• Imagining History

Herodotus – Who was he?

Herodotus is considered the first historian and is often called ‘the father of history’. His considerable claim to fame was in writing the Greco-Persian Wars, a real page turner that detailed the conflict between the Greek City-States and the Persian Empire. It is not a quick read, as this on and off again war lasted for twenty years, running from 499 to 479 BC! In fact, Herodotus split his work into 9 different books just to fit everything in.

Thanks to Herodotus, historians now know loads about the people and the cultures of this period of history. Herodotus travelled widely, visiting Egypt, Libya, Syria, Babylonia, Susa in Elam, Lydia, Phrygia, Byzantium, Thrace and Macedonia, leaving us with tons of info in the process.

Was everything Herodotus wrote truthful and accurate? On that we’re not too sure, as the man definitely enjoyed a good story and this can be seen throughout his writing. He loved going off on tangents and included fun short stories or speeches to keep the reader – and himself – entertained. Despite some fantasies and mistakes though, his writing is so full of information that it remains of tremendous use to historians to this day – almost 2500 years later!

Further Reading:

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