Herodotus the Writer

Topics: Battle of Thermopylae, Sparta, Olympic Games Pages: 4 (1312 words) Published: May 21, 2013
Research Project
Caitlin Beaumont
Passage 2

Herodotus: The Writer and Historian

Herodotus the writer, from the later fifth century, is considered to be one of the first ancient scholars who had invented historiography. He was a known traveller, who journeyed to many different places such as Egypt and Babylon and Greece and he is most famous for his tremendously systematised work and astonishing literary excellence. What is most intriguing about Herodotus is his reputation of being “the father of lies”. He is well known for picking up material from ‘spies’, which he moulds into an intelligible story. Herodotus frequently ‘spoke’ his stories and performed them to the people; therefore, we can accuse Herodotus for building up his anecdotes by constructing them to be more stimulating and pleasurable for his audience.(Ryan, 2013). This is an important aspect when regarding the passage 1.59 from ‘Herodotus Histories’ (Herodotus, 2008). The recount describes the ‘extraordinary’ event of the meat and water boiling over and the forewarning from Chilon of Lacedaemonian to Hippocrates (the father to the famous tyrant ‘Peisistratus’), who advised him to never have a child or if he already has one, to disown him immediately. This chronicle comes across as slightly inaccurate and bias; as he seems to portray his hatred for tyrants and love for a good performance, rather then report an exact historical recount of these events.

“Once when Hippocrates was a Spectator at the Olympic Games” The first line of the passage mentions a time frame and the Greek, Hippocrates. Herodotus states, that the forewarning and the boiling over of the pots happened whilst Hippocrates was at an Olympic games, however, Herodotus fails to precisely note which games this was, which in history is always a commonly recorded date. Thus, we could argue that this recount may have been nothing more then a conversation between the two men (as he fails to prove to us what time...
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