Herodotus Historical Analysis

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Course: Great Books Student: Ivona Martiovska Mentor: Giovanni Savino Title: Herodotus as a historian Characters (with spaces): Around the year 425 B.C., the writer and geographer Herodotus published a very significant piece of writing: a long account of the Greco-Persian Wars. He named his book The Histories. This was the first time for a writer to make a systematic, thorough study of the past; it was the first time that someone tried to examine the cause-and-effect of historical events. After Herodotus, historical analysis became an inseparable part of intellectual, political, and social life. In order to understand the historical side of Herodotus’ work. Through this essay, I will try to detect and discuss the nature of history writing…show more content…
Another important implication of historical writings is the reliability of sources. Herodotus apparently has traveled a lot, and was recording his observations along his way. He describes the embalming rituals of Egypt, the sacrificial customs of the Scythians, and the organization of the Persian Empire. Certain scholars believe that Herodotus sailed as a merchant seaman, which ultimately provided him with the opportunity to visit a great portion of geographical area. However though, other scholars believe in the possibility that he actually did not travel so extensively but rather took information from earlier writers and claimed to have gathered the information himself At times, Herodotus admits that he gained some of his information from unreliable sources, such as the Peloponnesian tale of Anacharsis and the Scythian king . Herodotus tells that Anacharsis had been sent by the king of Scythia to learn Greek ways. Herodotus refers to the story as “pointless,” reminding the reader that he had previously explained that Anacharsis had dead. It is certainly possible that Herodotus told this story as it actually happened or as he heard it from other sources, but it is also possible that he contrived the tale to shed light on Scythian politics and the Scythian opinion of the Greeks. However it is, this story has cultural value to modern-day historians. Some of what Herodotus refers to is certainly verifiable, and therefore credible, based on existing archaeological discoveries. An example of this type is the location of battlefields mentioned by Herodotus. Many of these battlefields were found and investigated by a team of researchers in the early 1900s and are listed in Johannes Kromayer and Georg Veith’s Battle Atlas of Ancient Military History . By providing detailed descriptions of the geography of the various battles in the Histories, Herodotus has helped historians preserve what otherwise would have been lost to modern agriculture, roads, and
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