Ancient Egypt: Herodotus Account Of Egypt And Egypt

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At first glance it may appear that Herodotus’ account of Egypt is a clear-cut description of the country and what he learned there, intended to educate a Greek audience. However, a closer examination reveals that his intentions and motivations may have been different that originally assumed. The opening passage exemplifies the sort of conflicted view of the Egyptians that the author so frequently presents. Though, at times, he emphasizes their otherness, he seems to admire their achievements and credits them with inventing multiple cultural practices that the Greeks then copied. He begins with high praise for the Egypt, calling it a country of wonders, unparalleled in their quantity or majesty (2.35). Although the author continues to describe Egypt as a land like no other, he shifts his focus towards the Egyptians’ mannerisms and how they are the opposite of “the common practice of mankind,” which should probably be interpreted as meaning that they are the opposite of Greek mannerisms. While it is not difficult to believe that the Egyptians and the Greeks differed significantly in many of their customs, Herodotus goes …show more content…
Like the Greeks, they tended to view all non Egyptians as alien, but the Egyptians also viewed them as inherently inferior. Nearly every Egyptian depiction of foreigners in art revolved around their being crushed by the might of the Egyptian king or bringing him tribute. Thus, they would likely never have publicly admitted to borrowing elements of foreign culture. In fact, Herodotus reports that the Egyptians maintain their own culture and adopt no foreign customs (2.79). While this assertion is not accurate, it is also not difficult to imagine an Ancient Egyptian making such a

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