Herodotus Facts

Herodotus Facts
Herodotus was a fifth century BC Greek historian who is best known for his history about the Greek-Persian Wars, The Histories. His work is the oldest extant piece of narrative history and is believed to have been one of the primary influences of the Greek historiographical tradition, which is where the Western historiographical tradition is derived. Herodotus believed that historical writing should teach the reader about ethics, morals, and values in general, which is why instead of merely just going into a straight chronology of the Greek-Persian Wars he wrote several biographical digressions and tangents about important people and events that were not necessarily directly related to the primary subject. His use of oral history as primary source material has been used extensively by modern historians when there are a lack of written sources. Herodotus was born around the year 490 BC in the city of Halicarnassus to Lyxes and Dryo in Greek Ionia (the modern day Aegean coast of Turkey), which was part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire at the time. He was probably from an influential family, which gave him the time, resources, and political ability to the Greek city-states, Egypt, and around the Black Sea.
Interesting Herodotus Facts:
Although Herodotus was certainly not the world's first historian, nor the first Greek historian, his extant work earned him the sobriquet in the modern world as "the father of history."
Herodotus only knew how to speak, read, and write Greek, which meant that some of his passages were factually incorrect due to translation problems.
Most of Book II of The Histories concerns ancient Egyptian history.
Generally speaking, events and personalities that Herodotus wrote about that were closer to his century were much more accurate accounts than those further back in time.
Herodotus probably recited his book for crowds as most historians of the period did.
Although most of The Histories was based on Herodotus' personal observations and oral sources, he also probably consulted earlier histories that were still extant during his life. Some of the earlier historians Herodotus may have consulted were Hecataeus of Miletus, Dionysius of Miletus, and Hallanicus of Lesbos.
One theory is that Herodotus approached the Thebans and Corinthians to fund his work, but they turned him down so he wrote disparagingly of their city-states.
While he was in Athens, Herodotus may have befriended the legendary playwright, Sophocles.
Herodotus claimed to have traveled as far south as Elephantine at the first cataract in Egypt and as far north as the Black Sea, where he researched the Scythians.
Keeping with his theme that history should be edifying, Herodotus relates several incidents where people who commit evil deeds are repaid for them at a later date.
In Book I, the Lydian King Croesus (ca. 595-546 BC) is used as an example of how excessive pride, hubris, can lead to one's downfall.
It is believed Herodotus died around the year 425 BC either in Macedonia or Thurii in southern Italy.


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