Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction

Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction

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Herodotus has come to be respected by most scholars as a responsible and important historian. Herodotus was both a critical thinker and a lively storyteller, a traveller who was both tourist and anthropologist. Like Homer, he set out to memorialize great deeds in words; more narrowly, he determined to discover the causes of the wars between Greece and Persia and to explain them to his fellow Greeks.

In his hands, the Greeks' unforeseeable defeat of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes, with their vast hosts, made for fascinating storytelling. Influenced by the work of the natural scientists and philosophers of his own and earlier eras, Herodotus also brought his literary talents to bear on a vast, unruly mass of information gathered from many interviews throughout his travels and left behind him the longest work that had ever been written in Greek - the first work of history, and one which
continues to be read with enjoyment today.

Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction introduces readers to what little is known of Herodotus's life and goes on to discuss all aspects of his work, including his fascination with his origins; his travels; his view of the world in relation to boundaries and their transgressions; and his interest in seeing the world and learning about non-Greek civilizations. We also explore the recurring themes of his work, his beliefs in dreams, oracles, and omens, the prominence of women in his work,
and his account of the battles of the Persian Wars.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 144 pages
  • 111 x 170 x 9mm | 122g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • c. 15 black and white halftones
  • 0199575991
  • 9780199575992
  • 93,038

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. The world of Herodotus ; 2. Origins and the historian ; 3. Greeks and Persians at war ; 4. Herodotus as Ethnographer ; 5. Women in history, women in the histories ; 6. Herodotus and the divine ; 7. Herodotus as storyteller ; 8. Herodotus as historian
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Review quote

"Built on a vast but unobtrusive bedrock of fine scholarship, its research up-to-date, its judgments and interpretations well-balanced, its obvious affection for its subject never getting in the way of a necessary correction, its tone as amused, ironic, and humane as Herodotus's own, this little volume is as near-perfect an introduction to the Father of History as one could hope for: the general readers for whom it is intended can count themselves lucky, and -- experto credite -- scholars may learn a thing or two from it as well. -- Peter Green, The New Republic
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About Jennifer Tolbert Roberts

Jennifer Roberts was educated at Yale and has taught since 1992 at the City University of New York, where she directs the doctoral program in Ancient History at the Graduate Center. She has published widely in the field of Greek history and historiography and has particular interests in ancient and modern democracy, Herodotus, Thucydides, and ancient warfare. She is particularly concerned with the history of attitudes towards social justice and its manifestations in
government and law.
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Rating details

108 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 19% (20)
4 36% (39)
3 37% (40)
2 8% (9)
1 0% (0)
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