The Histories by HerodotusOne of the masterpieces of classical literature, the Histories describes how a small and quarrelsome band of Greek city states united to repel the might of the Persian empire. But while this epic struggle forms the core of his work, Herodotus natural curiosity frequently gives rise to colorful digressions - a description of the natural wonders of Egypt; an account of European lake-dwellers; and far-fetched accounts of dog-headed men and gold-digging ants. With its kaleidoscopic blend of fact and legend, the Histories offers a compelling Greek view of the world of the fifth century BC.
Julia Kindt does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Too much is going on, right from the start. A wild ride! His principal aim was to explain the unlikely Greek victory against the much stronger Persian army in the so-called Persian Wars that ravaged the Greek world between and BCE. Most of the tales have no clear link to the main story. They seem peripheral, if not entirely unrelated, to the account of the Persian Wars and their pre-history. Many characters appear only once, never to be seen again.
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 an 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. Despite Herodotus' 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 many 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.
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Figuring out the fantastic
Herodotus , born bce? Scholars believe that Herodotus was born at Halicarnassus , a Greek city in southwest Asia Minor that was then under Persian rule. The precise dates of his birth and death are alike uncertain. He is thought to have resided in Athens and to have met Sophocles and then to have left for Thurii , a new colony in southern Italy sponsored by Athens. The latest event alluded to in his History belongs to , but how soon after or where he died is not known. There is good reason to believe that he was in Athens, or at least in central Greece, during the early years of the Peloponnesian War , from , and that his work was published and known there before Herodotus was a wide traveler.