A Guide to Reading Herodotus' Histories

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Bloomsbury Publishing, Apr 5, 2018 - History - 336 pages
Modern scholarship judges Herodotus to be a more complex writer than his past readers supposed. His Histories is now being read in ways that are seemingly incompatible if not contradictory. This volume interrogates the various ways the text of the Histories has been and can be read by scholars: as the seminal text of our Ur-historian, as ethnology, literary art and fable. Our readings can bring out various guises of Herodotus himself: an author with the eye of a travel writer and the mind of an investigative journalist; a globalist, enlightened but superstitious; a rambling storyteller but a prose stylist; the so-called 'father of history' but in antiquity also labelled the 'father of lies'; both geographer and gossipmonger; both entertainer and an author whom social and cultural historians read and admire.

Guiding students chapter-by-chapter through approaches as fascinating and often surprising as the original itself, Sean Sheehan goes beyond conventional Herodotus introductions and instead looks at the various interpretations of the work, which themselves shed light on the original. With text boxes highlighting key topics and indices of passages, this volume is an essential guide for students whether reading Herodotus for the first time, or returning to revisit this crucial text for later research.


List of Boxes
Herodotus the historian
Herodotus the ethnographer
Themes and patterns
Notes to Approaches
Cambyses Samos and Darius
Darius Scythia and Libya
The Ionian revolt defeat and aftermath
The road to Thermopylae
Showdown at Salamis
Persia defeated
Plataeas aftermath 9 7689

The Ionian revolt causes and outbreak
end of tyranny and Cleisthenes 5 629

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About the author (2018)

Sean Sheehan is an independent scholar, having previously taught in the UK and abroad. His publications include The British Museum Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ancient Greece (2002), Socrates: Life and Times (2007), Žižek: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury, 2012) and Sophocles' Oedipus the King: A Reader's Guide (Bloomsbury, 2012).

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