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4 replies to Rad Geek Reader Questions: Herodotus of Halicarnassus Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Rad Geek

    For reference: Herodotus is the author of the Histories, our chief ancient source on the Persian Wars from the Ionian Revolt through to the battle of Plataea. He grew up speaking Doric Greek and wrote his work in Ionic Greek, and was widely known and read throughout the Hellenic and Hellenistic Greek-speaking world. He clearly thought of himself as a Hellene and it’s not hard to see the sympathies of the Histories as largely on the side of the Athenians and the Hellenic League — although his view toward the Persian Empire is actually pretty complex and he explicitly lays the entire blame for the war on the Athenian intervention in the Ionian Revolt and their participation in the burning of Sardis.

    Herodotus was from Halicarnassus, an Ionian colony in western Anatolia, which was located roughly where modern Bodrum is in the far southwestern part of the modern-day Republic of Turkey. He was born around 484 BCE, and so was a child in Halicarnassus when Xerxes led the invasion of Hellas; later his family moved to Samos. As such he, like all the other Dorians and Ionians in western Anatolia, was a subject of the Persian Shah at the time of the invasion, and, at least according to Herodotus’s own account, Ionian forces from Halicarnassus (e.g. the naval contingent led by Artemisia) were prominent among the Imperial forces invading Hellas. Herodotus later moved to Periclean-era Athens, which seems to be where he first published his Histories.

    You will no doubt point out that there was no such country as Turkey in ca. 484-ca. 425 BCE, and you’d be right about that. On the other hand, I’d point out that, at the time, there also was no such country as Greece.

  2. James Smith

    Fascinating. Teaching a symposium on ancient world history to advanced students and shared this with them. Their response: “Sure, but mostly I like the part where he slow-motion kicks the guy in the well.”

    Still have a ways to go.


    • Rad Geek

      I … strongly dislike that movie.

      Anyway, you’re welcome; thanks for the kind words! Other than bad taste in film, how is the symposium going?

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