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Lecture

HERODOTUS OUTLINE.docx

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Department
Classics
Course Code
CLAS 430
Professor
blondell

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Classics 210: Greek & Roman Classics in English 10/19 Herodotus’ Histories 1. Preface  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 explanations. 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 customs. 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 (democracy)  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 most worthy
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