The work of Herodotos of Halikarnassos, ‘the father of history’, differs in many ways from that of modern historians, and it poses special problems to the student.
Herodotos’ history of the Persian Wars, written in the second half of the fifth century BC, was both the first attempt at a comprehensive history and the first lengthy prose narrative in the Western cultural tradition. There was an almost total lack of written historical evidence in Greece at the time, and the audiences who paid to hear Herodotos’ lectures also expected historical dramatizations, and enjoyed descriptive material and anecdotes that today would be relegated to notes.
In Herodotus the Historian, first published in 1985, K.H. Waters offers a comprehensive introduction to Herodotus’ background, aims, and methods. In a lively, informative style, this work offers a level-headed approach to an historian who has excited some extreme reactions and incited controversy among modern readers.
Table of Contents
Foreword; Abbreviations; ‘Life’ of Herodotus 1. Introduction 2. The Intellectual Background 3. The Education of a Historian 4. Selection of Subject-Matter 5. Structure of the History 6. The Herodotean Narrative 7. Sources of Information 8. Religious and Moral Attitudes 9. Herodotean Prejudices 10. The Importance of Individuals: Characterisation 11. Strengths and Weaknesses 12. The Writer and the Historian; Select Bibliography; Index