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Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction [#272]
Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction [#272]
  • Introduction to the fifth century Greek thinker and researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who invented the genre of historical investigation
  • Explores all aspects of his life and work, showing him to be an ethnographer, a tourist, a reporter, a narrator, and a historian
  • Examines his major work The Histories to reveal his critical thinking and lively storytelling in the time of the Greek Enlightenment

Herodotus has come to be respected by most scholars as a responsible and important historian. Herodotus was both a critical thinker and a lively storyteller, a traveller who was both tourist and anthropologist. Like Homer, he set out to memorialize great deeds in words; more narrowly, he determined to discover the causes of the wars between Greece and Persia and to explain them to his fellow Greeks. 

In his hands, the Greeks' unforeseeable defeat of the Persian kings Darius and Xerxes, with their vast hosts, made for fascinating storytelling. Influenced by the work of the natural scientists and philosophers of his own and earlier eras, Herodotus also brought his literary talents to bear on a vast, unruly mass of information gathered from many interviews throughout his travels and left behind him the longest work that had ever been written in Greek - the first work of history, and one which continues to be read with enjoyment today. 

Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction introduces readers to what little is known of Herodotus's life and goes on to discuss all aspects of his work, including his fascination with his origins; his travels; his view of the world in relation to boundaries and their transgressions; and his interest in seeing the world and learning about non-Greek civilizations. We also explore the recurring themes of his work, his beliefs in dreams, oracles, and omens, the prominence of women in his work, and his account of the battles of the Persian Wars. 


1: The world of Herodotus
2: Origins and the historian
3: Greeks and Persians at war
4: Herodotus as Ethnographer
5: Women in history, women in the histories
6: Herodotus and the divine
7: Herodotus as storyteller
8: Herodotus as historian

About the author: 

Jennifer Roberts was educated at Yale and has taught since 1992 at the City University of New York, where she directs the doctoral program in Ancient History at the Graduate Center. She has published widely in the field of Greek history and historiography and has particular interests in ancient and modern democracy, Herodotus, Thucydides, and ancient warfare. She is particularly concerned with the history of attitudes towards social justice and its manifestations in government and law.

Product details

ISBN : 9780199575992

Jennifer Tolbert Roberts
144 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jun 2011
Very Short Introductions
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Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction [#272]

Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction [#272]

Herodotus: A Very Short Introduction [#272]