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Lecture

Herodotus Book 1 1-93

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA232H1
Professor
Victoria Wohl
Semester
Winter

Description
January 30 , 2012 Herodotus—Histories Vocabulary: Barbaroi— Persians, or anyone from Asian continent, think the only sound their language makes is “barbarbar” Genos—race Hellespont Ionians • Didn’t see difference in other races as a matter of skin colour but rather it was more cultural, depending on values, customs, etc. o Blacks Ethiopia, darker men in Egypt etc. Didn’t find important o Asia was like Greece in the beginning, an area made up of different Polis, Lydia a Polis o Symposium the defining feature of Athenians was borrowed from Lydians Persian Wars 490-480BCE • Turning point with Greeks and Persians, balance of power • Trojans located on continent of Asia • Trojans and Persians at war, but are similar cultures • Trojans humanized in poem, Herodotus sympathetic to Trojans • Trojan people with own goals, not there as antithesis of Greeks • Barbarians shown as negative of Greeks • Shift of imagining other to thinking of them as negative inversion, shift comes with Persian wars • Persia invaded Greece with huge force, two battles, Greeks won • Greeks beat huge empire, Greece dominant force in Mediterranean after, they unit, feel superiority military strength • Thought they won because they were more pious and gods favoured them Herodotus • Key figure • First paragraph, sharing the contact and conflict the Greeks had with the others, describes achievement of both sides Original conflict? • Goes back to Trojan wars, Kidnapping of women, Greeks retaliate with more women snatching until Helen taken from Greeks • Why would Herodotus start with this? o First major war with east and west o Illiads importance is like the bible o Herodotus comparing himself to homer o Women snatching is an attack on honour o Whole war was about honour o Marriage and loves binds two cultures, stealing a woman divides them o The women taken were all mythical figures o Herodotus uses them as a starting point, known as the father of history and lies o No clear dividing line with what is myth or history • Herodotus shows whole culture through individuals • Cultural differences represented through different versions of the story and cultures and perspectives—ex Phoenician, Persian, different within each side, Herodotus neutral representation • Variety of different accounts • Starts with the woman snatching as reason for Persian greek conflict, then rejects it • What does he think the real origin is? Where does he start? o Croesus king of Lydia, first contact from foreigner with Greeks, 2 generations before Persian wars, real historical figure, wasn’t Persian but Lydian • Why start there? o First contact with foreigner and conquest, positive and negative interaction o Contact with Solon reveals differences between both Greeks and Persians o Metaphor for cultural differences o Connected through Cyrus, both Croesus and Solon were from areas that were victims of Persian aggression • Solon o With Solon, Croesus is the other, but Cyrus Croesus is sympathised for as similar to greek o Solon comes to sardis, capital of Lydia o He was the law maker of Greece, leading to their democracy o 590’s he was the ruler, democracy came about in 510 o He was a founding father like George Washington is to the united states o Greece represented by law maker, not tyrant or war hero o Greeks think they’re lawful, its what they value, they are subject to no king but to law o Solon made Athenians swear they wouldn’t change his laws for 10 years after he made them, took off and left Athens so people wouldn’t be begging him to change them, thats how he ended up in Sardis o Use of Solon as representative of Greek culture to show how much Greeks value law • Hospitality—xenia o Solon visits Croesus—who entertains him, and is hospitable— relationship with guest and host is a central virtue o Paris was a bad guest, steals the hosts wife Helen, Greeks describe Trojan war as breaking the laws of xenia o Xenia is a model for positive
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