Persian Wars (490; 480/79 BCE) Greece VS Persia
Herodotus (ca. 485-425 BCE)
Herodotus descended from aristocratic background from
Halicarnassus (composed of Dorians, Ionians, Carians)
a. Panyassis: epic poet from Halicarnassus
b. In trouble with Lygamis (ruler.) Herodotus exiled to Samos.
c. Colonized Thurii
Lived in Asia Minor, Athens, Southern Italy. Traveled to Egypt, etc.
Significant b/c unlike other playwrights he was not born & bred as
Father of HistorstVS Father of Lies
Cicero was 1 to call Herodotus the Father of Lies, pater historiae
Aims at truth unlike poetry which aims for pleasure. Stated that
Herodotus blend was good blend of history & poetry.
Plutarch calls Herodotus a liar in “On the Malice of Herodotus”
stated he was a Barbarian lover who hated the Greeks.
o Herodotus himself says “my business is to record what people
say, but I am by no means bound to believe it – and that may
be taken to apply to this book as a whole”
Historiê = originated from Ionian philosophers. Herodotus recorded
what he saw and what he heard. Information gained through sight
is most trustworthy. But sometimes you must go on what you hear.
a. He exercises judgment on information (locals give most
trustworthy account) Weighting of different accounts, will tell
us what is more probable.
Influences on Herodotus: influenced his prose
1. Hecataeus of Miletus
a. Travels Around the World
b. Genealogies – rationalized Greek myths)
a. Especially Iliad
b. frames Persian War like Trojan War
c. Epic scale much like Homer’s
3. Lyrics poetry
a. Glorious death of citizen soldier
Preface – “Herodotus of Halicarnassus, his Researches are here set
down to preserve the memory of the past by putting on record the astonishing achievements both of our own and of other peoples;
and more particularly, to show how they came into conflict”
Professor’s translation: “This is the display of historiê of Herodotus
of Halicarnassues, in order that the deeds of men not fade in time,
and that the great and wondrous achievements, displayed both by
Greeks and by barbarians, not become lacking in kleos (aklea), and
especially for what reason (aitiê) they came to war against each
a. preservation of historical record – guarantee facts of Persian
War not fade in time
b. glorification of great deeds – deeds of men not because
lacking in “kleos”
c. Greeks AND Barbarians performed great deeds.
WEST: Greeks. EAST: Phoenicians/Trojans.
1. Phoenicians steal Io
2. Greeks steal Europa
3. Greeks steal Medea
4. 4. Paris steals Helen
o devoid of gods. Deeds of men. Herodotus rejects divine
explanations when he can propose rational human
Solon traveling around world. He stops in Sardis where Cresis lived.
Cresis extremely wealthy. Asks Solon who the happiest man in the
world is. Solon names Tellus, a man from Athens (not particularly
famous. Not a politician, anything important.) Many
sons/grandchildren. Tellus died fighting on behalf of his city;
glorious death on Battlefield. Buried on battlefield (a gndat honor.)
Unhappy with Solon’s answer, Cresis asks about the 2 happiest
man. Solon tells story of Celobis & Bito. Festival in honor of Hera.
Carried mother to festival. Moth