Herodotus Sections 1.94 - 216

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13 Feb 2011
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CLA232 Greeks and BarbariansWednesday February 2nd 2011
Herodotus 1.94 - 216
๎€One of the forms of alterity the Greeks used to define themselves
๎€Weโ€™ve already seen it wasnโ€™t as black and white as we may have thought (everything
about the Greeks must be good and everything about the barbarians MUST be bad)
but there were many gray areas
๎€Solon and Croesus represent different and competing values the Greek definition of
happiness vs. the Asian definition of happiness (the Asians thinking it means power
and wealth, Greeks think it means a glorious death, virtue, honouring the gods)
๎€This cultural difference will become both the cause of the war and the stakes in the
war (what weโ€™re fighting for is the Greek definition)
๎€Complex interdependence between Croesus and Solon (when he is about to be
burned he finally understands Solonโ€™s wisdom, so Croesus learns through Solon and
we learn through Croesus)
๎€Today we will look more in depth at Herodotus and the relationship between cultural
difference and cultural conflict
๎€He balances cultural difference and conflict
๎€Books 1 โ€“ 4 are largely ethnography Books 5 โ€“ 9 are largely descriptions of the war,
but both sections are completely dependent on each other
๎€The story of ethnography leads up to the war
๎€How culture causes war, etc.
๎€Intertwining of cultural difference and cultural conflict
๎€Subtly of Herodotusโ€™ description of the barbarian and โ€˜otherโ€™
๎€There isnโ€™t just a xenophobic Greek perspective of the barbarians, but attempts to
see the Persians through Persian eyes and even to see the Greeks through Persian
eyes
Herodotus
๎€In the Archaic period, there was much interaction between Persia and Greece ,and
the Greeks borrowed a lot from Persian culture
๎€In this period, the rich and elite of Greece looked to Persia for their model (like the
early history of NA, modeling their culture after Europe)
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CLA232 Greeks and BarbariansWednesday February 2nd 2011
Herodotus 1.94 - 216
๎€The Greek elite dressed like Persians, borrowed cultural practices like symposium
๎€So, there is a lot of overlap between Persia and Greece at this time
๎€After the Persian wars, however, the Persians came to represent the non-Greeks, and
they abandon any similarities to the Persians
๎€So they go from a period of cultural similarity to a period of cultural differentiation
๎€It was after the Persian Wars that the idea of Asians as effeminateโ€ฆ example:
Eurymedon Vase
๎€Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus, the southern coast of Turkey (Greek
colonized)
๎€Cyrus takes over these colonies in the 6th century
๎€In 499 BC, the Ionians revolt, and sparks the start of the Persian War
๎€Ionia as a place had a lot of cultural mixing
๎€They were Greek speaking people living on the coast of Asia, ruled by an Asian king
๎€So, while Herodotus is Greek and gives us a Greek perspective, he also has an
insiderโ€™s view of Asia
๎€Furthermore, Herodotus seems to have travelled to many of the places he writes
about
๎€Historie is to view and see
๎€Greece is always Herodotusโ€™ standard, talks about foreign places from the Greek
standard, and how they differ from Greece
๎€Almost seems non-judgemental though (example: when Cyrus chooses to burn 12
Lydian boys with Croesus, instead of saying โ€œThat horrifying barbarianโ€ he tries to
understand it and proposes that Cyrus possibly pledged them to a god)
๎€Herodotusโ€™ motto is: Custom is king. Becomes Herodotusโ€™ working method, assumes
that all cultures respect their own customs more than others
๎€He thus tries to get multiple perspectives on events, because if everyoneโ€™s cultural
perspectives are different, theyโ€™ll have different perspectives
๎€He does see the barbarian through Greek eyes (custom is king, so he sees them
through his own custom) but he also tries to see the Greeks through Persian eyes
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Document Summary

one of the forms of alterity the greeks used to define themselves. we"ve already seen it wasn"t as black and white as we may have thought (everything about the greeks must be good and everything about the barbarians must be bad) but there were many gray areas. solon and croesus represent different and competing values the greek definition of happiness vs. the asian definition of happiness (the asians thinking it means power and wealth, greeks think it means a glorious death, virtue, honouring the gods) This cultural difference will become both the cause of the war and the stakes in the war (what we"re fighting for is the greek definition) complex interdependence between croesus and solon (when he is about to be burned he finally understands solon"s wisdom, so croesus learns through solon and we learn through croesus) Today we will look more in depth at herodotus and the relationship between cultural difference and cultural conflict.

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