Text #9120"Herodotus", in .
Herodotus, a contemporary of Socrates, was a Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria (modern-day Bodrum, Turkey) and lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484–425 BC). Widely referred to as “The Father of History” (first conferred by Cicero), he was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation: specifically by collecting his materials systematically and critically, and then to arrange them into a historiographic narrative. The Histories—the only work he is known to have produced—is a record of his “inquiry” (or ἱστορία historía, a word that passed into Latin and acquired its modern meaning of “history”), being an investigation of the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars and including a wealth of geographical and ethnographical information. Although some of his stories were fanciful and others inaccurate, he states he was reporting only what was told to him and was often correct in his information. Despite Herodotus’ historical significance, little is known of his personal history.
Today, The Histories is generally regarded as a masterpiece of non-fiction.
While The Histories were occasionally criticized in antiquity, modern historians and philosophers generally take a positive view. Despite the controversy, Herodotus still serves as the primary, and often only, source for events in the Greek world, Persian Empire, and the region generally in the two centuries leading up until his own day. Herodotus, like many ancient historians, preferred an element of show to purely analytic history, aiming to give pleasure with “exciting events, great dramas, bizarre exotica.” […]
Discoveries made since the end of the 19th century have generally added to his credibility. His description of Gelonus, located in Scythia, as a city thousands of times larger than Troy was widely disbelieved until it was rediscovered in 1975. The archaeological study of the now-submerged ancient Egyptian city of Heracleion and the recovery of the so-called “Naucratis stela” give credibility to Herodotus’s previously unsupported claim that Heracleion was founded during the Egyptian New Kingdom.
Momigliano, Arnaldo (1990). The classical foundations of modern historiography. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.
Thomas, Rosalind (2000). Herodotus in context: ethnography, science and the art of persuasion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Marozzi, Justin (2008). The way of Herodotus: travels with the man who invented history. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.