart (1987). The archaic smile of Herodotus. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8143-1827-0.
  • Fornara, Charles W. (1971). Herodotus: An Interpretative Essay. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Giessen, Hans W. Giessen (2010). Mythos Marathon. Von Herodot über Bréal bis zur Gegenwart. Landau: Verlag Empirische Pädagogik (= Landauer Schriften zur Kommunikations- und Kulturwissenschaft. Band 17). ISBN 978-3-941320-46-8.
  • Gould, John (1989). Herodotus. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-02855-8.
  • Harrington, John W. (1973). To see a world. Saint Louis: G.V. Mosby Co. ISBN 978-0-8016-2058-4.
  • Hartog, François (2000). "The Invention of History: The Pre-History of a Concept from Homer to Herodotus". History and Theory. 39 (3): 384–395. doi:10.1111/0018-2656.00137.
  • Hartog, François (1988). The mirror of Herodotus: the representation of the other in the writing of history. Janet Lloyd, trans. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-05487-5.
  • How, Walter W.; Wells, Joseph, eds. (1912). A Commentary on Herodotus. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Hunter, Virginia (1982). Past and process in Herodotus and Thucydides. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-03556-7.
  • Immerwahr, H. (1966). Form and Thought in Herodotus. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University Press.
  • Kapuściński, Ryszard (2007). Travels with Herodotus. Klara Glowczewska, trans. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-1-4000-4338-5.
  • Lateiner, Donald (1989). The historical method of Herodotus. Toronto: Toronto University Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-5793-8.
  • Pitcher, Luke (2009). Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical Historiography. New York: I.B. Taurus & Co Ltd.
  • Marozzi, Justin (2008). The way of Herodotus: travels with the man who invented history. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81621-5.
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo (1990). The classical foundations of modern historiography. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06890-2.
  • Myres, John L. (1971). Herodotus : father of history. Chicago: Henry Regnrey. ISBN 978-0-19-924021-0.
  • Pritchett, W. Kendrick (1993). The liar school of Herodotus. Amsterdam: Gieben. ISBN 978-90-5063-088-7.
  • Selden, Daniel (1999). "Cambyses' Madness, or the Reason of History". Materiali e Discussioni per l'Analisi dei Testi Classici. 42: 33–63.
  • Thomas, Rosalind (2000). Herodotus in context: ethnography, science and the art of persuasion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66259-8.
  • Waters, K.H. (1985). Herodotus the Historian: His Problems, Methods and Originality. Beckenham: Croom Helm Ltd.

External links

Achaemenid Empire

The Achaemenid Empire (; 𐎧𐏁𐏂, Xšassa (Old Persian) "The Empire" c. 550–330 BC), also called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 (or 8) million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration (through satraps under the King of Kings), for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.By the 7th century BC, the Persians had settled in the south-western portion of the Iranian Plateau in the region of Persis, which came to be their heartland. From this region, Cyrus the Great advanced to defeat the Medes, Lydia, and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, establishing the Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great, an avid admirer of Cyrus the Great, conquered most of the empire by 330 BC. Upon Alexander's death, most of the empire's former territory came under the rule of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence at that time. The Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the second century BC under the Parthian Empire.The Achaemenid Empire is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city-states during the Greco-Persian Wars and for the emancipation of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. The historical mark of the empire went far beyond its territorial and military influences and included cultural, social, technological and religious influences as well. Despite the lasting conflict between the two states, many Athenians adopted Achaemenid customs in their daily lives in a reciprocal cultural exchange, some being employed by or allied to the Persian kings. The impact of Cyrus's edict is mentioned in Judeo-Christian texts, and the empire was instrumental in the spread of Zoroastrianism as far east as China. The empire also set the tone for the politics, heritage and history of Iran (also officially known as Persia).

Aethiopia

Ancient Aethiopia (Greek: Αἰθιοπία Aithiopia) first appears as a geographical term in classical documents in reference to the upper Nile region, as well as certain areas south of the Sahara desert. Its earliest mention is in the works of Homer: twice in the Iliad, and three times in the Odyssey. The Greek historian Herodotus specifically uses the appellation to refer to such parts of Africa as were then known within the inhabitable world.In classical antiquity, Africa (or Ancient Libya) referred to what is now known as the Maghreb and south of the Libyan Desert and Western Sahara, including all the desert land west of the southern Nile river. Geographical knowledge of the continent gradually grew, with the first century AD Greek travelogue the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea describing areas along the Red Sea (Erythraean Sea). The Greek name Αἰθιοπία (from Αἰθίοψ, Aithiops, 'an Ethiopian') is a compound word, derived from the two Greek words, from αἴθω + ὤψ (aitho "I burn" + ops "face"). According to the Perseus Digital Library, the designation properly translates as Burnt-face in noun form and red-brown in adjectival form. It was used as a vague term for dark-skinned populations since the time of Homer. It was applied to such dark-skinned populations as came within the range of observation of the ancient geographers i.e. primarily in what was then Nubia, and with the expansion of geographical knowledge, successively extended to certain other areas below the Sahara.

Amasis II

Amasis II (Ancient Greek: Ἄμασις) or Ahmose II was a pharaoh (reigned 570 BCE – 526 BCE) of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt, the successor of Apries at Sais. He was the last great ruler of Egypt before the Persian conquest.

Battle of Marathon

The Battle of Marathon (Ancient Greek: Μάχη τοῦ Μαραθῶνος, translit. Machē tou Marathōnos) took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army decisively defeated the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.

The first Persian invasion was a response to Athenian involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but they were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius had his bow brought to him and then shot an arrow "upwards towards heaven", saying as he did so: "Zeus, that it may be granted me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!". Herodotus further writes that Darius charged one of his servants to say "Master, remember the Athenians" three times before dinner each day.At the time of the battle, Sparta and Athens were the two largest city-states in Greece. Once the Ionian revolt was finally crushed by the Persian victory at the Battle of Lade in 494 BC, Darius began plans to subjugate Greece. In 490 BC, he sent a naval task force under Datis and Artaphernes across the Aegean, to subjugate the Cyclades, and then to make punitive attacks on Athens and Eretria. Reaching Euboea in mid-summer after a successful campaign in the Aegean, the Persians proceeded to besiege and capture Eretria. The Persian force then sailed for Attica, landing in the bay near the town of Marathon. The Athenians, joined by a small force from Plataea, marched to Marathon, and succeeded in blocking the two exits from the plain of Marathon. The Athenians also sent a message asking for support to the Spartans. When the messenger arrived in Sparta, the Spartans were involved in a religious festival and gave this as a reason for not coming to aid of the Athenians.

The Athenians and their allies chose a location for the battle, with marshes and mountainous terrain, that prevented the Persian cavalry from joining the Persian infantry. Miltiades, the Athenian general, ordered a general attack against the Persian forces, composed primarily of missile troops. He reinforced his flanks, luring the Persians' best fighters into his center. The inward wheeling flanks enveloped the Persians, routing them. The Persian army broke in panic towards their ships, and large numbers were slaughtered. The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia. Darius then began raising a huge new army with which he meant to completely subjugate Greece; however, in 486 BC, his Egyptian subjects revolted, indefinitely postponing any Greek expedition. After Darius died, his son Xerxes I restarted the preparations for a second invasion of Greece, which finally began in 480 BC.

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to have begun at Marathon. The battle also showed the Greeks that they were able to win battles without the Spartans, as they had heavily relied on Sparta previously. This victory was largely due to the Athenians, and Marathon raised Greek esteem of them. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is often seen as a pivotal moment in Mediterranean and European history.

Battle of Plataea

The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states (including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara), and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I (allied with Boeotians, Thessalians, and Macedonians).

The previous year the Persian invasion force, led by the Persian king in person, had scored victories at the battles of Thermopylae and Artemisium and conquered Thessaly, Phocis, Boeotia, Euboea and Attica. However, at the ensuing Battle of Salamis, the Allied Greek navy had won an unlikely but decisive victory, preventing the conquest of the Peloponnesus. Xerxes then retreated with much of his army, leaving his general Mardonius to finish off the Greeks the following year.

In the summer of 479 BC the Greeks assembled a huge (by ancient standards) army and marched out of the Peloponnesus. The Persians retreated to Boeotia and built a fortified camp near Plataea. The Greeks, however, refused to be drawn into the prime cavalry terrain around the Persian camp, resulting in a stalemate that lasted 11 days. While attempting a retreat after their supply lines were disrupted, the Greek battle line fragmented. Thinking the Greeks in full retreat, Mardonius ordered his forces to pursue them, but the Greeks (particularly the Spartans, Tegeans and Athenians) halted and gave battle, routing the lightly armed Persian infantry and killing Mardonius.

A large portion of the Persian army was trapped in its camp and slaughtered. The destruction of this army, and the remnants of the Persian navy allegedly on the same day at the Battle of Mycale, decisively ended the invasion. After Plataea and Mycale the Greek allies would take the offensive against the Persians, marking a new phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. Although Plataea was in every sense a resounding victory, it does not seem to have been attributed the same significance (even at the time) as, for example, the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon or the Spartan defeat at Thermopylae.

Battle of Salamis

The Battle of Salamis (; Ancient Greek: Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, Naumachia tēs Salaminos) was a naval battle fought between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes in 480 BC which resulted in a decisive victory for the outnumbered Greeks. The battle was fought in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens, and marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece.

To block the Persian advance, a small force of Greeks blocked the pass of Thermopylae, while an Athenian-dominated Allied navy engaged the Persian fleet in the nearby straits of Artemisium. In the resulting Battle of Thermopylae, the rearguard of the Greek force was annihilated, whilst in the Battle of Artemisium the Greeks had heavy losses and retreated after the loss at Thermopylae. This allowed the Persians to conquer Phocis, Boeotia, Attica, and Euboea. The Allies prepared to defend the Isthmus of Corinth while the fleet was withdrawn to nearby Salamis Island.

Although heavily outnumbered, the Greek Allies were persuaded by the Athenian general Themistocles to bring the Persian fleet to battle again, in the hope that a victory would prevent naval operations against the Peloponnese. The Persian king Xerxes was also eager for a decisive battle. As a result of subterfuge on the part of Themistocles, the Persian navy rowed into the Straits of Salamis and tried to block both entrances. In the cramped conditions of the Straits, the great Persian numbers were an active hindrance, as ships struggled to maneuver and became disorganized. Seizing the opportunity, the Greek fleet formed in line and scored a decisive victory.

Xerxes retreated to Asia with much of his army, leaving Mardonius to complete the conquest of Greece. However, the following year, the remainder of the Persian army was decisively beaten at the Battle of Plataea and the Persian navy at the Battle of Mycale. The Persians made no further attempts to conquer the Greek mainland. These battles of Salamis and Plataea thus mark a turning point in the course of the Greco-Persian wars as a whole; from then onward, the Greek poleis would take the offensive. A number of historians believe that a Persian victory would have hamstrung the development of Ancient Greece, and by extension western civilization, and this has led them to argue that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history.

Battle of Thermopylae

The Battle of Thermopylae ( thər-MOP-i-lee; Greek: Μάχη τῶν Θερμοπυλῶν, Máchē tōn Thermopylōn) was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae ("The Hot Gates"). The Persian invasion was a delayed response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece, which had been ended by the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. By 480 BC Xerxes had amassed a huge army and navy, and set out to conquer all of Greece. The Athenian politician and general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the advance of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, and simultaneously block the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium.

A Greek force of approximately 7,000 men marched north to block the pass in the middle of 480 BC. The Persian army, alleged by the ancient sources to have numbered over one million, but today considered to have been much smaller (various figures are given by scholars, ranging between about 100,000 and 150,000) arrived at the pass in late August or early September. The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days (including three of battle) before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history's most famous last stands. During two full days of battle, the small force led by Leonidas blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to guard their retreat with 300 Spartans and 700 Thespians, fighting to the death. Others also reportedly remained, including up to 900 helots and 400 Thebans; these Thebans mostly reportedly surrendered.

Themistocles was in command of the Greek Navy at Artemisium when he received news that the Persians had taken the pass at Thermopylae. Since the Greek strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, given their losses, it was decided to withdraw to Salamis. The Persians overran Boeotia and then captured the evacuated Athens. The Greek fleet—seeking a decisive victory over the Persian armada—attacked and defeated the invaders at the Battle of Salamis in late 480 BC. Wary of being trapped in Europe, Xerxes withdrew with much of his army to Asia (losing most to starvation and disease), leaving Mardonius to attempt to complete the conquest of Greece. However, the following year saw a Greek army decisively defeat the Persians at the Battle of Plataea, thereby ending the Persian invasion.

Both ancient and modern writers have used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the power of a patriotic army defending its native soil. The performance of the defenders is also used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers and has become a symbol of courage against overwhelming odds.

Eclipse of Thales

The Eclipse of Thales was a solar eclipse that was, according to The Histories of Herodotus, accurately predicted by the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus. If Herodotus's account is accurate, this eclipse is the earliest recorded as being known in advance of its occurrence. Many historians believe that the predicted eclipse was the solar eclipse of 28 May 585 BC. How exactly Thales predicted the eclipse remains uncertain; some scholars assert the eclipse was never predicted at all. Others have argued for different dates, but only the eclipse of 28 May 585 BC matches the conditions of visibility necessary to explain the historical event.According to Herodotus, the appearance of the eclipse was interpreted as an omen, and interrupted a battle in a long-standing war between the Medes and the Lydians. The fighting immediately stopped, and they agreed to a truce. Because astronomers can calculate the dates of historical eclipses, Isaac Asimov described this battle as the earliest historical event whose date is known with precision to the day and described the prediction as "the birth of science".

Greco-Persian Wars

The Greco-Persian Wars (also often called the Persian Wars) were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire and Greek city-states that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus the Great conquered the Greek-inhabited region of Ionia in 547 BC. Struggling to rule the independent-minded cities of Ionia, the Persians appointed tyrants to rule each of them. This would prove to be the source of much trouble for the Greeks and Persians alike.

In 499 BC, the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, embarked on an expedition to conquer the island of Naxos, with Persian support; however, the expedition was a debacle and, preempting his dismissal, Aristagoras incited all of Hellenic Asia Minor into rebellion against the Persians. This was the beginning of the Ionian Revolt, which would last until 493 BC, progressively drawing more regions of Asia Minor into the conflict. Aristagoras secured military support from Athens and Eretria, and in 498 BC these forces helped to capture and burn the Persian regional capital of Sardis. The Persian king Darius the Great vowed to have revenge on Athens and Eretria for this act. The revolt continued, with the two sides effectively stalemated throughout 497–495 BC. In 494 BC, the Persians regrouped, and attacked the epicentre of the revolt in Miletus. At the Battle of Lade, the Ionians suffered a decisive defeat, and the rebellion collapsed, with the final members being stamped out the following year.

Seeking to secure his empire from further revolts and from the interference of the mainland Greeks, Darius embarked on a scheme to conquer Greece and to punish Athens and Eretria for the burning of Sardis. The first Persian invasion of Greece began in 492 BC, with the Persian general Mardonius successfully re-subjugating Thrace and Macedon before several mishaps forced an early end to the rest of the campaign. In 490 BC a second force was sent to Greece, this time across the Aegean Sea, under the command of Datis and Artaphernes. This expedition subjugated the Cyclades, before besieging, capturing and razing Eretria. However, while en route to attack Athens, the Persian force was decisively defeated by the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon, ending Persian efforts for the time being.

Darius then began to plan to completely conquer Greece, but died in 486 BC and responsibility for the conquest passed to his son Xerxes. In 480 BC, Xerxes personally led the second Persian invasion of Greece with one of the largest ancient armies ever assembled. Victory over the allied Greek states at the famous Battle of Thermopylae allowed the Persians to torch an evacuated Athens and overrun most of Greece. However, while seeking to destroy the combined Greek fleet, the Persians suffered a severe defeat at the Battle of Salamis. The following year, the confederated Greeks went on the offensive, decisively defeating the Persian army at the Battle of Plataea, and ending the invasion of Greece by the Achaemenid Empire.

The allied Greeks followed up their success by destroying the rest of the Persian fleet at the Battle of Mycale, before expelling Persian garrisons from Sestos (479 BC) and Byzantium (478 BC). Following the Persian withdrawal from Europe and the Greek victory at Mycale, Macedon and the city states of Ionia regained their independence. The actions of the general Pausanias at the siege of Byzantium alienated many of the Greek states from the Spartans, and the anti-Persian alliance was therefore reconstituted around Athenian leadership, called the Delian League. The Delian League continued to campaign against Persia for the next three decades, beginning with the expulsion of the remaining Persian garrisons from Europe. At the Battle of the Eurymedon in 466 BC, the League won a double victory that finally secured freedom for the cities of Ionia. However, the League's involvement in the Egyptian revolt by Inaros II against Artaxerxes I (from 460–454 BC) resulted in a disastrous defeat, and further campaigning was suspended. A Greek fleet was sent to Cyprus in 451 BC, but achieved little, and, when it withdrew, the Greco-Persian Wars drew to a quiet end. Some historical sources suggest the end of hostilities was marked by a peace treaty between Athens and Persia, the Peace of Callias.

Histories (Herodotus)

The Histories (Greek: Ἱστορίαι; Ancient Greek: [historíai̯]; also known as The Histories) of Herodotus is considered the founding work of history in Western literature. Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established the genre and study of history in the Western world (despite the existence of historical records and chronicles beforehand).

The Histories also stands as one of the first accounts of the rise of the Persian Empire, as well as the events and causes of the Greco-Persian Wars between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BC. Herodotus portrays the conflict as one between the forces of slavery (the Persians) on the one hand, and freedom (the Athenians and the confederacy of Greek city-states which united against the invaders) on the other.

The Histories was at some point divided into the nine books that appear in modern editions, conventionally named after the nine Muses.

Ionian Revolt

The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart of the rebellion was the dissatisfaction of the Greek cities of Asia Minor with the tyrants appointed by Persia to rule them, along with the individual actions of two Milesian tyrants, Histiaeus and Aristagoras. The cities of Ionia had been conquered by Persia around 540 BC, and thereafter were ruled by native tyrants, nominated by the Persian satrap in Sardis. In 499 BC, the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, launched a joint expedition with the Persian satrap Artaphernes to conquer Naxos, in an attempt to bolster his position. The mission was a debacle, and sensing his imminent removal as tyrant, Aristagoras chose to incite the whole of Ionia into rebellion against the Persian king Darius the Great.

In 498 BC, supported by troops from Athens and Eretria, the Ionians marched on, captured, and burnt Sardis. However, on their return journey to Ionia, they were followed by Persian troops, and decisively beaten at the Battle of Ephesus. This campaign was the only offensive action by the Ionians, who subsequently went on the defensive. The Persians responded in 497 BC with a three pronged attack aimed at recapturing the outlying areas of the rebellion, but the spread of the revolt to Caria meant that the largest army, under Daurises, relocated there. While initially campaigning successfully in Caria, this army was annihilated in an ambush at the Battle of Pedasus. This resulted in a stalemate for the rest of 496 BC and 495 BC.

By 494 BC the Persian army and navy had regrouped, and they made straight for the epicentre of the rebellion at Miletus. The Ionian fleet sought to defend Miletus by sea, but was decisively beaten at the Battle of Lade, after the defection of the Samians. Miletus was then besieged, captured, and its population was brought under Persian rule. This double defeat effectively ended the revolt, and the Carians surrendered to the Persians as a result. The Persians spent 493 BC reducing the cities along the west coast that still held out against them, before finally imposing a peace settlement on Ionia which was generally considered to be both just and fair.

The Ionian Revolt constituted the first major conflict between Greece and the Persian Empire, and as such represents the first phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. Although Asia Minor had been brought back into the Persian fold, Darius vowed to punish Athens and Eretria for their support of the revolt. Moreover, seeing that the myriad city states of Greece posed a continued threat to the stability of his Empire, according to Herodotus, Darius decided to conquer the whole of Greece. In 492 BC, the first Persian invasion of Greece, the next phase of the Greco-Persian Wars, began as a direct consequence of the Ionian Revolt.

Leonidas I

Leonidas I (; Doric Λεωνίδας Α´, Leōnídas A'; Ionic and Attic Greek: Λεωνίδης Α´, Leōnídēs A' [leɔːnídɛːs]; "son of the lion"; died 11 August 480 BC) was a warrior king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, and the 17th of the Agiad line; a dynasty which claimed descent from the mythological demigod Heracles. He was the husband of Gorgo, the daughter of Cleomenes I of Sparta. Leonidas had a notable participation in the Second Persian War, where he led the allied Greek forces to a last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) while attempting to defend the pass from the invading Persian army.

List of kings of Lydia

This page lists the known kings of Lydia, both legendary and historical. Lydia was an ancient kingdom in western Anatolia during the first millennium BC. It may have originated as a country in the second millennium BC and was possibly called Maeonia at one time, given that Herodotus says the people were called Maeonians before they became known as Lydians. Herodotus and other sources refer to three dynasties: the Maeoniae, Heracleidae (Heraclids) and Mermnadae. The first two are legendary, though later members of the Heraclid dynasty are at least semi-legendary. The Mermnadae are historical.

Lydia

Lydia (Assyrian: Luddu; Greek: Λυδία, Lydía; Turkish: Lidya) was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern western Turkish provinces of Uşak, Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian. Its capital was Sardis.The Kingdom of Lydia existed from about 1200 BC to 546 BC. At its greatest extent, during the 7th century BC, it covered all of western Anatolia. In 546 BC, it became a province of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, known as the satrapy of Lydia or Sparda in Old Persian. In 133 BC, it became part of the Roman province of Asia.

Coins are said to have been invented in Lydia around the 7th century BC.

Midas

Midas (; Greek: Μίδας) is the name of at least three members of the royal house of Phrygia.

The most famous King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This came to be called the golden touch, or the Midas touch. The Phrygian city Midaeum was presumably named after this Midas, and this is probably also the Midas that according to Pausanias founded Ancyra. According to Aristotle, legend held that Midas died of starvation as a result of his "vain prayer" for the gold touch. The legends told about this Midas and his father Gordias, credited with founding the Phrygian capital city Gordium and tying the Gordian Knot, indicate that they were believed to have lived sometime in the 2nd millennium BC, well before the Trojan War. However, Homer does not mention Midas or Gordias, while instead mentioning two other Phrygian kings, Mygdon and Otreus.

Another King Midas ruled Phrygia in the late 8th century BC, up until the sacking of Gordium by the Cimmerians, when he is said to have committed suicide. Most historians believe this Midas is the same person as the Mita, called king of the Mushki in Assyrian texts, who warred with Assyria and its Anatolian provinces during the same period.A third Midas is said by Herodotus to have been a member of the royal house of Phrygia and the grandfather of an Adrastus who fled Phrygia after accidentally killing his brother and took asylum in Lydia during the reign of Croesus. Phrygia was by that time a Lydian subject. Herodotus says that Croesus regarded the Phrygian royal house as "friends" but does not mention whether the Phrygian royal house still ruled as (vassal) kings of Phrygia.

Scythians

The Scythians (; from Greek Σκύθης, Σκύθοι), also known as Scyth, Saka, Sakae, Sai, Iskuzai, or Askuzai, were Eurasian nomads, probably mostly using Eastern Iranian languages, who were mentioned by the literate peoples to their south as inhabiting large areas of the western and central Eurasian Steppe from about the 9th century BC up until the 4th century AD. The "classical Scythians" known to ancient Greek historians, agreed to be mainly Iranian in origin, were located in the northern Black Sea and fore-Caucasus region. Other Scythian groups documented by Assyrian, Achaemenid and Chinese sources show that they also existed in Central Asia, where they were referred to as the Iskuzai/Askuzai, Saka (Old Persian: Sakā; New Persian/Pashto: ساکا‎; Sanskrit: शक Śaka; Greek: Σάκαι; Latin: Sacae), and Sai (Chinese: 塞; Old Chinese: *sˤək), respectively.The relationships between the peoples living in these widely separated regions remains unclear, and the term is used in both a broad and narrow sense. The term "Scythian" is used by modern scholars in an archaeological context for finds perceived to display attributes of the wider "Scytho-Siberian" culture, usually without implying an ethnic or linguistic connotation. The term Scythic may also be used in a similar way, "to describe a special phase that followed the widespread diffusion of mounted nomadism, characterized by the presence of special weapons, horse gear, and animal art in the form of metal plaques". Their westernmost territories during the Iron Age were known to classical Greek sources as Scythia, and in the more narrow sense "Scythian" is restricted to these areas, where the Scythian languages were spoken. Different definitions of "Scythian" have been used, leading to a good deal of confusion.The Scythians were among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare. They kept herds of horses, cattle and sheep, lived in tent-covered wagons and fought with bows and arrows on horseback. They developed a rich culture characterised by opulent tombs, fine metalwork and a brilliant art style.

In the 8th century BC, they possibly raided Zhou China. Soon after, they expanded westwards and dislodged the Cimmerians from power on the Pontic Steppe. At their peak, Scythians came to dominate the entire steppe zone, stretching from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to central China (Ordos culture) and the south Siberia (Tagar culture) in the east, creating what has been called the first Central Asian nomadic empire, although there was little that could be called an organised state.Based in what is modern-day Ukraine, Southern European Russia and Crimea, the western Scythians were ruled by a wealthy class known as the Royal Scyths. The Scythians established and controlled the Silk Road, a vast trade network connecting Greece, Persia, India and China, perhaps contributing to the contemporary flourishing of those civilisations. Settled metalworkers made portable decorative objects for the Scythians. These objects survive mainly in metal, forming a distinctive Scythian art. In the 7th century BC, the Scythians crossed the Caucasus and frequently raided the Middle East along with the Cimmerians, playing an important role in the political developments of the region. Around 650–630 BC, Scythians briefly dominated the Medes of the western Iranian Plateau, stretching their power to the borders of Egypt. After losing control over Media, the Scythians continued intervening in Middle Eastern affairs, playing a leading role in the destruction of the Assyrian Empire in the Sack of Nineveh in 612 BC. The Scythians subsequently engaged in frequent conflicts with the Achaemenid Empire. The western Scythians suffered a major defeat against Macedonia in the 4th century BC and were subsequently gradually conquered by the Sarmatians, a related Iranian people from Central Asia. The Eastern Scythians of the Asian Steppe (Saka) were attacked by the Yuezhi, Wusun and Xiongnu in the 2nd century BC, prompting many of them to migrate into South Asia, where they became known as Indo-Scythians. At some point, perhaps as late as the 3rd century AD after the demise of the Han dynasty and the Xiongnu, Eastern Scythians crossed the Pamir Mountains and settled in the western Tarim Basin, where the Scythian Khotanese and Tumshuqese languages are attested in Brahmi scripture from the 10th and 11th centuries AD. The Kingdom of Khotan, at least partly Saka, was then conquered by the Kara-Khanid Khanate, which led to the Islamisation and Turkification of Northwest China. In Eastern Europe, by the early Medieval Ages, the Scythians and their closely related Sarmatians were eventually assimilated and absorbed (e.g. Slavicisation) by the Proto-Slavic population of the region.

Second Persian invasion of Greece

The second Persian invasion of Greece (480–479 BC) occurred during the Greco-Persian Wars, as King Xerxes I of Persia sought to conquer all of Greece. The invasion was a direct, if delayed, response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece (492–490 BC) at the Battle of Marathon, which ended Darius I's attempts to subjugate Greece. After Darius's death, his son Xerxes spent several years planning for the second invasion, mustering an enormous army and navy. The Athenians and Spartans led the Greek resistance. About a tenth of the Greek city-states joined the 'Allied' effort; most remained neutral or submitted to Xerxes.

The invasion began in spring 480 BC, when the Persian army crossed the Hellespont and marched through Thrace and Macedon to Thessaly. The Persian advance was blocked at the pass of Thermopylae by a small Allied force under King Leonidas I of Sparta; simultaneously, the Persian fleet was blocked by an Allied fleet at the straits of Artemisium. At the famous Battle of Thermopylae, the Allied army held back the Persian army for three days, before they were outflanked by a mountain path and the Allied rearguard was trapped and annihilated. The Allied fleet had also withstood two days of Persian attacks at the Battle of Artemisium, but when news reached them of the disaster at Thermopylae, they withdrew to Salamis.

After Thermopylae, all of Euboea, Phocis, Boeotia and Attica fell to the Persian army, which captured and burnt Athens. However, a larger Allied army fortified the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, protecting the Peloponnesus from Persian conquest. Both sides thus sought a naval victory that might decisively alter the course of the war. The Athenian general Themistocles succeeded in luring the Persian navy into the narrow Straits of Salamis, where the huge number of Persian ships became disorganised, and were soundly beaten by the Allied fleet. The Allied victory at Salamis prevented a quick conclusion to the invasion, and fearing becoming trapped in Europe, Xerxes retreated to Asia leaving his general Mardonius to finish the conquest with the elite of the army.

The following spring, the Allies assembled the largest ever hoplite army, and marched north from the isthmus to confront Mardonius. At the ensuing Battle of Plataea, the Greek infantry again proved its superiority, inflicting a severe defeat on the Persians and killing Mardonius in the process. On the same day, across the Aegean Sea an Allied navy destroyed the remnants of the Persian navy at the Battle of Mycale. With this double defeat, the invasion was ended, and Persian power in the Aegean severely dented. The Greeks would now move to the offensive, eventually expelling the Persians from Europe, the Aegean islands and Ionia before the war finally came to an end in 479 BC.

Thucydides

Thucydides (; Greek: Θουκυδίδης Thoukydídēs [tʰuːkydídɛːs]; c.  472 – c.  400 BC) was an Athenian historian and general. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the fifth-century BC war between Sparta and Athens until the year 411 BC. Thucydides has been dubbed the father of "scientific history" by those who accept his claims to have applied strict standards of impartiality and evidence-gathering and analysis of cause and effect, without reference to intervention by the deities, as outlined in his introduction to his work.He also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by and constructed upon the emotions of fear and self-interest. His text is still studied at universities and military colleges worldwide. The Melian dialogue is regarded as a seminal work of international relations theory, while his version of Pericles' Funeral Oration is widely studied by political theorists, historians, and students of the classics.

More generally, Thucydides developed an understanding of human nature to explain behaviour in such crises as plagues, massacres, and civil war.

Zalmoxis

Zalmoxis (Greek: Ζάλμοξις)

is a supposed divinity of the Getae and Dacians (a people of the lower Danube), mentioned by Herodotus in his Histories Book IV, 93–96, written before 425 BC.According to Jordanes's Getica, he was a learned philosopher, before whom two other learned men existed, by the names of Zeuta and Deceneus.In modern times, theories and debate on the Zalmoxis religion by such scholars as Mircea Eliade are influenced by considerations of Romanian nationalism as well by pure historical interest.

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