Herodotus And His Contribution To The Writing Of Greek History In The 5th Century

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Herodotus and His Contribution to the Writing of Greek History in the 5th Century

Herodotus and His Contribution to the Writing of Greek History in the 5th Century


Herodotus was a Greek historian from Halicarnassus. With his one great work, which he called, his “research” (in Greek, historia), he both established the discipline of history and composed the first substantial European prose work. He was recognized in antiquity as both the “father of history” and as the teller of “innumerable fictions”. His exact dates of birth and death are not known; the best evidence is the latest event he mentions, which occurred in the winter of 430-429 BC. Some inferences can be made about his life from references in his history to places he visited, but further biographical details are speculative, including the late story that he was exiled and was one of the colonists of Thurii.

Herodotus' main subject is the Persian Wars, invasions of the Greek mainland in 490 and 480-479 BCE. His work contains numerous digressions into earlier history, especially the hostility between Greeks and barbarians (non-Greeks) and the rise of the Persian Empire, which are neatly woven into the narrative structure through a form of ring composition. His research favors eyewitness reports—he makes a point of distinguishing what he saw himself from what he ascertained from witnesses. He appears to have traveled widely in Asia Minor, Egypt, and the Greek mainland, and he reports local traditions and wonders, taking an interest in ethnology, anthropology, geography, and geology, but above all in the great achievements of people, Greek and non-Greek. In reporting what he has heard, Herodotus does not restrict himself to what he believes. In his narrative, he likes to dramatize events, with both public and private scenes recreated for the reader. While his reliability as a historian has long been questioned, it has been shown that in developing the genre of history Herodotus used traditional storytelling techniques passed on from the oral traditions which he drew upon.

Although he was a part of the Greek intellectual enlightenment of the second half of the fifth century, Herodotus retained a belief in the importance of traditional customs and law (nomos). He addresses the issue of causation in a sophisticated way. While repeating traditional motifs of revenge and reciprocity on human and divine levels, he takes up the idea of hybris: Mortals go beyond the limits set for human greatness and so are destroyed. In addition, he recognized imperialism as a dynamic force that drove the Persian Empire to keep expanding.

Thesis Statement

Herodotus has played the most significant role in portraying Greek history in the 5th century.



Historiography is the science dedicated to studying and analyzing how it has given, over time, record of historical facts by man. Historiography could be understood as the science that story about how man has made ??history over time, especially if you consider that the methods, forms, objects of study and interest in every age have varied and space.

Ancient Historiography

Before the beginning of a story in today's sense of ...
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