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A Key Point in the History of the Ancient World

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Boston College Law Review, Vol. Herodotus was a Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, in Asia Minor, in the fifth century B.

  • The Odyssey - Illustrated;
  • Repossession.
  • The Story of the Persian War from Herodotus, Illustrated Edition (Yesterday's Classics);
  • Catalog Record: Wonder stories from Herodotus | HathiTrust Digital Library.

Called the Father of History, he wrote the first comprehensive attempt at secular narrative history, long considered the starting point of Western historical writing. The focus of his Histories is the Persian Wars, but he includes fascinating digressions on the histories of Bablyon, Egypt, and Thrace, as well as studies of the pyramids and various historical events. He was the first writer to evaluate historical, geographical, and archaeological material critically. Grand Eagle Retail is the ideal place for all your shopping needs!

With fast shipping, low prices, friendly service and over 1,, in stock items - you're bound to find what you want, at a price you'll love! Please view eBay estimated delivery times at the top of the listing. We are unable to deliver faster than stated. NOTE: We are unable to offer combined shipping for multiple items purchased. Herodotus was still alive at the start of the Peloponnesian War, but another Greek, Thucydides , would write its history. Thucydides was born into a wealthy Athenian family about B. Little else is known about the first 30 years of his life.

Assigned to command a fleet off the coast of Thrace, he failed to prevent the Spartans from capturing an Athenian colony. As was the custom, Athens punished Thucydides by exiling him from Athens for 20 years. With lots of time on his hands, Thucydides decided to write a prose account of the war as it happened, almost like a modern news reporter. He traveled extensively into the war zones, observed battles, interviewed Athenian and Spartan military and political leaders, and read documents relating to the war.

He was the first to analyze human behavior in wartime. He concluded that war was rooted in human nature and would be repeated in the future. Unlike Herodotus, Thucydides rejected telling crowd-pleasing stories and concentrated on the facts of important events.

He avoided writing about myths, oracles, and superstitions. He recognized that even eyewitnesses could not always be reliable sources. In general, he tried hard to be accurate, fair, and unbiased. Like Herodotus, Thucydides quoted speeches, but these actually took place. Thucydides heard some of them himself. Typically slow to act, Sparta finally agreed to lead the fight against Athens, demanding that it restore independence to the Greek cities under its control. Thucydides wrote that only an honest leader like Pericles could make Athenian democracy work.

Thucydides was interested in how both soldiers and civilians behaved in wartime.

Athens quickly crushed the revolt, and the people of the city slaughtered the rebel faction. This incident prompted Thucydides to comment on the evils of revolution:. The sufferings that revolution entailed upon cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur as long as the nature of mankind remains the same. The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising from greed and ambition.

As the war resumed, Athenian leaders argued for a major military expedition to Sicily. The expedition failed to attack Syracuse immediately, allowing the city to prepare strong defenses and get help from Sparta. The Athenians failed in several assaults on the city, including an unusual night attack that Thucydides described. Trapped, Athenian troops panicked and tried to escape inland.

The Syracusans followed them, killing and capturing many. Thucydides described how it all ended at a river crossing:. Meanwhile the opposite [river] bank, which was steep, was lined with Syracusans, who showered missiles down upon the Athenians, most of them drinking greedily and heaped together in disorder in the hollow bed of the river. The [Spartans] also came down and butchered them, especially those in the water, which was thus immediately spoiled, but which they went on drinking the same, mud and all, bloody as it was, most even fighting to have it.

As the war dragged on, atrocities on both sides increased. Probably the worst was a massacre in the defenseless city of Mycalessus in B. Thucydides described the horror:. The Thracians bursting into Mycalessus sacked the houses and temples and butchered the inhabitants, sparing neither youth nor age but killing all they fell in with, one after the other, children and women. The war, however, continued for seven more years until Sparta won a decisive victory over the Athenian fleet, finally forcing Athens to surrender in B.

We do not know why Thucydides never finished his History. He died, some ancient sources say violently, around B. Herodotus and Thucydides invented history, or at least the writing of it, in the Western world. Before Herodotus, the Greeks had no word for history in the sense of writing a narration of past events in prose.

A Short Summary of the Persian Wars

Herodotus may have been the first Western historian, but Thucydides was the first modern one. He explained the causes of events, analyzed political developments like revolutions, and evaluated leaders such as Pericles. In addition, like historians today, he was rigorous in searching for the truth and discarding information that he could not verify.