Classics 210: Greek & Roman Classics in English 10/19
He writes the histories to preserve historical record – guarantee facts of Persian
War; let them not fade in time AND to glorify the great deeds of both the Greeks &
Barbarians. Herodotus shows how they came into conflict.
o Phoenicians steal Io
o Greeks steal Eropa
o Greeks steal Medea
o Paris steals Helen
Herodotus explains that he is not passing judgment. He prefers to rely on his own
knowledge – “pay attention to both alike” shows he has no bias.
o He rejects divine explanations when he can propose rational human
2. 1. 29-33 (Solon & Croesus)
Solon traveled various places – went to Egypt to the court of Amasis, landed at a
visit to Croesus at Sardis – stayed at his royal palace.
Croesus has his servants show Solon all his treasures and luxurious belongings to
show “their greatness and magnificence”
Croesus then asks Solon from all of the men that he has seen from his knowledge of
travels, who is the happiest of all men.
o 1. Tellus of Athens: country flourished in his days. Had sons that were
physically beautiful/noble who produced grandchildren. Died in honor on
the battlefield fighting for his city.
o 2. Cleobis & Bito: gained prizes for their strength. The two men carried their
mother to a festival for the goddess Juno. Mother wanted her 2 sons to be
honored and asked the goddess to bestow the highest blessing a mortal could
attain. They went into the temple to offer sacrifices, fell asleep, and died.
Statues of them were made.
Angry, Croesus asks why he was not chosen to which Solon replies that a man who
posses much wealth is no closer to happiness than a man who suffers for daily
needs. Instead, a “good life” consists of healthy relations with family and honor of
city. Only in death can someone be deemed happy.
Croesus rejects Solon’s opinion Croesus overthrown by the Persian Empire.
o Croesus thinks he can reject fate of the gods, rely on his own wealth & power.
Receives a tragic fate.
Herodotus writes to foreshadow the fall of Croesus Empire – teach a lesson.
Croesus is not Greek (Barbarian,) this section in the course pack shows contrast to
how Greeks VS Non-Greeks felt.
3. 2. 80-86 (customs of the Egyptians) How young men greet elders – RESPECT (i.e. young men step aside for elders, they
rise from their seats when elders arrive)
Type of clothing worn – linen tunic fringed around the legs “calasiris” with a white
woolen garment thrown on top. Woolen clothing cannot be taken into the temples
or buried with them as their religion forbids it.
Egyptians discovered what days of the month is sacred for each god
Discusses medicine/embalming (specialized)
Herodotus describes Egyptian cultures not as inferior to the Greek culture, but as
different. Wants to glorify all achievements of other cultures.
This section shows that Egyptians were not “Barbarians” like the Greeks had
previously thought. Their customs were deeply rooted in religious and traditional
4. 2. 124-125 (construction of the pyramids)
Detailed the impressive process of building pyramids.
o Build of polished stone.
o Covered with carvings of animals.
o Takes 10+ years to build the understructure. In all 20+ years to build.
o Each stone no less than 30 feet in length. 800 feet per side!
Same explanation as above “Herodotus describes Egyptian cultures not as inferior to
the Greek culture, but as different. Wants to glorify all achievements of other
cultures. This section shows that Egyptians were not “Barbarians” like the Greeks
had previously thought. Their customs were deeply rooted in religious and
traditional customs. “
5. 3. 80-86 (Constitutional debate, Persians decide on a king)
Convention to discuss about state of government that should be established.
Otanes states that no single man should rule over everyone as it leads to abuse of
power. This man will become an evil tyrant, leading with acts of “savage violence”
and setting aside rules of the land. Believed that power should be given to the public
Megabyzus advocates ruling of the few (oligarchy.) He agrees that 1 tyrant in power
is not the best advice, neither is ruling of everyone. Believed that the masses were
not intelligent enough to have power. He wants to choose a certain number of the