Herodotus (485 BC? - c. 420 BC?)

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Biographical note

Herodotus of Halicarnassus was a Greek historian of the 5th century BC. He wrote a history of the Persian invasion of Greece in the early fifth century B.C., known simply as The Histories of Herodotus. This work was recognized as a new form of literature soon after its publication. Before Herodotus, there had been chronicles and epics, and they too had preserved knowledge of the past. But Herodotus was the first not only to record the past but also to treat it as a philosophical problem, or research project, that could yield knowledge of human behavior. His invention earned him the title "The Father of History".

Published between 430 and 424 B.C., the Histories was divided by later editors into nine books, named after the Muses. The first six books deal with the growth of the Persian Empire. They begin with an account of the first Asian monarch to conquer Greek city-states and exact tribute, Croesus of Lydia. Croesus lost his kingdom to Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire. The first six books end with the defeat of the Persians in 490 B.C. at the Battle of Marathon, which was the first setback to their imperial progress. The last three books of the Histories describe the attempt of the Persian king Xerxes ten years later to avenge the Persian defeat at Marathon and absorb Greece into the Persian Empire. The Histories ends with the year 479 B.C., when the Persian invaders were wiped out at the Battle of Plataea and the frontier of the Persian Empire receded to the Aegean coastline of Asia Minor.

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