Herodotus

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Herodotus (Greek: Ἡρόδοτος Hēródotos) was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the 5th century BC (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC). He has been called the "Father of History" since he was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a well-constructed and vivid narrative.[1] The Histories — his masterpiece and the only work he is known to have produced — is a record of his "inquiry" (or ἱστορία historía, a word that passed into Latin and took on its modern meaning of history), being an investigation of the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars and including a wealth of geographical and ethnographical information. Although some of his stories were not completely accurate, he claimed that he was reporting only what had been told to him. Little is known of his personal history since ancient records are scanty, contradictory and often fanciful.

Contents

The Histories

The Histories, otherwise known as The Researches or The Inquiries, were divided by Alexandrian editors into nine books, named after the nine Muses - the "Muse of History," Clio, representing the first book, followed by Euterpe, Thaleia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope for books 2-9 respectively.[2] At its simplest and broadest level of meaning, The Histories is structured as a dynastic history of four Persian kings:

  • Cyrus, 557-530 BC: Book 1;
  • Cambyses, 530-522 BC: Book 2 and part of Book 3;
  • Darius, 521-486 BC: the rest of Book 3 then Books 4,5,6;
  • Xerxes, 486-479 BC: Books 7, 8, 9.

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