Topics In Greek History (Topics In History Book 2)

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Steiner, Wells, J. Joseph , Studies in Herodotus, Freeport, N. Wood, Henry, The histories of Herodotus. An analysis of the formal structure , The Hague, Mouton, Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. November 9, Retrieved November 09, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Known as the "Father of History," Herodotus c. Herodotus traveled widely in that empire and in Greece. Eventually, exiled from Halicarnassus, and having spent some years in Athens where he gave regular readings of his work , he joined the new colony of Thurii in southern Italy, where he died.

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Herodotus is the author of the earliest surviving work of history and one of the masterpieces of Greek literature. It is owing to him that the word "history" came to mean what it does: he introduces his book as "the inquiries historiai of Herodotus of Halicarnassus. His purpose was to explore the interaction, peaceful and warlike, between Europe particularly Greece and Asia particularly the Persian Empire.


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Some of his best stories are of kings, but he takes just as much interest in the adventures of differently privileged people — physicians, athletes, merchants, priests, and cooks. Books 1 and 3 include much information on Babylonia , Lydia, and other Persian provinces. Book 4 includes a survey of the peoples of Scythia the Russian steppes. One of the means by which Herodotus characterizes peoples is through their food behavior.

His descriptions of the Egyptians, Persians, and other highly civilized peoples among whom he had lived are far more nuanced than those of "barbarian" peoples, most of whom he knew only by hearsay.

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The underlying message to his audience is different in the two cases. He was rightly impressed by the long history of civilization in Egypt and Babylonia and by the efficiency of the Persians: he seems to encourage the reflection that the lifestyle of these peoples is logical in its own terms, sometimes more logical than that of the Greeks, and may have been instrumental in their successes.

Barbarian tribes, by contrast, are shown as making stranger and stranger food choices as they recede farther and farther towards the edge of the world, from agriculturalists to pastoral nomads to cannibals. A structural anthropologist before the term was invented, Herodotus is not one to waste a promising structure. He asserts, and it is likely enough, that if the Persians took a decision while drunk, they made a rule to reconsider it when sober. Herodotus is preeminent as a historian of the conflict of cultures.

Throughout his work, food behavior is often the focus for sensitive and striking portrayals of culture clash. When Persian ambassadors visited the king of Macedonia , their stupidity in demanding the company of women at dinner, in conflict with local custom, was justly rewarded: the "women" who entered the dining hall were young men in disguise, armed with daggers, and the ambassadors were never heard of again Histories , book 5, sections 18 — Berkeley: University of California Press, The Histories.

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Translated by Aubrey de Selincourt. Baltimore and Harmondsworth: Penguin, Thomas, Rosalind. Cambridge, U. Dalby, Andrew " Herodotus. Dalby, Andrew "Herodotus. Acute Observer. Born in the cosmopolitan city of Halicarnassus on the Carian coast of what is now Turkey, Herodotus left for Samos due to political trouble and may not have returned.

He was an inveterate traveller, visiting Egypt, Babylon and Thrace, and was always interested in recording foreign customs and beliefs. He visited Athens and seems to have been well received there: Sophocles wrote a poem for him, and his work left its impact on contemporary drama, both tragic and comic. Often he will not give his opinion on a question, but will record what accounts different sources give: in this respect he differs markedly from his successor Thucydides, but precisely for this reason his writing can be a more useful and transparent source for further investigation than that of the more scientific historian.

The digressionary style of the narrative, which is constantly interrupted by entertaining anecdotes, is shown at its most extreme in his long discussion of Egypt in book 2, most of which is at best of tangential relevance to its supposed motivation, the Persian invasion of that country.

Furthermore, although he delights in telling of military stratagems, he took no part in the battles he describes and shows no real understanding of warfare—again a contrast with Thucydides. Never afraid to step out of his own field of expertise, he seems to have been occasionally taken in by his guides and informants, and the impression of naivete this leaves is reinforced by a faith in religious phenomena, such as clearly manipulated oracles, which often seems to modern readers and must have seemed to some of his contemporaries simple-minded. However, his achievement is impressive when one sees his religious views woven into the whole of his narrative, as for instance when the defeat of the Persian forces is presented as part of a coherent pattern of divine punishment for arrogance.

Gould, Herodotus New York : St. BC, Greek historian, called the Father of History, b. Halicarnassus, Asia Minor. Only scant knowledge of his life can be gleaned from his writings and from references to him by later writings, notably the Suda. He traveled along the coast of Asia Minor to the northern islands and to the shore of the Black Sea ; he also at some time visited Mesopotamia, Babylon, and Egypt.

Thus, motion seems absurd. Anaxagoras of Clazomenae c. Closely predating Plato Anaxagoras died around the time that Plato was born , Anaxagoras left his impression upon Plato and Aristotle, although they were both ultimately dissatisfied with his cosmology Graham He seems to have been almost exclusively concerned with cosmology and the true nature of all that is around us. Before the cosmos was as it is now, it was nothing but a great mixture—everything was in everything. The mixture was so thoroughgoing that no part of it was recognizable due to the smallness of each thing, and not even colors were perceptible.

He considered matter to be infinitely divisible. That is, because it is impossible for being not to be, there is never a smallest part, but there is always a smaller part. If the parts of the great mixture were not infinitely divisible, then we would be left with a smallest part. Since the smallest part could not become smaller, any attempt at dividing it again would presumably obliterate it. The most important player in this continuous play of being is mind nous.

Although mind can be in some things, nothing else can be in it—mind is unmixed. We recall that, for Anaxagoras, everything is mixed with everything.

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There is some portion of everything in anything that we identify. Thus, if anything at all were mixed with mind, then everything would be mixed with mind. Mind is in control, and it is responsible for the great mixture of being. Everlasting mind—the most pure of all things—is responsible for ordering the world. Anaxagoras left his mark on the thought of both Plato and Aristotle, whose critiques of Anaxagoras are similar.

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He was most excited about mind as an ultimate cause of all. Yet, Socrates complains, Anaxagoras made very little use of mind to explain what was best for each of the heavenly bodies in their motions, or the good of anything else. That is, Socrates seems to have wanted some explanation as to why it is good for all things to be as they are Graham Aristotle, too, complains that Anaxagoras makes only minimal use of his principle of mind. It becomes, as it were, a deus ex machina, that is, whenever Anaxagoras was unable to give any other explanation for the cause of a given event, he fell back upon mind Graham It is possible, as always, that both Plato and Aristotle resort here to a straw man of sorts in order to advance their own positions.

Indeed, we have seen that Mind set the great mixture into motion, and then ordered the cosmos as we know it. This is no insignificant feat. Ancient atomism began a legacy in philosophical and scientific thought, and this legacy was revived and significantly evolved in modern philosophy. In contemporary times, the atom is not the smallest particle. Etymologically, however, atomos is that which is uncut or indivisible.

The ancient atomists, Leucippus and Democritus c. They were to some degree responding to Parmenides and Zeno by indicating atoms as indivisible sources of motion. Atoms—the most compact and the only indivisible bodies in nature—are infinite in number, and they constantly move through an infinite void. In fact, motion would be impossible, says Democritus, without the void. If there were no void, the atoms would have nothing through which to move.

Atoms take on a variety, perhaps an infinite variety, of shapes. Some are round, others are hooked, and yet others are jagged. They often collide with one another, and often bounce off of one another. Sometimes, though, the shapes of the colliding atoms are amenable to one another, and they come together to form the matter that we identify as the sensible world F5. This combination, too, would be impossible without the void.

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Atoms need a background emptiness out of which they are able to combine Graham Atoms then stay together until some larger environmental force breaks them apart, at which point they resume their constant motion F5. Why certain atoms come together to form a world seems up to chance, and yet many worlds have been, are, and will be formed by atomic collision and coalescence Graham Once a world is formed, however, all things happen by necessity—the causal laws of nature dictate the course of the natural world Graham Much of what is transmitted to us about the Sophists comes from Plato.

Thus, the Sophists had no small influence on fifth century Greece and Greek thought. Broadly, the Sophists were a group of itinerant teachers who charged fees to teach on a variety of subjects, with rhetoric as the preeminent subject in their curriculum.


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A common characteristic among many, but perhaps not all, Sophists seems to have been an emphasis upon arguing for each of the opposing sides of a case. Thus, these argumentative and rhetorical skills could be useful in law courts and political contexts. However, these sorts of skills also tended to earn many Sophists their reputation as moral and epistemological relativists, which for some was tantamount to intellectual fraud.

One of the earliest and most famous Sophists was Protagoras c. Plato, at least for the purposes of the Protagoras , reads individual relativism out of this statement. For example, if the pool of water feels cold to Henry, then it is in fact cold for Henry, while it might appear warm, and therefore be warm for Jennifer.