HEROD'OTUS (Lat., from Gk. 'llp63oros) I e.4s4-c.124 na..). A tfreek historian. Ile was the son of I.yxes and Waco or Dryo, and was born about .1S4 'Lc. at Halicarnassus. an origi nally Doric colony in Southwestern Asia at that time ruled by a Queen Artemisia under the sway of the Persians. Ills uncle. Panyasis, was au epic poet ; and it was perhaps through him that Ilerodotus acquired the emnprehensive ac quaint:imp with early Greek literature, especially poetry, which is so conspicuous in his writings. thisfamily was a prominent and tin' 'nude was put to death about the year 437 for conspir ing against the tyrant Lygdamis. I' eroded us went into exile, and is said to have made his temporary home in the island of Samos, an ally of Athens and imeinla-r of the., Confederacy of Deb.: or the Athenian Empire. Between the years 467 and 464 he is believed to have traveled extensively on the shores of the Black Sea, in 'Thrace. Scythia, Asia 1inem. and the Persian Empire. including Egypt. The precise extent, direetion, and starting-points of his travels are matters of inference from his writings and of controversy among scholars- Tie saw in Egypt the skulls lying nil lie field of a bat tle fought in .160. Ile. visited Scythia before the year 1.54. His travels in nreece, and possibly in Southern Italy, fall lintel' later. lIalicarnassus having risen against Lygdamis and joined the .Athenian Empire, Herndon's. according to one tradition a leader in the uprising, returned and resumed his eitizenship. lie was, however. soon attracted to .\thens. then, about 447. at the height. of the age of Pericles, the centre and focus of Ilellenie vulture. There, or, as a fanci ful later tradition has it. at Olympia. he gave 'author's readings' from his unfinished histories, and won the admiration of the greatest minds of Greece, the personal friendship of the poet Sepias.les. and, so the story goes, the more substan nal reward of ten talents voted by the people. A story relates that the boy Thileyel ides, present at one of these readings, burst into tears from stress of emulous emotion, and that the historian complimented the boy's father on this indication of a generous nature. In the year 414 Herodotus, with many other brilliant men, joined the colony which P•rieles was founding at Thitrii in Southern Italy. ills subsequent life is a blank. It was probably devoted to the (.0111 1)10 ion and the. final publieation of his history. An allusion to the Propyhta, or entrance to the Acropolis, is supposed to prove that he visited Athens so late as 430. Nothing in his histories implies that lie survived the year 42.4. Tradi tion placed his tomb at Thurii.
Herodotus was called the father of hislory by Cicero. This means, if anything, that he was the first to compose an artistic and dramatically unified history, although there were historians be fore him, the so-called log,ographers, or story-tell ers, who vontinued in prose the work of the garru lous later epic. (See 1.0000RAP11Eli.) The only one explicitly named by Ilerodolus is Ile-cat:I-us of .11iletus, who traveled in El...yid. is mentioned as a prominent adviser of the Ionians during the Joule revolt, and is thought by some critics to have been the source of much matter that lierodo tus gives out as his own. But Ilerodotus was the first to grasp firmly a great central international theme, and to work up, in due and artistic subor dination to it. a vast mass of legendary, local, an
tiquarian, geographical. and ethnological lore, derived partly from predecessors, hut widely sup plemented by his own travels and in1uicy (the' original meaning of history). This theme was the invasion of Greece by Xerxes. of which his boyhood had perhaps caught the last (Times in the tales told by his townsfolk of the wondrous exploits of Artemisia at Salamis. lie appre hended it as the eulmination of the eternal eon diet between the East and the West which lie collet-le-eel as beginning with the Trojan War, and of which we have not yet seen the end. it shaped itself to his imagination in a large, dra 'Italie, and religiously edifying way. Its prologue is the evolution of the free States of (ireece, and, in antithesis to them, the history and panorama of the barbarian world of ancient. monarchies and outlying peoples. Its dramatic culmination is Ilse overthrow of the myriads of Xerxes by the few thousand Greeks at Salamis, Plata-a, and INl•cale. Its moral is the lesson of tile nemesis that waits upon Hybris—upon the insolence of those who, drunk with power. forget the limits of mortality. "For God abases the mighty ones of earth. and suffers none to think proud thoughts save Himself." There are many theories (none of them verifiable) of the order of coin position of the different parts of the history, of the digressions. in which it abounds, and of the re-touches by which its :Illusions were brought down to date. But in the final result the general desiim is so clear both to Herodeutus and to the reader. that, despite the bewildering prodigality of anecdote. digression, retrospect, and descrip tion. we never lose our sense of a majestic archi tectural unity, or fail to feel that we are pro gressing steadily toward a predetermined goal. The nine books natned after the muses, into which later grammarians aptly divided the work, fall into natural groups of symmetry or antithesis when viewed in connection with the whole. The first three books deal with centuries of time, and the vast barbarian world: (1) The overthrow of the Lydian kingdom of Crmsus, and, in retro spect, the establishment of the Persian monarchy as the heir of the immemorial empires of the East. (2) Egypt in retrospect and description in connection with the Persian Conquest. (3) The consolidation of the Persian Empire under Cambyses and Darius. The last three books are concerned with ten; or, more strictly, three years of conflict on Greek soil, books vii., viii., and ix. being marked respectively by the battles of Ther mopylae, Salamis, and Plata-a. The three inter vening hooks at once link and divide the extremes, and trace the progress of Persia and the inter lacing of Greek and Persian interests to the point where the struggle became inevitable. (4) The campaigns of Persia, in Scythia and Libya, with vast geographical and ethnological digres sions. Gil The subjugation of the north roast of the iEgean—Thrace and Macedon. The begin nings of revolt among the Ionic cities, with anecdotal digressions on Athens and Sparta that prepare us for the rule to be assumed by those cities. (6) The revolt of the Ionians aided by Athens and Eretria : its suppression ; the aveng ing mission of .Alardonius against Eretria and Athens; his defeat at 'Marathon.