Histories (Herodotus)

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Histories
POxy v0017 n2099 a 01 hires.jpg
Fragment from Histories, Book VIII on 2nd-century Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2099
Author Herodotus
Country Greece
Language Ancient Greek
Genre History
PublisherVarious
Publication date
c. 430 BC[ citation needed ]

The Histories (Greek : Ἱστορίαι; Ancient Greek:  [historíai̯] ; also known as The History [1] ) of Herodotus is considered the founding work of history in Western literature. [2] Written in 430 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 Greece, Western Asia and Northern Africa at that time.[ citation needed ] 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).

Contents

The Histories also stands as one of the earliest accounts of the rise of the Persian Empire, as well as the events and causes of the Greco-Persian Wars between the Persian 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.

On the legacy of The Histories by Herodotus, historian Barry S. Strauss writes:

He is simply one of the greatest storytellers who ever wrote. His narrative ability is one of the reasons...those who call Herodotus the father of history. Now that title is one that he richly deserves. A Greek who lived in the fifth century BC, Herodotus was a pathfinder. He traveled the eastern Mediterranean and beyond to do research into human affairs: from Greece to Persia, from the sands of Egypt to the Scythian steppes, and from the rivers of Lydia to the dry hills of Sparta. The Greek for “research” is historia, where our word “history” comes from ... Herodotus is a great historian. His work holds up very well when judged by the yardstick of modern scholarship. But he is more than a historian. He is a philosopher with three great themes: the struggle between East and West, the power of liberty, and the rise and fall of empires. Herodotus takes the reader from the rise of the Persian Empire to its crusade against Greek independence, and from the stirrings of Hellenic self-defense to the beginnings of the overreach that would turn Athens into a new empire of its own. He goes from the cosmos to the atom, ranging between fate and the gods, on the one hand, and the ability of the individual to make a difference, on the other. And then there is the sheer narrative power of his writing...The old master keeps calling us back. [3]

Motivation for writing

Herodotus claims to have traveled extensively around the ancient world, conducting interviews and collecting stories for his book, almost all of which covers territories of the Persian Empire. At the beginning of The Histories, Herodotus sets out his reasons for writing it:

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)

Summary

Candaules, King of Lydia, shews his wife by stealth to Gyges..., by William Etty (1830) Etty-Candaules King of Lydia Shews his Wife to Gyges.JPG
Candaules, King of Lydia, shews his wife by stealth to Gyges… , by William Etty (1830)

Book I (Clio)

Edwin Long's 1875 interpretation of The Babylonian Marriage Market as described by Herodotus in Book 1 of the Histories Edwin Long 001.jpg
Edwin Long's 1875 interpretation of The Babylonian Marriage Market as described by Herodotus in Book 1 of the Histories

Book II (Euterpe)

Nile crocodile allowing the trochilus to eat leeches in its mouth. Drawing by Henry Scherren, 1906 PloverCrocodileSymbiosis.jpg
Nile crocodile allowing the trochilus to eat leeches in its mouth. Drawing by Henry Scherren, 1906

Book III (Thalia)

Book IV (Melpomene)

Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul'Oba kurgan burial near Kerch (Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg) Scythian Warriors.jpg
Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul'Oba kurgan burial near Kerch (Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg)
Relief of Darius I, Persepolis Darius In Parse.JPG
Relief of Darius I, Persepolis
Statue of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens Athena type Velletri.jpg
Statue of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens

Book V (Terpsichore)

Book VI (Erato)

A Greek trireme Trireme.jpg
A Greek trireme
Miltiades Miltiades.jpg
Miltiades
The plain of Marathon today Ac.marathon.jpg
The plain of Marathon today

Book VII (Polymnia)

Leonidas at Thermopylae, by Jacques-Louis David (1814) Leonidas en las Termopilas, por Jacques-Louis David.jpg
Leonidas at Thermopylae , by Jacques-Louis David (1814)
The Battle of Salamis, by Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1868) Kaulbach, Wilhelm von - Die Seeschlacht bei Salamis - 1868.JPG
The Battle of Salamis , by Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1868)

Book VIII (Urania)

The Serpent Column dedicated by the victorious Greeks in Delphi, later transferred to Constantinople Snake column Hippodrome Constantinople 2007.jpg
The Serpent Column dedicated by the victorious Greeks in Delphi, later transferred to Constantinople

Book IX (Calliope)

Critical editions

Translations

Manuscripts

See also

Notes

  1. Herodotus (Book II, 68) claimed that the trochilus bird visited the crocodile, which opened its mouth in what would now be called a cleaning symbiosis to eat leeches. A modern survey of the evidence finds only occasional reports of sandpipers "removing leeches from the mouth and gular scutes and snapping at insects along the reptile's body." [5]

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References

  1. 1 2 Herodotus (1987). The History, translated by David Gren. University of Chicago Press. ISBN   0-226-32770-1. pp. 37-38.
  2. Arnold, John H. (2000). History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 17. ISBN   0-19-285352-X.
  3. Barry S. Strauss (14 June 2014), "One of the Greatest Storytellers Who Ever Lived," Archived [Date missing] at offtheshelf.com [Error: unknown archive URL]' Off the Shelf .
  4. Fehling, Detlev (1989). "Some demonstrably false source citations". Herodotus and His 'Sources' . Francis Cairns, Ltd. 5057. ISBN   0-905205-70-7.
    Lindsay, Jack (1974). "Helen in the Fifth Century". Helen of Troy Rowman and Littlefield. 133134. ISBN   0-87471-581-4
  5. Macfarland, Craig G.; Reeder, W. G. (1974). "Cleaning symbiosis involving Galapagos tortoises and two species of Darwin's finches". Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie. 34 (5): 464–483. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0310.1974.tb01816.x.
  6. Geggel, Laura (March 19, 2019). "2,500 Years Ago, Herodotus Described a Weird Ship. Now, Archaeologists Have Found it". Live Science. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  7. Kim, Lawrence (2010). "Homer, poet and historian". Homer Between History and Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature. Cambridge University Press. 30-35 ISBN   978-0-521-19449-5.
    Allan, Williams (2008). "Introduction". Helen. Cambridge University Press. 22-24 ISBN   0-521-83690-5.
    Lindsay, Jack (1974). "Helen in the Fifth Century". Helen of Troy. Rowman and Littlefield. 135-138. ISBN   0-87471-581-4
  8. "Herodotus, The Histories, Book 6, chapter 100, section 1". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 2017-10-03.