The Histories The Histories discussion


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About Herodotus and his lies

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message 1: by Babak (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:52AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Babak Abbaschian Any body has any idea why Herodotus was not honest in his books and why he did his best to wreck down all things about Persia ?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Uhhhh. Because his peeps were fighting them, maybe?


message 3: by Francisco (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new)

Francisco The History always depends of the point of view that the narrator express. Herodotus, a greek, was not politically correct: for him, the barbarians (people that spoken "ba, ba")were strangers, and the Greek people a resistance.
Something similar between the U.S. Forces in IRAK, and the "resistance"... with 25 centuries of diference, of course.


message 4: by Francisco (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new)

Francisco The History always depends of the point of view that the narrator express. Herodotus, a greek, was not politically correct: for him, the barbarians (people that spoken "ba, ba")were strangers, and the Greek people a resistance.
Something similar between the U.S. Forces in IRAK, and the "resistance"... with 25 centuries of diference, of course.


message 5: by William (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:58AM) (new)

William Prueter I would need examples of what you mean by not being honest. Your question is a loaded assumption. I am not so sure that he has no respect for the Persians. In fact Herodotus seems to be very curious about other cultures- such as his fascination with the Egyptians and the Scythians, etc. Part of the difficulty with the Persians lies in the fact that he is very conscious of the very different natures of their cultures. He was quite aware of the cultural advantages which Greek culture had in elevating the importance of the individual and the significance of the rule of law. This concept, so important for the development of Western Civilization was unfamiliar to the Persians. Something which Xerxes had difficulty understanding when Damaratus, the exiled King of Sparta, attempted to explain why the Spartans would not leave Thermopylae when faced with overwhelming odds. While it is true that many Greeks looked down upon non-Greek speaking people, Herodotus, of Halicarnassus in modern day Turkey had the advantage of direct contact with many non-Greek people.


message 6: by William (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:58AM) (new)

William Prueter What do you mean by "not politically correct"? Such phrases I find very baffling for promoting discussion.


message 7: by Marley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marley Yeah, that's just not true. I know this line of thinking has popped up ever since that wretched film 300 came to theatres, but don't let the blame fall on the original source material. There's a certain psycho Ayn Rander-turned right wing nut of a comic book writer who put his own views into it, and then the moviemakers on top of that.

ANYWAY, now on to the actual historian:
Of course he was very much on the Greek side, and was very glad they managed to hold off the Persian Empire so that they could start their culture's Golden Age. But he didn't hate all things Persian; he shows a lot of respect for the statecraft of Cyrus, and he tells a lot of different stories about his ascension. But he does have a lot of pride about the unique aspects of Greek culture, like its radical individualism--at least for citizens-- and he wasn't ever going to be happy about someone trying to conquer his homeland. Look, of course he's going to hate Xerxes. People tend to hate the person who invades their country-- this is still true. But he doesn't just mindlessly hate all things Persian at every second, even if he makes the choice to say he believes his own culture has a better way of life--something just about every author at the time did in one way or another.


Katie Herodotus was Greek, as the posters above said, and that heavily colored his perceptions of the war he was writing about. The same can be said about, say, the way US text books relate the history of the American Revolution. History is *all* about point of view.

As for "lies", I'm not sure I'm clear on what you're referring to. He was mistaken on details about cultures he had not personally seen or visited. He may have traveled extensively, however given the time he lived in, he was not able to travel to all the places he writes about. Much of what he writes about was from stories and heresay and with stories that travel long distances and probably through many voices and tellings, you get inaccuracies, layers of prejudices and all kinds of mistakes in translation. Overall, it seems like Herodotus has a great deal of respect for nearly everyone he writes about, even the cultures he thinks are unbelievably odd. He's trying to understand them and so he is recording what he has seen and heard about them. That may be inaccurate information, but it's not the same as lying.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 07, 2011 06:49AM) (new)

I think you can essentially date the origin of the East-West divide to Herodotus. Herodotus as the first Orientalist?

In lines like:

"Such is the account which the Persians give of these matters. They trace to the attack upon Troy their ancient enmity towards the Greeks"

he essentially rewrites the history of the present war with Persia back into mythic times and presents it as part of the natural order of things.

Also coupled, somewhat paradoxically, with this is a great respect for the learning (often esoteric) or Persia. This is somewhat akin to more recent Western approaches to China and India.

I don't think we can judge Herodotus as an outright liar, I think we have to judge him under the value systems of his day. I also think it would a great mistake to attempt to understand him as an unbiased observer. Pre-modern (and perhaps modern) histories are never without ideological content.

That people have posted things like:

"Part of the difficulty with the Persians lies in the fact that he is very conscious of the very different natures of their cultures. He was quite aware of the cultural advantages which Greek culture had in elevating the importance of the individual and the significance of the rule of law. This concept, so important for the development of Western Civilization was unfamiliar to the Persians."

shows that Herodotus was very successful in his project.


message 10: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl AT different points in time, the critics of Herodotus have expressed various viewpoints that were each in due time refuted.

THUS modern critics of Herodotus are equally doomed.

HERODOTUS is what he says he is, merely a man reporting what he has discovered by his own INQUIRIES.

I noted that Herodotus was afraid to tell the Greeks what they would have been incensed to hear, that they too may be Arayans displaced from the Erythrean Sea shoreline, whence they were driven away, and thus related cousins of the Persians themselves. But he gives us a few clues to this being their possible origin. Today modern clues come from the analysis of language origin within the Aryan-Indian language family, under which Greek and Persian are related.

OF course, anciently, there were many Erythrean seas, a red-tide area that could almost have been anywhere. Perhaps the Greeks came from Egypt? Perhaps they came from Persia? Perhaps they came from Caria in Assuwa (Asia Minor) and were cousins of the ancient Hittites? We simply do not know. This mystery precedes even Herodotus in 425 B.C.

HERODOTUS was honest and told the truth of what he learned in his interviews and in his research. We are lucky he was rich enough to spend all his time researching and writing down his stories even as the bards of old had told stories before him. In that sense he was only imitating Homer of old, a worthy mentor.

IF he lied a little, it was only about the extent of his travels, wherein he likely exaggerated, to impress the crowds. Who doesn't exaggerate? Ergo calling Herodotus a liar is itself simply a further exaggeration.


message 11: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Pasewark It is interesting that, so far as I have been able to determine, there is no equivalent Persian version. Thus, the names used for the main players by Persians are the ones given by H.

I don't think H. was anti-Persian. Though, as others point out, X invaded Greece, H's account doesn't bear a depth of xenophobia that much American writing bears toward the Japanese or Saudis. Perhaps since he is writing quite a bit after the events, the immediate consequences don't live in at the forefront of his memory or Greece can't really be referred to as "his country" in the same way that NY or Hawaii are part of the US.

Sure he was wrong on a lot of things. The New Yorker fact checking department was in its infancy when he wrote. The remarkable thing is he got a lot of it right. The survival of his writing in cultures East and West is fair testament first to the validity of his method and second, to the general truth of the vignettes and larger pictures he drew.


message 12: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Babak's statement back in 2007 (above) simply is unsupportable. Ergo, Herodotus was truthful and not anti-Persian at all.


Shaun I wouldn't call it lying per say. He definitely embellished the story. However, you have to remember that during that time period history was still a relatively new field and it had not yet seperated from folklore. What this means is that, in Herodotus' day history was a form of entertainment as well as record.


message 14: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Herodotus created his history in a Greek's perspective, quite natural. If we check out other ancient authors, the Romans such as Ammianus Marcelinus or Pliny, we get a Roman perspective. What we should remember-- Herodotus was THE FIRST REAL HISTORIAN. He received a great deal of material second-hand, yet he traveled to Scythia and even climbed the Tower of Babel. I can remember 50 years back when his mentions of Amazons were considered "lies," then Russian archaeologists discovered there really were Amazons, female warriors of the Saroumatae and Sarmatian-Alans. I gave Herodotus five stars for courage and determination, and he remains one of my favorite authors.


message 15: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Good point, Patrice. We fail to remember that Herodotus oft reported the "human condition." He gleaned all of his information verbally; there were no books or histories to quote. No end-notes! The stories he related are priceless. My favorite was the war between Queen Tomyris and Cyrus the Great. Without Herodotus, we never would have known she existed at all (although there is a short mention of her by Julius Frontinus):)


message 16: by A.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2012 11:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Shaun wrote: "I wouldn't call it lying per say. He definitely embellished the story. However, you have to remember that during that time period history was still a relatively new field and it had not yet seperat..."

Hi, Shaun

Herodotus didn't embellish anything. He was given the tales-- the "histories"-- either first or second-hand. In many instances, he even says something like, "So it has been told; but I, for one, do not believe it."

Yet, because the tale could possibly contain an element of truth, he included it as received. Thus, many true facts are in the Histories. We should be thankful they were included with little bias on his part. His book, recited by himself throughout Greece and Asia Minor during his lifetime, is the most valuable record of ancient times. The only one we have! Among the facts, we find the only record of a matriarchal society, that of the Scythians and Sauromatae. Others-- much later-- have suggested the Celts were matriarchal, but Celts were patriarchal, as in "Cornos son of Korisios, son of Baneos," etc.

What Herodotus gave us is priceless. And it was well written:)

aj


message 17: by A.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2012 11:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Karl wrote: "AT different points in time, the critics of Herodotus have expressed various viewpoints that were each in due time refuted.

THUS modern critics of Herodotus are equally doomed.

HERODOTUS is what ..."


Hi, Karl

You mentioned the possible origin of the Greeks, which Herodotus hints at. If we go back to the one source before Herodotus (the Iliad), we see the link to the Indo-European "homeland" in Homer's chariots. The oldest chariot graves are from Sintashta, geographically central to the homeland, perhaps THE homeland. So, it appears that proto-Greeks came west, perhaps through the Aral-Caspian corridor, entered Asia Minor (along with Hittites, etc.) and then crossed over the Bosphorus to their new homeland. But they did not come from Egypt or Israel, since this area held a non-Indo-European speaking culture. Thus Herodutus presaged the modern writings of J.P. Mallory and David W. Anthony. What goes around comes around.

PS: So, they were related to the Persians. The later difference was a diversion of language, satum (Persian), and centum (Greek). Strangely enough at the time pro-Greek moved from the homeland, another centum group moved east and arrived along the borders of what is now China. This group was the Kushans or Torkarians, recorded by the Chinese as the Yue-qi (pronounced "yuae-chi.") Their langauge was extremely close to Greek, Celtic, and Baltic, although spoken far west of spoken Persian (aka Western Iranian).


message 18: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl It seems that Herodotus did not have any good sources about the origins of the Greeks. So I too am inclined to doubt his report that they came from "the Erythrian Sea" which means the Persian Gulf. But that is what he says.

The northern Greeks or Pelasgians, may very well be Aryan, as you say, AJ.

The southern Greeks or Dorians seem likely to have come from Israel, perhaps the Danites.

Anciently these two groups did not like each other, and so a separate heritage seems verly likely.


message 19: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Patrice, I love reading all the ancient sources -- Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Diodorus.

Diodorus (what we have of him) tries to duplicate the encyclopedic work that Herodotus made. Between the two of them we get most of our information about ancient times.

Herodotus gets credit for being the first to try to put all of ancient history together.

Moses actually tried to do the same thing earlier than both Herodotus or Diodorus, but since we have lost all of Moses' sources, we cannot tell if he was a babbling visionary mad man, or a skilled chronicler who had older Egyptian sources at his disposal.

Between them all, those are our best contemporary sources for ancient history. They are all exciting to read, for the history that they teach us.

King Leonidas, who has certainly been made immortal by Herodotus, can thank him for preserving his story. Custer did not fare nearly as well in history under quite similar circumstances.


message 20: by A.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2012 12:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Karl,

Yes, they did not like each other. But the Greeks didn't like the Persians, either. In general, groups that vied for adjacent territory opposed one-another. The Dorians probably spoke Indo-European, thus eliminating African origin. Below the Dorians, we did have the Minoans, which had the same mother-goddess with dual snakes found in Mesopotamian cultures. Maybe the Dorians were a splinter group from this older culture, albeit "Graecitized" and adopting the dominant language. Just a thought.


message 21: by A.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2012 12:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell PS. You pointed out-- "The northern Greeks (according to Herodutus) were Pelasgians, may very well be Aryan...."

I agree. Aryan was not a blood-related designation. It probably meant something like "the People," or the "correct People." Both the Indus and Alans derived their name from "aryan." It simply meant to "do the correct observance, praise the correct gods, and follow the old teachers." To be Aryan ("Hamitic," to the Victorians) was cultural correctness. And strangely enough (or not) we now live in a tripart Aryan culture-- the warrior (military), the priest (the church), and the herder-cultivator (all of us plebs). The nice thing about the oldest form of Aryanism (still seen on the steppe in Herodotus' time) was a lack of slavery. Slavery probably arrived from Mesopotamian or proto-Semitic.


message 22: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariana

Wiki explains the boundaries of the ancient Aryan lands fairly well.

You would need to believe Moses' babblings about the sons of Japheth to make the Aryans into a blood group. It is quite possible though. Ultimately then you would also need to believe that all of mankind is related by blood group to Noah then. Just that Noah's sons had 3 different wives, an Aryan wife, a Semitic wife, and a Hamitic wife. Like I said, since we don't know much about Moses academically, we don't know what to trust about him academically.

The superstars of ancient writing are clearly Moses, Herodotus, and Diodorus without a doubt. It is hard to know whom to believe however, and what parts of whom, since they each wrote many millenia ago, and they were pioneers themselves in the art of history.


message 23: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Karl wrote: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariana

Wiki explains the boundaries of the ancient Aryan lands fairly well.

You would need to believe Moses' babblings about the sons of Japheth to make the Aryans in..."


Karl,

I looked at the Wiki article. It describes a much later designation, aka "Ariana," which is basically Iranian. The original Aryan homeland has been pinpointed through archaeology to a precise area in southern Russia and northern Kazhkstan-- roughly around Fillipovka and Orenberg, the oldest being Sintashta. From this area, Aryan culture spread in all directions, to China, Ireland, India; and finally the languages themselves reached approximately 3/4 of the globe.

Sorry, but I'm not sure Moses was a historical figure, but rather a representative of the "founding father" by a patriarchal culture. This is not to say that the Semites didn't have great women. They certainly did, as with the Queen of Sheba and Zenobia. But the old saw of just 3 spoken languages dismisses too many others, such as Sino, Aboriginal, Uralic, Altic, and Native American. The world was far bigger than what "Moses" perceived, yet through a combination of trade dominance and practicality, Indo-European came to dominate our modern cultures.


message 24: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Thanks for your summary, AJ. It's good to know where we all come from. I always wondered why they call us Caucasians. Great research on your part.


message 25: by A.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2012 03:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Researh, maybe, but not great.
We can thank Herodotus, among others; and I mean the early scribes. They are very few-- "Homer," whomever he was, along with the Jewish elders who wrote their history during the seige of Titus (meat of the Old Testament), plus the Iranian Gathas, the Indic Rig Veta, the inscriptions in Egypt, and (much newer) the records of Sima Qian. All of them bear a core of truth, and each is confirmed archaeologically. So, Herodotus wrote in good company:)

As an aside, I'm surprised we don't have more novels based on the Old Testament. (The following is a blatant plug.) When I wrote The Demon's Door Bolt, I followed the Bible reasonably close. Among characters, I placed Haman the Agagite in Hell's Third Level (the hottest). He came straight from the Book of Ester, and remains as one of the great and tragic figures in the history of genocide. Like some of the personalities in Herodotus, he might not have actually lived, but rather an "example" of humanity in its worst form.


message 26: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl I give Moses and Herodotus both a lot of credit. Both of them mention "the gods" and therefore both of them could easily be discredited by "modern" historians as being madmen, Patrice.

The one thing that weights greatly in favor of the credibility of the historical writings in the Biblical writings (Law, Prophets, and Writings) is the first mention of the Hittites. Whether Moses himself was indeed raised as an adopted prince of Egypt who then led the Israelite Hebrews out of Egypt as their military general and prophet is a matter of faith by Jews and Christians to this day, and speculation by everyone else.

Herodotus chronicled many things that were doubted in earlier times as well, but which have since been demonstrated to be true. And like AJ says, there were other ancient chroniclers as well to whom we are indebted.

I am a history fan, and I have read everything I can get my hands on. AJ has read a few more things that I have not yet, however.

I realize that academically and scientifically we are required to doubt what we read until it has been independently confirmed. So I therefore do, as a requirement.

Gods are by Their nature elusive, for whatever reason, and so any discussion of Them normally involves a lot of speculation, unless you yourself are a prophet, but then nobody would believe you anyway. That's called Cassandra Syndrome. Cassandra foretold the fall of Troy.

I believe in The Gods consisting of God The Father, Jesus Christ his Son, Holy Mary Mother of Christ, and The Holy Spirit. But they are elusive, for whatever reasons.


message 27: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Patrice and Karl,

It's amazing how much of the Bible has been corroborated by archaeology. Modern writers oft question ancient historians; and I believe they have their own agenda, aka a doctorial thesis that's "new" and worthy of publication. Not long ago, Prof. Michael Kulikowski ripped Jordanes apart, claiming he was full of bull-pucky. Then, a year later, an archaeological site along the river Samara vindicated Jordanes.

It's likely that Moses, like Homer, was a combo of more than one historian. But truth, perhaps not perfectly accurate, is the underlying factor. The same applies to the Gathas, originally written by Zarathsthura (Zoroastar), a man who lived on the steppe roughly 1,500 to 1,200 years ago. He believed in one singular god, whom he called Ahuramazda. I'm not sure who came first, Abraham or Zoroastar, but their legacy is a great one and real truth never dies.


message 28: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl It is speculation whether the Jews (who are the surviving Hebrews) came directly to Canaan from Babylon or whether a figure called Abraham is their Babylonian forefather who came there first, as Moses himself tells us in his first book, called "In The Beginning" in Hebrew, and "Genesis" in Greek.

We do know that the Jews were established at Jerusalem by 600 B.C.E. (it is polite to say BCE when denoting Jewish history) who were then conquered by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar then. How they got there is a mystery, to history. Herodotus does not metion them at all, although by Herodotus' day in 425 B.C. (now we are talking about a Greek so it is more polite to drop the E off BCE) the Jews had returned to Judea by then. I often wonder why he omitted them? Perhaps because they were not relevant to his story about the Persian-Greek wars? If he mentions them at all I do not recall it.

And The Naked Archaeologist on The History Channel (Simca Jacobovici) has gone to great lengths to find the Jews' archaeology and put it on tv for us all. I am not going to even try to pronounce his name.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nake...

Even as Michael Wood went to great lengths in his book and his PBS series to convince us that The Trojan War (spoken of by Herodotus) was indeed actual history, I am inclined to believe both Michael Wood about The Trojan War and Simca Jacobovici about Moses and ancient Israel. But like I said, there is no independent corroboration.

So we are left to speculate. And speculation is great fun. But we must remember to label it truthfully.


message 29: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Well a shard of pottery is proof of something, especially if it resembles something else a thousand miles away.

Don't forget that the codex (book) was a rather recent invention, preceeded for thousands of years by separate lamb skin scrolls. Finally around 350 AD someone put it all together into one Codex Sanaiticus and it could then be called a book. It was by decree of a Christian synod, if I recally correctly. This was back in the times prior to 1054 A.D. when the Roman and Greek churches split off with each other and excommunicated each others patriarchs. There were mostly scrolls floating around the Near East up until that time.


message 30: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Patrice wrote: "Karl wrote: "It is speculation whether the Jews (who are the surviving Hebrews) came directly to Canaan from Babylon or whether a figure called Abraham is their Babylonian forefather who came there..."

I hope you can get The Naked Archaeologist on The History Channel on your cable tv. You would truly love this guy. He is good. And funny too.


message 31: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Patrice wrote: "Jews still use scrolls, still use Hebrew."

Oh I know. The Jews have preserved the Hebrew language for thousands of years, as have the Roman Catholics preserved Latin as well.

And the Greek Orthodox have preserved ancient Greek for us also.

Between these 3 preservations it enables much of our ancient archaeological research to take place. Because of Greek, we now understand and can decipher Egyptian as well.

Academics and scholarship is amazing, and often it is preserved for devout religious purposes. Devotion therefore lends itself to academic scientific discovery as well.


message 32: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Patrice wrote: "Karl wrote: "It is speculation whether the Jews (who are the surviving Hebrews) came directly to Canaan from Babylon or whether a figure called Abraham is their Babylonian forefather who came there..."

Good point. Most likely, the Israelites were not involved in the Persian Wars, although the first Persian king, Cyrus the Great, freed the Jews/Israelites from slavery. The Philistines were among the "sea peoples" who initially raided Egypt and then formed a new country nearby. They were Indo-European speakers, basically Aryans, a cultural group noted for eating pork, horses, and lamb, and drinking mare's milk. Certainly, then, they were foreign to both Semitic and Egyptian groups and eyed as "profane."


message 33: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl I love Herodotus' story about the Scythian Queen who killed Cyrus and decapitated him. Her story is basically that a nomadic people cannot be conquered by a sedantary one. And she was right, and still is.


message 34: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl In the Roman Catholic Apocrypha, in one of the books of Maccabes, it speaks of the Jews being related to the Spartans, who were Dorians. Thus it seems to me that the Spartans are Israelite, if the book is correct. Again, there is no separate independent confirmation.

Regarding the Philistines, they seem to be Greeks who came to Joppa and settled there after the Trojan War. This was about the time of the Myceneans. They may even be among those who destroyed Mycenae. We do not know.

The Minoans seem to hail possibly from Tyre or Sidon or Egypt, either Phoenicians or Egyptians, similar to the Carthaginians, Etruscans and Basques. All these peoples moved around in pre-history and therefore we have only speculation.


message 35: by A.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2012 07:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Another good point. The Mycenaeans and Philistines show up at about the same time. And perhaps the Mycenaeans were also from the "sea people" group. This would expain the origin of the Greeks as initially coming from Asia Minor. This also shows in the language change on Knossos... from Minoan to Mycenaean:) Another "happening" about this same time, perhaps a tad later, could be the Etruscan migration from the Lavant to south-western Italy.

I'll join your group if you join mine! We could have some fun, since history is subjective, as we now discuss it.


message 36: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl The secret to success in history is to remember that even if something is written in stone, the hands that carved it are still the hands of men, not gods, not giants, just men.


message 37: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell "the hands of men, not gods, not giants, just men."

Straight from the film, Conan the Barbarian. How odd he was a Cimmarian, related to the Scythians. The actor who portrayed Conan's father was James Smith, versed in four languages, including Iranian and Slavic tongues. He once worked for the CIA, later turning to body-building. What goes around comes around.


message 38: by A.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2012 07:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Patrice wrote: "A.j. wrote: "Another good point. The Mycenaeans and Philistines show up at about the same time. And perhaps the Mycenaeans were also from the "sea people" group. This would expain the origin of the..."

Ahh! Speculation and archaeology melding together!

I started a "Q & A with A.J. Campbell" group between answering you and Karl. My interest, as an author, is creating fiction based upon ancient history, especially Greek legends. That's what initiated my novel The Demon's Door Bolt... along with the Book of Revelation.

Oh, and can we be Goodreads friends?


message 39: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl A.j. wrote: ""the hands of men, not gods, not giants, just men."

Straight from the film, Conan the Barbarian. How odd he was a Cimmarian, related to the Scythians. The actor who portrayed Conan's father was ..."


Basil Poledourus' symphony is pretty inspiring also.

I sometimes hum it to myself. Especially The Atlantean Sword.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtaYms...


message 40: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Basil has created some beautiful scores, including the track for Les Miserables. Poor Herodotus missed it. All he had to entertain him was a double-obo and the deus ex machina!


message 41: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl Herodotus recorded a lot of didactic hexameter verse, for us.

So whenever I write or speak, that is what I try to use.

It mesmerizes people, usually, and one of my bosses even noticed it, as well.

The Illiad is in didactic hexameter verse.


message 42: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell That's good to know. I'm not the poetic type, but Herodotus "reads" correctly, easily. And didactic hexameter explains it.


message 43: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl The ancient Greeks fought with their spears.

And only after their spears were broken did they fight with their swords.

The Anvil Of Krom is two swords, fighting against each other, beating upon each other, until one of the two swords has won.

Poledouris put this to music beautifully.

Although it was played out anciently anytime the ancient Argoans, or Athenians, or Spartans, or Thebans went to war. They became very good at war, or so the ancient historians tell us.

And thus, the Persians even in their superior numbers did not stand a chance.

We are most indebted to the Athenians, who invented democracy, in 510 B.C. And when Kleisthenes invented democracy, the philosophers of Athens invented a new word. It was ELEFTHERIA, which means freedom.


James Rhodes Heroditus was raised born and raised in Halicarnassus a Persian satrapi at around the time of the battle at Salamus. He had a good amount of respect for both cultures and was positioned in such a place in the world that hee could move between the two cultures with ease. He did his best to procure first hand accounts of the Greek and Persian wars and relay them as they were recited to him. He comments more than once that he does not believe an account but that it is his job to record the accounts not to pass judgement on them.

I have never heard of him being called the Father of Lies because of his treatment of the Persians, it is a moniker he gained for including stories such as the God Pan showing up in the Battle of Marrathon and demanding a temple be built for him.


message 45: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Good point. We are discovering that Herodotus was fair-minded, and we are indebted to him for writing the Histories. They are invaluable. As an avid historian of steppe cultures, I thank him for penning resonably accurate references to the Massagetae, perhaps the only culture which was still matriarchal.


James Rhodes Also a good deal of information that he included that was dismissed by post-engightenment scholars as implausible has been since proven by archelogists. Xerxes' canal is a prime example. Herodotus does give significant amounts of time to the amazing technological advances of the Persians and their cultural practices which he treats with a good amount of respect. Any scholar reading Herodotus should be aware that although Persians did have a written language (cuneiform) their own historical records tend to say things like "King Darius says: This is what I have done. By the grace of Ahuramazda have I always acted. After I became king, I fought nineteen battles in a single year and by the grace of Ahuramazda I overthrew nine kings and I made them captive."

It is obvious to even the casual observer that Herodotus' accounts of events are massively more objective than was the standard of the time. It is for this reason that he is also called the Father of History, he was the first recorder of events to attempt to show it from the perspective of both cultures.


message 47: by Karl (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl I do wish Herodotus had told us more about his own life and how he made his living. I imagine him as a guest professor at the local logic and philosophy schools of the Greeks, lecturing on history. He may himself have even been educated in those himself, because someone had to teach him logic and critical analysis, which he appears to be extremely good at. But he was a sincere modest man, and he therefore did not talk about himself.


message 48: by A.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell You're both correct.
He didn't have much to work from when it came to Persian history. I pointed that out in The Demon's Door Bolt, when Uther Pendragon enters the afterlife a second time, to sit with other story-tellers-- "Herodotus and a bunch of Persians who omitted lost wars:)


Benjamin Kerstein I think Herodotus was actually a very conscientious historian. He often will note several different versions of the same event, state the one he thinks is most likely true, and leave it at that. When he recounts something he does not think is believable, he says so. There is a reason he is considered the first "real" historian: He thought critically about his sources. Obviously, he was hampered by the technological limitations of his time (written materials were rare and hugely expensive, for example), but I think he did very well under the circumstances.


message 50: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I'm amazed at this thread. The fact that anyone can admire Herodotus for the INCREDIBLE person he was, but then compare him to MOSES or ANYTHING BIBLICAL? It's astounding. I'm responding to MULTIPLE COMMENTS here, so my points and rebuttals are not going to be in the order most would prefer.
Firstly, Herodotus was born a subject of the Persian Empire. He had no Greek bias, so let's drop the anti-Persian thing. He was always described as being more tolerant in his works towards the Persians than any other historian.
The reason Herodotus does not mention Jews, King David, the Temple of Solomon, the Hebrew people, etc.? It was because THEY DID NOT EXIST IN EITHER ORAL TRADITION, WRITTEN DOCUMENTS, or the PHYSICAL WORLD! He clearly references "Palestina" though. He also mentions the circumcision rituals of the Phoenicians and the Egyptians. There was NEVER a HEBREW PEOPLE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD! Greece didn't have interactions with "Israel", Greece had interactions with the various city-states of Canaan controlled by Pharaoh. Most archaeological evidence points to the later "Hebrews" as coming from the Habiru. Letters from the rulers of Canaan to Pharaoh clearly indicate that the FORTRESS of URUSALIM was governed by Abdu-Heba, and he was under the authority of Pharaoh. No ancient document or credible historian ever mentions anything to support the "origin" of the Jewish people.
Do you really think Herodotus would have left out the "great civilization of Israel"? Please. Give the man some credit.
The Mycenaeans and Philistines showed up at around the same time? Philistines did not show up in history until 400 years after the Mycenaeans. The Mycenaeans also, by all accounts, came from the Greek mainland to Crete. Pottery remains from PHILISTINE cities indicate that they were the descendents of the Mycenaeans that fled Crete, but they were NOT a chronological parallel. How could the descendents, and the people they descended FROM, possibly have existed at the same time? The Philistines were WELL ESTABLISHED on PALESTINE'S MEDITERRANEAN COAST, on the mainland, in the 6th century BC. They were ABSOLUTELY NOT the "Sea People". The culture that is referred to as "Sea Peoples" was actually the most likely reason for the end of the Mycenaean Civilization. That was the Phoenician people.
The Minoans were NOT the same people as the Phoenicians. Herodotus CLEARLY describes interactions with the Phoenicians and never does he reference the Minoans at all. He makes it quite apparent that the Phoenicians were a FOREIGN PEOPLE.
The Spartans were NOT Israelites. Leonidas is cursing up a storm on the other side right now. Again, Israel DID NOT EXIST IN THE ANCIENT WORLD. The only "evidence" for this crap is a scripture, and the Bible is NOT a HISTORICAL REFERENCE! It's a compilation of the myths and legends of OTHER PEOPLES!
Preservation of the Hebrew language? Seriously? Try again. The earliest "Hebrew" language is actually Phoenician. I even have to correct the Greek language "preservation" here. Which Greek language are you referring to? There were multiple Greek languages throughout history. They even had TWO numbering systems!
There actually is evidence to support the Trojan War. Let's not conveniently forget that just because it's inconvenient to the fabricated "Jewish" history.
PLEASE, no books in the ancient world? Really? I guess all the BOOKS and MANUSCRIPTS on display in museums from that time are fakes.
There is speculation that "The Odyssey" was written by a different person than "The Iliad" was, but it is almost 100% certain that "The Iliad" was a single author, so let's not slander Homer by comparing him to Moses.
No pork bones proof of "Israel"? How can you even enter into a conversation about the history of the MUSLIM LAND of Palestine without knowing that Muslims DO NOT EAT PORK?? Of course there were no pork bones! Plain pottery? Many uncivilized peoples made pottery like that. There is NO EXAMPLE of "Hebrew pottery" anywhere! Plain pottery is just EARLY POTTERY!
Herodotus never says jack about the "Tower of Babel". He says he saw the "Temple of Bel", a Babylonian "Zeus".
Did anyone here actually read anything about Herodotus or his writings??????? I'm seriously doubting this since Herodotus is the MOST BLATANT PROOF THAT THE BIBLE IS FICTION! His writings are the BEST INDICATION THAT JEWS/HEBREWS DID NOT EXIST IN THE ANCIENT WORLD! The Amarna Letters from the FOURTEENTH and THIRTEENTH CENTURIES BC are INDISPUTABLE PROOF THAT JEWS DIDN'T HAVE A NATION!!!! How on EARTH can anyone actually read, look at archaeological evidence, and respect Herodotus and NOT know this?!?!?!?!?
Read "Histories", PLEASE!!! Read the Amarna Letters, PLEASE!!!! Read SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE BOOK OF FABLES people call the Bible!!!
Yeah, I get passionate about this. I'm Greek and I do not appreciate when people slander my heritage like this. If you don't care to know what really happened then please quit engaging in conversations that are doing nothing more than spreading ignorance even further!!!!


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